Tuesday, March 18, 2008

The San Francisco Treat

The day after I signed at Eso Won, I went to San Francisco. I was lucky: I had that evening and all day before my signing at Marcus to myself. Ballantine put me up at the Hotel Vitale, a tres chic hotel right on The Embarcadero near the waterfront. I spent my 1st night staring at the water in the East Bay and marvelling at the Bay Bridge. (Also had a meal of 2 appetizers and 1 glass of wine that cost $56!)

The next morning I headed out for the character-building "Who the Hell are You?" tour of downtown San Francisco. In theory this is when an author goes into a bookstore and sees stacks of her books on the front table and book-sellers rush up to her to beg her to sign them. In reality (at least for me) it involves praying that they have my book or if they don't, that they'll order it. A great big beautiful Borders didn't have my book in stock. City Lights didn't have it, but will order the next time they order from Random House, for which I thank them! I should note that on the way to LAX, my driver (I rode in style baby!) took me to a Borders in Culver City, which did have 1 copy of my book in stock (which I autographed). Back to San Fran. While I was in Chinatown, I decided to wander. I found myself at a tea bar with the world's greatest tea salesman, who is now my Chinese Uncle Gee. (This is Gee saying he will kick the ass of any bookstore owner who doesn't carry my book. ) They have wonderful teas! In you're in San Francisco, Gee puts on a great show, introducing you to a wide variety of teas and educating you about how to brew them. Just be sure not to share anything embarrassing. A young woman sitting next to me whispered that she was looking for a tea to help her have a bowel movement and Gee announced it to the whole room! However, to show you just how charming Gee is...she didn't go running out the door, but stayed and drank tea. I bought the lichee black tea. Yum! Check them out online.

That night, a driver picked me up and took me over the bridge to Marcus Books, the oldest black bookstore in the country. It's managed by Blanche Richardson--book-seller, writer and editor extraordinaire!

We had a great turnout (due mostly to a large contingency of cousins who came out to support me--thank you cousins!!!), and it was so much fun to be there. I've done many signings and 2 other book tours to other cities, and this is the 1st time that people who've actually read the book are showing up (and I'm talking about people not even related to me!). It is a great feeling to be able to discuss the book with folks who read (and, so far, enjoyed) the book. Dera from APOOO Bookclub was also there. Orange Mint and Honey is an upcoming selection for their bookclub--thank you APOOO! And thank you Marcus Books!!!
Books purchased on the road:
Conception by Kalisha Buckanon
The Darkness by L.A. Banks
The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill by Mark Bittner
Song Yet Sung by James McBride (who also writes and plays music!)


Lisa said...

Sounds like the ultimate work/play trip. I think San Francisco is tres cool and I love your new Uncle Gee.

I noticed you picked up THE WILD PARROTS OF TELEGRAPH HILL. I never read it, but there's a great movie with the same title that the author's wife shot. What a fantastic story!

Keep the tales from the road coming!

Yasmin said...

Nice...and thanks for the shoutout to APOOO...APOOO's in da house...we rock...lol. I will email you to see if you're interested in chatting with APOOO when we discuss your book in May...we would love to do an online chat withcha!

Promoting Our Voices, Showcasing Our Stories

Angelia Vernon Menchan said...

Very nice, I loved Orange Mint and Honey one of my faves of 2008...thanks for mentioning APOOO...


Barrie said...

So glad you had an awesome book signing!

But I have to know what those two expensive appetizers + one glass of wine were!!

Judy Merrill Larsen said...

Oh, Carleen, I love that things are going so well for you--what a blast you must be having. Do you have to keep pinching yourself? It all rocks.

See you next week in VA!

Gina Black said...

That Borders in Culver City is where the DS was working (in the cafe) in his Coffee Man guise before he took on his World Traveler guise. :)

It was grand to meet you Carleen!

Carleen Brice said...

Lisa, I've heard of the movie, but never seen it.

Yasmin, APOOO does rock! I'd be happy to do a phone chat!

Angelia, Thank you!

Barrie, The apps: a beet & goat-cheese salad and a spoonful (i swear!) of pasta with a spoonful of crab on top. The wine was $11-pino noir. $56 included the tip.

Judy, Looking forward to VA!!!

Gina, It was grand to meet you too! I'll be blogging about Anita's party soon.

Julie Kibler said...

Carleen, did that couch make you feel like fainting? Or at least like falling down and taking a long nap? I love it. I want one.

Sounds like such a fun trip, and the pride in the family picture fairly oozes from their faces. What a great memento of this time for you!

rdn said...

Speaking of your book flying off the shelf at Target, I went to one of my locals and almost couldn't find it. I was going to complain/ask them to order it when I found the shelf where it had been. There was one copy left on what had once been a whole shelf of just your book - which I snatched up before anyone else could get it. Hope it's doing as well everwhere else. I just got it and haven't had opportunity to start it yet, but it's glowing on the table by my chair, taunting me to get going.

Rebecca Hickman said...

What a beautiful hotel room. I feel more calm just looking at the photos.

Carleen Brice said...

Julie and Rebecca, This hotel was perfect for me: the room #s were on blocks of wood with dried lavender stuck in them and the hotel gave me a beautiful sachet of dried lavender. I should have taken more pics--there were photos of flowers and leaves everywhere.

RDN, Thanks for buying my book and thanks for stopping by!!

Ello - Ellen Oh said...

How cool was that! And I love your new Uncle Gee! I think he must be related to me too? We like to announce bowel movements out publicly also! ;o)

Kwana said...

Thanks for sharing on San Fran. I'm going this summer for the RWA conference. I can't wait. Uncle Gee seems like a hoot!

Anonymous said...

what a great trip - I can't wait to buy Uncle Gee's teas!

Therese said...

Hey, why didn't I get SF on my tour? ;)

Seriously, I have found that RH is very good to its authors, regardless of the number of available books in the stores. (Uncle Gee will remedy that trouble quickly, I'm sure!) Hired cars with affable drivers...luxurious hotel rooms...even a mini-bar allowance! Makes the job really worthwhile, don'cha think?

Carleen Brice said...

Ello, I think he's EVERYBODY's Uncle Gee!

Kwana, You'll have a ball! Uncle Gee is just around the corner from City Lights Bookstore. Check him out.

Hi Leslie, You'll love the teas! We tasted one made of rose flowers. Delish! We also tasted one (milk oolong) that smelled and tasted like buttered popcorn.

Therese, You're absolutely right--they treated me VERY well!!

olufunke grace bankole: said...

it's been a while carleen...i'm loving that you're loving all of this. such goodness. i'm thrilled for you.

Sherry said...

Oooohhh this is so exciting. I feel like a groupie!! Hee!!! $56 for such a meager offering in that hotel!?! all right -- as long as the tab is covered, I say treat yourself like you are 5 Star!! (because you are!).

Carleen Brice said...

I&ES, Good to "see" you again! Thanks for the kind wishes.

Sherry, Actually my meal was across the street at a restaurant suggested by one of my drivers (God, do I love the sound of that!). :-) Downtown San Fran ain't cheap! It's a foodie town.

Unknown said...

Any plans of coming to Atlanta. My bookclub plans to read Orange Mint and Honey for our May Selection. Please let me knof if you decide to come.


Carleen Brice said...

Donnica, Thanks for stopping by! And THANKS to your book club for selecting my book for May!!! My birthday is in May, so that's a special treat to know that at least 2 book clubs will be discussing my book then.

Unfortunately, I don't have plans to come to Atlanta yet, but never say never. If something changes, I'll definitely let you know!

Earth Angel said...

Great pics, and man I love that pic of Gee...enjoy reading about your travels and signings. Some serious apps and wine...