Hello mah beauties!
I’m writing to you from Shreveport, where I am recovering from our Snark-La-Tex tour with the gracious care of my good friend Mary Lois and her husband, Doug. They keep feeding me and carting me places, bless them.
The tour, itself, was fabulous. Here’s a rundown from me, but you can also get more narrative over at Jaye’s site. I arrived the day of our first signing, last Sunday, in Dallas. Jaye picked Mary Lois and me up at the aiport, as ML tagged along as our driver/bodyguard/handler. It was so much fun to have her, and she totally saved our asses in Baton Rouge, but more on that later.
We started out our roadtrip by Jaye taking us to a place called Fuzzy Tacos. I love good food with stupid names, so I was in heaven. We then cleaned up and went to our signing at the Borders in Allen, TX, right outside of Dallas. The store was gorgeous, and we had a great turnout. You may recognize Dakota Cassidy, Renee George, and Michele Bardsley sitting front and center, in all of their splendor.
The staff at Borders were awesome, as was the audience. I met loads of people I’ve been tweeting or Facebooking with for a while, which is always fun. There was also a great turn out of book bloggers and reviewers. So fun!
After the signing, we headed out with Jaye’s husband and son, Michele, Dakota, and Renee to another Mexican restaurant (I’m making up for the horrible Mexican around where I live). This one, however, is famous for margaritas so potent you’re only allowed two or you’re taking a taxi. The conversation was about as raunchy as you might imagine, and it was great to catch up with Dakota, Michele, and Renee, three of my favorite people.
The next morning found us, rather unsurprisingly, EATING AGAIN. This time we went to Cafe Brazil, which has the most amazing chorizo empanadas. After fattening up, we drove to Austin. I’d never been, and it was such a cool city. First we met up with an Austin librarian, David, and his wife, Marlena, both avid readers. They were unbelievably generous and took us to a gorgeous restaurant named Bess’s Bistro. It’s owned by Sandra Bullock, so we were certainly not the biggest celebrities they’d every seen, but we were still treated royally. The food was delicious and the aesthetic of the place really great, so I highly recommend it.
After dinner, we headed to one of the coolest indie bookstores evah, BookPeople. We were definitely small fry for a bookstore that hosts such celebrities as Simon Pegg, but you wouldn’t know it from the way we were treated: like gold. They were so nice and so very, very welcoming. There was even a marquee!
We did readings, and then some Q&A:
And thanks to Pam (SpazP on twitter) for the gorgeous photos. She’s not so shabby herself (hubba hubba!).
After our signing, Jaye and I bought a metric fuck-ton of mustaches. Why? You’ll see! We also found this AMAZING MASK:
We realized later we missed a golden opportunity to stage a cock fight, which MUST HAPPEN the next time we hit BookPeople. I’m sure they’re thrilled at that idea. 😉
The day after our Austin signing, we headed to Houston and one of our all-time favorite indies, Murder by the Book. John from the bookstore was sweet (or perhaps crazy) enough to let us stay at his house, and he and his partner Matt were the perfect hosts. Their house is gorgeous and cozy, and they could not have been sweeter.
Mary Lois did nearly steal their cats, but that’s another story.
The signing, itself, was a hoot. As I said, we bought lots of mustaches in Austin, and we put them to good use in Houston . . . by making everyone in the store wear one. The view from the front was awesomely mustache-tastic:
But I’m fairly certain the view from the audience was equally (if not more) ridiculous:
Just putting them on was a challenge, as we were giggling so hard:
But the effect was awesome, and it was great that the Murder by the Book people also played along. Here’s John looking verreh handsome in his ‘tache:
And here’s ML, Jaye and I posing in all our hirsute glory:
Mary Lois, for one, looked rather nice in her hipster ‘tache. Meanwhile, the signing itself was great. The audience was SO good-natured about being asked to wear things on their face, and they were so funny and fun about it. I also met some people I’ve been tweeting with for awhile, although one girl stayed incognito by not reminding me of her Twitter handle! (glares at @lobsterbandita)
She was already wearing a mustache, would I really have embarrassed her further??
After dinner, we went out to the amazing restaurant, Mockingbird Bistro, where ML and I had gone the last time I had a signing at Murder by the Book. I loved it then, and loved it just as much this time. Besides Matt and John, my very talented mentee from SHU’s MFA, Elle Stone, came with us to dinner. Her awesome first book, a YA fantasy, is currently on submission to editors, so I’m keeping all my body parts crossed for her. Not that I think she’ll need it: the book is phenomenal.
We had a great deal of food, but also a few cocktails . . . which were very, very strong cocktails. I’d become rather obsessed with the tattoo of one of the ladies at the Borders in Allen, TX, which was of a mustache on her finger, so she could be in disguise whenever she felt like it. I’d seen them before, but something about this ‘tache just really resonated with me. And after a few cocktails, somehow there were all sorts of jokes about finger ‘taches, and poon (I have no idea how that happened), which morphed into the idea of “poonstache,” and then we decided our next tour would be called Poonstache 2012, and then it went downhill from there. We closed out the restaurant after nearly howling down its walls with laughter, and with my being firmly committed to getting my own mustache tattoo.
Which brings us to New Orleans.
Obviously, much debauchery happened in New Orleans, right? Including that tattoo, right? We did hit Decataur, and Coop’s, hard, having a few drinks and feeling our oats. Unfortunately, we made the wrong decision after that and ended up at my favorite NOLA eatery, Muriel’s. Now, don’t get me wrong, Muriel’s was as delicious as ever. But we ate ourselves into a COMA and it was all we could do to drag our sorry behinds back to our hotel and go to bed. At 11:00 pm. In New Orleans, city of sin. It was pathetic!
But dinner was delicious, and we were up nice and early to work out and then undo the workout by eating beignets. Then we spent a delicious afternoon in the quarter, buying chicken feet from voodoo shops and clothing from Trashy Diva. As one does.
Then we went to Baton Rouge. Or we tried to. The drive was easy, up until we hit the city that, historically, I’ve always breezed through driving to and from NOLA. But not this time! A combination of crazy construction and some flooding in other parts of the city meant that everyone, their mama, and their voodoo priestess were on the highway. Jaye did a great job blogging the gritty details, but suffice it to say that Mary Lois totally saved our butts by taking us a ninja back route and getting us to the store only one minute late.
But it was worth it! The Baton Rouge Books-A-Million was very fun, and its employees Randolph and Pepper were super. Randolph also told us about a great place to go for dinner, Red Zeppelin Pizza, which was delish. Handily, right across the street from the pizza join was a tattoo parlor! And what more does a mustache-themed book tour need than a mustache tattoo???
Atomic Tatto was a great studio, much to Jaye’s relief. I loved the guy who didÂ my tat: he was all squirrely, offbeat, and wry (also probably very high). And he did a beautiful job! Here’s the finished ‘tach:
I didn’t think the tattoo hurt, but then I’m a bit of a piercing champ. So those needles compared to tattoo needles is nothing. It’s healing up well and I still am endlessly amused by it, so I’m happy.
The next morning we headed out for our last stop, Shreveport. It was so nice to be back! We had a lovely crowd full of old friends and familiar faces from other signings. That said, I think both Jaye and me were just about running on fumes.
Not that we didn’t get a kick out of reading some raunchy self-help guides:
After the signing, we went to the Noble Savage, where Chef and Lee knew just what I needed:
The lovely dram on the right is Adelphi’s Breath of Islay (pronounced EYE-LA, btw), and the golden beauty on the left is a Laphroig (pronnounced LA-FROY) 18-year-old that Chef brought out specially for me. I love the Savage.
We ate meat pies, drank Scotch, and listened to Chef’s partner, Angela, regale us with hilarious stories. It was lovely seeing my friends from Shreveport, whom I’ve missed very much.
Tomorrow, however, I’m returning home to Pittsburgh. My friend, Wendell, is my knight in shining armor and driving me all the way to Dallas for my flight. Thanks, Wendell!
Once home, I plan on embarking on a strict regime of exercising and writing book five. I’ll let you know how that goes. 😉
Finally, don’t forget there’s still time to enter my contest to win one of Kat Richardson’s Greywalker books. Details are here.
Talk to y’all when I get back! In the meantime, be good. Unless you want to be naughty. Then feel free.