Tuesday, December 27, 2005
Join the Femme authors and our special guest, ReShonda Tate Billingsley, as we embrace the M.E.N.K. mentality during a relaxing weekend of female bonding and Fantastik fun. From meditative walks to thought-provoking workshops to our smashing Goddess dinner, we've got your mind, body and soul covered. We’ll talk, we’ll laugh. We might even shed a tear or two. But when we leave, we’ll do so even more Fantastik than when we arrived!
Pearls of Wisdom Workshops include:
* Sensual Woman, Sexy Mama * Living Your Life Like It’s Golden * Help! I’ve Turned into My
Mother * A Lover is a Man…Yet Another Reason To Love Yourself*
You’ll enjoy four diamond accommodations, including one king or two queen size beds in each fully equipped room, with a variety of panoramic views. The Spa offers an extensive menu of relaxing and luxurious treatments and let’s not forget the beach and a host of other nearby attractions.
At A Femme Fantastik Getaway, Expect The Unexpected!
For more information on this exclusive getaway weekend, send us your contact information to firstname.lastname@example.org. Space is limited so act now. You won't want to miss the event that will have everyone talking!
Early Registration Fee: $199.00 (Includes Author Appearances, most meals, Pearls of Wisdom workshops, Goddess Dinner, autographed Femme Fantastik tote bag, special gifts).
Accommodations: $149.00 per night, based on double occupancy.
Monday, December 12, 2005
As most of you know, the three of us, Victoria Christopher Murray, Jacquelin Thomas, and Marissa Monteilh, are no longer members of the Femme Fantastik group, but we wanted to personally thank those readers, organizers, bookclubs, bookstores, and last but not least, the military bases and cherished troops who were so supportive during our 2005 tour.
As the year comes to a close, we want you to know that we are extremely grateful for your constant support, and we want to ask that you check our websites from time to time to view information regarding our respective news and updates, as each of us have new and exciting titles coming out next year.
Please log on to our individual sites to view upcoming titles and tour dates.
We wish the remaining Femme members much success with their 2006 events and beyond, and we cheer them on, along with each of you, as the group continues to grow in grand and phenomenal ways.
Happy Holidays and a Happy New Year to you all!
Jacquelin, Marissa, and Victoria
Monday, December 05, 2005
You've been hearing from the Femme Fantastik Tour about our upcoming events in 2006--our M.E.N.K. & Pearls Getaway Retreat in the spring and Femme U Writers Workshops in the fall, please be aware that Victoria, Marissa and Jacquelin will not be participating. Later next year we will announce our new list of exciting authors who will join the Femme Fantastik Tour 2007.
Again, thank you to Marissa, Jacquie and Victoria for being such fantastic members of the Femme Fantastik Tour 2005.
Nina Foxx, Lori Bryant-Woolridge, Carmen Green
Saturday, December 03, 2005
While we won't be touring next year, you'll still be hearing from and about us. Watch for information on our first M.E.N.K. & Pearls Getaway Retreat in April 2006. We're nailing down all the particulars but believe us, it will be one FANTASTIK weekend of sisterhood, sensuality and spa services for readers and authors alike. Think sunsets on the beach, interesting and thought-provoking workshops, luxurious spa treatments and our first Goddess Dinner. We've got your mind, body and spirit covered. Check back here for more information after the new year or if you want to make sure you don't miss this amazing getaway, email us at email@example.com and we'll put you on our mailing list. Check out our very early posts to learn what the letters M.E.N.K. stand for!
In the Fall, Femme U will be in session with workshops for aspiring and self-published authors. Clinics will include everything from the basics of good writing and story development to keeping your writer's head together to ways to promote you and your book. And we'll have plenty of chat time so we can confer about the business, its trends, possibilities and pitfalls.
In between we'll be visiting various organizations and book clubs, like Kindred Spirits in Los Angeles, helping them raise money for their good causes. We are currently booking appearances for 2006 (only a few slots left) and our new and improved tour in 2007. If you, your organization or book club would like to host the Femme Fantastik Tour, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Please, everyone have a safe and loving holiday season. And in all the frenzy of the season take a minute everyday to thank God for making YOU so fantastic.
Saturday, November 19, 2005
The lovely sorors of Delta Sigma Theta's Pomona Valley Chapter booked us as literary entertainment for a fundraising dinner to benefit their scholarship programs. The Femmes, believing strongly in the concept of doing well by doing good, happily agreed to participate. And entertainment is surely what they got.
The event was well attended, over 250 strong. They even had to open an overflow room. Each of the four Femmes (Jacquie and Victoria were unable to join us) was seated in different areas of the room. It was a great set up because we were able to mingle among the guests instead of being stuck all night at a head table. With all those Delta's decked out in their crimson and cream, it was the red sea up in the Jazz Cafe! And all evening the atmosphere was warm and festive and definitely upbeat.
Maleta Wilson, a member of Delta Sigma Theta and owner of Heritage Bookstore and More really worked hard with the rest of her committee to pull this event off. It was a smashing success and we appreciated the love and support that was displayed.
Stay tuned for more on Miss Margaret's fainting spell, an autograph for Mr. Chocolate Thunder Down Under, the lady in the OFR who was appalled to learn that alcohol had touched the Femme Fantastik Author's lips, and how unbeknownst to any of us, with no planning or foresight, the entire evening took on a very sexual theme. It was a night to remember.
Wednesday, November 16, 2005
Anyway, for those of you who asked, yes, I did wear Coach shoes, clogs actually. They were VINTAGE (fashion code for about two years old). They are my comfy travel shoes and quite good looking. I am an equal opportunity shoeshionista.
The real fun began after the no-neck-turning limo man left us at our hotel.
Of course we were hungry. No one really gets food on airplanes anymore and I refuse to eat another SouthWest peanut, so we headed to one of our hotel's restaurants. The plan was we were going to eat, catch up and have a little Femme Meeting about what we planned to do next year. The girls made fun of me and my luggage and shoes, of course, and that kind of sidetracked us a bit, but if your friends don't make fun of your impeccable taste and obvious style, then who will? (Can anyone say "Don't hate"!) You know they ran right out to the luggage outlet and tried to be just as stylish. Here's a note, ladies, either you have it, or you don't. Nothing but love, nothing but love. ;-)
Okay, the meeting was going just fine until Lori ran into a small problem. We got to the part about how much things would cost and Lori started scratching like a crack addict. UGLY! Her eyes got puffy and her lips swelled up like the puffer fish driver instructor on Sponge Bob. At first I thought she was uncomfortable talking about the cash, but then she spoke up.
"I think I am having an allergic reaction to something."
(No? Really?) "You aren't going to cardiac arrest or anything are you?" I asked.
She assured me she wasn't, so Carmen and I then laughed appropriately.
Meeting adjourned. We spirited Miss Thing to the room. All the way there she was walking and trying to rub her thighs together so they could scratch each other with minimal effort. Clothes flew all aover the room as she stripped naked. I was blind for two days.
Nurse Carmen took over then. If I am going to be sick, I want to be sick around her. She is the most nurturing person I know that I am not related too. That woman is a walking over-the-counter medicine cabinet. She dug in her magic bag (not designer, but perfectly useful) and came up with the appropriate remedies for what ailed Lori. She even put old compresses on her legs and arms to help quell the itching. I would have never thought of that, opting instead to tell her to rub, instead of scratch.
Lori laid up on the bed and soaked up the attention. I was itching too and my eyes were red, but I didn't feel the need to be the center of attention. I wanted Lori to enjoy the limelight while she could. Besides, I didn't want to alarm her. I wasn't swelling, and hoped I wasn't going to. She was one strange site. All I could think of was that we were going to have to go up on stage the next night and speak in front of 200+ peoeple. I hoped for Lori's sake that Carmen really could cure her problem. She was starting to not look like herself.
Well, sure enough, the danger passed and we could all breathe easy. But then we found we had another problem.
Our room was haunted by a jackhammer from building past.
There was some loud noise that sounded like a jackhammer that went on all through the night. And the longest train whistle in history.
About three AM I screamed out, "Does no one else hear that?"
Of course Lori didn't. She was drugged up.
Carmen on the other hand is somewhat akin to the Princess (you know, the one of Princess and the Pea fame) as am I, so we had late night/early morning discussions about the benefits of Pilates.
The racket never did subside, so in the morning, we ran screaming from our rooms and demanded a quieter spot to lay our heads. I almost lost it when the man at the desk laughed when I tried to tell him the benefits of beauty sleep before a speaking engagement. He obviously didn't undertsand the perils. I know I look like Oprah without her makeup if I don't get my quality sleep.
Okay, that is it. Mine is true, just ignore the other two. Oh, and of course, pics are on the Femme Blog and my website, www.ninafoxx.com.
Tuesday, November 15, 2005
I arrived in LA and went in search of Nina in baggage claim. Why did I find her sitting down and not with the promised limo driver? I was so excited, I hugged her and then asked, where was the driver.
She replied, "Right there, don't look."
Come on now. Don't tell me not to look at something. I'm peeping everything. I'm a black suburban woman who doesn't get to see much in Duluth, Ga, so I looked, and didn't see a thing.
I was like, ok then. I told her I was going to get my luggage and to wait for me.
I walked through the doors and waited at the wrong carousal for my bags. Just as I began to lament America West, a man came up to me and said "Ms. Foxx sent me in here to help you."
I looked at him and thought this is a scam. He's gone steal my bags and then I'm gone be funky and in my stretchy, fat traveling pants for the signing. Damn. No way was he a limo driver. He had on baggy jeans, Timberland boots and a long shirt. Did I mention he couldn't turn his neck to the left? Whatever, I don't care. He didn't look like a limo driver. Plus, he had a four year old next to him. He was about to rob me with a luggage cart and a kid. Damn.
Then I noticed that he had a sign with him. Why was it handwritten? Why was Nina's name scratched out? Why was there a jagged scratch through the beginning of my name and apparently the pen ran out, so little stabs through the last part? Why was Lori's last name spelled wrong and because it was long, printed down the side of the cardboard?
Where the hell was Nina? And why the hell wasn't she with him? Oh, right, he was bootleg and so she sent him to help me. I made a promise to kick Nina's tail later.
Okay, so we get my luggage and I immediately put my sneakers on. If I have to run after you because you really are a thief, I was going to do it in my Nike’s so I could use my traveling shoes to throw at the back of your head. Whatever, I’m from Buffalo. Nobody said we fight fair.
So after we get our bags loaded on the cart, we exit the terminal and stop. Call me a diva, but I was kind of expecting the car to be like, right there. The driver, kid and our bags keep walking toward the parking garage. Nina, in her Coach shoes, and I are standing at the curb, looking stupefied. Even the cop looked at us funny. I stupidly ask him, “Where’s the limo?”
He looks at me next to the Grand Dame of the airport, Nina, and said, “Ion know.” Translation, “I don’t know and what the hell you asking me for? You need to be following that man with your bags, fake a-- diva.”
No lookin’ left driver yells over his shoulder, “I’m in here”—meaning the parking garage. We scamper across the road feeling just a little dumb. At the end of a long row, we see the limo, parked in between civilian cars. Can we all say bootleg together?
Nina and I stand there, our diva status obliterated by car exhaust fumes, and I get ready to throw my bags in the trunk. At this point, if he told me I’d have to ride a bike to the hotel, I’d have believed him. Driver looks at me unloading the cart and says, “I got this.”
I think hell naw. I’m watching my bags go in. No offense, but inside I have two Alfani shirts I got on sale at Macy’s and well, I want them. He raises the trunk, and can I just ask for the chorus to say bootleg together right now?
This trunk is so full of tires, I don’t know how he closed it in the first place. Now, as you’ve learned from previous blogs, I’m a regular ole’ girl from the hood. My suitcases came as a set of four for $89.99 with a box of 48 freezy pops and a $5 calling card. Nina’s bags cost more than the entire limo. She wasn't hav'n it. Quite frankly, I thought she was going to levitate.
I’m thinking that ain’t gone work. Needless to say my busted up stuff went into the trunk. I don’t care. That’s why you buy cheap bags.
Nina and I climb in the back seat—with her suitcases and laugh our butts off. We’re both thinking the blog is going to be off the chain.
We pull out and then our driver taps a truck. I just shake my head. Damn, now I’m a witness. Lucky for him, there was no damage, but I do have to direct him out. What the hell, I thought. If I didn’t, we’d never get Lori and never get to the signing the next day. We’d be there until my next birthday shouting, “Pull up. Cut the wheel! Turn, up again, cut! Damn, you tapped him again. Pull up.”
We drive over to Continental and he gets out with the kid to go get Lori and realizes he got a ticket. I suppose the limo couldn’t fake as an ordinary sedan. For the longest time, he stood there and I begin to feel sorry for him. Nina does not.
The whole time she’s laughing, typing on her crackberry, (her blackberry), eyeing the parking lot because we know Lori and her smart mouth is going to have something to say.
Lori gets in the car and we start up again. Well, after he shoved her luggage inside, we die laughing. Definitely bootleg. There’s more luggage than people. Our knees are up to our throats and we’re laughing like crazy. I was just glad nobody had gas.
We get on the road and we put the privacy window up, but we didn’t know it was broke and wouldn’t ever come down again. At this point, it’s so funny, we have to talk about it. There’s no way we can make it the whole ride and not. Lori was in rare form. She was just glad none of the white passengers on her flight saw her and the infamous note card bearing her name.
The ride was uneventful, except for the part when No lookin’ left didn’t see traffic merging on the left and slammed on the brakes so hard, Lori slid the length of the limo on the seat. Now that was funny and way beyond bootleg.
Luckily for us, we made it to the hotel in one piece and when I got back to Atlanta and my son brought my bags inside, he only asked me once why there was permanent tire tread marks on my bag.
I tell stories for a living.
Monday, November 14, 2005
Sunday, November 13, 2005
Before the story begins, let's be clear about why ground transportation is such a desirable perk. For A-List authors, your E. Lynns, Terrys, Erics, Grishams, Pattersons, Tans, a sleek, shiny, limo waiting to pick them up at the airport and whisk them off to their scheduled events is a given. Doesn't matter if they are on official book tour or doing some other event in between releases. A car and driver is part of the package (you know, the requisite big All-5 package--five figure honorarium, five star hotel, etc).
On the other hand... for fabulous, up-and-coming authors (like the Femmes), after the official, publisher sponsored, book tour is over, we're pretty much on our own when it comes to most promotional appearances. So when some event planner tells you they're sending a car to meet you at the airport, it's all good. Like 'abracadabra', those four little words have the magic ability to transform you from a worn out soccer mom, whose refrigerator is empty and laundry room is overflowing (am I ruining the glamorous image you have of us authors?), into the diva, celebrity author you become once you strip off the sweats and sneakers, pull on your pencil skirt and power shoes (usually stilettos), pack up your bookmarks and strut down the jetway on your way to Audienceville.
And can I tell you, hopping on that airplane knowing that a limo is waiting for you on the other side, changes a sistah. Quick! Somebody hand me some very dark and oversized sunglasses. And while you're at it, toss me a bottle of Evian and some M & M's. Green only please.
But there are levels of celebrity to be sure. And you know just how big you are (or not) by the little things...the fine details that tell you just where your name falls (or not) on the "list."
The organizers of the final Femme event for 2005, the wonderful ladies of Delta Sigma Theta, thoughtfully sent a stretch limo to pick Nina, Carmen, and me from the airport. (Note: to their credit, this was the first time they'd used this company and were more upset over the service than we were.) We all arranged to arrive at LAX within an hour of each other. Nina and Carmen were the first to be picked up and then they proceeded on to Terminal 6 to get me.
Everything had gone like clockwork on my flight so within 20 minutes of landing I had my luggage and was waiting outside where all of the other limos were parked. Okay, I'll be honest, I was kind of hoping that the white folks I'd spent the last five hours talking to would see my celebrity behind climb into my stretch and zip off to my next fabulous event, but there was no snappily dressed chauffeur with my name neatly printed on a sign there to greet me. So after five minutes or so, I called Carmen to find out if they'd been delayed.
"Where are you guys?"
"In the garage, " Carmen answered. "The driver is coming in to meet you."
I didn't get a chance to inquire as to why they weren't outside the terminal where all the other limo drivers were waiting for their celebrities because she had more info to impart.
"He's got a sign with your name on it. And there's a little girl with a black sweatsuit on with him," Carmen volunteered very matter-of-factly.
Okay, the sign I understood, but little girl?
"And uh, Lori, he can only move his neck one way."
I let that one breeze by.
"I think I see him," I told her. And yes, there stood a tall brotha wearing baggy jeans hanging down his backside, the legs pooling around the tops of his bright, white sneakers, holding what appeared to be the Soul Train Scrabble Board. Through the jumble of letters I could make out enough letters in my name, but even if I was unsure, the cute, little girl in the black sweatsuit was a dead giveaway. They were like the urban version of Mr. Rourke and Tattoo, the greeting committee on Fantasy Island.
He stiffly craned his neck around to the right as he mumbled my name. Quick somebody get me my sunglasses! The bling from his 56 carat 'diamond' stud is blinding me. As he grabbed my luggage, I did a quick look around. Whew. Thank God, the white folks were no where to be found! I didn't need an audience watching as I dropped down a couple of notches on the celebrity scale.
We walked to what seemed like the next state (hello, somehow I don't think Angelina Jolie has to put on hiking boots and break a sweat to find her car. And if by some chance she did, I doubt she'd have to see her driver's underwear the entire trip) and finally stopped in front of a sleek, shiny black stretch limo. I waited for him to put my luggage into the trunk but instead, Brothaman opened the door and threw my suitcase on to the pile of Nina and Carmen's that filled up the available floor space. Just happy to see my girls after such a long time, I climbed in and sat on the long seat and we greeted each other like long lost sisters.
"Nina the rest of your shoes must be taking up all the trunk space," I teased as we drove through the garage, one leg resting on top of her shoe bag the other stuffed between Carmen's large and extra large, black bags. Damn ladies, we're only in town for two days!
"No girl, there were too many tires in the trunk to fit any luggage." We all cracked up.
"Why are you all sitting in the garage? And why did I have to hike fifteen miles to get to my LIMO?" I asked with with mock indignation.
"Well, I don't think he has a permit to work the airport," Carmen offered. "He got a ticket while he was waiting for us." Again, we erupted in gales of laughter. "I think this is a bootleg limo service."
"Nina, turn on the radio so he can't hear us." I suggested. I figured we should at least be respectful as we talked about the guy.
"Can't. It doesn't work."
"Well then, turn on the TV."
"Can't. It doesn't work either. Just static," she said as she found the button to raise the divider. After a few hopeful grinding noises it went up, separating us from folks in the front seat.
"I bet the sh*t in Terry's limo would work," Carmen added.
"Yeah, but more importantly, I bet her limo driver would be able to see what's coming in both directions!"
"And wouldn't need a six-year old to help him navigate. I think we're lost," Carmen said looking out the window.
"I'm thirsty." I said eyeing the highball glasses and champagne flutes nesting across the opposite side of the car.
"Well unless you're up for drinking napkins or have your own water bottle you're out of luck."
"That's the difference between A list and the C list," I sighed. "But at least they sent a car. And even a jacked up limo with a trunk full of tires is better than taking one of those shuttle buses that stops at every hotel between here and east where you goin."
I can't tell you their response because just as the words left my parched mouth I, along with my handbag, sweater and the luggage, went flying across the seat like a shot of bourbon across the bar. Carmen quickly grabbed my ankles to keep me from banging my head on the front wall.
"Guess something must have come at him from the left side," Nina suggested with her usual deadpan delivery. The three of us just busted out in continuous waves of giggles.
A few miles later after another abrupt stop, which once again jolted me across the car and caused the contents of my purse to spill all over the floor, Carmen decided to trade places so I could put on the seat belt and stay put for the rest of the ride.
Taking it all in stride, we continued laughing off and on until we pulled into the hotel. We scurried to pick up the belongings that had scattered across the car during the hurly burly ride and get ourselves together for our grand arrival.
When Brotherman opened the door, we were all back in D.I.V.A. (Determined, Intelligent, Vibrant, Author) mode. Three fabulous women stepped from the car, hair coiffed, makeup flawless, sunglasses in place. We had our celebrity images to think of. Who knew if the paparazzi had been alerted!
Forget the ghetto fabulous driver, the for-show-only bar setup, the busted radio and television, we had arrived in style. And as we sashayed across the empty drive way and into an empty lobby, there wasn't a soul who could tell us that we weren't on the A list. And for the time it took us to check in and get to our room (where we realized that we were right next to the very noisy ice maker and the phone on the desk didn't work) we believed it ourselves.
Friday, November 11, 2005
Monday, October 17, 2005
When: Sunday, November 6, 2005, 5:00 - 7:00 pm
Where: The Jazz Cafe
1133 West Sixth Street
Ontario, California 91762
For Tickets and more information call 909.484.8411
Books will be sold by Heritage Bookstore and More
We guarantee a great time! So bring your book club, your friends, your mama, and join the Femmes as we wrap our first successful year of touring together!
Sunday, October 09, 2005
We have to give special love to Femme author, Victoria Christopher Murray, who recently lost her beloved father and decided to join us anyway. It was a tough decision, but the love from both fans and the rest of the Femmes was a great boost. We constantly have her in our thoughts and ask that you will too.
Jacquelin Thomas was a trooper as well, suffering a flat tire on the way to Fort Meade and missing most of the signing. But here's how beloved she is. She arrived to find several fans who waited nearly two hours for her to sign their books! Now that's love!
I have to say our Voice of America interview was crazy and fun. Marissa and Carmen cut up on the air as usual, and still managed to relay all the pertinent information. If you haven't had the great opportunity to check these amazing women out, please run the the next signing they have. Check out their websites and catch them in action. You won't be disappointed.
These two also turned out the B. Dalton's signing. They both had quite the fan club hanging out at the signing table. I do recall a very nice and attentive gentleman offering to give Carmen a ride around the mall in his wheelchair. I can't remember if she accepted :-). Though I do remember him waiting outside the restaurant later after dinner--several hours later, I might add. Carmen has her fans!
I wish everyone could have as much fun as we do on the road together. We posted some pictures for you. We apologize for the quality but they were taken with Marissa's, as she put it, 'ghetto' camera.
We missed Nina on this trip. She was doing the mom thing back in Texas and couldn't join us. We missed her wry sense of humor and her quiet commentary on all the happenings.
Well that's all for now. We'll be back soon to post information on the November event in Ontario, California. The Pomona Valley Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta is sponsoring "An Evening With The Authors" featuring The Femme Fantastik Tour with special guest Travis Hunter. More on that later.
Saturday, October 01, 2005
Thursday, September 01, 2005
I know that Carmen will surely find some hidden books - Carmen's on the case . . . and she's got a man!
I know that Lori sold a lot of books, with or without that top she wore on Sunday.
Jacquie and Victoria, I know you and Victoria had that signing at Reprint without us.
So we're done with the military end for '05. We did it! I had fun.
Tuesday, August 02, 2005
Wednesday, July 27, 2005
Friday, August 26
455 LeFant Plaza SW
B. Dalton Books
50 Massachusetts Ave. NE
Saturday, August 27
Andrews Airforce Base
Camp Springs, MD
Sunday, August 28
Thursday, June 09, 2005
Jason Rosenberg, Manager, Main Store
Fort Bragg Post Exchange, North Post
"Meeting authors on the Femme Fantastik tour was a great experience. It was really nice to put a name and face with the books that I have been reading. I think visiting the military installations is an excellent idea and a real morale boost for the troops and their families. It meant a lot to me that these authors were interested in meeting with the military community. I want to say "Thank You" and "God Bless" to all of Femme Fantastik authors who are traveling to add a little spice to our lives."
Melody L. Clarke
Joint Logistics Managers Functional Analyst
Fort Bragg, NC
"However the Femme Fantastik Tour was born, you all were meant to be together. Thank you for making the Sistahs Book Club anniversary most memorable and special. It was wonderful, and everyone is still talking about you four ladies. The Sistahs just loved you all. The men had as much fun as we did. Wanda's husband doesn't even read, but he was back there laughing the loudest and stayed around until it was over. He's never done that. We are still talking about what an awesome weekend it was. It wouldn't have been so without you all. You guys are the real deal, and I love you for it. You are welcome anytime. And when I grow up, maybe I can join."
Sistahs Book Club
Monday, June 06, 2005
I miss Nina and her fantastik 'foxiness'. The girl is aptly named. The woman is crazy like a Foxx. She's a quiet mystery that makes you wonder what's filling those Jimmy Choo's (okay they could be Manolo's). It's hard to categorize her as quiet, though she doesn't say a lot, but when she does you can bet it will be right on point. She's not a jokester and yet you can count on her to come up with some mischievous plot behind the scenes to stir things up and get us giggling. In getting to know her, I've come to admire Nina's quiet ambition, her quick wit and 'let's do it' attitude.
Now I know we throw the word 'diva' around a lot in these reports but Victoria is the diva of the best kind. Behind her Chanel, rhinestone-studded sunglasses is a mega-author in the making and she knows it. But there is no arrogance attached to this bold knowledge only the desire to make sure that as she rises all her girls rise right along with her. Her attitude is always positive, her words kind and encouraging and while she's taking with one hand; she's giving with the other.
I miss Carmen and her crazy sense of humor and sweet vulnerability. What I admire most about Carmen is that despite her prolific publishing record, she's hungry to move higher and push herself farther and to do that she's not afraid to ask for help. Publishing is a very competitive business, one that is built on very fragile perceptions, and it is rare that an author of Carmen's experience and past success is brave enough to step outside the genre where she's been mega-successful and ask for help with breaking into another. Rarer still is the wide-open support by the Femmes to help her do just that. Carmen teases about being the Wal-Mart woman among all the designer divas, but this girl is mega rich in areas where most women are downright poverty stricken.
Getting to know Jacquelin is like coming face-to-face with the stereotypical description of genteel, Southern Belle. But behind that quiet, demure, Louis Vuitton carrying persona is a woman with amazing strength and fortitude. During late night discussions I've come to know Jacqui as an amazingly generous and loving woman. Definitely the most prolific writer among the Femmes, she is a case study of the strong, black woman who lives her life with grace and dignity and has been such an inspiration to us all.
Marissa Monteilh is the Femme whose confident attitude we all want to have when we grow up. She is feisty, flirty and fabulous. She can pull a reader (male and female...okay mostly male) over to the signing table with a wink and a smile, and when she's done with them not only do they have signed copies of each of her books, but leave feeling like they are THE man. And she does it without ruffling one feather among any female in the room. How does she do it?
For me, the Femme Fantastik Tour has been such a reminder of how important it is to surround yourself with women of like minds and positive dispositions. They are proof that when you do personal growth is unavoidable. I can't wait to get back on the road with my girls and grow some more.
Saturday, May 14, 2005
When I got to NC for the Fort Bragg leg of our tour, my only thoughts were of seeing Jacquie, who'd been under the weather for the first portion of our tour, hanging out with the girls and selling books. I got all three and more! Fort Bragg was a super hit. We were treated like royalty. Before we got into the PX, we had ladies in the parking lot walking up, wanting our autographs. This had happened before, but that day I realized why. We looked like celebrities. We were dressed to kill and when you see five attractive, confident women striding through any venue, people take notice.
At Fort Bragg we met and made friends, and one fan traveled 110 miles just to have me sign the first ten books I’d written. I was honored. Truly.
Then there was the Sistah's bookclub. Now the other Femmes have their version of how things went, but my version is the truth. I was in complete control. (this is written with a big cheesy grin on my face) I was only mildly funny when recounting the shopping trip that sealed our future as lifetime Femmes. To say I was completely enamored with the beauty of the home we were hosted in, and humbled by the hospitality of Suzette Perkins and the Sistah’s bookclub would be a huge understatement. They pulled out the stops and they bought books. Suzette’ and the other ladies epitomize what I love about serious readers groups. They had a healthy respect for us as writers and how we're able to stay in business. They don’t share books. They buy their own. They have intelligent discussions about the book, and they enjoy having authors come and talk about their work. For a writer, this bookclub is a writer’s dream.
I’ve been a writer for 11 years. I have twenty-two books sold, and I’m learning something new everyday.
Here’s what I learned while on the Femme Fantastik tour.
Don’t get inexpensive pants dry-cleaned. They shine and not in a good way.
When shopping with friends that are richer than you, stand back. Thieves only find your diversionary techniques annoying. After all, they don’t want the change dropping out the hole in your purse. They actually want the purse you’re blocking.
Nina doesn’t know how to use a GPS. Let’s leave it there.
When Carmen gets sleepy, she’s inclined to be goofy. Right, I’m talking about me. Scratch that.
When Victoria offers you lip gloss to grease up for a fight, run.
Marissa has several personalities. They have names. And clothes.
Lori likes to lie on innocent people like me. I’m totally good. I promise.
Jacquie Thomas is a saint. Really.
The Femme Fantastiks may come to a city near you. If you’re interested in hosting us, contact Lori or Nina. Until next time, I salute you!
PS. I tell stories for a living.
Wednesday, May 11, 2005
Tuesday, May 10, 2005
We should have known something was up when instead of meeting at three o'clock as prearranged, they asked if we could push it back until five. Why? Because they had to do a bit more rehearsing. Hmmm...that should have been a tip off. But I think we were all too tired from the excellent afternoon spent at Fort Bragg to notice. So we killed some time by having a light snack together and one drink (I swear it was just one, but judging by the silliness that ensued that evening you'd have thought we were drinking pitchers of martinis like one designer bag carrying Femme).
Just coming from a big military base, we weren't all that surprised to see that most of the women were dressed in army camouflage fatigues. We should have been. We said our hellos and settled into our seats and then the troops, led by 'general' Suzetta Perkins, took over. The Sistahs Book Club took our military base tour to heart and choreographed the most wonderful routine complete with a flag waving parade, mock inspection, and marching drill. They had us doubled over in laughter and we were totally blown away by all the time and effort they put into this on our behalf (and I haven't even begun to talk about the yummy dinner they prepared--complete with a Femme Fantastik cake frosted in camouflage!).
When they came to 'at ease' it was time for our part of the program. Perhaps we should have rehearsed as much as the Sistahs because for some reason our reading became a comedy act lead by our sweet and crazy (okay, the girl is 'touched') Carmen. It started off well. Jacquie got things going by reading from her new novel, Saved in the City (in stores now!). She was professional, thought provoking and dignified. Then all hell broke loose. Carmen (think Lucy Ricardo) decided to go all the way USO and entertain the 'troops' with her rendition (a loose interpretation I might add) of the Femme Fantastik's Atlanta shopping expedition. The actual story (which you can read about when you pick up Nina's new book, Marrying Up, on June 28) involves five authors (three with purses and shoes that could pay your morgage for a couple of months) window shopping in Nordstrom's; a stalker/thief; a really bad afro wig; a hideous Hawaiian shirt; a bold confrontation; a dash into the mall; a quick confession and a boatload of smack talking. Well, you can just imagine the sight of Carmen acting that little skit out (with the other Femmes chiming in their corrections and additions). Maybe you can't. You definitely had to be there. But I will tell you, the room was howling with laughter. Carmen's warm up act had great impact on the audience because by the time Lori and Victoria finished with their reading the group consensus was that we should be talking to some folks about a Femme Fantastik television show (that seemed to be a reoccuring theme in North Carolina. Perhaps we're just a lot funnier down south).
The bottom line is that we had an amazing time and when we left several hours later, the Femme Fantastik authors were just as big fans of the Sisthas Book Club as they were of us. And that's how it should be...
Sunday, May 08, 2005
The mood was pretty festive this weekend in Fort Bragg. Although it was cold and rainy in Ft Bragg, the Femme were ready to go. Jacquie asked if we could speak to her son’s first grade class and we agreed, not realizing that she meant over 100 kids. They were happy to see us though and inspired us we close to one hundred questions. Really.
We had too much fun at our seafood dinner and lots of stuff happened that I promised not to mention in this blog. A promise between Femmes is a promise, so I will only give you highlights.
“Look, Nina is CHEWING!”
Carmen had never experienced a hush puppy.
“Can I have some oyster with that hot sauce?”
Mother’s Day not Easter? (If you figure this one out I will send you a free cover flat)
Ziploc bags. (And this one gets you a free book)
Our host from AAFES laughed so hard he thought we were better than THE VIEW. He also thought that Black Expressions meant he should say, “Hey, What’s up?” He wrote Oprah about us. Can someone please call TV ONE? Or the WB?
Victoria worked the scarf and sunglasses at night.
I was going to jack Mrs. Thomas for her FABULOUS handbag, but Victoria had her back. (I coulda taken them. For real though). Folks came in from the parking lot to say hello.
And as the hotel, let’s just say it was like grown up summer camp or a Femme Fantastik Slumber party. There were women literally streaking down the hallway in their Femmetastik pajamas. It wasn’t me.
And the signing, well, Lori was in RARE form. She is most definitely the comedian in the bunch. There were readers who drove for over 130 miles to see us, bringing the earliest of Carmen’s 20 plus books to be signed. (We are talking ancient history here).
We were treated like royalty and showered with gifts. Jason Rosenberg knows how to put on a top notch show. Everyone was so appreciative it gave me chills. Did I mention the gifts? Make sure you check out the pictures.Lying for a living has it perks, the good feelings and friendships being the best.
Thursday, April 14, 2005
Monday, April 04, 2005