Following the yellow brick road . . .

Was it only a little over thirty-nine days ago that I raved that Searching for Tina Turner finally hit the streets, opened box upon box of my books, visited bookstores and photographed shelves with Searching for Tina Turner next to books by Margaret Atwood, Anne Tyler and Barbara Kingsolver?

You bet your bippy it was.

Travel has been the name of my game since then, and I’m loving it. Maybe I was a gypsy, a vagabond, a road entertainer in days gone by. I don’t feel bad hopping from taxi to plane to hotel to book readings. I’m learning to take it all in stride . . . but then it’s only been thirty-something days.

In winter, the Yellow Brick road is not yellow. Heading east, it’s white. (Please, please let my next book be released in spring!) February weekends in Atlanta, New York, Washington DC, and Chicago. Snow is beautiful when it piles thick on a slender tree limb. It’s delightful when it sits in parts of Central Park where New Yorkers have yet to trample. It’s mystical and metaphorical when it’s piled in front of the White House and you think of the Black man surrounding by loving (and fabulous) wife and children inside.

Snow is ugly, too! Yep. Piled curbside, its dirty, black and hard as ice cubes. Like romance gone bad. The Bay Area doesn’t see much snow—if it falls on the peaks of nearby Mt. Diablo or Mt. Tamalpais, it stays only for a couple of hours. Don’t know how well I’d do living in it. Might try to find out—who knows.

Either way, snow made me feel silly.

Snippets of my self-promoted tour (Yes, aspiring, first time, unproven authors, not only do you have to write the book, you’ve got to sell it.)

. . . Started in Hotlanta . . . We gathered at my friend Hortense’s charming home while she revealed just enough of Lena’s story to work the attendees into a buying frenzy (Thank you, H.S.) and spoiled us with chocolate … What a thrill to hear people laugh, sigh or harrumph at Lena’s predicament (in all the right places, too). Atlanta folks are warm and wonderful.

. . . New York. Harlem by night . . . snow falling on a brownstone. Songstress Sarah Dash and actresses Marva Hicks, Alyson Williams, and Barbara Montgomery read Lena’s story like the pros they are (Thank you!) Ran into a woman I hadn’t seen since 1969 . . . Columbus Circle—Searching for Tina Turner on the New Releases table, in full view. FP pal Deborah helped me celebrate what she helped to birth. Loved NYC, but must remember to bring something to keep my ears warm next time around.

. . . LA is . . . well LA. I always get confused when I’m there. I don’t know the cool places to visit or shop or eat. But the night Angela, Cynthia and their friends hosted my reading, I was not confused at all. Fabulous. Once again, four gifted women read from the novel. Ella Joyce, Mara, Charlayne Woodard, and Hattie Winston read like they were auditioning for the movie! Ooooo whee! They set my words on fire.

. . . Washington DC . . . missed the storm . . . Priscilla, Lisa, Beverly and friends . . . a classy event, complete with monogrammed napkins. Thank you, Julia Nixon, songstress extraordinaire, for lending your sultry voice to Lena’s story.

. . . .Yes, on my first visit to Chicago, I had to take a picture for my dream board (if you build it they will come). Ate grits at Wishbone (melt in your mouth biscuits). Thanks to friend Eve’s (Bite by Eve—Chicagoans check out her homemade rolls, quick tour, I saw snow piled high around a very gray Lake Michigan. New friend, Jerome, filled his place to capacity . . . the charming Cynda Williams read the visit to the psychic (starting on p. 74) and brought that old man Vernon Withers to life. I’ve always loved her final scene in “Mo’ Better Blues,” when Cynda’s character sings “Harlem Blues.” She’s delightful.

March is already moving at a different pace, but will be just as interesting. This time the Yellow Brick road will put me face-to-face with Bay Area readers. I’m ready, are you?