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    Two Tales of a Bus Trip... sort of

    Sabrina Jeffries
    Wendy Corsi Staub

    take a moment to tell us how the bus tour went.

    The Love Bus
    by Sabrina Jeffries

    What do you get when you pack 14 romance authors, five Levy ladies, and a cute off-duty fireman/tour director onto a tour bus?

    Fun, that's what!

    Yes, it was grueling--we did 11 K-Mart signings, a TV morning show (the Chicago ABC affiliate), 2 library panels/meet-and-greets, a Meijer's visit, and a Borders stop-in (officially a visit to the mall, since Levy doesn't distribute to Borders) in 4 days in two cities (Detroit and Chicago).

    click here for more from sabrina

    Two days in a row, we got in from dinner at 10 or so and were expected to be on the bus at 5 a.m. Yes, 5 a.m. And since I wanted to look my best for TV one day and had to pack up to travel to the next hotel the other day, that meant a 3:30 wakeup call for me.

    Two nights in a row, I had about 4 hours of sleep (although the last three nights were pretty leisurely). And they keep you moving--the minute you arrive at the signing, you're asked to sign all stock right away, which you fit in around signing tote bags and books for people who've come.

    But you meet lots of lovely readers, get to know authors you wouldn't have known otherwise, and in general have a grand old time. The Levy people really know how to spoil authors (regular stops for Starbucks are a must).

    We were like a bunch of sorority girls, gabbing, giving each other nicknames, taking photos, and trading beauty tips (we all agreed that there's something to that whole beauty sleep thing).

    Here's a few things I learned about my fellow authors:
    1) Susan Andersen has been married a long, LONG time. And she has a wonderful sense of humor, which is no big surprise, considering her books (which I love, by the way).

    2) Mary Balogh has got to be the most gracious lady in publishing-not only is she a brilliant writer, but she's great fun and a good sport.

    3) Allison Brennan has five kids. She must have missed them a LOT, because she looked after US like a mother hen. Which is a good thing, because I generally need someone to keep me from leaving my head behind.

    4) Pamela Britton is a hoot and a half. She's the only woman I know who thinks nothing about climbing under a table to avoid making people move so she can get out.

    5) Jacquie D'Alessandro's New York accent really comes to the fore when she's excited. And since she's bubbly in general, it comes out a LOT!

    6) Gemma Halliday is the sweetest-natured woman in publishing. And she definitely appreciates eye candy. That's all I'm saying.

    7) Candice Hern has fabulous fashion sense. I coveted every single suit she wore!

    8) Susan Kearney must have been a masseuse in a past life.

    9) Marjorie Liu has extraordinary packing capabilities and somehow manages always to look gorgeous with very little.

    10) Brenda Novak is one very classy lady and delightful to talk to. She also is very understanding if another author-me, for example-happens to get so befuddled that she signs "Brenda Novak" on a tote instead of her own name. Yes, I really did do that. But hey, I was tired!

    11) Karen Rose and I are twins of different mothers. Or rather, of very similar mothers. (Oh, and if you haven't read her books, you don't know what you're missing. She writes fabulous romantic suspense).

    12) Gena Showalter is game for anything, and she signs books really, REALLY fast.

    13) Wendy Corsi Staub makes a great spokesperson . . . and a wonderful listener.

    All in all, a grand time was had by all.


    How I Spent (the tail end of) My Summer Vacation
    by Wendy Corsi Staub

    What better way to spend the last week of August than riding around a major American city on a big white bus with thirteen other lady authors? I, for one, can't think of anything better that doesn't involve a private island in the Caribbean with rum drinks and my fantasy boy toy Bono. But trust me, this was the next best thing--three-thirty a.m. wakeup calls and all.

    I think it's safe to assume that a good time was had by all aboard the K-Mart-sponsored Levy Home Entertainment Sizzlin' Summer tour--dubbed "The Love Bus" by the press, who provided us with generous televised and print coverage, as well as the usual battery of squirm-inducing questions female authors tend to be asked. "How do you research your love scenes?" and "How much money do you make?" were somehow easier to face as a group--and the quips were flying thicker than tossed birdseed at a happy-ending wedding.

    click for more from wendy

    What a great opportunity to come face to face with readers, book buyers, and other authors--not to mention the people responsible for getting our books out there. The intrepid Pam Nelson and her amazing staff at Levy thought of everything, even asking for a supermarket wish list so they could stock the bus with our favorite snack foods! Somebody felt queasy, and a cooler full of ginger ale materialized, courtesy of Levy. Somebody yawned, and Levy bought a busload--literally--of pillows, complete with Martha Stewart pillowcases in a rainbow of pastels. And blankets. And a Dunkin' Donuts Box o'Joe, for those of us who prefer caffeination to slumber.

    You might think things could get a little--shall we say--interesting, in close quarters with fourteen women who spend their days writing about graphic sex and/or murder. You would be right. There was an in-depth forensic discussion about methods and motives of female serial killers before the first stop in Chicago, and about penile implants before the end of Day 1. Who but a busload of other authors would fail to bat an eye when strategically positioned road kill conjured a fit of dark, hysterical--okay, maniacal giggles between me and my seatmate Pam Britton, followed by the ubiquitous "There's a plot in there somewhere."

    It isn't often that we authors get to talk shop in person, scattered as we are, without regular morning water cooler contact. The camaraderie alone was worthwhile. For a fleeting interlude, I actually found myself surrounded by co-workers. That happens once in a blue moon in this business, and you'd better believe I was basking in it. I regret that a previous commitment meant I couldn't continue on the tour to Detroit with the others--it wasn't easy to say goodbye.

    On board the Love Bus, I laughed, I cried, and in the end, returned home to New York inspired, enriched, and energized by plenty of Joe and some of the best food the Midwest has ever served up. Hats off to Levy, kudos to K-mart, and big hugs to all my new author friends!

    Wendy Corsi Staub/

    THANKS for the recaps!

    Next year come to Texas ;)

    1. Oh I wished I was there along your route!! Would have been a joy to meet you. Thanks for the recaps too!

      By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9/10/2006 07:17:00 PM  

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