Press Release–About The Contest

Today I got a copy of the approved press release that finalists are being allowed to send to local news outlets. I thought this was as good an outlet as any. (Note that they’re using my mundane name–ugh–so it doesn’t say Shalanna, but it’s me. Google Alerts found a model today who shares my mundane name, and she isn’t me, but people will THINK so. . . .)

“Gifted” Guru from Richardson, Texas, to Compete in National Gift-Wrapping Contest: Denise Weeks Vies to “Wrap Up” $10,000 Cash Prize
New York, N.Y. (November 21, 2008) — Thinking “outside of the box” is one thing, but gift wrapping a set of golf clubs and a baby grand piano (yes, a baby grand piano!) would leave most with shaky scissors and reams of ruffled gift wrapping paper. But not Denise Weeks of Richardson, Texas, who will be wrapping these and other unusual, odd-shaped gifts at the 12th annual Scotch Brand Most Gifted Wrapper Contest. On Friday, December 5, 2008 at Rockefeller Center in New York City, Weeks will vie for the coveted title of the Scotch Brand Most Gifted Wrapper and a $10,000 cash prize.

Weeks’ skill in wrapping odd-shaped gifts and disguising them for the recipient’s surprise has become part of her signature wrapping style. She once turned a hat box into a wedding cake and disguised a Frisbee as a foil-wrapped skillet topped with “fried eggs” made from felt. Starting with a bow maker at the age of eight and graduating to handmade styles, Denise has amazed friends and family with her sturdy, yet inventive, gift packages.

Christine Fritsch, 2002 winner of the Scotch Brand Most Gifted Wrapper Contest and author of Gifted Wrapping, selected Ms. Weeks and seven other gifted wrappers – three additional amateurs and four professionals – to participate in the contest based on a brief essay describing their talent and experience in the art of gift wrapping.

Denise Weeks is a graduate of Southern Methodist University and writes novels under her own name and her pen name, Shalanna Collins. She was awarded fourth place in the 2008 Robert Benchley Society Essay Contest by the final round judge, comedian Bob Newhart. She is a former baton twirler and the founder of the Semicolon Protection Society. Buy her books at or visit her LiveJournal at for blogtastic fun.

(Okay, that last paragraph wasn’t part of the OFFICIAL press release.)

Y’all got any gift-wrapping tips for me?


Author: shalanna

Shalanna: rhymes with "Madonna" and "I wanna," and is not a soundalike with "Hosanna" or "Sha-Na-Na." Aging hippie with long hair, husband, elderly mother, and yappy Pomeranian. I've been writing since I could hold a crayon. I started with fiction, which Mama said was "lying." “Don’t tell stories,” she would admonish, in Southern vernacular. “That's all in your imagination!” When grownups said this, they were not approving. So, shamed, I stopped telling stories for a few years--rather, I stopped letting anyone read them. I'm married to a fellow computer nerd who doesn't really like hearing about writing, but who reads sf/fantasy and understands the creative drive. I'm actually a nonconformist/hippie still wearing bluejeans and drop earrings and the Alice-in-Wonderland hair with headbands and sandals. Favorite flavor is chocolate/orange, favorite color is either Dreamsicle orange (cantaloupe) or bubble-gum pink, favorite musical is either Bye Bye Birdie, Rocky Horror, or The Producers . . . wait, I also love The Music Man. Is this getting way too specific and irrelevant yet? Obvious why I don't sell a ton of flash fiction, isn't it? To define oneself, I always say, it is good to make a list. How about a booklist? Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird Frank and Ernestine Gilbreth, Cheaper by the Dozen C.S.Lewis, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe (all the Narnia books) J.R.R.Tolkien,The Hobbit/LORD OF THE RINGS trilogy Gail Godwin, The Odd Woman F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby J. D. Salinger, Catcher in the Rye (before dismissing it, actually read it) George Orwell, 1984 Kurt Vonnegut, Cat's Cradle Donna Tartt, The Secret History Mark Twain, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn James Allen, As A Man Thinketh Mark Winegardner, Elvis Presley Boulevard James Thurber, My Life and Hard Times The Wizard of Oz, L. Frank Baum Winnie-the-Pooh/House at Pooh Corner, A. A. Milne Peter Pan, J. M. Barrie The KJV and NIV Bible (each translation has its glories)

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