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...

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