Archive for the ‘Driving Ms. Pamela’ Category

Driving Ms. Pamela – Rising from the ashes

Posted on 2011 09, 22 by PamelaEwen

Hello friends – If you were following our Dancing on Glass tour in August, you may remember that we were rudely interrupted by the disappearance of my computer half-way through! Whoever took my computer also took our little touring car. So, take a look. How about this one for a replacement?

Jimmy and new touring car?

After the earthquake (okay, people in California stop chuckling), and driving parallel to Hurricane Helen down the coast, we ended up on Friday, August 26th in Augusta, Ga. Lots of history here. Had a booksigning scheduled that night at Lifeway, but spent the afternoon in the Augusta History Museum. It’s a great spot–there was a steam passenger train from the 1920′s like the one my grandparents rode in the 1920′s. I got on and sat in one of the seats for a while, imagining.

Lifeway in Augusta

Book signing - Dancing on Glass

The booksigning in Augusta was great. Hal Perdue, the Manager, had balloons to welcome everyone, and wonderful food, and punch–his own recipe. Here’s a picture of Hal and me and all those balloons. Hal had copies of the Moon in the Mango Tree and Secret of the Shroud as well as Dancing on Glass. Had some great conversations with readers! Hope everyone enjoys the books.

From Augusta we went to Buford, Georgia where I had a signing at another Lifeway store. Met hurricane Nora there–that’s Nora St. Laurent who hosts The Book Club This is a really lively site for book clubs and authors to meet and chat. I highly recommend it–Nora lights a spark! Some of Nora’s local book club members came by and I loved meeting them. We had a drawing for “River Road Recipes” there and Marilyn won. Those are the favorite recipes for my heroine in Dancing on Glass, Amalise Catoir.

Now–I’ll share with you her favorite recipe. (Which happens to be one of mine) Red beans and rice. You can do this in a crock pot, even better. Cover the dry beans with water with about 2 inches above the beans to spare. Add chopped onions, garlic, sausage (Amalise likes it hot!), a few bay leaves, salt to taste, and a ham hock. Put the crock pot on high for six hours, or low for eight or nine hours. About one hour before finishing up, add one tsp. of cumin, and two or three tablespoons of butter and stir until the butter melts. Then put the top back on the pot for another hour, make the rice, and serve. The butter somehow binds the gravy, makes it thick and really good. Yum-let me know if you like it.

Now that I’ve risen from the ashes, I’ll continue the Driving Ms. Pamela blogs again soon. Until then – Pamela.

Driving Ms. Pamela – Amazing Grace

Posted on 2011 08, 26 by PamelaEwen

This is an irritable interim post. We’re in Augusta, Georgia having survived an entire day with our GPS, generally referred to as ’Amazing Grace.’ Those of you who were with us on our past Driving Ms. Pamela tours will be familiar with AG and her sometimes erratic behavior. For example, on past tours we’ve been convinced that she’s possibly (A) a soviet spy, (B) a co-conspirator with Hal, alpha computer from the movie 2001 Space Odyssey, or (C) an alien invader. At any rate, after planning our visits to bookstores in Charlotte, NC  this morning with great care, so that we would move from one to the other with no wasted energy or time, Amazing Grace refused to cooperate. We found ourselves constantly in front of construction sites, blinking yellow arrows we’ve never seen before, and suffering numerous irritable commands such as ’take the next legal U-turn.” Charlotte, nevertheless, is a beautiful city

For those of you interested in planning such a book tour, by the way, I have a new discovery. Being a technological idiot, I’ve just found out how to plan a route so that we’re not criss-crossing the city all day long. In the event you don’t already know this–here’s what I’ve learned. First, google ‘bookstores in XXX city’. You’ll get a list, plus a map. Write down the addresses of the bookstores you want to visit. Then go to MapQuest and click on ‘directions’, then ‘plan routes.’ You put in your beginning address, and you can add as many after that as you want. MapQuest will organize them according to proximity!! (Better than Grace has ever done, I’ll say.)

Driving down NC Hwy 77 to Georgia was such a pleasure. In Louisiana we have huge billboards all over the place. Apparently they’re not allowed in NC, or else no one cares to put them up. Either way, the result is a long, serene drive between green forests–beautiful. Only problem was that for no reason at all that I could ascertain about once an hour Grace would blurt out ‘recalculating route’. Jimmy and I would jump and panic, thinking we’d somehow landed on the wrong road. Then Grace would say “continue on highway 77 South’…!!! I think she gets a kick out of this. Here’s a picture of me and Grace. Grace is in the trash basket under my foot.

I may let her spend the night there.

Tomorrow I’ll be signing books at Lifeway Christian Store in Augusta, GA. from 5 – 7 PM. We’ll have a drawing and the winner will receive a copy of River Road Receipes, THE book for Lousiana cooking. If you have time and you’re in the neighborhood, stop by andsay hello and put your name in for the prize! Pamela 

Driving Ms. Pamela – All Shook Up

Posted on 2011 08, 25 by PamelaEwen

Hello again everyone – Before leaving Washington we took a cruise down the Potomac. It was a lovely dinner cruise with music. Here’s a picture of Jimbo and I in awe of this beautiful capital. Pamela and Jimmy on the DandyWe danced to the Righteous Brothers songs as the boat glided along, down through the very low bridges, past the Washington Monument, the Lincoln Memorial and the city, finally, all lit up a night.

The next morning we visited lots of book stores and then headed down to Richmond, VA. for a booksigning at Colonial Heights, VA. The signing was at Parable’s Rainbow Christian store on Tuesday. They were so welcoming and generous–I felt like we were all old friends. Beautiful displays of my books, all three novels. Around two o’clock or so, I was sitting near the front entrance talking to some people when the whole building began to shake, rattle, and roll. Like we were frozen, everyone just stook there looking at the shaking glass and shelves full of breakable things. For an instant we thought it was from construction next door…but that didnt make sense because the entire building was moving. Then the constuction workers ran outside and yelled to us to get out of the building. Still in a fog, we strolled outside, mouths open, and stood on the sidewalk. By then the shaking was over and someone called someone else and found out that it was an earthquake. We were about 30 miles from the Epicenter.

Perhaps I’m a woman who can move the earth. I suggested something similar, but they answered that perhaps, then, they were lucky to have survived a visit from  Pamela Binnings Ewen.  Oh well. Never mind. But it was certainly a shock. Locals say it’s the biggest earthquake in 114 years in that area.  Had a good time with these folks–they are warm and friendly and gracious. Here’s a picture of the earthquake survivors’ from Rainbow Christian Store in Colonial Heights that day. 

Earth shakes at Parable--Colonal Heights, VA

 Drove on down to Raleigh/Durham after leaving earthquake country and visited several stores before moving on to Greensboro for the same. Found several stores with Dancing on Glass already on their shelves, and I always ask if I can sign those, and generally they’re happy to have you do that. I always leave lots of bookmarks. Everyone needs bookmarks, and my thinking is that someday it will remind them that there’s a great story just waiting to be read!!

From Greensboro we drove to Charlotte, hoping that Irene would head out to sea and leave all these fine folks and beautiful places alone.  I have to say that the highways in Virginia were clean and beautiful, and so were the ones in North Carolina. In fact they were spectacular in NC – we took HWY 80S (I think) and it was about 75 miles with no billboards on the sides of the road, only trees. So peaceful after  the long drive.

And then… as Jude said in Dancing on Glass…Gentlemen, start your engines! Because this is NASCAR country. Even the ‘plainclothes?’ police cars were undercover. They used old looking Mustangs that I bet were all souped up because there were some fast cars passing us on that speedway. (We’re used to seeing them in nice new white Crown Victorias!?)  Had dinner here at the Texas Steak and Grill and it was great – I had a wedge salad with blue cheese dressing and all the bad stuff–like bacon and lots of blue cheese sprinkles, and good stuff like tomatoes and medallians of serloin, all for ten dollars. Delicious. Jimmy had mesqite smoked quail legs…okay, okay…I know. Little quailies he ate, but they sure were tasty.

Today we’ll visit all the bookstores we can in Charlotte, and then head for Augusta, Georgia for another booksigning at Lifeway Christian Store. If you’re in the area come by and say hello! Signings on Friday, August 26th, from 5 – 7 PM . And please say a prayer for those in the path of Hurrican Irene. TEENAGE ALERT – If you are planning a ‘hurricane party’ for Irene, PLEASE don’t do it. Check on internet to see what happened to a group of kids who did that in Hurricane Camille at  hotel on the beach in Biloxi, Miss in 1969!

Driving Ms. Pamela – Washington, D.C.

Posted on 2011 08, 21 by PamelaEwen

We’re on the road again–Washington, D.C. to start our book tour for Dancing on Glass after some great signings  at home the first two weeks of August.  Garden District Bookshop in uptown New Orleans was first and Britton Trice and Amy made it festive with goodies to eat and drink and lots of fun. Bar pilot Jacques Michel showed up at this one. He and his wife Wendy and river pilot, Charlie Crawford and his wife Sherry, gave me lots of info and history for the character of Jude in Dancing. On the Mississippi River bar pilots guide ships over the treacherous sandbars in and out of the Gulf of Mexico. River pilots take the ships back and forth between New Orleans and Pilottown, a small island near the Delta passes. Pilots live for two weeks out of every month at their stations houses in Pilottown. 

Washington is our first stop on this book tour, but my first booksigning isn’t until Tuesday at Rainbow Christian Store in Colonial Heights, Virginia–near Roanoke. So here we’ll just visit the various bookstores to meet the people who love and sell books. I’ll leave a copy of Dancing for their break rooms, and lots of bookmarks! Yesterday we toured the city on one of those double-decked red buses. Almost went flying off the roof of the thing when tree branches batted us around. Great way to get an overview of the city though–saw parts of the city we’d never seen before. Have to show you this great picture of the National Cathedral – such a beautiful building.   

Went to the spy museum and thought we’d never get out of there. It’s a warren of rooms with no exit and no one to tell you how to get out! Took about two hours–recommend you skip this one! But the Ford Theater’s another story. This is one great museum–the theater where President Lincoln was shot by John Wilkes Booth. It’s been restored to its original condition. Tickets are free if you buy them on the day you’re going to go through it. I’m waving to you in the picture, here standing right beside the balcony where Lincoln was shot. He was watching a play, along with his wife, Mary, when Booth walked in and shot him in the back of the head.

John Wilkes Booth was the organizer of a conspiracy–six people involved. When they were caught they were held in prison with hoods over their heads until they were tried and hung. Here’s a picture of Booth’s boot (found at Dr. Mudd’s house — as in, your name is “Mud”) and the white hood the prisoners wore. I guess they never saw daylight again after they were caught.

Note that the hood (the white thing) has a hole only for the mouth. No slits for the eyes.

Tonight if the weather holds up, we’re going on a boat tour down the Potomac. Talk to you soon!  Pamela