Thursday, July 1, 2010

The Big July - Brisbane Part I

Well, here I am in Brisbane, it's cold and a little rainy - perfect book-reading weather I say!
My first day here was both interesting and frustrating - interesting because of the people I met and frustrating because all the roadworks going around the place freaked out the GPS I was using in the hire car!
I still have to return to the airport, and must admit I am dreading to hear those metallic words ``re-cal-culatating''. Not only it is infuriating to know that the GPS is baffled, it is also an affront to the English language to hear it mangled like that. And coming from me, who needs a great editor and proof readers to avoid committing the same crime, that's a big statement!
Yesterday, while travelling from Manly to Chermside (in Brisbane's northern suburbs), it took me on a route back to the airport - and started screaming at me ``U-turn now!'' and ``in 100 metres, make sharp right down an alley!''
I looked at the concrete barriers to either side, and the trucks whirling past me at 100km/h and screamed back: ``You stupid bitch, we're both gonna die!''
Suffice to say we managed to find our way there in the end.
My first stop was at Borders Garden City, which was a wonderful time. The place was packed though, and it took me nearly 20 minutes just to find a park.
My friend from Campbelltown, Maureen Thompson, a fellow thespian from Campbelltown Theatre group, winters in Brisbane and she came along and bought books two and three, being almost all the way through the first. It was wonderful to see such a friendly face - unfortunately the vagaries of the GPS had me behind all day, so we couldn't sit down for a coffee and a proper chat.
There were many lovely people I met, including a couple of budding writers and a lovely girl called Yassmin who had already read the first two and then came back for book three and insisted on getting a photo with me. Why anyone would want to look at my rough head (I have a great face for writing) is beyond me but I am always happy to oblige. Luckily Maureen was there at the same time, so could exchange photographic duties!
Then it was on to TLC books at Manly, a small store in an outlying suburb but the owner, Tanya Caunce, is a Facebook friend and it was her contacting me that led me to come to Brisbane. I love to support the stores that support me, so it was a pleasure to come out there. For such a small place, we did remarkably well, selling 14 books there in about 90 minutes!
Lastly I was out to Chermside, which is a simply massive place. After my parking troubles at Garden City, I grabbed the first spot and saw and it took me five minutes to walk to the store. I had some lovely chats with people, including Facebook friend Besa Ajazi, who took out time from her work in the cinema upstairs to come down to see me, which was fantastic.
I sold out of my first book, although still had plenty of books two and three there, so had to call a halt.
By now, not trusting my GPS entirely, I made my way into the city, to my hotel, the Royal Albert Boutique Hotel. Amazingly, I managed to get there without more than a couple of snippy comments from the GPS, who was now saying things like: ``please drive to the marked route''.
I didn't dignify that with a reply.
The staff were very kind to a frazzled writer who was both tired and famished, and I was able to soak in a hot bath and think about the next day ahead.
So, I'm off to Pulp Fiction in a few minutes, then Dymocks and Borders in the city. Just walking around the city, I find myself talking more to spruikers and buskers than I would have done a year ago, before I began this book selling. I appreciate them much more.
However, that nearly got me into trouble last night, when a spruiker approached me as I walked to the hotel. I was about to at least offer them a smile and a polite no when I realised what they were spruiking - a gentleman's club! My polite no came as I walked very swiftly away!

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