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July 2009 Archives

July 5, 2009

Hi Ho, Hi Ho

If you've read QUEEN OF THE ROAD (and really, if you haven't - aren't you tired of my nagging? Read the thing already. Geez) you know we love Disney.

Back, L to R: Chrissy, Karen.
Middle, L to R: Debbie, Paige, Vikki, Julie.
Floor, L to R: Pam, Barb.
MIA: Marianne.

So, when Pam emailed to invite me to call in to her Winter Garden, FL book club, mentioning that several of the gals worked at WDW, of course I couldn't wait. Then, she told me that, "Our book club has 8 fabulous queens - some of us really feel that our club is a drinking club with a reading problem, but we can live with that." Well, I knew I'd love this club, and I was not disappointed.

Karen and Vikki - mixologists extraordinaire, tackling the Phobic Friar. (They also made the Prevost Princess, Elusive Moose (the favorite), and the Secession Swizzle. As Pam said, "Since we usually drink wine, I thought that I should make something a little more hardy than brie, crackers, meatballs etc, - so I made beef tips in red wine (why not add more alcohol??)" Told ya I'd love this group.

I was particularly tickled when Karen, who has worked for Disney for over 15 years in Food and Beverage Marketing, said that her favorite part of the book was my description of the utterly fabulous food in the parks. She liked it so much, in fact, that she made copies to pass around since, as she explained, "we take great pride in what we do." If you've ever eaten courtesy of Disney Dining (and gained 5 lbs like we did) you'll understand why they should take great pride in what they do. And, knowing me as well as you do, you'll understand when I say that my new-found fame at Disney Food and Beverage Marketing couldn't make me happier. Move over, Mulan: There's a new royal in The World.

(I was also quite grateful when no one in the group held the following line against me, in which I explained that although we love Disney, we're not really Disney people: Disney people don’t see the Guest Relations kiosk and wonder, “Ya think they sell condoms?”


One of the questions they asked was if Tim still wanted to live on a boat. As I told them, the unfortunate answer is "yes." In fact, I keep catching him on the web, surfing for sailboat sites. (Why can't I have a normal husband who just surfs for porn?) He keeps trying to reassure me, but we had so many disasters on dry land, I can't imagine what it might be like on the open seas. To placate me, he says we wouldn't go far - like maybe just to the Carribean. Not helpful, honey.

"What about the pirates?" I exclaim.
"There are no pirates," he tries to reassure.
"Are you insane? Where have you been the last decade? There have been at least three movies about Pirates of the Carribean." Sheesh. (Just had to get in a Disney joke.)

I shall leave you with pictures of us in the happiest place on earth. Thanks to this fabulous book club for the wonderful conversation, martinis (in absentia) - and memories.

Yeah, we're wet. We just rode...

Splash Mountain

Even though we loved the Ft. Wilderness Campground, this was the one stop during the entire year, where we never cooked on the bus. The restaurants were just tooooo good to miss.

Dinner at one of our favorites - Jiko in the Animal Kingdom Lodge. (That's why I'm wearing an animal print blouse. So I coordinate with my cuisine. What do you want from me?)

July 7, 2009

What Makes A Book Club Great?

This Chapel Hill, NC book group has only recently started and its members are all in their 20s.

Oh, you are, too! Don't give me that look!

I wondered how the youngin's would react to QUEEN OF THE ROAD, ie could they relate to the midlife crisis catalyst? What about the other ahem "older" issues?

But, the gals assured me that they could relate: One of them, in fact, just had an early life crisis of her own, completely changed her career and now owns her own business. Of course, when another chimed in that she could understand those issues "because my dad went through that," I nearly choked on my wine (which would have been a shame, as a mighty wine it was).

One of the best questions they asked was "What makes a good book club?" As someone who has been in one for over a decade, and who has called into... maybe 100 or so since QUEEN OF THE ROAD came out, I guess I am a good one to ask.

Great drink and food (in that order, if you haven't already figured it out) is a given. But there are two other things: Every member should feel she has input into the book choices. Not necessarily for each choice, but at least that her voice and preferences are heard. Then, just because a book is a good read, doesn't mean it's good for discussion. A great place to check out what other clubs are saying about the discussion aspects of books is Bookmovement.

Truly, this club seems off to a great start: They were lovely, asked interesting questions (and even wrote them down - we'll see how long that lasts) and seemed to be having a lot of fun - also crucial for a great book club.


They're just so adorable, I had to post this picture, too.

What do you all think makes a book club great?

July 11, 2009

Newport Newcomers

This was a new one on me: One of the members of a book club I'd recently called into, Marylin, asked me to call into another book club of hers. (Marylin is apparently one well-read lady.)

This book club calls itself the "Newport Newcomers." It's a way for newcomers to Newport, CA to meet and make new friends. (I probably didn't have to explain that to you, did I?) The ladies assured me they were gorgeous and would make a fabulous picture for this blog.


I'd have to agree.

One of the questions they asked was if we've gotten back to our usual routine at home. I'll tell you (as I told them), it's not easy. But, I'm pretty proud of how well we've done overall in keeping up some of our bus traditions, especially making dinner time about us - no distractions. Just great food (cooked by Tim), great drink (I have to contribute somehow) and scintillating conversation. (OK. You got me, there. But, isn't great good and drink enough for you people? What do you want from me?)

I was also asked what tips I had for couples to get along if they do an RV trip like we did.

Well, it just so happens that Tim and I wrote the Married Shrinks' Guide to Not Killing Each Other On Vacation. And, if you have any suggestions of your own to add, stick 'em in the comments.

Meanwhile, thanks so much to the Newport Newcomers! (Made me want to bus on over to Newport. Hope you have some long driveways there.)

July 15, 2009

Three's A Charm

QUEEN OF THE ROAD was only the third pick for this new, Oak Park, IL book club.

Still, they somehow managed to select the best drink of the bunch for book clubs - the Jubilee:


From Left to Right: Kate, Erin, Jen, Erin, Katie, Loretta, Sarah.
Note: Said Jubilee is itself in the foreground - empty. (I'd say this bodes quite well for this group.)

Because this book club is made up of mainly moms (and a few teachers) the most burning question (other than where we put the cat box, which I get asked so often, I really should do a blog post on) seemed to be: What advice could I give to women who want to follow their dreams, but can't take a year off?

What I hope I answered in a fairly articulate way (and what I'm going to take the liberty of elaborating on here because I suspect I didn't), was that it doesn't have to be as drastic as taking a full year off. That's why I dedicated QUEEN OF THE ROAD to anyone searching for his or her inner bus. I think often, many of us get so busy, we don't even think about having dreams, let alone what they are. Therefore...

Think about it. And, know that it doesn't have to be permanent. Dreams can change, if you want them to. So go for it! Let your imagination run wild! Then... carve out some time. Maybe your dream is to write the Great American Novel. You don't need a year off to do that. A half-hour a day, a few hours a week - whatever you can do. And if your dream really is something that requires an extended time off, let's say backpacking in the Himalayas, first: make an appointment with someone like me to medicate you out of it. (Hiking? Really??? I need a fresh pour.) Then... start reading about the experience: Travel books, memoirs, maps, history of the area. Keep the dream alive to make it more likely you'll actually do it.

You get the idea.

I think I must have answered the question fairly well, as Sarah emailed me afterwards: "The conversation was a unique experience and part of the best book club I've ever attended. All the girls agreed! We continued talking about future bus trips, summer home dreams, and family adventures late into the evening."

Love that! Thank you.

What are some of your dreams and do you think you'll live them? If not, why?

July 17, 2009

Children of the Waters

Last night, Tim and I went to a book signing at Tattered Cover in Denver's Lodo for Carleen Brice's new, second novel, CHILDREN OF THE WATERS. Carleen is an award-winning and bestselling author for her first novel, ORANGE, MINT AND HONEY. (Which was as devine as the name implies.)


As you can see, I was sure to get my grubby hands on a copy of CHILDREN OF THE WATERS and after hearing her read a passage last night, can't wait to read it, myself.

One of the very unexpected benefits of being an author, is getting to meet other authors. Bella Stander (who is, unfortunately, planning to leave us for New York's Hudson River Valley when she sells her house in Denver - although who am I to complain about that? Didn't stop me, though, did it? And yes, I do love my parenthesis - what do you want from me?), book promotion guru and all-around-nice-gal, has gotten a bunch of us together over the years: The Literary Ladies Lunch meet monthly and talk about books, publishing, the fab food we're eating... whatever. Anyway, I've met quite a few lovely (and hungry) authors via LLL and Carleen was one of them.

What's particularly nice about LLL is that we all support each other. That's why there were several of us at Carleen's jam-packed signing last night, and that's why Carleen told us when we got there, "Is there a copy of your book in the store? Give it to me and I'll announce you're here and hold it up."


She didn't need to tell me twice.


July 21, 2009

An Illustrated Queen

Today, copies of the Korean addition of QUEEN OF THE ROAD arrived via my agent. Here's the cover:


I am now an illustrated Queen. Let me digress.

When a literary agent sells a book to a publisher, foreign rights are often retained. The agent can then try to sell publishing rights to foreign publishers. Often, getting the finished book in the mail is the first time an author will see the cover, or even know what the book's title will be. (Unless you're some bigwig, I guess. And, truth be told, I'm still not sure what the title is in Korean. Is it QUEEN OF THE ROAD or Princess Lines? Anyone know anyone who can read Korean?)

Anyway, this is the first foreign language book of QUEEN that I've actually gotten into my Royal hands, so I would like to bestow a Queenly nod to the publisher, Sigongsa. I was quite tickled to see that it's illustrated! Is that typical for books in Korea, I wonder? (Again, send your Korean friends over here, please.)

Here I am "working" at home:


Now, I know the camera adds ten pounds, but I didn't think the illustrator does. Morty has morphed into one blob-o-cat.

And, I'm not quite sure what Tim and I have morphed into (who knew there was a large tranny community in Korea?):


Fine. So this one needs no explanation (what do you want from me?):


Neither does this, except I can't imagine Shula would be that calm riding with Miles - especially on the top of the bus:


And finally, the celebration at the end (complete with the 47 states and Jubilee recipe):


All in all, We are quite pleased with Our Kingdom's Asian expansion.

July 25, 2009

The South vs. The North (Or Just vs. Me)

We’re in Van Buren, AK this week visiting Tim’s father, Bob, and Bob’s wife, Frances. I’ve been sleeping in. A lot. Meaning: everyday as well as for several hours every day. That's what I do - especially on vacation.

Our bedroom is right next to the living room, so this morning, as soon as I turned off my noise machine (which I brought from home. Have you ever heard the crickets in these parts?) Tim bounded in with his usual cheery demeanor. I hate cheery, especially in the morning. And, most especially from my husband. He knows this. He sat on the bed and smiled at me.

Now, you might think this was a nice thing to do, but it wasn’t a “how was your night?” smile, or even a “so glad to see you, honey” smile, nor was it even a come-hither-type smile. No, it was clearly a smile of mockery.

“What do you want from me?” I croaked. I'll admit: morning-voice is not a pretty thing.

Tim convulsed with laughter (I’m not exaggerating. Where does he get this kind of energy in the morning? I really don’t know. And believe me, even if I did, I’m not buyin’.)

“It’s 10 o’clock. We been drinkin’ coffee and eatin’ cereal and visitin’ for 3 hours!” (After a few days "visitin'" he starts talkin' like this.)

“Well, I’ve been emulating Southern culture.” I informed him, regaining my voice. “People are genteel. They go at a slower pace down here,” I explained. He countered, cackling, “Yeah. They’re easy-goin’, not bedridden.”

Still think he's such a saint, y'all?

When we get home next week, I’ll post some pictures of the cows and horses, Cousin JT, Tim doin’ chores (manly ones on the tractor… and not so manly ones with Frances’ pink screwdriver) as well as the sight across the river that caused me to ask, all excited, “Are they building an amusement park?” I can already see that’s gonna be a teller around these here parts for years.

July 30, 2009

Two Clubs in One, Plus a Bonus Martini

Two North Carolina book clubs in one! What could be bad?

The Winston Salem Book Club has been meeting since 1995 and the Salem Glen Book Club, since 1998 (upstarts).


Back Row - Cynthia, Beth, Jeanne, Ann, Marie, Donna, Eileen
Front Row from Left - Ruth Hanna, Terri, Lisa, LeeAnne, Jenny

Not pictured: Beth's Co-Pilot, Ed, who "like Tim was just chilling and emitting quiet strength from his man room in the basement."

As Beth, who arranged my visit put it, "Winston Salem tends towards more serious, inspirational, or challenging reads," while Salem Glen tends "towards more popular fiction, with a 300 page limit. I am happy to say your delightful book filled both orders."

Thanks, Beth! For me, since I often function at the maturity level of a 12-year-old (just ask my book club), the most memorable part of the evening was when we discussed my Porcelin Inspirations bathroom book. The ladies even said they'd buy it! (Hear that, Random House? Actually, I think my editor would have a heart attack. Too bad I like her, ie no Inspirations - at least of the porcelin variety.)

Here's Beth's signature martini:

Key Whine Pie

3/4 oz. Licor 43
1/4 oz. Key Lime Juice (Nellie and Joe's, or fresh)
1/2 oz. half and half (do not whine about the calories, or substitute fat free, it is rude)
4 crushed graham crackers and one packet Sugar in the Raw
Key Lime Slices

Mix sugar and crushed graham crackers in saucer. Rub rim of martini glass with key lime juice, then press into crushed grahams and sugar to make a rim. Add ice to shaker, add ingredients, and shake to mix and chill. Strain into cocktail glass. Quadruple recipe if its been a hard day, but hide your bus keys. Walk to beach and chug thinking the whole time about what a bummer it will be to go back to civilization. Quadruple recipe supplies 100% of daily recommended requirement of Vitamin C.

It hasn't been that hard a day, but I'm sure I do need more Vitamin C.

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About July 2009

This page contains all entries posted to What Do You Want From Me? by Doreen Orion in July 2009. They are listed from oldest to newest.

June 2009 is the previous archive.

August 2009 is the next archive.

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