Salutations Dearest Subjects!
For the second QUEEN OF THE ROAD monthly contest, as always, please check out the contest page of my website. You have to enter on that page, as well.
This month's contest topic: Travel stories from hell! (Get going now, you have until March 31st to enter.)
Last month's contest winners (topic: What would YOU do if you could take a year off?) will be announced on this blog (as well as their winning entries) over the next couple of weeks. Yes, it looks like there will be more than one winner. I'm simply having too much trouble choosing between a few really excellent entries.
This month's prize? A signed galley of QUEEN OF THE ROAD, of course. (That, or a signed actual book, when it comes out, will always be the monthly prize.) This month's extra special additional prize is.... a poopin' moose key chain, all the way from Ketchikan, Alaska! (Again, my favorite bit of kitch from our entire the trip.)
Just squeeze and voila! And, yes. It's the same extra special prize as the first contest, but... well. What else could I possibly give out for contest number two?
Good luck to all. I very much look forward to reading your entries.
I hope all this flushing cures whatever's ailing it, although I'd sure hate to be down stream. (Couldn't it have tried a little Pepto Bismol first? Even a Tums, perhaps?) Gulf of California, you've been duly warned.
(Oh, what do you want from me?)
Written from a truck stop near Winslow, AZ (it’s not as romantic as the Eagles’ song would have you believe, believe me).
We had our last In ‘n’ Out yesterday. In ‘n’ Out (for those of you sadly ignorant of the boisterous burgers) is a west coast thing. We’ve been visiting our dear friends, Jim and Lisa in Prescott, AZ (rhymes with “biscuit” we’ve been told… and told… and told). Lisa doesn’t eat beef (I’d make a snide remark that this makes no sense, since her reasoning has to do with the way the animals are treated, yet she does eat chicken. However, since I don’t eat pork or shellfish, even though I haven’t been kosher for years, I don’t really have a snarky - or sensible - leg to stand on, here). So, Tim and I snuck out for a quick lunch.
(Also note I have my burgers with cheese on them. This is known in Jewish circles as a “double whammy.” If I added bacon, I’d call it a “triple whammy” – if I survived the lightning bolt.)
Our experience was marred.
Since I’ve been doing low carb, I don’t eat hamburger buns. That also means I don’t get a shake or fries (unlike my gee, how-much-good-fortune-does-one-man-really-deserve-he's-also-married-to-me-after-all, naturally thin husband). I ordered first.
“I’ll have [note: I said, “I’ll have”] two double-doubles, protein style, extra onions.” The young man behind the counter then asked, “Fries or a shake?” To which I replied, “No.” Then, he turned to Tim and asked, “Would you like fries or a shake?”
I guess he thought I couldn’t possibly eat two burgers. I guess he was wrong. I set him straight. (I know you know I did.)
Yet, there was to be another hitch in our last luscious lunch.
One of the guys who cleans up the customer tables was, shall we say, a bit talkative. You could hear him schmoozing from across the room. I don’t know about you, but when I’m eatin’ so fine, I want to concentrate on my food. Besides, he was so damn perky. (I’m kinda like Lou Grant in that respect.) So, as he made his way across the joint, pausing at each and every table to chat, Tim and I resolved not to make eye contact with the guy. Alas, the table next to us tried that. It didn’t work. So, just as he turned our way, what could I do but shoot Tim a distraught look and cry, “I can’t believe you’re breaking up with me!”
We ate the rest of our lunch in peace.
My Dear Subjects:
After sifting through your marvelous entries, We have chosen the winners of a galley of QUEEN OF THE ROAD and... well, that moose poop thingy. If you didn't win this time (or if you didn't enter, but how could that be?) please do head over to the contest page of Our website. This month's topic, "Travel Stories From Hell!" You have until March 31st to enter.
We shall endeavor to sprinkle the winning entries for February's contest on the blog throughout the rest of the month. We realize this makes for the occasional easy blogging, but really, what do you want from Us? Besides, these entries were quite amusing to Your Sovereign and should be shared. The winners were notified today.
If I could take a year off, I would spend about four days just fadoodling around with fabric and yarn. After this delightful dawdling, I would fling it all off me, open my laptop, and fall into a write all night and sleep all day pattern. This pattern would continue for three weeks. I would eat smoothies -- everything I consumed from coffee to legumes would have to go into the smoothies, which I would sip from mason jars next to my laptop. I would not cook, and I would not touch a dish. I would hose out my blender every few days.
I would take three days off of taking a year off, to visit my children at the Unicorn and Rainbow Fantasyland Boarding School, where I must have sent them to be tended by fairies and centaurs, in order to take off my year. I would wave to my husband where I had duct taped him to the ceiling in order to take my year off.
This brings us to the end of month one. At the end of month one I would have completed about fifty thousand words of my novel. I would be ready to begin obsessively exercising.
For three more months, I would live at the gym. I would take cheesecake out of the nutritional smoothies and add kale or something virtuous like that. I would become ripped. I would regain the dimensions I possessed at age 21. Then I would go to the Mediterranean for six months of solid knitting and sewing and swimming. I would make little jackets and skirts. I would devise new hat patterns. I would pack trunks with my creations.
Then I would realize that I only had three more months of my year off. I would rush home and get to work on my novel. I would retreat to a cabin in the woods and get confused and put sticks in my hair. I would experience fugue states. I would talk to beetles. And on the last day of my off year, I would drag myself out of the woods -- thin, fit, tanned, and possessed of the novel I was always meant to write.
And then my teeth would probably fall out for extended lack of use.
Yesterday, I got to spend several hours with John Elder Robison, whose memoir, LOOK ME IN THE EYE, you should all check out, if you haven't already (it was a NYT bestseller when it came out last year). The paperback is being released in September. He has been a wonderful mentor to me through the whole publishing process - telling me what to expect and answering questions. He even reviewed the galley of QUEEN OF THE ROAD on his blog and gave me a wonderful blurb for the cover.
After exchanging many emails over the past year, we finally got to meet yesterday, when he was in Boulder for one of his many speaking engagements.
What a sweetheart.
I knew from reading his book that he is smart and wickedly funny, but I guess I had to meet him to understand - well, I think John said it best when he commented to me about Tim later, "He seems like a gentle mate." Takes one to know one, John!
I took John to Denver (he's brave, too, getting in the car with me driving and all) to see the bus. I provided a tour of the interior, while Tim did the honors for the innards (which I had never even seen before. Imagine that.) John seemed genuinely interested and impressed with our mobile home, which tickled us both no end, since he's had a lot of experience with buses and engines and such.
Bella is an author consultant extraordinaire. She has helped me (and several others I know) tremendously. Once you have a book contract, before you do anything else - consult Bella! She also blogs about many topics pertinent to writers, throwing in a lot of her patented Bella humor. If you're a writer and you want straight talk and sound advice, see Bella.
Kim is a recent first-time author, whose memoir, NO PLACE SAFE, came out in October. I'd heard of her fascinating story before - she was 13 during the summer of the Atlanta Child Murders and her mother was a lead detective on the case. But, listening to her speak about her childhood and the racial issues she deals with in the book, made me put in my order as soon as I got home. No excuse people - it sounds like a wonderful read, got a fabulous PW review and it's in paperback (just like my book will be, hint, hint). Kim also has a great sense of humor and I so enjoyed meeting a fellow (or lady, as the case may be) Boulder author.
After dinner, everyone (except John - why is that?) commented on my shoes. Since I do have a reputation to uphold, I thought I'd let you see why (even Morty seems to like them):
So, if you haven't yet figured out one of the major benefits of being an author - it's getting to meet such wonderful people as these.
Nothing snarky about today's post. Nope. Nothing, indeed.
I realize I haven't posted much about the whole publishing process thing. That's 'cause it's a mystery to me. To wit:
My editor, the fabulous Stacy Creamer (Lance Armstrong's IT'S NOT ABOUT THE BIKE; Elizabeth Edwards' SAVING GRACES; Lauren Weisberger's THE DEVIL WEARS PRADA) gave me the news yesterday that Borders had decided to make QUEEN OF THE ROAD one of its June book club picks. This means it and the other picks (four this month - two fiction, one young adult and one nonfiction - that'd be me in June) are placed in the front of the store with special reading group guides. Random House had to push the publication date up from June 10 to June 3 because of this. Made no difference to me. My (writing) work is done. I sent back the final corrected proofs over a week ago.
How did this happen? I had no idea this was in the works, or that it was even possible. I'm thrilled beyond belief and so grateful to... I have no idea who to be grateful to, but thank you, whoever you are!
I've been pinching myself to see if I'll wake up. Then, I didn't sleep all night. Go figure!
And, while I'm on the subject of the whole writing thing, blurbs were due a week ago and the winner is.... me! I was lucky indeed to get such fabulous blurbers. Thank you, all!
"Two psychiatrists driving a motorhome around America, and you're still wondering whether to buy this book? Step on the gas and go straight to the register." – Jeff Arch, Academy-Award nominated screenwriter, Sleepless In Seattle
“Doreen Orion has a fresh, wry voice that's all her own and she works it like a rodeo rider in her light-hearted and yet tender new memoir 'Queen of the Road.' ” - Jacquelyn Mitchard, bestselling author, The Deep End of the Ocean
"Doreen Orion and her handyman husband Tim prove, with abundant laughs and martini shaker in hand, that sometimes the best way to enrich home-life is to leave the home...or, better yet, just put it on wheels." - Franz Wisner, bestselling author Honeymoon with My Brother
“His dream – he’s always wanted to see America in a converted bus – and her nightmare –she has a bus phobia – and their mid-life crisis on wheels, make for a hilarious reading adventure.” - Mary-Lou Weisman, author of Traveling While Married