Thursday, 2/1/01 - Barnes and Noble, Richmond
Tonight would be the first of three bookstore appearances I was doing in the Richmond area. I was able to do three because the city is so spread out.
The first one was at the Barnes and Noble right down the road from Toni's neighborhood. I drove to the store parking lot early to park the RV, then Toni picked me up. She and I had dinner at El Paso, a Mexican restaurant nearby, and then she returned me to the store.
While I spoke, there were about ten people either sitting and listening or hovering nearby. One of the women in the book, Patrice Brookes, also spoke with me, talking about how she has been using the Internet in her career.
One of the people who stopped by was an author and motivational speaker who had promoted one of his books by RV. We spoke for a little while at the B&N Cafe after my book signing. Then Toni and I went back to her house.
Friday, 2/2/01 - Books-a-Million, Richmond
I had a noon photo shoot appointment for the Richmond Times-Dispatch, the local daily paper. I had done a phone interview the day before with a local reporter, and the photo shoot was held at the Village Cafe, a restaurant where I worked while I was still in college.
The photo shoot was fun. The photographer had me hold a waitressing tray and I balanced my PowerBook on top of it, then I had to pose in front of the bar, pretending to serve up my computer. Then she took photos of me holding the Berts in front of the RV, with Chewie barking right into the camera the whole time. Action shots!
My sister showed up at the Village, and we ate lunch. Then I headed out to the Books-A-Million store on the West End of town. I arrived early but figured it was better than being late. The Berts and I hung out in the RV for a while.
Later, the author/speaker I had met at B&N stopped by for coffee at the bookstore cafe, and we talked a little more about book promotions and book tours. Finally, it was time for my book signing. This time, I wasn't speaking, so I just greeted customers and encouraged them to take a look at my book.
At one point in the evening, a teacher from VCU (Virginia Commonwealth University) stopped by and invited me to speak to her class the following week. I thought it sounded really interesting and agreed to do it.
I returned to Toni's house and spent time with her and her family. I'm always fascinated with their interactions and of course, have the benefit of being the "outside observer." So this is family life.
Saturday, 2/3/01 - Tower Books, Richmond
My book signing at Tower Books at Willow Lawn was an afternoon event. As usual, I arrived early to park the RV. This time, I decided to have lunch so I went to Ruby Tuesday's in the mall. One bad stomach ache later, I vowed to cook my own meals before speaking from now on.
A woman, Gilinda, who had seen me in Newport News brought six others to see me at Tower Books and what started off as a basic book signing turned into an impromptu speaking engagement to several women and several girls. Gilinda's daughter, Eve, was there and Gilinda told us all about how Eve, at 7 years old, owned the domain name Eve.com and how she negotiated with the founders of Eve.com (the cosmetic company) for the rights to buy the domain name. She ended up with four years college tuition, a multimedia computer and a new Barbie.
Another girl in the audience was 17 year old Vicki whose website VickisCollegeFund.com details her challenge of raising money to pay for college. As an exchange student from the former Soviet Union, Vicki took her SATS and applied to college like fellow high school students in her Virginia class.
When she was accepted to William and Mary the day before she was supposed to return to Russia, she made the difficult decision of staying in the United States and not see her family for several more years in order to pursue her education. She is now working to raise her own tuition.
After a thoroughly enjoyable time at Tower Books, I joined my sister and a friend of hers at Starbucks for coffee and then Target (Tar-ZJAY) for some shopping.
Then it was back to Toni's place. After sitting around like slugs in front of the TV, Toni and I finally decided to go out for a drink and hopefully find some good music for dancing. We started off at the Fox and Hound pub where we had barely two beers as we listened to a band which could have been a great band, but they just futzed around between songs like they couldn't care less if we danced or not. We didn't.
So it was on to some serious dancing at a club called Razzles in a hotel. We arrived to the sounds of danceable music coming from the DJ and finally got to dance to several good songs. We even figured out a line dance that got the entire dance floor dancing in unison. We got home around midnight and went straight to bed. Guess we aren't in our twenties anymore!
Sunday, 2/4/01 - Chester, VA
I drove the RV to Chester, VA to meet up with Chuck and DeeDee who had sold me the Apache. We met at Cracker Barrel and had a huge meal and great conversation. We've stayed in touch since I bought the RV, and they've emailed me several times during my travels.
After a nice time and all that food, I drove back to Toni's and took a nap. Then she and I went to the store, and I picked up some Chinese food for dinner.
I spent the evening trying to find a hotel in the DC area where I could park my RV. Finally, I had to settle on a Radisson in Alexandria, VA since parking is at a premium near DC and parking garages are impossible for my RV.
Tomorrow, I'm going back to the campground in Ashland to take care of more RV domestic chores. I hope it warms up a bit.