Thursday, June 26, 2008

Friday's special is...Queen of the Road!

Queen of the Road by Doreen Orion

Click here to order from Amazon.

Doreen's Blog

Hi all, this is Shona here and it is my pleasure to present to the grill, ahem, to you, the mellifluously named Doreen Orion.

Doreen was just an ordinary housewife...well, no she wasn't. She was a psychiatrist with a thing about shoes. What does that mean? Ask a psychiatrist...hey Doreen, what's that thing about shoes mean?

Anyway, Doreen was also clearly a good wife, because when her husband came up with the idea of abandoning their lives for a year to drive themselves, their pets and her shoes across the US in an RV, she didn't offer him divorce papers. She did it.

The story of how, why and what happened is told in 'Queen of the Road'. And well told, too - check out the reviews:

"A Charles Kuralt-Albert Brooks-style romp where they meet up with nudists, robbers and more." - "Required Reading." The New York Post

"Orion has every good travel writer's ability to make readers feel they are there, to capture the telling details of places, and to present the account in a witty, accessible way. Reading the book makes you want to hit the road and have some of your own grand adventures. This is a fun read that will make just about anyone start itching for a road trip. Grade A." - Rocky Mountain News

What's more, Borders has chosen it as their Featured Book Club Selection for June and Target has chosen it as a Breakout Book.

Given that there is nudity, I think we can expect Miss Savannah to turn up for this one.

Read the excerpt, then answer the three questions that follow and I'll see you in the comments trail!


When my long-dreaded thirtieth birthday arrived, I really wasn’t as upset as I imagined I’d be, for I had achieved a much more important milestone: my sartorial centennial. I owned one hundred pairs of shoes. Then, at age forty-four, I found myself trying to cram a mere half that number into a living space of 340 square feet.

The whole thing was Tim’s fault.

When he announced he wanted to travel around the country in a converted bus for a year, I gave this profound and potentially life-altering notion all the thoughtful consideration it deserved.

“Why can’t you be like a normal husband with a midlife crisis and have an affair or buy a Corvette?” I demanded, adding, “I will never, ever, EVER, not in a million years, live on a bus.”
Something less than a million years later, as we prepared to roll down the road in our fully outfitted, luxury bus, it occurred to me that Tim had already owned a Corvette, long ago when he was far too young for a midlife crisis. While I pondered who he might be seeing on the side (and whether his having an affair might prove less taxing than living in a metallic phallus on wheels), I wedged and stuffed – and, oh my GOD! bent – the cutest little Prada mules you’ve ever seen into my “closet,” which was really not a closet at all, but much more resembled the cubbyhole I’d been assigned many pre-shoe-obsession years ago at Camp Cejwin. How had I let myself go from “never ever” to . . . this? Both Tim and I are shrinks, but he’s obviously the better one. It took him five years, yet he whittled down my resolve, no doubt with some fancy, newfangled brainwashing technique ripped out of one of our medical journals before I could get to it.

That wouldn’t have been the first time my sneaky husband tricked me into doing something I didn’t want to do. Well, OK. It was only the second time (that I know of), but the first was a doozy: Almost twenty years before, Tim lied to get me to go on our first date.

1) At this moment in time, how many pairs of shoes does Doreen own?
2) Besides 'metallic phallus on wheels,' what are two other nicknames Doreen has for their bus?
3) What was the lie, and how long did Doreen fall for it?


Charles Gramlich said...

1) At this moment in time, how many pairs of shoes does Doreen own?

About all I can say about that number is, "Physician Heal Thyself."

2) Besides 'metallic phallus on wheels,' what are two other nicknames Doreen has for their bus?

A "mobile shoe closet," and an "Adventure arrow across the US."

3) What was the lie, and how long did Doreen fall for it?

I think he told her he lived in a shoe store. And she fell for it until it got light outside.

Shona Snowden said...

I think Charles waits up late for these...

Great start!

Arlyle said...

1) I'm not for sure (reading the paragraph, you would think fifty pairs). I do know that she only keeps the ones that look pretty on her husband.

2) 1. Mrs Bunyan's Pocket Rocket.
2. Mini-Greyhound, complete with crazy driver and psychotic bag-lady.

3) The obvious lie, of course: All night, baby!

She believed him for: Three minutes (He'd already been apologizing for two.)

ChrisEldin said...

Good morning!

Ahhh...another great roast.

Shona, your tidbit about "Queen of the Road" being Target's breakout book was really interesting. I spend so much time there shopping for kids, I'd love to be able to go buy some good books as well.

Aimless Writer said...

What a great summer read!
Shoes? 365- one for each day
Metallic phallus? *censored*
The lie? "I swear I'm normal."

Cheryl said...

Wow. I am going to have to get up really early if I want a chance to win a book

Shona Snowden said...

Cheryl, you don't have to be the first! The author chooses the winner according to their own criteria - which could be anything. So give it a go!!

Doreen Orion said...

Ah, yeah, Cheryl. There's no way I'm picking based on first, when I'm usually not even up until the crack of 9. (Today's an exception - I have a live radio interview in a few minutes. I don't think they know what they're getting into. I'm pretty grouchy this early. Ask my husband.)

Shona - the meaning of the shoes? To paraphrase something Uncle Sigmund once said, "Sometimes a shoe is just a shoe."

Chris - I'm very excited about the Target thing, as you can imagine, but don't look for the book there, yet. That promo doesn't start until Aug 10th.

All - Love the entries so far and especially that you're going to all this effort for a roasted copy of my book! (You don't think I'm grilling solo, do you?) If you want to win a pristine copy of David Sedaris' book, check out my blog via my website, as Shona posted it.

Anonymous said...

Welcome, Doreen!

I have a dream.

A dream of wandering across the U.S. for a year. Diving into places. Getting a feel for them.

Only my wish is by motorcycle.


But enough about that. Tell us about shoes. Being a guy, I'm fascinated by their effect on women. What's the psychological/emotion effect when you see them, touch them, try them on? Did you ever do a paper on the topic? Maybe Savannah can weigh in on this one too. Darlin'?

Miss Savannah Spitfire: said...

Well hi there, you all,

Nudity, huh?

Well well, Ms. Doreen...

please do tell us all about those nudists of yours. I've never met a nudist, although I have often been known to be nude.

Heather J. said...

1 - I'm guessing that right NOW, she has over 200 pairs of shoes. I mean, after being forced to "pair" down for the trip, she probably went on a shoe-buying binge as soon as she got back!

2 - Hmm, maybe "The Rolling Funhouse of Shoe-less Torture" or "That THING That Dragged Me Away From My Life" ...

3 - The lie: That they would travel the country in search of fabulous shoe stores where she could buy whatever she wanted. She believed him until: his first stop on this highly-tauted tour was WalMart. :)

Bernita said...

Looking at my grubby Nikes I can't get my mind around that many shoes.
But. You GO, Girl!

Doreen Orion said...

Oh, lordy, Heather. NOT the "W" word. Sigh. The only pair of shoes I've purchased since the trip ended were... (can I really reveal this? This roast IS confidential, right?) waders at Wal-Mart. I-I have a rationalization, I mean, reason: we parked the bus on the beach in Crescent City, CA this winter, right on the coast. There. I feel better, now. Sort of.

Jason - I think shoes are for women what engines (including motorcycles) are for men. More than that, I really don't want to analyze, for fear that will "cure" me. Surely, you understand, for I doubt you'd want to be cured of your motorcycle dream? However, if you do, feel free to email a copy of your insurance card as well as a copayment via paypal. You'll need a session at least twice a week, quite indefinitely. (Have you seen the price of diesel, lately?)

Miss Savannah - While we had many wonderful adventures on the trip, we also had our share of misadventures, whether a fire, flood, armed robbery, or... finding ourselves in a nudist RV park. Really, you haven't lived until you've done naked karaoke. My latest blog post has one of my book trailer videos (there are six, all on my website and YouTube) - this one is of that nudist RV park. (Pace yourselves, people. Let's not crash my blog, now.)

ChrisEldin said...

For your next book, Doreen, we want a YouTube of you singing. Next to a shoe store......

laughingwolf said...

1. she's now down to a sensible two pair, one, currently on her feet, the other, in for repairs

2. rolling review; and, timmy's trainer

3. the big lie: i'm as good, once, as i ever was :O lol

Miss Savannah Spitfire: said...

Why, Miss Doreen, darlin', I'll be checking that out.

Naked karaoke. Oh, my. I believe I would like to view some of that. Might be inspirational...

As for the shoes, I'm all for fetishes, believe me, honey, but that particular one has escaped me. I like my toes too much to cover them.

Carolie said...

1) At this moment in time, how many pairs of shoes does Doreen own? Not nearly enough (says the woman who owns only five pairs of shoes and thinks she has too many: sneakers, hiking boots, black sandals, brown sandals and black pumps. Period. And three of those are hand-me-downs from Mom.)

2) Besides 'metallic phallus on wheels,' what are two other nicknames Doreen has for their bus? "That Hellhole You Keep Forcing Me to Re-Enter" and "The LUUUV Shack" depending on her mood towards her beloved.

3) What was the lie, and how long did Doreen fall for it? Tim told Doreen he simply needed her advice on how to reclaim his throne and depose the evil Sultan who'd stolen his birthright, and she fell for it because she thought she'd get a new patient and a book deal out of it!

JES said...

(1) Pairs of shoes: stopped counting at 25. (Not that she'd run out of shoes, but Tim was foaming at the mouth a little since Doreen was at the moment supposed to be spelling him at the helm of the metallic phallus on wheels -- which was luckily still on that long stretch of I-80 between Grand Island and Lincoln but wouldn't be for much longer -- and decidedly NOT in the closet tallying up footwear.)

(2) Speaking of which: (2a) Weinermobile. (2b) Displacement Bucket.

(3) The lie, and how long effective: "Pretty please? No one ELSE will." Worked until the next weekend (that ugly scene on Tim's back porch).

Arlyle said...

Okay, answers with commentary:

1) Her site says 200 shoes. I don't know if that's 100 pairs or a menagerie of mismatches.

2) On your video at the nudist park, you have a big gray and white pussy between your legs. (If you don't believe me, then go look; yee people going "tsk, tsk")

So names could be:

A) Sardine Express

B) Ménage à trois bucket (She has two cats, and a dog)

3)Hey, I saw the nudist colony pics. JK

Lie: I'm a realDoctor

She believed it until: She found out he was a Psychiatrist.

(People, please do not comment that: A Shrink is an MD. I am aware of that fact.)

So, how'd you like "Modesto: Heroin Capital of America"?
Did you venture to Yosemite and endure that torturous mountain road?
I did an assignment there as a Travel Nurse.

Arlyle said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Arlyle said...

Sorry, I went beyond my allotted one entry/per day.

Dave F. said...

1) At this moment in time, how many pairs of shoes does Doreen own?

About 150 pairs. She's never recovered from that time on Phoenix where she had to wear the wrong shoes to a party and the girls laughed at her behind her back.
Sorry, that's just my regular paranoia creeping into the commentary. It likes to share...

2) Besides 'metallic phallus on wheels,' what are two other nicknames Doreen has for their bus?
Names that aren't rude (Besides mobile port a potty?)... "That Thing" and "I figure we can always use it as hubby's coffin"

3) What was the lie, and how long did Doreen fall for it?
The LIE, the great LIE, the one and only lie! "Lowering taxes raises revenues" Sorry, but that's the greatest lie.

This is an interesting choice of book so near to July 4th and summer travels.

Mary Witzl said...

Okay, I'll take a couple of wild guesses here.

1) More than she needs (according to my husband. Who acts that I'm Imelda Marcos with my barely ten pairs)

2) Actually, 'metallic phallus on wheels' is good enough to keep. She doesn't need any better names.

3) What lie might her husband have told her to get her to go out with him? Gee... My husband claimed he really liked cats, so I'm going to go with that one. No, actually, I'll change that: I'm guessing that her husband told her he had a shoe fetish.

Doreen Orion said...

GREAT answers! Wow - deciding is going to be tough. (Almost as difficult as choosing among my #%@ current pairs of shoes!)

My toes, I'm sure, are not nearly as purty as Miss S's. Perhaps that explains some of the shoes... but just as likely not.

Ah, Modesto. The only time we've ever stayed in a trailer park (as opposed to an RV park). Why? We, too, wondered why Modesto has no RV parks. Whenever we posed this excellent question to any local, the answer would invariably be, "But, why would anyone want to come here?"

Modesto apparently didn't feel any more charitable toward us: We got stuck in the mud trying to make our escape and needed an E-tow. (There are pictures on my blog of this - see the Feb or March '08archives. I can't be sure: More martini recipes ensued.) That was our last bus disaster - so far. (The others, during the year of the QUEEN OF THE ROAD trip included fire, flood, armed robbery and my developing a bus phobia. Is it any wonder there are copious martini recipes in the book? NOW I have your attention!)

Sam said...

Lordy - shoes. I don't even know how many I have, and I consider myself quite sane on the subject. I'll guess thirty?

Names for a bus - the tin can? Chitty chitty bang bang?

The lie - "We'll just go as far as the nearest Prada store..."

Brian Jay Jones said...

I'm on deadline and don't have time to be funny today (not that I'm really all that funny to begin with), but I just wanted to drop in and tell Doreen congratulations, and wish her well. I'm a fellow AWer, and have been following her progress since day one, and I'm so happy for her success.

Have fun today, Doreen!

Phoenix said...

We got stuck in the mud trying to make our escape and needed an E-tow.

An E-tow? What comes to mind, for me, is a vitual tow (like in e-mail, e-business) and I'm sure that can't be right. What the heck is an E-tow, Doreen?

And, gosh, I glossed right over all those shoes (sorry, I don't know a mule from a clog), but glommed right onto "pets" making the trip with you. Dogs, cats, snakes? Were they easy travel companions? And did they survive?

Arlyle said...

Don't forget that you found Elvis

Doreen Orion said...

Brain - Thanks so much! Very kind of you (and hardly in keeping with most of the rest of the - ahem - roasters).

E-tow - I had the same reaction. But, that's what the BIG flat bed truck said on it. Never did ask the guy why. I was too busy taking pictures of this, Tim's latest bus humiliation. (No wonder he demanded his own chapter, "I Am Not An Idiot." Too bad I helped him write it. You be the judge.)

Ah, Elvis. Yes, in Las Vegas during our bus year, we renewed our vows in the bus with the King officiating. When I did a "reading/signing/royal shtick" 2 weeks ago there, I invited him. He not only came, but sang a few songs before my talk at Borders, then raffled off (to anyone who bought a book) a chance to have vows renewed RIGHT there at the store. People were laughing so hard, they were crying - as was the lucky couple. That's posted on my blog, as well. GREAT Elvis, if you're ever in the need for one.

All the pets thrived, even the fraidy-cat (who I always referred to as the cat only a mother could love). I figured she could be just as much of a neurotic mess on the bus as she was stationary, but guess what? She actually acquired balls (being stuck in 340 sq feet with another cat who hates you and a 60 lb dog who just wants to gum you a little will do that, I suppose). Actually, each of us changed for the better on the trip - except our standard poodle. I suppose that's because he was perfect to begin with.

Chumplet said...

1) At this moment in time, how many pairs of shoes does Doreen own?


2) Besides 'metallic phallus on wheels,' what are two other nicknames Doreen has for their bus?

"The Hell Mobile" and "You've Got To Be Kidding Me"

3) What was the lie, and how long did Doreen fall for it?

He told her beer makes him handsome, and plied her with the drink until she said yes. When she sobered up, she realized her mistake.

ChrisEldin said...

Brian is only being nice because he's going to be roasted in the near future.
Clever ploy.

Robin S. said...

Ooooh, I wanna play. I've been too strapped for time all week.

How's this....

1. 12 pairs of sandals, 12 flats, 12 sneakers (designer of course),
12 designer dress shoes, and 12 assorted others to include bootsie shoes, for a total of 60 - 8 more than ya need for the 52 weeks of the year, but what the hell.

2. The Bulbous Bus, and the Weiner Doghouse.

3. The lie: that he'd been a Chippendale (or is that Chip 'n Dale?) dancer to put himself through college.

Shona Snowden said...

Brian is only being nice because he's going to be roasted in the near future.

Won't make any difference, will it roasters?

I think some of these answers are the funniest yet; and Doreen is even funnier. Keep 'em coming!

Miss Savannah Spitfire: said...

Well, Shona darlin',

How are you doin'? I've been a good girl today. A veritable lady. I hope you noticed.

Miss Doreen,

Maybe some time you could learn sailin' and cajole your husband onto a boat and take him on a trip, and maybe keep his golf clubs or his tennis rackets captive in the closet, huh?

Seems only fair to me, seein' as he had your shoes all messed up and all.

And then you could go and take him on a wild journey, and sorta have a sequel if you, you know, visited enough ports or somethin'.

And also, let me say, it sure has been nice visitin' with you today!

Bein' a Southerner, I'm nothin' if not mannerly.

ChrisEldin said...

Contest is open until 9am Saturday, so keep the comments rolling in!!

Doreen Orion said...

Sorry to have been away for so long, but happy hour called. I know this bunch understands.

Ah, Miss Savannah. Tim's next hair-brained scheme is to live on a boat. I say hair-brained because neither of us knows anything about boats. Lord help us.

Chris - so THAT's why Brian was so nice. Geez. I am SO gullible. No wonder Tim was able to convince me to live on a bus.

And, yes. Please do keep the responses coming. But with due time 9 am ET, please don't expect a winner on the dot. I mean, I'm usually not even awake until the crack of 9 (and that's MT), then, I read a little, write a little and by then it's 11 and time to get out of bed.

Shona Snowden said...

A relatively good girl, Miss Savannah. I did notice you perked up whenever nudity was mentioned.

Doreen, if you have not already retired for the night, I thought poodles were renowned for being hyper! I have a poodle cross and we always refer to her wild moments as her 'poodle side' coming out. (You could probably say something similar about Miss Savannah, except you would have to substitute the word 'poodle'.)

Also, was there anything that you missed on your journey that, when you look back, you wish you had done/visited/eaten?

And, yes, late night roasters are welcome on Friday - it's the day we party all night!

Bree said...

1. Started off with 100 pairs like any respectible woman and then had to downsize to 50 per hubby's crazy dream.

2. The Bus (with a Will of Its Own) and Royal Rig

3. He lied about going on a group date. It was just him not a group of friends. She fell for the lie for a few weeks until he told her.

Doreen Orion said...


Isn't this way late for you? Or is it early? And, doesn't your toilet flush the opposite way? You can tell it's late for me. I'm confused.

You're thinking of the little poodles. Standard poodles (although there's really nothing standard about them) are huge and not hyper at all. In fact, they're very calm. They have the temperment of Dobermans - and, they don't shed. They're actually #2 on doggie IQ, right behind your countryman - er... countrydog - the Australian Sheep Dog (I think it's called). Of course, we must recognize that when speaking of nuances of doggie IQ, we're talkin' microns of difference, but there ya go.

Shona Snowden said...

Hi Doreen. It's the middle of the afternoon here!

I didn't know that about standard poodles. Of course, when you think about it, it's usually the little breeds that are the most hyper. Terriers are massive balls of energy.

We're not 100% sure what's in our dog - not exactly what we were told - but she's part poodle for sure and thankfully she got the not-shedding part! She's very friendly and paid the price this morning when a mean little dog nipped her nose. Much yelping and cowering behind my legs.

Glad to know the brightest dog around is an Aussie!

Doreen Orion said...

Thanks so much to all for the delicious roast! I'm up later than I intended because I was chuckling most of the night about your answers. A big thanks to Chris for inviting me and another to Shona for hosting, even when it was such an inverted schedule for her!

And... the winner is (this REALLY was difficult, folks. I decided to go for a mix of realism and what made me laugh): CHUMPLET!

50 is about right, right now. On our entire trip, I only wore like 3 pairs. We both learned the value of living more of a simple life. So much so, instead of selling the bus as we thought we would on our return, we're actually in the process of selling our house to live in the bus full time! So, I went from Elizabeth Gilbert Anti-Christ to loving the travel and adventure.

The "You've Got to Be Kidding Me" just made me laugh. And, since Tim IS a very persuasive guy and I can rarely figure out how he gets me to do stuff (like live in a bus), I think Chumplet may have something there!

Thanks so much, again. And, please head on over to my blog for another chance to win books!

Phoenix said...

More books? More books? I'm on my way, Doreen!

Oh my, a full-time lifestyle? I'm already enjoying the sequel in my head :o)

Congrats, Chumplet! We'll be looking for you here next month!

Chumplet said...

Yipee! I won! Thanks, Doreen - I've been so curious about your book and I'm happy to add it to my blogging buddy repertoire.

I'll scoot on over to give you my address and stuff.


Doreen Orion said...

Very sweet of you, Chumplet! And, I DO hope you love it... but if you don't, can we just forget the whole thing?

laughingwolf said...

grats, sandra! :)

McKoala said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Shona Snowden said...

Doreen, thank you so much for being here! Sorry I missed the denouement, but had to sleep.

Congratulations Chumplet and thank you to everyone for your ingenious answers!