The Seattle area remains one of my favorite areas for doing author events. There are so many indie bookstores within driving distance, and each has their own book loving staff. As you know, the tour has been more miss than hit, so I was crossing my fingers that Seattle would turn it around. And it did. Mostly.
The first event was at Wide World Books and Maps in Fremont. I’ve read at this store at least four times, and it has become an annual pitstop. Simone, one of the owners, is great, and a big fan of Travelers’ Tales. They have branded themselves as Seattle’s Travel Store, and do quite a bit do create a community of travelers via their store. They go beyond the typical author event, to include discussions on travel destinations, solo travel, and they even have a women’s travel group called Gutsy Women which meets every other month. Even if you don’t live in the Seattle area, their newsletter is one of the best I’ve read of all the other travel stores. Terrell keeps on top of things and reports what books are new on the front table, and you can’t read this newsie without getting an idea about a gift you’d like to give/receive, or a new book you’d want to read.
So, what happened at the event? I showed up and the store was buzzing. Two sign language interpreters had come and would be signing the event for a woman who couldn’t hear. I had never experienced that before and it really added some depth to the event. I chose a couple of shorter stories to read and let the interpreters know ahead of time so they could get familiar with it before we started. Katie McClane drove down from Bellingham and joined us for the evening to read her story, “The Yellow Lady”. Erin and Jenner took turns signing and I tried to read a bit slower than usual while still maintaining voice modulation and entertaining the crowd. Since I was reading Deanna Sukkar’s “Almost Grounded,” there were some choice kinky words that I got to say, and then pause to see how the interpreters signing them. That was good fun and we all laughed. I also read Christine Michaud-Martinez’s “Travel Light, Ride Hard,” involving thongs and camels, which provided for some added fun, too.
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The audience was far more traveled than I am and Katie’s friend Ethel, age 90, was on her way to Mazatlan. Rachel, the deaf woman, had recently been to Costa Rica with another deaf friend, and was planning another trip for her husband’s 50th birthday. I tell you, the more travel lovers you meet, the more inspiring it is to kick your own trips up a notch. Will I be traveling at 93? I’d like to think so. Especially if it’s with my grandkids.
But the biggest shock of the night came when we were discussing Katie’s “Damiana…” the special aphrodisiac liquor she found in Mexico. I had my doubts about the existence of the drink prior to meeting Katie, even if all of our stories are non fiction and the authors sign a contract saying so. But all doubts were put to rest when FOUR different women in the audience claimed to have either had the drink before, or still had a bottle at home! How cool is that?! People have been asking where I’m headed to next, I think we might have to bump Mexico up on the list….don’t you?