Sunday, February 01, 2009

Meet the Authors at Reader's Oasis Books in Quartzsite, AZ

Here’s a quiz question for you:

Why to people go to book stores?

A. To find a book they like to buy and read.

B. To meet authors who are discussing and promoting their books.

C. To see a nudist.

D. All of the above

If your favorite book stores are Borders or Barnes & Nobel, then you probably answered A and B. If you are in Quartzsite, Arizona and headed to Reader’s Oasis Books, the answer is D – all of the above.

I wondered why the chubby, gray haired lady in Winter Haven RV Park asked me with a naughty giggle, if I’d been to the book store yet. I hadn’t, but planned to go soon I told her. Ed had made a run to the book store first. When I asked him to take me one afternoon, he laughingly said, “Just be sure you only look at the books.” Huh? I didn’t get it. The surprise came as I browsed the rotating display of postcards in the book store. A skinny, darkly tanned old man wearing only a hat and purple g-string to cover his “winky-dink” walked past me.

I looked, stared actually, and then blinked in disbelief at his saggy bare hinny. Now, I come from Mlinarich stock, at least 50%, and we often speak our mind. But, I curbed my urge to mutter what my Aunt Betty surely would have said aloud had she been with me, “What the hell’s the matter with you! Go get some clothes on. We don’t want to see your ass.”

Paul Winer is a naked bookseller, America’s original exotic male entertainer, and owner of Reader’s Oasis Books. During my stay in Quartzsite, I would see more of Paul than he ever saw of me – my clothes stayed on. I made several trips to his books store. Why? “B”: To meet authors who are discussing and promoting their books.

The first author I wanted to meet was Darlene Miller author of humorous books about the RV lifestyle. I’d enjoyed her first book RV Chuckles and Chuckholes. I wrote about this book in one of my blogs and that prompted some email correspondence between Darlene and me. I tracked her down in the Oasis Author’s Tent where she greeted me with hugs and encouragement to keep writing and RVing. She autographed her second book for me. Just like her first book, More RV Chuckles and Chuckholes – More Confessions of Happy Campers tickled my funny bone. I especially loved Chapter Six – “The Perfect RV Day” followed by the “The Perfect RV Woman” and concluding with “The Perfect RV Man.”

I returned to Reader’s Oasis a week later after reading in “RV Lifestyles,” a semi-monthly electronic newsletter, that the authors Jamie Hall and Alice Zyetz would be in the Author’s Tent. Through prior email and phone contacts with these professional writers, I’d been encouraged to submit my writing to Escapees Magazine. I also submitted several stories for their consideration as part of their next collection of RV essays. When we met, more hugs and excited chatter settled into sharing of stories about our journeys and life on the road as writers. Weeks later, I learned that I been their best customer buying four of their published works. So far I’ve read three cover to cover. They are must read books. Here’s what I think:

Just like the summer reading list prepares students for a semester class, advance reading of RV Traveling Tales: Women’s Journeys on the Open Road would have helped me to grasp the full-time RV lifestyle quicker and easier. This intimate collection of stories written by women about full-timing came almost two years too late. After reading the entire book, I finally get it! Full-time RVing is not a perpetual vacation. It is the continuum of life without the permanence of place.

Because of the influence these stories have had over me, I now recommend this book to women who ask me for advice about making the decision to take up the full-time RV lifestyle. Before a woman decides to adopt life on the road, she needs to know what the road will bring her way through the experiences of others. Occasional weekend camping or an RV vacation for a week or two really doesn’t paint a clear picture. Talking to one or two full-timers at a rally might help, but it’s not enough. I am of the opinion that before a woman takes the plunge, required reading must be this valuable book edited by two experienced full-timers Jaimie Hall and Alice Zyetz.

I now keep RV Traveling Tales: Women’s Journeys on the Open Road within ready reach in my Prevost coach. Some days the essays, these sincere expressions from women’s points of view, can be that needed companion when friends are far away. The words reach out to say, “Girlfriend, I understand” or “I feel that way too.”

The second book I will keep on our coach library shelf for future reference. In Support Your RV Lifestyle! An Insider’s Guide to Working on the Road, Jamie Hall provides essential information an RVer needs for moneymaking while living on the road. From practical information about resumes to stories shared by working RVers, this book is a comprehensive manual to hang onto for those of us on the road following our dreams. For now my dream is to travel and write, but it could be as time passes, I might like to be a camp host, a mystery shopper, a Disney worker, or a pumpkin vendor. This Insider’s Guide will tell me how.

I bought the third book, You Shoulda Listened to Your Mother: 36 Timeless Success Tips for Working Women, by Alice Zyetz as a graduation for gift for my daughter Suzie. I tried to refrain from reading it so Suzie would be first to crack the spine, but I gave in to curiosity several nights ago. My bookmark holds my place at Chapter 7. I have until May 9th to absorb the wisdom within the pages.

Book number four, Taking the Mystery out of RV Writing will be my guide as I prepare to submit my own RV stories to magazines and write my book proposal. I think this book on CD has a permanent place in my Dell Latitude CD drive. When I exhaust the resources found in this book, I hope the answers to the quiz question will be:

A. To find a book written by Patty Lonsbary

B. To meet Patty Lonsbary on her book tour

C. To see the latest fashions Patty Lonsbary bought on sale a Chico’s, Coldwater Creek or Talbots

D. All of the above.

January 28, 2009

Quartzsite, Arizona

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