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Tiaras Forever!

Hey All, I just had the best time.

Last Thursday I packed my car and trekked north to Jefferson, Texas, for the Pulpwood Queens 2009 Girlfriend Weekend. For those of you unfamiliar with the Queens, the organization was started by Kathy L. Patrick in her hair salon/bookstore, Beauty and the Book. What began as a local book club only nine years ago is now an international powerhouse with 210 chapters. Unbelievable? Not if you know Kathy. (Here I am on the right with Kathy on the left.)

When you look up high-energy and dynamic in the dictionary, Kathy's photo is undoubtedly there, and she's wearing leopard skin, big Texas hair, and a high-wattage smile. Kathy is simply a woman to be reckoned with. She has an undeniably vibrant spirit, and she's drawn like-minded women to the club, those not afraid to wear animal print and tiaras to discuss good books and promote literacy.

The way the book club works is that an individual woman becomes a Head Queen in her area and invites other women to join her. Each month, Kathy chooses a Pulpwood Queen selection and a Bonus Book, recommended reads for the club. The women meet and discuss the book, with a bit of food and fun mixed in.

Last summer, my first novel, SINGULARITY, came out. The book garnered great reviews, including stars from Publisher's Weekly and Booklist, and even a mention in VANITY FAIR. (Someone pinch me! LOL) An early exciting moment, one I'll remember always, was when my editor e-mailed that Kathy had chosen SINGULARITY as a Pulpwood Queen selection! Pulpwood Queens, including those in Alaska, read the book, and I had the opportunity to do a phone-in chat with one of the PQ chapters, the gals in Lake Charles, LA. But then, it got even better.

A month or so later, Kathy invited me to be one of the featured authors at Girlfriend Weekend. I wasn't sure what to expect but thought, Hey, why not? I mean, Jefferson's a cool place, a quaint little town steeped in Texas history. And the Pulpwood Queens I'd met, Kathy and the Louisiana ladies, were loads of fun. It sounded promising.

Well, I drove back to Houston on Sunday exhausted! And I mean exhausted! Talk about a wild weekend. Each day was crammed with events. On Friday morning, I was on a panel with Karen Harrington, the author of JANEOLOGY, and Linda Busby Parker, whose book, SEVEN LAURELS, won the prestigious James Jones First Novel Award. We had a great time talking about our books and answering questions.

From that point on, I relaxed. I listened as the other authors discussed their books, many offering insight into their lives and careers. In between, I laughed at the high-jinks of a comedy team comprised of: Kathy Patrick; River Jordan, the host of ALL THINGS SOUTHERN; Shellie Rushing Tomlinson, author of SUCK IN YOUR STOMACH AND PUT SOME COLOR ON; and Suzanne McClaren of PRAISE THE LORD AND PASS THE BISCUITS.

At night, well, all heck broke lose. Friday evening was the Hot Pink Collar Tour, lots of laughs including karaoke. And Saturday night's Big Hair Ball was a a blast! I wore a tiara and boa and looked like Margaret Thatcher compared to the other women. Many went all out, with imaginative costumes and festive table decorations. Jefferson's Bull Durham Playhouse Players put on a Saturday Night Live skit, and I laughed so hard, when I finally made my way back to the B&B that night, I had a hard time falling asleep. My mind kept replaying funny lines, and I laughed all over.

So you ladies out here, the ones who love to read and have a good time, take a look at the Pulpwood Queen Web site, http://www.pulpwoodqueen.com. And read Kathy's book: THE PULPWOOD QUEEN'S TIARA-WEARING, BOOK-SHARING GUIDE TO LIFE. It's as heart-warming as its author and, as an added bonus, includes yummy recipes. Some of you may want to start your own Pulpwood Queen chapters. I'd highly recommend it, but only if you're into good books and fun!
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