Wednesday, September 8, 2010

The Book Tour--Fashion disasters.

Tomorrow I set out on a book tour--nine cities in nine days, drop in signings, events, a lunch, a dinner and little time to breathe--and no time at all to launder clothes.

I've done this before so I know what I'm in for, especially the car arriving at crack of dawn to whisk me to the airport. And I've learned from my mistakes, especially fashion mistakes. I don't mean that I've ever shown up with clashing colors or last year's leopard print, heaven forbid, but I've learned the following:

If you only have one white top, the plane will hit turbulance the moment you sip coffee.
Or even worse, what happened to me in Los Angeles last spring. I arrived at the hotel early, went to get a coffee and sit in the courtyard. The person at Starbucks must have been new, or not liked the look of me. As I picked up the cup the lid came flying off and with it hot coffee all over me. I mean all over--white turtle neck, pants and, worst of all, my lovely red leather jacket. I grabbed napkins, rushed to the nearby fountain and started sponging the jacket furiously, all the time believing that it was either ruined or I was in for a very expensive cleaning. Miraculously the patient sponging worked and there are only a couple of specks still visible. But the turtle neck and the pants were useless for the rest of the weekend.
what I've learned is always take one spare neutral top and one spare pair of black pants because you never know.
Like the time I was on a mid day TV show. I finished my segment but I'm sitting on one of those high stools and I can't leave when the host announces that next we're having a cooking demonstration. The chef makes a very red pasta sauce, very oily, tomato type sauce. He pours it over spaghetti and then--he hands me some to eat. On camera. With my white shirt on.  Okay, so I've never been the best spaghetti eater and with the world watching me slurp it in while sauce drips down my front was not one of my favorite moments. So I've learned: PRACTICE PRETENDING TO EAT.
Also I've learned.
Never believe in weather forecasts. Last weekend I was in Portland. I checked the weather and it was predicting hot all weekend. It reached 90 the first day I was there. However, when I set out for the airport on Sunday it had dropped to the 50s and I froze.
Just because the outside air temperature is one hundred does not necessarily mean it won't be arctic in the hotel, and the air conditioner will invariably be directly over the place where I have to stand to give a speech.
Always take along a shawl, pashmina in the carry on for those freezing planes, a long sleeved shirt when you think you'll only need short and a sweater.

My big fear is that I'll wear the same outfit at the same store two years in a row. Fans always come up to me with pictures they've taken of us together on the last occasion. How mortifying when I look and see it's the same jacket! They must think I only have one. I should keep a fashion diary, but who has time?

So I hope I'm prepared--I'm going to be hot in Scottsdale and Houston, cold in Seattle and who knows in places like San Diego and LA? And I'll be going from air conditioned car to heat to air conditioned bookstore. So I've learned never wear fabric that turns into a limp rag with humidity. I'll try to post pictures along the way so you can see whether I've succeeded or not!

Do you have any fashion disasters you'd like to share?


  1. Love the hat, Rhys! I came here looking for your tour schedule. Any chance you'll be near Boise this time? I'll make you a cup of proper tea if you get near. I still use your shortbread recipe. And, YES! Please enter me in your book drawing.

  2. Nowhere near Boise this time, I'm afraid. Seattle is as close as I get. And the tour schedule is on the events page of my website.

    But I'll make sure I stop in for that cup of proper tea next time I'm in Boise!

  3. I am so happy you are extending Molly's story. she is such a dear...I thought I might bring to your attention the recent story about the first women police officer in chicago around 1891.. The story was featured in todays LA Times Sept 9 2010. Her name was Marie Owens like Molly an Irish immigrant familiar with povery and hardship. Her history was long buried but thanks to a intrepid detective has recently been uncovered. I found the article quite inspiring .. Hopefully marie will now receive some recognition long overdue.

  4. Can't wait to read the latest Georgie! The shortbread recipe was a big hit with my friends and the Savoy scones are great. I used cake flour since I was out of all purpose and they came out fine. I just finished all the Evans novels--Evan's Gate was my favorite. Looking forward to more from Molly, too. My sainted Irish grandmother Mary Sheerin was born in Ballaghdereen in 1880, came to New York and worked as a dressmaker in NYC during the same period that Molly was doing her undercover work in the garment industry, so I really enjoyed getting a glimpse into her past through Molly. Thanks for all your wonderful books. I'm sorry I missed the launch party. Maybe next time. Have a great tour and stay safe.

  5. It was a fantastic luncheon in Scottsdale to kick off your tour! It was great fun meeting you! I am so excited about finishing Royal Flush and getting on with Royal Blood. After that, I plan on starting the The Molly Murphy series, which should keep me busy - while patiently waiting on the next Georgie installment that you mentioned. ;) Have a great rest of your tour!

  6. I'm a newbie to your writing Rhys, after years of reading novels by female mystery writers... how in the world did I miss you all this time? It has taken me less than 2 days to read your first 2 Georgie novels. I told my husband that you must be a Wodehouse descendant with your upper crust imagery. I constantly chuckled through Hanni's German accented English with the gangster twist. I've just written to my library to please purchase Royal Flush and Royal Blood and put me first in line.

    As for clothing disasters. Try flying with 2 small children alone from Newark to L.A. only to have your 10 month old throw up all over you, himself and his backpack carrier during the layover. Then onto the international flight to Hong Kong where in the first hour he knocked a glass of apple juice all over me (which then starts to smell vinegary instantly when mixed with whatever he deposited earlier). I have said for the last 14 years I could make a killing inventing Teflon clothing for travelers and especially parents. Then everything would slide right off and we'd look right as rain. I had to overnight in Hong Kong and leave with said children and 6 pieces of 70 pound luggage, and 6 carry-ons (back in the good old days when you could bring that much on board) to fly into China. At the final destination I met my husband, eyed him, handed over the children and the baggage claim checks and said, "Never again!"