Thanks for the Great Kick Off!

Well, I'll admit that this tour came up so fast I still haven't told everyone and am annoying people right and left as I call at the last minute to tell them that I’m coming to town. As Jack Nicholson said in that OCD movie with Helen Hunt, “Don’t You Be Like Me!”

Nevertheless, we’ve had a treat of a Bay Area send off. The event at Capitola Book Cafe in Capitola down near Santa Cruz was a good one. 40 some people, sold 20 books. 21 including one for A Sense of Place. (Speaking of ASOP, you’ve got to go check out the interview that World Hum did with Michael Shapiro. Nice!)

Ok, back to Capitola. I was joined by contributors Kalpana Mohan who read her outrageous story “Flora and Fauna in Madrid,” about trying to keep her kids protected from the swarm of call girls outside of a park in Spain. Too funny! And Liz Scott had them howling with her experience of trying to get a bug out of her ear in “Entymology and Earplugs”.

I read mine and was unusually challenged by positioning my eye contact in the audience. There were so many men there! With all the nudity bits in my story, it was amusing to me. I just have a hard time looking straight into a strange man’s eyes as I tell him about my pracitcally naked rub down. But the audience was cracking up and that’s all that mattered.




Afterwards Susan and I made a night of it with another TT editor, Judy Babcock Wylie (TT Love & Romance). She teaches travel writing at UC Santa Cruz in October and again at a school in NYC. She’s done books, magazines, countless newspaper articles, and has always been an inspiration for me.

You should know that even though I’m doing event after event, they vary from store to store. The one at Get Lost in San Francisco had a different vibe altogether from the Capitola one. While they were both a success, Lee Azus at Get Lost had a packed house with 48 people. We read in an upstairs area and this event nearly doubled the size of last year’s event for Sand. I had a lot of friends in the audience and so did contributors Rikke Jorgensen, Jennica Petersen, and Elisabeth Asdorian.

This event was a true testament to one of the many beauties of Travelers’ Tales — getting new writers a leg up in their writing career. Jennica and Elizabeth are both published writers now with their stories in Whose Panties Are These? And you should of seen them. They both read beautifully. Especially Elizabeth who had been so nervous that I made sure she had a comfortable spot in the line up. Oh my gosh, she read like a pro and had the audience HOWLING with her story about a run in with Turkish drug dealers. And Rikke, well she is a role model for all of us. A little over a year ago, Rikke had never been published. Then she took the Book Passage Travel Writer’s & Photographer’s Conference and has had 25 stories published since. Wow.

After the event, several of us went over to The Orbit Room for drinks. It was a great turn out. Lots of my friends were there and even Dave Prine took a rather big detour from Vegas to Santa Barbara to attend the event. Thanks, Dave!

San Francisco surprised me this Summer. It got back into my blood. And this party attended by new friends and old friends was a well heard reminder that I can call the Bay Area home.