Saturday, May 14, 2005

Carmen's Perspective

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

Ready to Go

Hard at Work

More Fantastik Fans

Diva Readers

With Jason Rosenberg and Country Music Star

Long Distance Fan. She traveled over 130 miles to visit us

Display at Ft Bragg North AAFES

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Fallin' Out With The Sistahs Book Club

One of the perks of being an author (besides being able to go to work in your pajamas) is the incredible fan base you develop all over the country (and the world if you're lucky!). Since we kicked off the Femme Fantastik Military Base Tour, we've had the honor and privilege of meeting with some terrific local book clubs along the way. In Houston, the Good Book Club welcomed us with warmth and charm and provided us with some good ole' Texas hospitality. As fabulous as they were (and they were fabulous) the Sistahs Book Club in Fayetteville, North Carolina was truly fantastik!

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

Fort Bragg, North Carolina

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.