The Great ASHES TO WATER Florida Library Tour is motoring its way though the sunshine state, and I don't know why everyone doesn't move to Florida for the month of January. The weather is so darned sensible. None of this below zero business, no frozen pipes or outerwear that makes you look like the Michelin Tire Man. Why don't you pack the car right now and drive on down? You can stay with my parents. You don't even have to call first. They love surprises.
From January 20 until Feb. 2, I will be talking about Florida Fiction to library patrons who have been promised Carl Hiassen, but (surprise!) will get me instead. Who doesn't enjoy a good switcheroo every now and again? I'm pretty sure they'll be pretty happy to buy a book from someone they never heard of, don't you? Yeah, I think so, too.
My sister loaned me her car, a Miata. It's great if you are under five feet and like the feeling of being sucked along the highway on a skateboard. My sister drives a Porsche, now. It's basically the same car only quieter, and if hit, will crumble like a coffee can instead of a sardine tin. I am very grateful for the loan of the Miata. I would have to rent a car otherwise, and to make up the expense, would have to sell more books than I have wedged in the miniscule trunk. Thank you, Karen.
My first stop on the Great ASHES TO WATER Florida Library Tour (herein GATWFLT) was Leesburg, FL. If you hold up your right hand, palm facing out, Leesburg is at the base of the thumb. Oh wait. That's Michigan. Never mind.
Leesburg is a beautiful town in Lake County, central Florida. There are plenty of reasons you should move there and live out the rest of your days in the shadow of majestic live oaks, but the best one could well be the library. Carol Anderson and her staff obviously love being the heartbeat of the community and are, as far as I'm concerned, hospitality central as well.
When I arrived, Carol escorted me to the TV studio where Tom Wilcox, my library interviewer was waiting. We talked for 30 minutes about Ashes to Water, and the interview will be broadcast next week. Then Carol took me, Tom and Linda to lunch, and when I ordered three dirty martinis they didn't even blink.
Kidding. They blinked a lot.
Kidding. I didn't order martinis. But I think I will next time, just to see what happens.
Then I met Tiffany Roach. Tiffany writes a column for the Lake & Sumter County Style Magazine. I read her article in Healthy Living, about being the mother of 4-year old triplets, and a 2-year old singlet. I would have stabbed myself in the neck with a fork about 3 years ago, but Tiffany is inspiring. We shared some laughs as she interviewed me for the magazine. After, Heather the photographer took me to Venetian Gardens for a picture. It ended up being a lot of pictures, but Heather was having so much fun, I couldn't complain, not even when she asked me to take off my pantyhose because she wanted my bare feet in the picture; not even when she asked me to stand in the marsh water because she wanted me to look like I was wading through the reeds. Hey, you can't interfere with an artist's vision. You go, Heather! Can't wait to see the results.
About 16 library patrons showed up (a GREAT house!) and I talked about my journey as a writer, and how to turn autobiographical material into fiction. Then I answered questions and sold enough books to pay for my airplane ticket, which thrills me to no end. Carol had everyone fill out evaluations forms, and later told me that I got high marks. THANK YOU, LEESBURG!
A friend from my grade school days showed up and flipped me out, mostly because he's aged better than me and that is so incredibly rude. But he bought a book, so I forgive him. Thank you, Jim. I'm honored you drove all that way to say hello.
I have pictures but forgot my uploady thingy, so I'll add them later.
Uploady thingy. Yep, that's what we call it down here. In Florida. Where it's warm.
My parents would love to have you. Seriously.