Writing Archives

February 19, 2008

Meet a Wonderful Bookseller - Karen West at Book Passage (I Did!)

Yesterday, one of my incredible publicists, Kim Dower, set me up to meet several booksellers in the Bay Area. Yes, I know my last post was about what a lousy driver I am, and how I have no sense of direction. So how in the world would even Queenly I presume to get to San Francisco and back from Modesto, nearly 100 miles away?

This Queen has her own driver, of course.

Sir Tim very nobly agreed to chauffer me on his day off (perhaps less due to his being one heck of guy, than his fear that if allowed to go by myself he’d be getting my late night, frantic call – from Portland).

I met with a few booksellers, and Karen West at Book Passage in Corte Madera, was the very first.

Book Passage, for any of you who don’t know (living under a rock, perchance?) is an ultra-fabulous book store in Marin that also hosts writers workshops, conferences and classes complete with very illustrious faculty. Indeed, the biggest names in publishing make sure to stop by for readings and signings, including Isabel Allende, Bill Bryson, Tim Cahill, Amy Tan, Michael Chabon, Anne Lamott, Bill Clinton, Al Gore and Madeline Albright to name drop just a few. (Check out their website for all the wonderful upcoming events at "BPU." Even if you don't live near San Francisco, Book Passage hosts writing workshops spanning several days. What could be better than learning from the masters and spending time in the greatest city in the world?)

I had lunch with Karen, Director of Events & Conferences outside in the California sunshine (we’ll be heading back to Boulder in a couple of weeks, so this was even more of a treat), as we ate salads and sandwiches provided by Book Passage's very own, in store café. (How neat is that?)

Of course, we talked about QUEEN OF THE ROAD, but we also had an interesting discussion about the issues it raises for us baby boomers who hit their 40s and ask, “Is this all there is?” Karen expressed, oh so well, that even though many readers can’t drop everything and travel for a year, hopefully, by reading QUEEN OF THE ROAD they can learn an important life-lesson or two. (Very wise woman, this Karen.)

I had always envied booksellers. I mean, getting paid (in part) to read? But, Karen pointed out that she actually reads fewer books than she would like because she also has to read periodicals and newsletters about books and publishing. So, I’m a little less envious than I was. A little.

Here’s a picture of the two of us standing at the very same podium as all those amazing writers, movers and shakers. Karen was kind enough to suggest we pose there, saying, “So you’ll have a picture of where you’ll be speaking!”


More on my other meetings at other fabulous bookstores to come…

March 19, 2008

A Major Benefit of Being an Author

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.


Then, we headed back to Boulder for dinner with Bella Stander, Kristen Nelson and Kim Reid.
What a wonderful group!

(Right to left: John, Bella, Kim, Kristen and me.)

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.

Kristen is a literary agent based in Denver. I've been reading her fabulous Pub Rants blog for some time. It's one of the most informative agent blogs out there.

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.

March 25, 2008

Borders Picks QUEEN OF THE ROAD as a June Book Club Selection!

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

“You will never look at a psychiatrist the same way again. And you will never take a bus driver for granted, either." - John Robison, bestselling author, Look Me In the Eye

April 15, 2008

My First Book Group

OK. It's not that I'm like a book group virgin or anything, but I just got my first real book group request! I say "real" because my own book group - the one I've been in for over a decade - is reading my book off galley copies in May. (I'll be posting pictures of the gathering on the book group page of my website.) But, they kinda have to read it, ya know?

Not this group. Nope. This group contacted me! And, I don't know any of them! How cool is that? They are local and we scheduled for early August, so I can even go in person and not just by speakerphone. (You can bet your tiara I'm bringing my camera and will post pictures right here on the blog.)

I can't tell you how exciting it is to have the first, real, tangible evidence that SOMEONE other than those who must - like my agent, editor, mother and friends (who want to stay so) actually wants to read QUEEN OF THE ROAD.

Oh, lord. What if they hate it? Maybe I SHOULD appear by speakerphone?

Wait. They promised alcohol. Never mind.

April 19, 2008

Quick and Simple? Not so much the latter.

The fabulously wise and wonderful editors of Quick and Simple Magazine have decided to do a spread on QUEEN OF THE ROAD for one of their summer issues.

As such, Tim and I were each interviewed by phone, and a local photographer dispatched to take pictures of us in and around the bus. The plan was to drive it to nearby Red Rocks, for a simply gorgeous setting for the outdoors shots. Since this was to be for a summer issue, we were to wear summer clothes. After much rummaging through the Royal Wardrobe, I settled on a light top, light pants and sandals.

Joe Hancock of Hancock Studio and his assistant, John, were quite wonderful - and quick. We'd had magazine photo shoots before for my first book and the promised "three hours" inevitably turn into an all day affair. (Hey, Joe! Wonder why I insisted on meeting at 3 p.m.? I figured dusk would hold you to the three hour thing.) This was actually the very first shoot we've ever done which came in UNDER the promised time. Thus, we got our "quick." Unfortunately, "simple" was not to be had.

It started snowing. Did I mention I wore sandals?

Red Rocks would have been obliterated by white out, so we stayed at the warehouse where Tim stores the bus. Scenic, huh?


Joe and John stayed all nice and snuggly warm in their North Face parkas.


If I look like I'm freezing, I am. Then, there was the constant wind thing...


Poor Joe. I kept demanding, "Don't supermodels on swimsuit shoots in Antarctica get like $10,000 a day?" When he informed me that no one on this particular shoot would be getting anywhere near that amount, I countered with, "Fine. But, I doubt while those supermodels are freezing in their bikinis, the photographers are allowed to wear parkas." Joe kept quiet on that one, although it's not hard to imagine what he was thinking. (Something along the lines of, "Why didn't I listen to my mother and become an electrician? Oh, no. I had to be an artiste.")

Poor Joe.

(And, in case you're wondering - the shoot could not be rescheduled due to the magazine's deadline.)

***Special thanks to John Frank of Vanture Coach Manufacturing (our bus converters) for taking the photos of the photo shoot. (I figure I'll get as many favors out of them as I can before they read about themselves in the book - I kid! I kid!)
Oh, and ladies (as well as 10% of the gentlemen amongst you): DO check out this picture on my book group page, taken just as we took off at the very start of our bus year - The Men of Vanture Coach. They're quite ready for their own close ups, no?

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.

June 7, 2008

ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS - Fabulous Review!

I've been book touring this past week, and just got home to this fabulous review in the Rocky Mountain News! They gave me a "Grade A." And why not? I did study awful hard. (So glad I don't have to cancel my subscription. Boulder Daily Camera, you've been warned... )

Heading out for a launch party, but please do check back soon for hysterical pictures of me and Elvis - united once more - at the Borders Town Square in Vegas. Have also been to LA. at the wonderful Flintridge Bookstore, where Bus Conversions Magazine provided a bus to tour! In a week, I head to Portland (Powell's), Marin (Book Passage), Oakland (A Great Good Place For Books), then Phoenix (Changing Hands). Will also do reading/signing and royal shtick closer to home at Tattered Cover and Boulder Bookstore.

Ladies, bring your boas!!

June 12, 2008

Love At A Nudist RV Park

Now I have your attention! But, that really is the title of my Huffington Post article which ran today.

And, if you want to see my video of this incident (now, I REALLY have your attention), please go to my website, and click on the (yes, we're nude) picture of me and Tim in front of our bus on the left on the homepage.

June 18, 2008


I'm still on tour and will post the rest, soon, but for now, just wanted to share this incredibly fun interview I did on AM Northwest. I LOVE the hosts and just may tune in daily via internet when home in Colorado.

I mean, how can you resist a show that reports on naked bike riders - and in Denver, no less? I almost felt like my "teller" (as Tim might say) about naked karaoke was tame by comparison.

Short post - I'm still on tour. Back in Colorado late tomorrow. I'm exhausted, but happy. Have a bit of a sugar high on room service brownie, gelato and port. Yep, I know how to royally pamper myself after a full tour day.

Bliss now is a 9 am wake up call (rather than the 5:45 one I had today). Been in 3 cities in as many days. A bit discombobulating - no offense meant to Bobs, of course.)

June 21, 2008

Anatomy of a Book Tour - LA, Elvis and NPR

It's been fun, exhausting and it ain't over yet:

Flew into Los Angeles on Monday night, got picked up by media escort extraordinaire, Ken Wilson, early the next morning. We headed over to the NPR studios so I could do a live interview for Nevada's KNPR (no, I'm not disoriented - I said NV NPR in Los Angeles. Bear with me.) The show is State of Nevada with Dave Berns and you can listen to a podcast of our intervew here.


Yep, I'm wearing a QUEEN OF THE ROAD shirt, because after this, Ken and I are off to do stock signings at all the area bookstores we can. A lot of people want to know, "Why do you need a media escort?" If you had my sense of direction (or rather, lack of one), you wouldn't ask. The last thing a publisher wants is to score some great show or signing for an author, only to have her get lost on the way because she's unfamiliar with a city (personally, I would have ended up in Utah). Media escorts will then take the author to do stock signings at bookstores in between bookings. Ken is so good and has been doing this so long, he's Janet Evanovich's personal media escort: when she travels on tour, he goes with her all around the U.S. He told me they even traveled by bus a few years ago. Janet doesn't do stock signings, though. Since stores carry around 150 copies of her books (sigh), she'd be at one all day. Instead, he just takes her to events and media.

That night, I did my very first reading/signing and royal shtick at the wonderful indie, Flintridge Bookstore and Coffeehouse in La Canada. The even was covered by the local paper, The Outlook.


That's Ken and me. Flintridge was quite queened-out, as you can see.

Part of the festivities included a tour of a bus conversion (in the parking lot - not the store - we're talkin' 40 feet, here!) provided by Bus Conversions magazine (our bus was the June centerfold! Now I can add Miss June to my crowned titles).


Then, onto Las Vegas for a signing (see? now you know why I did the Nevada NPR show) at the brand new Borders in Town Square Mall. My good buddy Alison was my media escort and took me around all day to do stock signings at various bookstores. (If you haven't been to Vegas in a while, it's grown so much - I really needed her. But, don't think she'll do the same for you. She's my personal media escort. Take that, Evanovich!) Prior to the signing, "Auntie A." and I had dinner with another good bud, Ginny. I love this picture of the two of them (that's Alison on the right):


Kristen Thomas was the event coordinator at the Borders and confided in me she was a bit nervous, since this was her first author event! I figured I wouldn't add to her (or my) jitters by confiding in her that this was only my second. But, Kristen handled it like a pro (I told her for my next book, I didn't care if by then she was promoted to manager of all the Nevada Borders - she was doing my event), even though there were some rather... let us say "unusual" aspects:


That's Kristen, me and Jeff Stanulis, Las Vegas' premiere Elvis. Tim and I had our vows renewed by him on our bus during our year-long QUEEN OF THE ROAD trip:


I invited Jeff to the signing and he did me one (or actually two) better by offering to serenade the crowd beforehand and even raffle off a chance to win a vow renewal right at the store!


Alison was smitten.


As was Ginny.

And the lucky couple? Norma and Bruce were... (you know I have to) all shook up:


But, so was the staff:

(That's Dean Austin, the General Manager in the center.)

As were all of us in the SRO crowd:


Viva Las Vegas (you know I had to do that, too).

More tour, soon...

June 26, 2008

Sir Celestial's Ultra-Fabulous Contest!

Living in Boulder, you kind of have to believe in Karma. It's in our city charter. And, since I refuse to do yoga - also in the charter (what's the point in putting that much effort into doing something just to think about nothing, when I'm already so adept at thinking about nothing without making any effort at all? I mean, if my mind were any clearer, I'd be dead.) I sort of have to go along with the Karma thing: Boulder's not likely to let that slide, too. (At the farmer’s market, Tim swears he once saw the result of what occurs when Boulder’s penchant for political correctness collides with its extremist attitude toward health: eggs labeled “vegetarian fed, cage free and voluntary.”)

When Tim and I were in wintering in "lovely" Modesto late last year, Karma intervened (no, not when we got stuck in the mud. What I'm talking about was a good thing that happened. Geez.) Since I thought we'd only be gone twelve weeks (yes, wishful thinking on my part) and I really and truly (really and truly) drink gallons of Celestial Seasonings various delectible flavors of Green Teas at home, I thought I'd brought enough with me. Not so much for five months away. Since we don't live far from their store in Boulder, I usually go there about twice a year (roughly equivalent to how often I'd leave the house) to buy the teas in bulk. When I ran out of tea in Modesto, I went on the Celestial Seasonings website for the first time and discovered... they have a book club! In partnership with my publisher! Well... what else could I do but ask if they would consider a local author. The rest is queenly history.

But, Celestial Seasonings has done so much more than simply select QUEEN OF THE ROAD for its Adventure At Every Turn Book Club, which would certainly have been wonderful in and of itself. However, Celestial is doing some incredibly additional things for this local author of theirs:

Wednesday, July 2nd, Celestial Seasonings is having me over in the a.m. (and you know how I must feel about them to get up so early) to discuss and sign copies of QUEEN OF THE ROAD for their employees. (Obviously, this is a company that treats its employees well.) Then, between 2-:3:30 pm, I'll be in their ultra-fabulous gift shop in Boulder (it really is. I love going there, not just for the wonderful teas and smells, but the creams, lotions, apparel, treats and books - and I don't even mean mine - gifts, etc) to sign copies of QUEEN OF THE ROAD for customers. Sir Tim shall park the Bus (With a Will of Its Own) in Celestial's parking lot to give tours of the Royal Rig to anyone who would like one. (I think next to actually driving it, that's his favorite thing in the world to do.)

But, wait! There's more: Since every chapter of QUEEN OF THE ROAD begins with an original martini recipe commemorating one the many disasters on our trip, Celestial Seasonings, in its infinite wisdom, asked me to come up with a tea-tini recipe which they are promoting on their website and through their book clubs! I had a lot of fun concocting it - what I remember of the process, at least (peach schnapps was involved). Furthermore, forthwith and foresure, Celestial Seasonings has also launched a contest for anyone to develop his or her own QUEEN OF THE ROAD iced-tea drink recipe for fabulous prizes. (Grand prize is a $500 American Express gift card, a signed copy of QUEEN OF THE ROAD and a $100 gift basket straight from the Celestial Seasonings shop!) I wonder if I can enter? But more importantly, can I knight an entire company? I'll have to do some research on that and get back to you.

Wait a minute. I'm Queen of the Road. I can do whatever the heck I please.

Celestial Seasonings, I dub thee... Sir Celestial! You have the eternal and undying thanks of this Sovereign. (Cheers and thanks to my royal publisher, House of Random, as well!)

June 29, 2008

More Anatomy of a Book Tour

I think whoever made the following itinerary must have the same sense of direction as I: Fly into San Francisco Sunday morning, then high-tail it to Corte Madera for a 1 pm reading/signing and royal shtick at the fabulous Book Passage. Book Passage is a wonderful bookstore and sort of a Mecca for any writer, especially travel ones.

One of my best buddies over the last twenty years (!), Joanne (who is mentioned in the book and still actually speaks to me), drove up all the way from Capitola just to see and introduce me to her two-year-old, gorgeous daughter (in crown and princess outfit, natch. That girl is learning early the proper attire for Royal Audiences - kudos, Joanne!), Sophia. We took pictures and somehow, they didn't come out. I am way bummed. But, you can at least see Joanne if you check out her website and her amazing organization, Turtles Together. Joanne is an incredible psychologist and her program in Mexico "builds cultural connections between our children and all of marine life." Unfortunately, Turtles Together will be in jeopardy if no grant money is forthcoming, so anyone interested in helping, please head over to her website.


Then, I headed out to Portland on a 5 pm flight. (No, that doesn't sound too bad - yet. Impatient, aren't we?) I did AM Northwest Monday during the (when else) am (you can watch the interview here) then went all around town with Marilyn, my fabulous media escort (who had the misfortune of informing me there is no In 'n' Out Burger in Portland) to sign stock at various bookstores.

Imagine my surprise when we happened into Twenty-Third Avenue Books, "Northwest Portland's definitive bookstore" and saw QUEEN OF THE ROAD in the window! That's the owner, Stephanie Griffin and me posing in front. You can just make the cover out over her right shoulder. Thank you, Stephanie! (It's a wonderful, 28-year-old store, although obviously, Stephanie has owned it far less - two to be exact.)


Then, that night, off to Powell's Books for another reading/signing and royal shtick. (You can't tell from the picture, but there were two dozen people! Maybe they didn't realize I'm not really royalty. Please don't tell them - or, anyone else -especially Tim. I can imagine the payback that would await me.)


That's me in the boa and tiara, shticking it to the crowd. (Oh, please. Don't we know each other well enough by now to know I had to?)

This event was rather special, as well, and not just because it's Powell's: Two of my online buddies from Eons live in the area and came on over. Sarah is the moderator of the RV forum and has been a wonderful support for QUEEN OF THE ROAD. Carol White (along with her husband Phil) has written the book, Live Your Road Trip Dream. For anyone contemplating your own queenly (or kingly) trip in a motorhome, Carol and Phil's book is a must-read on the nuts and bolts of everything you need to do to make your journey as smooth as possible. (Sure wish Tim and I had known about this book before we started out.)


That's Sarah on the left (note her QUEEN OF THE ROAD shirt? I mean, talk about supportive. She said before the talk, people wanted to know if she worked for me or was "just a fan." No "just" about it, in this royal's book!) Carol on the right with her fabulous book.

Here's Miles (you know I love that name) the event coordinator and me striking a pose after the signing:


You can tell we all had a lot of fun.

That night, contemplating a 7:40 am flight, what else could I do but have a leisurely port and chocolate dessert? (Fine. I had TWO desserts. Only one port, though. Doesn't that count for anything with you?) All this and more at the Heathman Hotel's fabulous Tea Court. (Was everyone else just having tea? Silly them.) I'd had dinner there the night before (filet mignon, beet salad and a local pinot - thanks House of Random!) upon arrival from San Fran Sunday night, so knew they had a wonderful Reisling (that was the before dinner drink - what am I, a Philistine?). Unfortunately, when the waitress approached, after my fabulous (and very exhausting) Monday with the standard, "Is there anything I can - " I cut her off with one word. You guessed it: "Reisling." By the time she brought my first dessert, I had appologized and she took this shot of one very happy author:


Please note: Our friend Jim, also mentioned in the book (which he just finished, noting in typical Jim fashion: "Guess I'll have to pull the retainer off that attorney") is the terrible influence who introduced us to port. In the spirit of full disclosure (and fear of his attorney) I must admit the double dessert, however, was strictly my idea.

OK, last stop (for now): Back to San Francisco. (See why a directionally challenged person had to have made these arrangements?) I got picked up by another wonderful media escort (I have yet to meet any other kind), Martha, and we traipsed around the City, signing stock (and having lunch at In 'n' Out!)...

My usual Double Ds at In 'n' Out. Martha was suitably impressed.

... until my 2 pm radio interview with the fabulous Gil Gross on KGO's Gil Gross Show. Gil was kind enough to say he remembered our interview from my first book tour for I KNOW YOU REALLY LOVE ME. Truly, especially kind of him after I blurted out, "My mom and I used to listen to you all the time on WOR when I was a kid in New York City! Um... er... you must have been, like 12!" He immediately called out to the producer (we had not yet gone on air), "Great. Another one who remembers listening to me with her mother." He was laughing, thank goodness.


I so enjoyed the interview and the call-in questions afterwards. Everyone was reminiscing about their own road trips. (One involved a rather interesting episode in a car which the father refused to stop, causing the mother to get stuck in a bucket, despite an attempted hair brush rescue. Don't believe me? Fine. Listen to the interview.) I even got some wonderful emails from listeners after the show.

Finally, yet another reading/signing and royal shtick, this time at the "Girls Bookstore" A Great Good Place For Books in Oakland. This was another fun event with tons of interesting questions and I hated to leave. But, Martha had orders to get me back to the hotel...


... and I flew back to Colorado the next morning for a much deserved (I'll be the judge of that, bub) Royal Rest.

July 3, 2008

A Celestial Seasonings Day

Yesterday, Tim and I spent the day at the ultra-fabulous Celestial Seasonings. Why is the company ultra-fabulous? You might think it's simply because it makes wonderful teas (not to mention because it picked QUEEN OF THE ROAD as its Adventures At Every Turn book club selection this summer). After spending the day there, I can tell you it's an ultra-fabulous company because of so much more: What a great place to work! I was told this again and again by the employees, although it was easy to tell - the whole ambience of the place, don'tcha know. (Yeah, yeah. The teas are the best. I know this. That's why they're the only thing I drink - before 5pm.)

Herewith, our Celestial day:

It started with a reading/signing/royal shtick in the cafeteria. Celestial Seasonings, in its infinite wisdom, purchased 300 copies of QUEEN OF THE ROAD for employees and their families. Now, isn't that a company that cares about the welfare of its workers? (And, I'm not just saying that because it was my book purchased. No place I've ever worked for has bought me any book! Uh... not you, House of Random. You made me a book - and a Queen - after all.)

Prior to the signing, I handed out boas to the employees in attendence - actually just the women. (The men, not so much - not secure enough, eh fellas?) It wasn't that I was being nice (really, don't we know each other well enough by now?) I just didn't want to feel overdressed myself - it was 10 o'clock in the morning, after all. (Sorry for all the feathers shedding all over the place. If you end up with one in your tea, you'll know why.)


Then, David Ziegert introduced me to the crowd...


... who, you can see, was already excited. (I had to remind myself they make tea. I mean, they probably get this excited... er, caffinated... every morning.)


This is me shticking. Yeah, I get into it. What do you want from me?


But, the audience seemed to, as well. (Maybe no one bothered to tell them I'm not real royalty?)


Afterwards, they had lots of questions about our story. My favorite was, "Since you're planning to sell your house and full time in the bus, where will you park?" I told them, "In the Celestial Seasonings parking lot, of course" and Dave did nod his approval, so we're all set! Hope they sell lawn gnomes in the Tea Shop.

Then, I signed all their books. They kept asking if I was getting writers' cramp. Were they kidding? Any potential pain was totally medicated by the adrenaline buzz I got soaking up their energy. (I'm way too lazy to produce my own. So, I soak. So sue me.)


By 11 am, Tim had parked the bus in front of Celestial Seasonings to give employee tours.


Then, Tim and I were treated to a fabulous lunch in Dave's office, with various of the wonderful staff. Part of the fabulous QUEEN OF THE ROAD promotion Celestial Seasonings is doing involves a recipe contest (what are you waiting for? Click that link and enter for "prizes fit for a Queen.") For dessert, they served an utterly divine Chocolate Raspberry Bliss Mousse made with their Chocolate Raspberry Bliss Herbal Tea (just reading that makes you sigh, right? Just wait 'til you try it.) The recipe (which I just printed off their website) is in the archives of the Celestial Seasonings Adventure At Every Turn Book Club. I can't wait for Tim to make it!

This is Dave, Tim and me. (Note our waaaaay cool official badges!)


And, with Jennifer and Tracie who were responsible for picking QUEEN OF THE ROAD for the book club in the first place! (Eternal thanks! You are now, officially, Ladies of the Realm.)


So, what to do... what to do after lunch. We had a little while before the signing in the Tea Shop. Hmmm....

Months ago, when we knew we'd be spending the day at Celestial Seasonings, but before we knew the itinerary, Tim (aka Project Nerd: Domestic Superhero, for those who haven't read QUEEN OF THE ROAD, and why haven't you?) informed me, "I'm going to get them to give me a private tour." I responded, "You can't ask them to do that!" But, Tim was adament. Fortunately, it didn't come to that, as when we got the day's agenda, it actually said they would be happy to give us a private tour, or we could just rest for a bit. I informed Tim about the offer, saying, "So, I told them we'd be tired and just wanted to rest." A divorce nearly ensued. Here's Tim in PN heaven with the adorable (and very patient) Jessica:


Afterwards, I headed to the Celestial Seasonings Tour Center where I signed books for visitors to the tea shop (one woman was heard to tsk tsk as she read the back cover, "They went to a nudist RV park!") and the public tour. (If you've never taken this tour of the world's most advanced tea production site, it's a must: The mint room alone is worth the price of admission - which is zero. Oh, and you also get free tea samples. Really - what are you waiting for?) While I signed books, Tim gave public tours of the bus:


Talking about the love of his life is probably Tim's favorite thing in the world.

Then, as if the company hadn't done enough for us, they gave us each presents: A Depot gift certificate for Tim and a spa package for me. (Someone there obviously already read the book.)

All that was left before we left, was to exact a promise that if a position as Company Shrink ever opens up (doubtful - everyone seems so happy, but still: It doesn't hurt to ask), Celestial Seasonings will hire one of us.

July 13, 2008

I Went To New York and Although You Don’t Even Get A Lousy T-Shirt, At Least the Internet Didn’t Explode!

Last week, Tim and I traveled (unfortunately, not by bus, but via United Airlines - gee, our bus never charged us for baggage) to New York. The most important thing I learned was that you can actually meet people you’ve developed a relationship with online and the internet won’t explode or anything! Who knew? (So, why didn’t you tell me? I would have done this way before now. Thanks a lot, people!)

While in New York, we stayed at Chez Orion in Queens. I’d highly recommend it, except you can’t get room service – unless you travel with your own personal “man” like I always do. (Look, most royals have several mans. I just make do with the one, OK?)

While there, we took an Amtrak train (yes, Tim was in heaven)...


... to Philadelphia to have dinner with Polly Kahl and Robin Altman:


Robin is a gifted comedian (that’s why I hate her – it’s really not because of her shoes, which I still think are inferior to mine, although that’s small consolation) doing stand-up at Helium that night and I just had to see her perform.

(That's Robin about to go on.)

If you ever get a chance to see her do stand-up, I’d highly recommend it.

Us 3 Shrinks

Polly, a therapist, has just completed a memoir and is going to start the whole agent search thing, soon. (If that won’t make you hire your own therapist, I don’t know what will. Too bad Robin doesn’t see adults.) She’s a wonderful writer. (Again, not so much with the shoes which is probably why we got along so well.)

(That's Polly and me, pondering the Meaning Of Life as only therapists can. We decide it's imponderable, and drown our sorrows in our minimums waiting for Robin to go on.)

Thus bolstered by the knowledge that the internet wouldn’t necessarily explode if virtual friends met in the flesh, I took a huge risk on behalf of the entire universe and met seven (count ‘em, seven) women I’d only known online before last week. (And no, taking a chance like that with all your lives wasn’t presumptuous at all – it’s something royals do all the time, we just don’t tell you about it, so deal with it.)

First, I met my agent, the fabulous Mollie Glick, as well as her associates for subrights at the Jean V. Naggar Agency (who also have their own clients), Jessica Regel (Jessica, I’d change that second “e” to an “a” if I were you) and Jennifer Weltz.

(Jessica, Jennifer, me and Mollie.)

Mollie and I then headed to The Eatery in Hell’s Kitchen, to meet with my fabulous Queen Team at Broadway Books, editor (and just promoted to editor-in-chief) Stacy Creamer, Marketing Manager, Julie Sills and publicist, Ellen Folan. We had a wonderful, long lunch and I even got to learn some personal things about them. (And, no. I won’t be dishing, here. What do you want from me? I want to write another book.)

Stacy, me, Julie and Ellen.

Finally, I tempted fate yet again, by meeting fellow blogger, author and all-around gorgeous gal (well, OK. I’m only gorgeous if you squint just right), Ann Leary, whose wonderful, witty novel, Outtakes From A Marriage was published the same day as Queen of the Road. We met at a French pastry shop on the Upper East Side and she made me try a fabulous puff of a chocolate thing – I may never forgive her for that, as I guarantee, I’ll never be able to find one in Boulder. Just as well, because between that and the gelato shop we discovered near Chez Orion, well… let’s just say I won’t be going to another nudist RV park anytime, soon.

(Notice I "forgot" to have a picture taken of Ann and me. Sometimes, a cigar is just a cigar, but not when you have to stand next to gorgeous her.)

On our last day in the Big Apple, I did my usual rounds of signing stock at various bookstores. This is the only place I've ever been asked for ID before signing books. I'm not kidding. I told the gal, "I'll do you one better" and flipped to my author photo:


In case she didn't quite get the resemblance, I added, "I'm the one on the right."

Finally, we met my cousin, Doug (who, although mentioned in Queen of the Road, still talks to me. Well, he's always been too nice of a guy) in the city to see an Off-Broadway musical, Adding Machine. It won tons of awards and got great reviews. Perhaps our expectations were too high, but I think not: It sucked. (Look, I'm not a critic, just a writer, so that's all I can say.)

The second it was over, Doug leaned over to me and said, "I guess I'll have to be making this up to you for a long time." (We're a Jewish family. He knows how we operate.) Fortunately for Doug, Tim's from Reno: He liked it.

July 16, 2008

Elle Magazine Review Fit For A Queen

First, excerpts from the review (then the backstory) in the August issue (which just came out while I was in New York):

"Beneath its fun and frothy exterior, you'll find in this wild ride across America's highways and byways a lovely portrait of a marriage that treats its ups and downs with humor and grace."


"Orion regales us with Americana of all sorts as she chronicles her journey with laugh-out-loud-funny tales of the many bus mishaps and unusual situations she and her husband encounter in their year on the road. Best of all, though, is watching her transformation from a materialistic couch potato into someone who learns to appreciate experiencing life to its fullest."

Back in April, when my publisher told me that QUEEN OF THE ROAD had been selected by the book editor of Elle Magazine as as a Readers’ Jury pick for the month of August, I thought it was a big deal. I mean, why wouldn't one?

Indeed. Unless, of course, the "one" were my husband. When I informed the Royal Consort about this honor being bestowed upon his Sovereign and Wife, he screwed up his face and asked, "L Magazine? What is that, a lesbian thing?"

The dear man had never heard of Elle. Well. We, of course, promptly set him, er... straight on that score. And, We could not resist adding, "My publicist is still pitching the lesbian magazines. But, they're slow and like to take their time."

August 10, 2008

Fabulous Book Groups

For the past month or so, I've been "invited" - and sometimes even invited (as in, truly invited, like in person and all, which means I have to get dressed, but, oh, well) - to book groups around the country to discuss QUEEN OF THE ROAD. It's been tons 'o fun. Herewith, highlights from one such book group:

My first one (other than my own book group, which I blogged about already and which, as I said, didn't count because... well, really. They kinda had to read the thing, didn't they?) was with the "Naples Divas Book Club." With a name like that, I just knew they'd be bunches of fun. Judge for yourself:


Starting on the left, going around the table: Nancy Siegal, Karyn Conrath, Sue Bankosky, (holding QUEEN OF THE ROAD, so she has a special place in my heart) Joyce Thornton, Tanya Oosterhous, Kristy Kiernan, Pat Kumicich, Betty Keigler. Terry Knight and Ellen Schmidt.

Ellen is the one who initially contacted me about "appearing." I'm so glad she did. Not only was it a fun evening, but I made a new writer friend, Kristy Kiernan. Kristy is an amazingly talented novelist. For her first novel, Catching Genius, she was hailed by Sara Gruen (and what book club hasn't read her book? Oh, fine. Water For Elephants, people!) as a "writer to watch." Publisher's Weekly gave it a rave review. In addition to being a gifted novelist, Kristy is just a sweetheart. You'll have to take my word for the latter, but don't for the former: Her new novel, Matters of Faith, which just came out last week, has already been deemed an IndieNext Notable Title. Yeah, I know. What in the world does that mean? Well... it means that independent bookstores all over the country have weighed in and LOVE her book. My copy just arrived from Amazon - here's the link. I (and my book club) can't wait to read it.

Anyway, Kristy got into the Divas because they did Catching Genius when it came out. She liked the group so much, she asked to join it. (Sounds a bit like that razon commercial, huh?)

Now, about that cake. Sometime after Ellen contacted me, but before the actual group, Kristy had "friended" me on Facebook. The day before the book group met, I got notification of a Facebook "gift": Kristy had baked me a cake. OK. Yanno, she had seemed so, like, normal and all before that. I mean... yeah, I'm on Facebook, but it's kinda lame, in my opinion, to be "sending" people virtual "gifts." So, Kristy baked me a cake. Fine, Kristy... I've built you a city! Whatever.

Then, during the group (which I attended by speakerphone), Kristy shouted out that everyone was enjoying my cake. Too bad I'm not licensed to prescribe in Florida. Whatever.

Oh, my. It was only when I got the picture I realized: Kristy is an accomplished baker and actually had baked a cake for the book group - a QUEEN OF THE ROAD cake complete with a bus! (She later informed me she never jokes about cake. Smart girl.)


That's Ellen holding the cake, with Kristy standing justifiably proud of her creation.

The book groups I've "attended" have been ultra-fabulous. It's wonderful to connect with women all over the country - and even make some online friends in the process. I'll be blogging about more of the groups, soon. For now, I'll just say that the Naples Divas Book Club may have spoiled me for other book groups. As for Kristy - she's an accomplished novelist, apparently fabulous baker and even writes a fashion column. I think I hate her.

August 17, 2008

Another Fabulous Book Group

Way back in June, I was going around the Front Range (for those of you who don't live in Colorado, I'm not saying we have two stoves. Geez.) signing stock of QUEEN OF THE ROAD. As I was talking to the manager of the Borders in Park Meadows Mall, a woman overhead us and said the book sounded interesting. Never shy about making a sale, I quickly closed the deal (to the delight of the manager, I might add), offering that if her book club read QUEEN, Her Royal Personage would attend.

So, Sue's book club happened to be the first I went to in person (other than my own, but as I've already said, they had no choice now, did they?). Upon my arrival, I was delighted to see that Sue had printed out several of the martini recipes (have I mentioned that one begins each chapter to commemorate whatever disaster has befallen us on the road?) and hung them over her kitchen island. She had also procured the necessary fixin's, so I knew this would be a particularly well oiled (and lubed) group. And it was. See for yourself:


From left to right: Front - Bonnie, Cheryl, Sue, Me, Lisa, Mary Ellen
Back - Cathy, Anne, Laurie, Shelly and Sue (the hostess).

While I do especially love doing book groups by phone (the whole staying at home in my PJs thing - did you really think I was exaggerating?), doing them in person has a few added benefits I hadn't considered. Yeah, yeah, it's nice to hang with a group of women and eat fabulous food (like, WOW, Sue!), and drink fabulous drinks (ditto), but... this group actually gave me a gift! I mean, as if it wasn't enough of a gift to read my book and invite me over to discuss it.

So, what was the present? A lovely bottle of wine that I wish I could show you, but is long gone. (Surprised? Guess you haven't read my book.) However, I can show you the ultra-fab accoutrements it came with - QUEEN OF THE ROAD luggage tags:


How cool is that?

OK. I'll tell you. Too cool to waste on the few times I use luggage. They now hang on my purses. (Yes, that's a Chanel and a Kate Spade. I got them on Ebay eons ago. What do you want from me?) Sue was kind enough to get me two, so when I change purses, while I may have to dig everything out of one to put in another, I don't have to untie the luggage tag. Only a woman would know to be so thoughtful.

What a wonderful group of women! (And not just 'cause of the presents. Really.) I wish they were a little closer to my home, because I'm sure I'd be foisting myself on them monthly to discuss other books. (Although judging by the standard set by Sue, the first time I hosted I'd probably be kicked out - unless I got Tim to cook.)

Thanks so much again, ladies!

August 24, 2008

Jonathan Kellerman is a Big Fat Mensch

Actually, I've seen his picture, and he's neither big nor fat. But, he is a mensch. How do I know? Glad you asked.

I recently got the following email from him, quite out of the blue: "Dear Doreen, This is psychologist/crime novelist Jonathan Kellerman. During a recent vacation, I read QUEEN OF THE ROAD. Several times, I found myself laughing out loud – and drawing quizzical looks from my wife. Funny book. Congrats. Best, JK."

I don't know Jonathan Kellerman and I don't know anyone who knows him. (At first, I suspected my mother put him up to it, somehow. After all, she's the one who announced she was going to give a copy of QUEEN OF THE ROAD to her doorman because, "His cousin is David Letterman's floor manager!" Oy. But, after a thorough interrogation that would do JK proud, I can state beyond a reasonable doubt that she did not - put JK up to it, that is. The David Letterman thing... not so sure.) I don't even know how he found my book.

Mensch point one: He's such a mensch, did he identify himself by saying, "This is mega-bestselling novelist..." etc? No. He did not.

Mensch point two: It's a huge deal for a mega-bestselling writer like him to reach out like that. But, was that enough for me? No, it was not. (And, here is where I lose several mensch points for myself. If you get the feeling I don't care, you'd be right. What do you want from me?) My response (after gushing about how much of a fan I was and now, always will be): "As a crime novelist (not so much due to your being a psychologist) you should know that no good deed goes unpunished." I then proceded to ask for a blurb.

Blurbs are even bigger deals for any, let alone mega-bestselling writers. As a recent essay in the New York Times Book Review explained, "Book blurbs are a tangled mass of friendships, rivalries, favors traded and debts repaid, not always in good faith." Since I researched all 113 agents who rejected QUEEN OF THE ROAD (not because it sucked, people. Haven't I told you before? The common refrain, "I love it. I just don't think I can sell it."), I have a pretty good working knowledge of who represents whom in the writing biz. So now, when I pick up a book I'm considering reading and look at the blurbs, I have to chuckle thinking, "No wonder she blurbed him. They have the same [fill in the blank: editor/agent/publicist]." Even lowly me has been asked to blurb a few first-time authors (though obviously not from their agent/editor/publisher - after all, they would know better).

JK (yeah, I'm on an initials-only basis with a mega-bestselling author, so deal with it!) had no reason to reach out to me, no debt to settle, and did not ask anything in return. (Silly him. I would have had Tim do his and Faye's laundry for the rest of their lives.)

So, what was JK's response?

"A charming, insightful and – most important – hilarious book that evokes the best of Bill Bryson and David Sedaris, but spotlights the unique voice of a gifted memoirist."

What a mensch - thrice over.

His new book, Bones: An Alex Delaware Novel, is already below 1000 on Amazon and it's not even coming out until October 21st. His wife, Faye Kellerman, had her new novel, The Mercedes Coffin, debut last week at some insanely low (that's good, folks) Amazon number. So, not that they need my help, but if you want to support a mensch...

(My copies of both just arrived and I can't wait to delve in.)

- DO. (Yes, you may be on an initials-only basis with me. I'm a mensch that way - and only that way.)

August 31, 2008

Queen for a Fortnight

I'm 49 today. (Really.) Big Whoop.

Actually, that's what I'm sure Tim thinks, as my poor Royal Consort has to put up with much more than just my birthday: I use my queenly powers (self)-bestowed at birth to declare an entire Royal Birthday Week. Watch and learn, Ladies-In-Waiting....

Especially since this year, as my birthday falls on a Sunday, We wondered just when the week should begin. Sunday you say? Silly commoners. Shant We celebrate prior in Royal Anticipation? Ah, but if We start the Sunday before, what about the post celebratory festivities? Quite correct. This year (and every year when Our - and by "Our," We mean mine and only mine - not to include Sir Tim) birthday falls on a Sunday, We hath hereby decreed a Birthday Fortnight. Herewith, some highlights:

Last week, had hair done with Tonya Auville, the Royal Coiffer at Salon Bellissimo. Tonya is also known as the Curl Whisperer. She had me over to her book group a few weeks back to discuss... me:

(That's Tonya sitting behind me.)

Saw Willie Nelson (and his biodiesel bus) at Red Rocks.

Had lunch with good bud, Susan. Suffice it to say, we had a delish dish (thinking of you, Katie). I mentioned in QUEEN OF THE ROAD, that Susan was my most gorgeous friend. (She tried to get me to go to a yoga class, and I figured, if it works for her... Unfortunately, didn't do much for me.) She's the type of woman who just gets even more gorgeous with age. I'm going to have to rethink our friendship.

Had my memoir called, "Brilliant" by Jerry Wexler on his blog and he didn't even know it's my birthday fortnight.

Last night, my lovely neighbor and friend, Lauren, had her former book group, the "Bad Girls" of Longmont (only "former" since Lauren moved to Boulder) over for a fabulous Queenly party to discuss QUEEN OF THE ROAD and just have fun. She didn't know it's my birthday, either. (Well, at least beforehand.) This was the second book group Lauren arranged for this QUEEN. The first was one we went to in nearby Firestone, hosted by one of her clients, Tara:


Aren't we all resplendent in our tiaras? That's Tara in front and Lauren behind me in the pink scarf. (Looks like there are several friendships I'm going to have to rethink.) Unbeknowest to me, this club read both QUEEN OF THE ROAD as well as my first book, I KNOW YOU REALLY LOVE ME. Since IKYRLM was published 11 years ago, I felt rather court jester-ish, as it was far easier to answer questions about QotR. I mean, I am 49, people.

Lauren is an ultra-fabulous hair stylist in her own right (nearly all of the dozen or so women last night get coiffed by her) as well as an amazing photographer. Unfortunately, I forgot to take pictures last night for you to judge the former, but as for the latter, take a gander at these she did for my website.

Today, the Big Day itself, I slept in (that's what the rest of the world calls staying in bed until 10:30 am, right?) And, finally (well, only finally for this blog post, not my birthday fortnight), Sir Tim and I strode down (where's the liveried help when you need them?) to the Boulder Creek Hometown Fair...

... where we had Royal box (as in crated) seats for the Zucchini Races:



Attended a Royal Joust:


as well as The Theatre:


Sir Tim is now resting up in the Royal Chambers prior to resuming his driverly duties to take Us to dinner tonight.

To all who have already wished me a happy birthday: Thank you! To all who have not... yeah, yeah. What do I want from you?

September 4, 2008

More on Our Birthday Fortnight (If You Don't Like It - Get Your Own Blog)

On the Actual Day (Sunday), we headed to Prospect for dinner (not in our bus, but in my convertable Saab, which Tim is ashamed to be seen in, let alone drive - isn't Our Royal Birthday fabulous?) Prospect, just outside of Longmont (yeah, I know that clarifies it for you), is billed as Colorado's first New Urbanist community. Whatever. I thought it was kinda cute in a Prisoner-meets-Deadwood kinda way. (Ah, dating myself with the former - how apropos during my bday fortnight.) We half-expected to see a giant white ball bouncing down the streets before it was deflated by a shotgun blast. (Patrick McGoohan, are you taking notes? If not, "Be seeing you." Oh, don't say it. I'm pathetic.)

What do you think?


Now, here's a street I could live on:


After dinner, we returned to the castle, where We changed into Our usual attire...


Other Royally celebratory activities this week include:

As if they haven't already done enough for this Royal, Celestial Seasonings has posted the QUEEN OF THE ROAD webcast We did at their fabulous tour center a few weeks ago. Even if you don't want to see it, go on over to get the winning entries to their QUEEN OF THE ROAD tea-tini contest. (They look quite delectable - can't wait for Sir Tim to make them.) This is what it looked like when we recorded it:


That's Bob Kennedy with the camera.

Do check out and sign up for the Celestial Seasonings Adventure At Every Turn Book Club. Obviously, they take great care in their selections!

Finally, Jerry WAXLER (sorry, Sir Jer), posted yet another glowing tribute (is there any other kind?) to Your Queen's missive on his blog.

The Queen Father (is that what they're called?) also had a birthday this week, as will the Queen Cousin (now, I know something's wrong in this case with that one), Doug, in 2 weeks. So, happy birthday Dad and happy birthday-to-be Doug! Enjoy these 19 days a year in which we are the exact same age. You're turning 50, right? Meow.

September 15, 2008

Fun in the Workplace

OK. So, this is the first time I have EVAH even had the genesis of the thought, "Hmmm. Maybe it wouldn't be so bad getting out of my PJs, getting dressed and going to work."

Don't worry. I said it was just a genesis. This book group works at, channel 5 in Green Bay, WI. (It's the CBS affiliate.) I guess with RV in the station's call letters, they really couldn't help but pick QUEEN OF THE ROAD, no?

They even took the picture on their news set:


From left to right standing: Mauree, Erika, Vicky, Gretchen, and Kathy.
Seated/kneeling left to right: Dana and Erin.

Seems like a very fun work environment, no?

September 30, 2008

An Evening with a New York Times Bestselling Author

Sadly, I don't mean me.

John Robison, author of LOOK ME IN THE EYE, came to town to do a signing and talk at the Boulder Bookstore. He, his fabulo media escort, Beth Vagle, Tim and I met for dinner at local fish haunt, Jax.


(When Beth handed me her card, she said, "It just has my contact info, but not my job title." I wanted to know why. She obliged: "I don't want it to say, 'escort'". Good point, Beth!)

If you're not following John's blog, you should. He's a "free range Aspergian" and recently, has been undergoing a TMS experimental procedure at Harvard. (Which reminds me: One of my best friends from teen years at summer camp at Cejwin went to Hofstra University on Long Island. Whenever people asked her where she went to school, she'd say, "Hah hah." She said they'd figure she was answering, "Harvard," but was being shy and modest. Little did they know.)

Anyway. John and I first "met" on Absolute Write, but then actually met in real life when the hardcover of LOOK ME IN THE EYE came out last year. Since then, he's been involved with the TMS research. His take on the differences he's noticed is fascinating. I have to say (and did, to John), that there was a certain warmth I hadn't seen on our last visit. It's as if he's become more emotionally intuitive, along with his considerable and long-standing mechanical intuition.

He's just a very sweet man, who wrote a very important book. Read it.

October 3, 2008

Make Mine a Double

A little while back (oh, who am I kidding? Quite a while, actually - I'm hopelessly behind) the Brookfield Library (in Brookfield, natch - that's Connecticut, people), chose Queen of the Road as that month's (I'm embarrassed to say which) book club pick. They have two groups that meet on the same day, one in the afternoon and one in the evening. I'm not sure which picture goes with which group, but we did have two lovely discussions.


Adele Brudnicki, Carolyn Nuzzi, Elena Goletz, and Jan Furlong smile for the camera with their copies of Queen of the Road!


From left to right, Library Director Anita Barney, Wendy Youngblood, Kathleen Olivieri, Judith Fisher, Ann Dupree, and Norma Fogarty pose with copies of Doreen's book.

(You can see several more pictures of the lovely ladies and their discussion on the library's flicker page.)

November 2, 2008

The Governor Endorses The Queen!

Not that We require the endorsement of mere elected officials - sniff - but... holy crap!

A lovely and insightful reader of excellent taste emailed to let Us know that she is a huge fan of Jen Lancaster's books (Bitter is the New Black, Such a Pretty Fat, and Bright Lights, Big Ass Sigh. You have to click that link, if only to see her subtitles. I am clearly an amateur) and thought I might like them, as well. We have obviously been holed up in Our throne room for too long (where most people do read, but as We certainly no longer have to remind you: We are not "most people") as even though she is a New York Times Bestselling author, We had never heard of her (have no fear - heads will roll!) So, We checked out her blog and quickly realized We and she (note the small "s," although Governor of Jennsylvania: Land of the Free, Home of the Bitter is, indeed, a laudable title), were likely twins separated at birth. We promptly emailed the Governor herself (large "G", although alas for Jen, small "h"), and although she is hugely popular (and thus, a shoe-in for re-election on Tuesday), she actually emailed right back!

In a true ugga-bugga coincidence (that's Boulder-speak for "like, um, freaky psychic-karmic-convergance, dude!" But, even more ugga-bugga, mere days after her email, during a reading/signing and royal schtik in Denver, I was placed directly across from a shelf full of her books) she said she was totally mad at me (thank goodness, Governors don't run the guillotines) because instead of finishing her current manuscript (which she was on deadline for), she stayed up late all week reading Queen of the Road. She also said she was about to do a blog post on her favorite recent reads and Queen of the Road was at the top of her list!

Because she is so popular, I promptly got thousands of hits to my own website from hers and am eternally grateful for her support. Here's what she said:

Queen of the Road is basically what would happen if you took me, gave me a modicum of maturity and a better education, and then tricked me into living on a (very nice) bus with my husband and pets for a year. I loved this book and I love this author.

From the sublime to the ridiculous: I'm going to be on KCLU-FM, that's Ventura's (88.3 FM) NPR station and Santa Barbara's (102.3 FM) NPR station, tomorrow, for their very popular (until tomorrow), "Emotional Fitness" show with Dr. Barton (ya think?) Goldsmith. Fortunately, the media is too preoccupied with some silly election (Monarchies rule, people! When will you all wise up?) to bother with the impending ruination of NPR.

Consider thouselves duly warned.

November 5, 2008

All Aboot (Sorry Ladies) My First Canadian Book Group

A little while back, I did a fabulous book group in Toronto by speakerphone. (Here's how to invite me to thusly appear at your own group. Oops! Just invited myself, didn't I? How rude. Oh well. What do you want from me?)


The ladies were very well-read, asked incredibly thoughtful questions to which I tried to provide intelligent answers and even gave me some wonderful ideas for my own book group, including Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See, and The 19th Wife by David Ebershoff. (I haven't gotten to either yet, as I'm also behind on my reading. Anyone else want to weigh in?)

Although we had been to Canada during our QUEEN OF THE ROAD trip, we hadn't gotten to Toronto. (I did spend a week there on my first book tour and I must say, Canadian publishers are far more evolved than their U.S. counterparts. In Canada, I stayed in Toronto the entire week, doing one event per day. I got to spend the rest of the time exploring that lovely city, which of course, included eating at fabulous restaurants. A lot of eating. At a lot of fabulous restaurants. U.S. book tours are more notable for doing a different city every day with little sleep, and, if you can imagine, I was even too tired at times to take myself out to eat - at fabulous or any other type of restaurants. Sigh.)

Anyway, when I was in Toronto that time, I wish I had known about the Bata Shoe Museum.

I think it deserves a trip all its own, don't you?

November 20, 2008

First Methodist Supports the Monarchy!

First Methodist Church in Hurst, TX has a book group! Who knew? And, despite a few of the... shall We say... questionable words in QUEEN OF THE ROAD, these ladies of impeccable taste, decided to discuss it, anyway.

I think this group has the right idea: Meet at a fabulous restaurant first (no wonder they call themselves, "Food for Thought") then return to a church meeting room to discuss the book. When the food is Tai and the book is QUEEN OF THE ROAD, how could they go wrong?

Some of the ladies apparently thought the food a bit spicy. As the book group leader said, "I should have told them about your website!"


So, thank you, Clara, Lorraine, Nancy, Sarah, Phyllis, Carrie, Nancy, Roseann, Bobbie, Barbara, Clarita and Peggy (and especially to Nancy Nelson for setting this up) for your thoughtful questions.

Next time I'm in Hurst, Tai is on me, ladies!

December 1, 2008

Give the Gift of an Autographed Copy of QUEEN OF THE ROAD

If you're thinking of giving a book as a gift this holiday season (and if so, why not a humorous travel memoir that happens to be in paperback - so perfect for these downsized times - and has gotten spiffy reviews? I'm just sayin'... ) you can get free, personalized, autographed (and gorgeous, believe me) bookplates from my website. Just click on the red box on the book that says, "Gift the gift of laughter and inspiration this holiday season... " and voila! Instructions forthwith and for sure. The bookplates have a sticky peel-back, you put them on the inside front cover and now, you have a personalized, autographed copy to give to friends, family, yourself - or your entire neighborhood.

Is that really so far-fetched?

Well, just FYI: Already got one request for 14 bookplates - I sent them, and didn't even get a restraining order.

Blog posts coming up this week: The Pyramid of Poop! (Or, Why It's Handy To Travel With Husband in an RV), discussing another lovely book group I was invited to by speakerphone as well as an upcoming New York Times article on book groups that mentions yours truly.

Happy Cyber Monday, everyone!

January 4, 2009

A "Pleasant" Interlude

We're headed to Southern California, so needed to find a place to land for a night along the way. How to decide... how to decide. Well, turns out there's not much at about the half-way point (south of the Bay Area) - especially when one of the criteria is that there's an In 'N' Out nearby. (You all know how I feel about my Double Ds.)

Although this was our (OK, my) idea all along, it was only reinforced by one of the "new" (ie to us) restaurants we tried in Crescent City (and I'm not naming the place, which should tell you something) just before we left. Tim asked the waiter how the hamburgers were. He replied, "Well, they're not In 'N' Out." Unfortunately, great customer service is no substitute for good food. 'Nough said.

So, we're staying in an RV park at the Pleasanton Fairgrounds for the night. Didn't see much of the town. The In 'N' Out, however, was superb.

And, guess what awaited me in my inbox? This fabulous (and much needed after a long day of driving - not that I drove, of course), pick-me-up from Angel, who I sent autographed Queenly bookplates to (so she could, as she wrote, "give a special gift this holiday season….the gift of laughter.") - her lovely family with their gifts:


(That's Angel's dad, Pete, then clockwise: her mom, Barbara, her aunt, Rose, her sister, Ann Marie. Sitting down on the chair is her grandmother, Ann, and that's Angel, herself, kneeling in front.)

I was so touched she got them all an autographed copy of QUEEN OF THE ROAD for Christmas, but then I realized: You do actually like your family, right, Angel?

January 11, 2009

A Woman of Impeccable Taste

We were in Mira Loma for a couple of days (more on why, later). Two days (count 'em - two) before we left to come here, I was friended on Facebook by a woman who loved my book and just happened to have started working at…(cue karmic music)... the Mira Loma Borders. She said she loved QUEEN OF THE ROAD so much, she even picked it as a book club pick at her previous Borders in Riverdale (where, everyone else loved it to. I'm just sayin'...) As you know, I hadn’t posted anything about coming to Mira Loma on this blog or Facebook, or anywhere. I guess as Tim and I are getting closer to Boulder, we can't escape The People's Republic and its ugga bugga charms.

Of course, we had to stop at the Mira Loma Borders to meet this woman of impeccable taste. (She was just as lovely in person as online.) And, here she is:


Borders, take note: Leslie Johnston Perdue is going places!

January 13, 2009

A Resort Fit For A Queen

About a month ago, I got an email from a lovely man who wrote that he was enjoying my book and, "We also drive a Prevost and so do 20-30 of our close friends. I just ordered 20 books from Amazon to give my Prevost buddies."


As I responded, "My own mother didn't buy 20 books." (If the Queen Mother is reading this, of course I appreciate everything you do do for me - although 20 books would have been nice, too.) Since he said he lived in one of three "motorcoach resorts" in Indio, California, I, of course, asked if there might be a clubhouse and any interest in one of my patented book readings/signings/royal shticks. One thing led to another and...

OK. Here, I'm fessing up: I wish I had a picture of the lovely crowd, but I don't. With all the excitment of the day, I completely forgot to take one. But, trust me that a lovely crowd of about 75 people came out to see the Queen. Many had already read the book and were extremely kind (OK, fine - to my face, anyway).

Thusly, many, many royal thanks to Dwayne and Carol Herman. And, many, many royal thanks to Tom and Pat Sims who arranged the clubhouse, extensively spread the word and even had us over to their casita beforehand.

What's a casita, you ask? I had no idea these places existed, either. Again, I wish I had a picture, but (oh, wait. I'm a writer. Let's see how good I am... )

So, it's like a whole community, see? It's gated, see? Instead of townhomes, you got a very small house (casitas - get it?), with a kitchen and great room that has a Murphy bed. There's a garage and driveway. In all the driveways, are the rigs. Some people sleep on their Murphy beds, some in their rigs at night. The weather's always nice (it's near Palm Springs, after all), so going outside to sleep is no biggie. That's why each casita has a small pool and hot tub, too.

Fine. You have no idea what I'm talking about. Here's the website for Desert Shores Motorcoach Resort.

(And yes, next time I really will get to what we were doing in Mira Loma. And, I do have pictures of that!)

January 22, 2009

Indiana Goes Royal and Some Book Recommendations!

A little while ago, I did my first book group in Indiana (Carmel, to be exact). A lovely lady emailed "I chose this book for our club and you know the pressure that brings." Oh, indeed I do! She continued she then noticed, "you love calling into book clubs," (indeed I do, as well), and we arranged the "meeting." Although I cannot verify, Lori assured me that one of the martinis from the book would be served. Judging by the laughter on the other end of the line, I tend to believe her.


Lori says, "I'm the short one." Ah, yes. I can relate.

It's so interesting to me that every book club I "visit" has different questions and we get into different discussions. Why is this surprising? Well, every radio interview (at least those of the standard 10-15 minute length) I do is basically the same. Same questions, same answers. No wonder I can (and, for the EST am drive shows do), do them in my sleep. (No matter what time they are - I do them in my Royal PJs, of course. Right now, my favs are pink flannels with black poodles on them. OK, OK. I'm as predictable as those radio shows.) I can always tell if the host has actually read the book, because then, even for the afternoon drive shows, I get the question, "Are you in your PJs right now?"

In any event, one of the things this book group and I discussed were other books we'd read. I shall trust the gals not to divulge which ones I didn't care for (ah, Lori, I do hope I spared you that embarrassment), but I did recommend a few they might not have heard of that I've recently read: Susan Breen's THE FICTION CLASS and Kristy Kiernan's, CATCHING GENIUS and MATTERS OF FAITH. All three would make wonderful discussion books, and indeed, I hope to blog about my own book group's thoughts about them once we return to Boulder.

And no, alas, I do not call in to my own book group to join the discussion while we're on the road. As you can imagine, I'm in a lazy book group - we always meet in restaurants. For all the gals that cook for each other - I tip my crown to you!

What are some of your favorite discussion books?

March 23, 2009

Virginia is for Book Lovers

When I was invited to the VA Festival of the Book to do a couple of panels and be a guest presenter at a workshop, I wish they had told me those Virginians know how to party! I would have gotten in shape, first. Yes, I also attended some lectures, but the receptions and dinners were a definite highlight. (Just as well I don't have pictures of any of those - what happens in VA should stay in VA.)

I also got the chance to attend "The Art of Historical Fiction," a lecture/reading/Q+A with Maria Doria Russell and Alan Cheuse, moderated by local NPR host, Sarah McConnell (for broadcast later, if anyone's interested).

I'm a huge fan of Maria Doria Russell's THE SPARROW and CHILDREN OF GOD. And, so were many in the audience. She's a wonderful writer, but it was only hearing her speak that I became aware of her wicked sense of humor - since she's published in several genres, she calls herself a "genre whore." She also had a great tidbit for all you fictionistas: Go through a novel's draft once from the point of view of each character - no matter how minor a character he or she is. That's a lot of drafts, but Ms. Russell says it greatly enriches the entire manuscript. I actually do the same when I write screenplays, although never did that for either of my memoirs. I'll have to think about it, but my feeling is an awful lot of memoirs seem to have been... ahem... "enriched" in that way to their detriment (not to mention returning of advance money). Thoughts?


(That's Ms. Russell on the left.)

One minor complaint (look, you know I couldn't do an entire post without complaining): There were only paperbacks available for sale. Yes, most people prefer paperbacks - especially in this economy (which is why QUEEN OF THE ROAD was published in original PB), but I wanted to give signed hardcover copies of Ms. Russell's books as gifts. (And, wanted a few for myself.) I have several friends who are also fans, so bought the PBs and had her personalize them, but did think twice about it. What would you prefer to give/receive as a gift? Would it matter? I kind of feel like, when I give these to my friends, I have to apologize and explain, "They only had PB for sale." Is that totally idiotic? Really, you can tell me.

The ultra-fabulous Bella Stander invited me to "chime in" (I give good chime) at her Book Promotion 101 Workshop at Writer House. I always learn a lot from Bella, so was only too happy to oblige. It was also wonderful to meet three lovely women writers, two with imminent books: Maggie Stiefvater , author of Young Adult novels (LAMENT and the upcoming BALLAD, both Faerie tales, which I have to admit, I'd never read, but after hearing about her books, I am SO buying them), and Jennifer Burns, a UVA Professor whose GODDESS OF THE MARKET: AYN RAND AND THE AMERICAN RIGHT (can you say, "hot topic"?) is coming out this Fall from Oxford University Press. Another talented author, Jocelyn Johnson, has an agent shopping her Young Adult/Adult novel. (All you literary writing lovers should check out her blog. Can you say, "like buttah?")

The first panel I presented at, "Travel: Come Along for the Ride," was with Scott Huler and Michael Pearson. Scott, who you may have heard on NPR, talked about his book, NO-MAN'S LANDS: ONE MAN'S ODYSSEY THROUGH THE ODYSSEY. He started his presentation by asking the SRO crowd at New Dominion Bookshop, "How many of you have read Ulysses?" When several hands shot up, he shot them down, informing them, "You're all lying. No one reads Ulysses." He then gave a very entertaining talk and also read from his book. After we'd all finished, I mentioned to him that Tim had, in fact, read Ulysses during our bus year. He managed it by reading a chapter, listening to Teaching Company tapes about that chapter, then rereading it to understand what he'd just read. Scott commented, "That's the only way to read Ulysses." Since one thing Tim doesn't read is this blog (don't worry - he doesn't read any blogs), I'll let you know (if you promise not to text, tweet or post on his FB wall - oh, wait! He doesn't do any of that, either) that I got Scott to sign his book - in hardcover - for an upcoming anniversary present. (I hope Tim isn't all Ulysses'ed out. A few years should be enough to recover, no?)

I also picked up a copy of Michael's book, INNOCENTS ABROAD TOO. Michael teaches creative writing at Old Dominion University and the book is about his semesters at sea. While the book sounds fascinating, I have to admit I also want to read it to discover how to get a gig like that. The panel was a lot of fun - even though I was the only landlubber. Thanks so much to the lovely Grace Zisk for moderating.


My other panel, Nice Jewish Girls Gone Wild, was... wild. Martha Frankel (HATS & EYEGLASSES: A MEMOIR), Deborah Wiener (SLOB PROOF! REAL LIFE DECORATING SOLUTIONS) and I, with Bella Stander moderating, talked about, well, you get the idea. Debbie even brought rugelach for the crowd. What could be bad? (Never had rugelach? Shoulda been there.) I also scored signed copies of these ladies' books. And yeah, yeah. I really, really, REALLY need to read Debbie's. I'll let you know if it makes a dent, but she's such a force of nature (and hysterical) that I can't help but believe it will.


As for Martha, I read HATS & EYEGLASSES on the (propeller) plane ride home. It was so good, it actually took my mind off my mind-numbing terror. Really. I could not believe when we landed (in more ways than one). It's a warm, funny, page-turning memoir of her New York childhood in a gambling family, and her later struggle with her own gambling addiction. Simply a terrific read.

Finally, I dearly wanted to go to John Grisham's panel the last night of the Fest, but great food, wine and company beaconed. (Surely, you know me well enough by now to have predicted this - even if didn't predict it, myself.) In addition to Bella and her fabulous "DH", I especially had fun hangin' with Ron Hogan (of and GallyCat fame) and agents extraordinaire, Deborah Grosvenor of Kneermin & Williams and Ellen Pepus of Signature Literay Agency.

Yeah, I'm name-dropping. What do you want from me?

May 21, 2009

Hedge Fund Wives


Awhile back, I commented that one of the best things about being an author was meeting other authors.

This was never truer than last night.

The ultra-fabulous Auna Jornayvaz invited Tim and me to a book launch party she was throwing at The Ritz in Denver with two of her friends, Karen Quinn and Monica Owens for their good friend, Tatiana Boncompagni. She's the author of the just released and couldn't-be-more-timely novel HEDGE FUND WIVES. I'd read Tatiana's GUILDING LILY when it came out last year (she's already started a third book and she has two little kids - why can't I even seem to start a second when all I have is a husband?) and absolutely loved it. I was so happy to meet Tatiana and discover that in addition to being such a talented author, she's also a sweetheart. Now, I really can't wait to read HEDGE FUND WIVES.


I met Auna after she wrote my favorite review of QUEEN OF THE ROAD for Denver Magazine ("Eat, Pray, Love - without the depression" - what's not to love?). She came over and Tim fixed her shoe. She reported last night, much to Project Nerd's delight, that it remains quite intact. As he told me later, "Of course it did. I used something stronger than the original shoe. Indeed.


Karen Quinn is the author of several bestsellers, including THE IVY CHRONICLES, which was recently optioned by Sarah Jessica Parker.


Chatting away, Karen and I discovered that she and my editor, the fabulous Stacy Creamer (I knew her when... she was Broadway editor-in-chief, but she's recently become publisher of Touchstone Fireside), are very good buds. (I knew Stacy is an accomplished runner, is a mom and beads, but I did not know she also weaves. Really. Why in the world such a busy, energetic soul wanted to publish couch potato me, I'll never know.)

While at this swanky soiree, I could not resist snapping a few quick and surreptitious pics of some of the fabulous shoes in attendance. It felt rather voyeristic, in a I-wonder-if-I-could-be-arrested-for-this sort of way, but that's never stopped me:

A lovely lady named Laura was kind enough to inform me these are Manolos, when she could just as easily have called security.

Not sure what either of these are, other than stunning.

I think, in this case, I'll take the shoes and the bag.

OK. Enough with the name and shoe dropping. Gotta go start reading my copy of HEDGE FUND WIVES.

June 2, 2009

QUEEN OF THE ROAD in Traditional Chinese


Isn't it gorgeous? Courtesy of Marco Polo Press (and Marco Polo thought he got around) in Taipei, Taiwan, this is the Traditional Chinese version of... well, I don't need to tell you, do I? (Thanks so much to my fabulous editor there, Weijen Wu for emailing this to me.)

Yes, I know. How could it not be gorgeous with your Queen placed so prominently on the cover? Obviously, the Taiwanese are a people of exquisite taste.

Tim has not seen it, yet. On the one hand, he'll be thrilled to add "professional photographer" to his resume: He snapped all those pics of me (and me and Miles), and the burro on our trip. On the other... I'm not sure that posing on a book cover pretending to go to the head in the Headwaters of the Mississippi was quite the notoriety he had in mind. Oh, well. The diptych of disposal (this, plus doing the same in New Orleans where the river ends) was his idea.

So, to complete his humiliation, here's that pic:


Finding that one, I can't resist adding this taken at the same place. What's that about pet owners resembling their pets? What can I say. It was windy that day.


Back to the book cover:
From the left, your Queen riding a trusty steed-like jackalope at Wall Drug, in Wall, SD. Then, the best picture ever taken of me (I'm on the left), snapped at the very moment I whined (I know you're shocked I whine) enough on our Death March... er, Harbor Mountain hike in Sitka, AK for Tim to agree to turn around. I assumed I'd have a regular author picture for the back of the book, but when my editor saw this one, she wanted it. I had to agree: I've never looks so relieved... er, happy. Then, the aforementioned picture of Tim in Itasca, MN, and finally a picture of a burro he took on a solo hike (of course) in Beatty, NV (which I describe as "a one-whorehouse town and it shows.")

In Beatty, I also mentioned that our RV park happened to be conveniently situated just down the road from Angel’s Ladies, housed in a none-too-discreet, pink double-wide, complete with a large letter “A” branded on the hill above. I just dug up this picture of it:


According to the Pahrump Valley Times (which called QUEEN OF THE ROAD "a royal treat" so no snickering), Angel's Ladies, which billed itself as "the friendliest brothel in NV" closed its doors nearly two years ago. Not so sure that what the truckers along Highway 95 were lookin' for was friendliness. Maybe that had something to do with it.

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.

March 18, 2010

A German Queen


You didn't think I meant Emma of Altdorf, Queen of the East Franks, did you? What do you want from me? And, what kind of royal title is Queen of Franks, anyway? In the Kingdom of Oscar Meyer, perhaps? I'll take Queen of the Road any day, thank you very much. Especially since one of Emma's sons was known as "Charles the Fat." (Yeah. Try getting away with that in my kingdom.) Must have been all those hot dog buns.

The German edition of QUEEN OF THE ROAD just came out. It's called, A Woman - A Bus: With Husband, Poodle and 100 Pairs of Shoes Across America. And I thought I was bad at titles.

(OK, and here I'm going all Jewish mother on you): At least the cats aren't alive to see themselves left off the cover!

Seriously though, I do love the way the book looks and feels, as well as the cover art. If any German readers come to the blog, I'd LOVE to know how "Project Nerd" was translated.

Here's what they did with the synopsis (can anyone say, "lost in translation" in German?):

A Manhattan Princess in a mobile dwelling.

Doreen and Tim Orion [Tim just LOVES being called, "Tim Orion"] keep up a wonderful marriage, even when they both are diverse beings. Until Tim had an idea: He wants a refurbished bus to take a trip through the USA.

Until today Doreen does not know how Tim - a true nature lover - talked her into this. Probably with a trick - as at their first date. Nevertheless sits the whimsical shopping Princess [whimsical shopping Princess?] with shoes [I've never actually sat with my shoes, but it sounds like an interesting concept] in a refurbished bus, traveling with her man through the USA, with a giant poodle and two self-willed cats [I think they'd have liked that]. How Doreen between Alaska, tornados [what tornados - was I asleep in the back for that?] and nudist camps [OK. That, I remember] kept her majestic demeaner of "Queen of the Road" to rise above it all. That she did not commit murder therefore, shows how extremely humorous and warmhearted this book is. [Just what I was thinking: Murder might have detracted from the trip.] An American travelogue so entertaining as if coming from the pen of Bill Bryson. [Well, OK. All is forgiven.]

A Royal Wave-Out to the Queen Mother for Yiddish, as well as German Dictionary support, and especially Prince Henry (I almost called him, "The Queen Father," but that's kinda like calling my husband, "Tim Orion") for the actual translation from German to English.

April 6, 2010

Between Friends


I've said before that one of the best things about being an author is getting to meet other authors. One of my absolute faves is Kristy Kiernan. Not only is she a doll, but she writes like a dream. Think literary novels a la Jodi Picoult. Don't believe me? (Hey, when have I ever lied to you? Oh. Well, if you're going to bring THAT up. Sheesh.)

Here's the Publisher's Weekly review of her latest novel, BETWEEN FRIENDS, which comes out today:

Kiernan (Catching Genius) again demonstrates her ability to portray true-to-life relationships between women. Ali Gutierrez is mother to 15-year-old Letty thanks to the egg donation of her best friend, Cora. Ali wants to have another child, but first has to convince her husband, Benny, and then Cora, to endure the process one more time.

Cora, a free-spirit who's just returned to America from a teaching excursion in Chile, has news of her own—she has a debilitating genetic kidney disease, and she's not sure how to break the news to Ali. Meanwhile, Letty's going through growing pains with her bad-news boyfriend, and when poor choices begin endangering her life, it takes all three of her parents—Benny, Ali, and Cora—to try to save her.

With realistic dialogue and pinpointed emotions, Kiernan paints a persuasive portrait of the bonds between mothers, daughters, and friends in this inspiring, heartbreaking tale.
Kristy and I "met" when I called in to her book club of Naples Divas. She even baked a Queenly cake (get the feeling she's one talented dame?)

I've read her novels, CATCHING GENIUS and MATTERS OF FAITH (which won the Florida Book Award Bronze Medal) and highly recommend both to other clubs I've called in to. They are beautifully written, great discussion books.

I haven't read BETWEEN FRIENDS, yet. (Didn't I tell you it just came out today? What do you want from me?). But, I did just order it on Amazon. Kristy also enjoys calling in to book clubs, so what's not to like?

August 5, 2010

The Spice Necklace


I've said that one of the major benefits of being a writer is getting to meet other writers. Well, I lied. The very major benefit is getting to read their books.

I "met" Ann Vanderhoof through her first book, An Embarrassment of Mangoes: A Caribbean Adventure when I spent a Queenly day at Celestial Seasonings as its book club pick. During the signing, one of the employees gave me a copy of Ann's book, because at the end of Queen of the Road I mentioned that Tim wanted our next adventure to be on a sailboat and I'd been catching him surfing the net for sailboat sites.

"Don't do it until you read this book," the woman cautioned, handing it over.

It was after I read Embarrassment of Mangoes that I started lamenting, "Why can't I have a normal husband who just surfs for porn?" Don't get me wrong: It's a wonderful, humorous travel memoir but disasters out in the middle of the ocean make disasters on land in a bus seem... quaint.


Her latest book, The Spice Necklace, also centers around her and husband, Steve's, sailing adventrues in the Caribbean, but with a definite emphasis on all things culinary.


So, OK. After drooling my way through the pages, I now want to do the sailing in the Caribbean thing, again. Maybe Tim and I will run into (not literally, of course) Ann and Steve in their boat, Receta (recipe) or their dinghy, Snack. Then again, Ann writes that it's part of island culture to make guests participate in cooking. I have a feeling that particular tradition would be scuttled after my first invite.

Some of my favorite parts of the book were when they explored various Caribbean islands in some pretty awufl rental cars, which they call SdJ "Shitbox du Jour" or SdS "Shitbox de la Semaine" (depending on if they're on a French or English-speaking island). Brought back memories for me. My dad always called any rental car we had a "scheisse kubel" which he helpfully translated for me as "shit bucket" in German. And, we didn't even have to be in Germany.

Another favorite part was learning about the art and science of cocoa testing.

And, of course, another was meeting all the island characters through Ann's eyes, especially catching up with a few from An Embarrassment of Mangoes. Really, there are too many "favorite parts" for me to mention, so just read the book.

Need more incentive? Plenty of extremely tasty Carribean food recipes. Be sure to check out Ann's wonderful website for some great pictures and more recipes.

September 24, 2010

Making a Diagnosis Ain't Easy When You Gotta Pee

Some really strange stuff can happen when you're on a book tour.

Although I don't remember which talk show it was (probably not Oprah, I think I'd remember that - and be reminding you and myself of it constantly) like many of them, more than one show a day is filmed to be aired later. The show I was to be interviewed on was the last taping of the day, and I got to the green room just after the one before ended. The only person left was a woman who had been a guest on the previous show. I was too nervous and distracted to make conversation with her - I didn't even ask what her topic was. All I wanted to do was run into the adjoining bathroom to empty my pea-bladder one more time, and check my hair and makeup. She said she had to use the bathroom too, but took so long getting her stuff together, I really couldn't wait anymore (my taping time was imminent and well, you know), so I said, "I'll just be a second," and slipped in.

As soon as I locked myself in the bathroom, I heard the woman shout, "Bitch! C*nt! Whore!" Only, she wasn't usin' no asterisk, if you get my drift.

"WTF!" I thought (although I wasn't usin' no abbreviations, neither), "That woman's insane! She's going to kill me! I bet her show was on women axe murderers! Wait'll I get my hands on that damn publicist!" I know you're in awe of what a brilliant psychiatrist I am to possess such amazing deductive reasoning skills, but let me assure you, those kinds of snap assessments employing sound clinical judgement are simply all in a day's work.

I heard her curse some more and steeled myself. I had to get out of that green room so I could get on the show. Was I so intent on promoting my book that it was actually worth risking certain death (or, at the very least, a vast array of new prosthetic devices)?

What do you want from me?

I grabbed the only thing that wasn't nailed down (the metal toilet paper roll - clinical experience is one thing, but there's really no substitute for a sturdy, blunt object), opened the door, peeked out and quickly assessed the scene.

The woman was sitting calmly, albeit red-faced, in a chair. Using those same patented, finely honed assessment skills, I quickly determined she probably wasn't going to kill me after all. My superior clinical judgement was reinforced when she spoke.

"I'm so sorry. I was just here as a guest for the show on Tourette's."

And now, for your further amusement, one of the shows I did (in which I was not only asked about QUEEN OF THE ROAD - nudist RV park, armed robbery and all - but another weird book tour experience, this one involving killer crickets. Go figure):

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This page contains an archive of all entries posted to What Do You Want From Me? by Doreen Orion in the Writing category. They are listed from oldest to newest.

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