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May 2008 Archives

May 1, 2008

The Shoe Off - And Next Contest! (My creativity apparently has its limits.)

So, the fabulous Polly Kahl has goaded the equally fabulous Robin Altman (aka Dr. Shoes) and (fabulousness not to be declared, that would be rude) royal-with-200-shoes me into having a shoe-off on our blogs. Although Polly cannot wear stylish shoes anymore due to her back problems, she nonetheless graciously got us started off on her blog. I think she gets extra points for creativity with the gold swirls, don't you? However, I don't want to be too generous here, and fortunately for them both, they can do psychotherapy (Polly's an M.A. and Robin a kiddie shrink) on one another, as I plan to win this thing! So check Polly's blog and Robin's blog and let us know whatcha think!

Now, for the this month's contest (and since I'm being lazy, you can too!): For a signed copy of QUEEN OF THE ROAD (and the moose poop thingy), simply comment on any of my blog posts during the entire month that relate to the shoe-off. If you mention the shoe-off on your blog, drop me an email (doreen at doreenorion.com) to let me know and I'll also enter you. Have a blog and a comment? You get two chances to win! (For those of you without blogs who think this is unfair - duh... this is a monarchy.) On May 31st, I shall randomly pick one commenter as the winner. (April's winner to be announced shortly. Actually, I have no idea if she's short.)

Let the shoe-off begin! (And, if any of you think, after seeing our offerings, that you can compete, by all means... BRING IT ON!)

And, oh yeah, yeah, YEAH: Check out Chris Eldin's blog May 3-9 for Author's Week,
"a week of contests, prizes, fun! And don't forget, hobnobbing with famous authors!"
(I'll be one of the, ahem, "famous authors" for her Author's Week at the end of June.)

So, since Polly posted 5 shoes, I figured I would, too (but, realize, as my subtitle says, I have 40 more to offer up) starting with:
Since I wrote about this pretty Prada pair on Polly's blog, I thought I should post the actual picture. Note the silver kitten heel. These were purchased on Ebay, some years ago for something like $20.

Shoes deux: this fine suede pair of Via Spigas. I bought these years ago as well, don't remember where and really don't care. Aren't they sweet?

Richard Tyler actually does my favorite pairs (and I have a few). These are navy and purchased on Ebay for a song.

I thought I would include some (near) flats: Donald Pilner. Very comfortable (and affordable, when purchased at one's local used clothing shop).

Last but not least: My ringer. My ace in the hole. Read 'em and weep, Robin. These beauties were purchased in Italy 20 years ago. Mercifully, I don't remember how much they cost. But, I got 3 other pairs bought on the same trip - so ante up!

May 5, 2008

April Winner and Shoes, The Musical

The April contest to win a galley copy of QUEEN OF THE ROAD (and moose poop) came out on April 1st, so I figured the theme should be A Royal Expose, in honor of April Fools' Day.You were charged to write about the "truth" behind Your Sovereign, Sir Tim, Our Bus, The Pets or really, whatever struck your fancy - anything at all in the QUEEN OF THE ROAD universe.

The theme seems to have been a stumper, but a ringer of sorts, WriterKat, came through. (Ringer because she's a writer with a fabulous writing blog to boot. She also works in the mental health field, but we won't hold that against her.)

Herewith, WriterKat's winning entry:

It wasn't what Judge Judy had in mind when she sentenced Dr. Queen and Dr. Queen to house arrest for the heinous unspeakable crime (think moose poop for cash ). But who is to say a bus is not a house. Chains strapped to their legs, the Drs. Queen peeled away from the courthouse ready for a new beginning. For sure they were kicked out of the Alaskan wild, but there's lots more moose..er.. adventures to be found on the open road than just that winter wonderland.

It's not to say being strapped down is all that fun, but bungie-jumping the Grand Canyon (they had to scale back up the cliffs since the chains had no bunge) wasn t exactly like the pain of digging holes in a field. (Don't go there: reminder, moose poop for cash). Certainly, it was more breathtaking than passing meds at the shrink joint (ignore the rumors, their meds are made from straight meds).

Halfway across Boonsville, they were at a loss for their next cash-crop. Fortunately, Dr. Mr. Queen excelled as the chain-footed driver, and Dr. Mrs. Queen chained herself to the computer, leaving us a year of memories in the Queenly novel, We Did It: A hypothetical Account of the Moose Poop Cash-Crop , [Editor's note: Change title ASAP to Queen of the Road: A True Tale of 47 States & NOT ALASKA, 22,000 Miles , 200 Shoes, 2 Cats, 1 Poodle, NO MOOSE, a husband and a House under Arrest that looks like a Bus. ]

Obvious why she won, no? (Although I'm not sure Tim will be pleased being called, "Dr. Queen." When my publisher first suggested the title, QUEEN OF THE ROAD, his only comment was, "People better not think that refers to me.")

And, please do head over to Robin Altman's (Kiddie Shrink extraordinaire - actually, I have no idea if she's a good shrink, but she's a hell of a funny broad) blog to see her response in our Shoe Off. I'd say she's thrown down the gauntlet with "Shoes, the Musical."

Now, I must retreat to the Royal dungeon to seek out my very best pairs of beauties, guarded all these years by the Imperial Dragon (hope he's not too pissed off).

May 14, 2008

Random Updates

Just wanted to let everyone know you can now read an excerpt (ie the first chapter) of QUEEN OF THE ROAD on my website. Oh, quit yawning. What if I told you that every chapter begins with a commemorative (of our many disasters) martini recipe?

Now, wait a minute! Can't you at least finish reading this blog entry, first?

I wanted to show you this picture:


It's me signing my very first foreign rights contract - Germany. Queen of the Autobahn, here I come! Note the pink flannel poodle PJs and of course, the martini at hand to celebrate. It's the Prevost Princess; the recipe that starts the first chapter. And no, you're not yet finished with this blog entry. Isn't it a bit early for martinis in your time zone, anyway? Sheesh.

Today, I also found out that QUEEN OF THE ROAD has already had a second printing! Pretty cool for a book that hasn't even been published yet. Yeah, yeah, I'm tooting my own (bus) horn, but what do you expect after a Prevost Princess?

Fine. Go on, already. (And if you do make the recipe, please let me know how you liked it - if you can remember, that is.)

PS - On Monday, I start my blog tour over at Mental Health Notes in anticipation of QUEEN OF THE ROAD's pub date of June 3rd. By Sunday, I'll also be posting a new video and podcast. Stay tuned... (so, easy on the Prevost Princesses, OK?) and thanks to all for your wonderful support! It continues to be most appreciated.

May 21, 2008

My Fabulous Book Group

Last night my very own, fabulous book group (the one I've been in for over a decade) did QUEEN OF THE ROAD off galley copies. Thanks, ladies!

Of course, they were very complimentary. (What else were they going to say? They knew my onion rings would have made great projectiles.) And, for once, everyone finished the book! (Ditto - well, at least they said they did.) But, I was particularly gratified that in addition to the humor, they also "got" the underlying themes:

Don't wait - live your dreams NOW.

Keep challenging and stretching yourself.

The most important thing is to spend time with the people you love.

So, without further ado, here's my fabulous book group:


(Photo taken by our knights in shining armour, Peter Gail and his friend Michael, who had a camera in his cell phone, and saved the day when my camera refused to work.)
Jane Ann Hebert, Dina Horwedel, Sheryl Allen, me, Robbie Barr, Susan Wientzen at the Dark Horse, whose sister restaurant, The Bum Steer is mentioned in QUEEN OF THE ROAD as the place Tim and I had our first date. (He tricked me into going - the name couldn't be more appropriate.)

A few of the women are mentioned in the book:

Jane Ann has worked with Tim. Last night, she had to answer the question: "Is he really as great as Doreen portrays him?" (Hmmm. Wait'll I do that next edition.) Answer: "Yes." (There's that whole onion ring thing, again.) But then, she added, "And, what's really great, is you can tell how much he loves Doreen." Made even my cold, shrivelled heart melt. Thanks, Jane Ann.

Susan got some ribbing because in the book, I call her, "the most gorgeous woman I know." So, of course, she had to point out that I've had PRK - twice. (Maybe that explains my blinking in the picture.)

Sheryl, I term my "insane" friend, because her dream is to hike the Appalachian trail - 'nough said.

Robbie is mentioned in the acknowledgements as one of my beta readers, because I very much appreciated her judgment. (She's a judge - get it?)

Dina, who has had a fascinating life, providing aid in destitute, war-torn areas around the globe, had been in our group years before, then left to do her good work. She came back only recently and we're selfishly thrilled to have her with us, again.

Acknowledged, but not present, are Eileen GIlday and Deborah Ramirez who couldn't be there last night. We missed you, ladies! See you next time! (Geez. I hope it's not something I wrote.)

PS - Mom. I know you're going to be royally P.O.'d as only a Queen Mother can, that all these ladies have read the book and you have not. But, I wanted you to read the real book (you know, not a typo-filled, mistake-ridden, no blurbs yet galley copy) and I only got those last week. Yes, I know, I haven't sent you one of those, either. And, yes, I know in desperation, you ended up ordering one on Amazon.

I'll be happy to sign it for you.

May 26, 2008

Don't Put Off Your Dreams

In anticipation of QUEEN OF THE ROAD being published in one (GULP!) week, I thought I would post some excerpts with lessons learned.

When my long-dreaded thirtieth birthday arrived, I really wasn't as upset as I imagined I'd be, for I had achieved a much more important milestone: my sartorial centennial. I owned one hundred pairs of shoes. Then, at age forty-four, I found myself trying to cram a mere half that number into a living space of 340 square feet.

The whole thing was Tim's fault.

When he announced he wanted to travel around the country in a converted bus for a year, I gave this profound and potentially life-altering notion all the thoughtful consideration it deserved.

"Why can't you be like a normal husband with a midlife crisis and have an affair or buy a Corvette?" I demanded, adding, "I will never, ever, EVER, not in a million years, live on a bus."

Something less than a million years later, as we prepared to roll down the road in our fully outfitted, luxury bus, it occurred to me that Tim had already owned a Corvette, long ago when he was far too young for a midlife crisis. While I pondered who he might be seeing on the side (and whether his having an affair might prove less taxing than living in a metallic phallus on wheels), I wedged and stuffed – and, oh my GOD! bent – the cutest little Prada mules you've ever seen into my "closet," which was really not a closet at all, but much more resembled the cubbyhole I'd been assigned many pre-shoe-obsession years ago at Camp Cejwin. How had I let myself go from "never ever" to..this? Both Tim and I are shrinks, but he's obviously the better one. It took him five years, yet he whittled down my resolve, no doubt with some fancy, newfangled brainwashing technique ripped out of one of our medical journals before I could get to it.

So, here is the first and one of the most important lessons we learned from "the bus thing": Don't put off your dreams. Tim finally convinced me by explaining, "This is just something I really want to do – while we're young and can still enjoy it. I've done everything right all my life, the way I was supposed to do it. Now I want something for me. And I want it with you."

I realized even then that he had a point. Like many people, until we reached our late thirties, Tim and I had gone through life feeling rather invincible. Not only was it inconceivable that something bad could ever happen to us, even our very mortality seemed suspect. When we hit our forties, this changed, as our contemporaries experienced sudden, unexpected tragedies: A friend was diagnosed with breast cancer. A colleague died of a heart attack in his sleep. Both of us, for the first time, could feel creaks and aches in bones we hadn't thought about since anatomy class. Over the years, we each had treated people in our practices who had looked forward to all they planned to do in retirement, but when the time came, were too ill to travel or too devastated by the death of a spouse to live out their dreams.

Those lessons started hitting home as we officially breached middle age. We knew we were fortunate in that we would always have jobs; neurosis is a growth industry, after all. We could afford to do this now and go back to work later. For most people, it takes some terrible catalyst to change their lives. We're living proof that it doesn't have to be that way. We don't have to wait. We can change our lives NOW. And, it doesn't have to be something as drastic as taking an entire year off. That happened to work for us, but the bus is a really a metaphor; everyone can find their own "inner bus" whether it's taking an adult education class in something they've always wanted to learn about, volunteering in their communities, or rekindling an old interest that went by the wayside years ago.

What would your inner bus be?

Next, another important thing we learned: Don't let the spark die.

(This is from the first chapter of QUEEN OF THE ROAD: The True Tale of 47 States, 22,000 Miles, 200 Shoes, 2 Cats, 1 Poodle, a Husband, and a Bus With a Will of Its Own, that's going to be published June 3rd by Broadway Books, an imprint of Random House. You can read the full chapter, see pictures from our trip, videos, podcasts and a lot of other fun stuff on my jam-packed website, www.QueenOfTheRoadTheBook.com)

May 29, 2008

Don't Let The Spark Die

The Nudist RV Park

Although I protested as long as I could, my husband and I did eventually hit the road in our bus with our two querulous cats, sixty-pound dog - and no agenda. So, another important thing we learned on our year-long adventure was: Don't let the spark die. It's crucial to keep challenging and stretching oneself. My pre-bus life had been so comfortable - too comfortable, in fact. It had become rote and routine. During our bus year, we actually became grateful not only for the adventures, but the disasters, as well (fire, flood, armed robbery, my developing a bus phobia and finding ourselves in a nudist RV park, to name just a few) because they helped rekindle that spark. We are afforded amazing opportunities in our country, and we all work very hard to achieve our goals, yet often we get there and feel like there’s something missing. If you're asking yourself, "Is this all there is?" Maybe you need to get on that bus - in whatever form it takes.

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About May 2008

This page contains all entries posted to What Do You Want From Me? by Doreen Orion in May 2008. They are listed from oldest to newest.

April 2008 is the previous archive.

June 2008 is the next archive.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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