Hello, fellow friends of sequins and sparkle, feathers and fishnets!
Today is the day we’ve all been waiting for! The BOOK LAUNCH SPECTACULAR! Well, at least I’ve been waiting for this day. For fourteen years. That’s how long ago I started writing my comic memoir, LONG LEGS and TALL TALES: A Showgirl’s Wacky, Sexy Journey to the Playboy Mansion and the Radio City Rockettes. My daughter was a newborn and my son was barely three. The book has “literally” grown up with my kids. Now it’s finally time to launch this bedazzled literary baby out of the nest and into the great, wide world. Thanks for joining me in celebrating this momentous occasion! (If all you care about is the spectacular Kindle ebook $2.99 deal, CLICK HERE NOW. Otherwise, for more fun and surprises, keep reading.)
If you aren’t able to make it to the live Book Launch Spectacular tonight in the magnificent “Mitten” (a.k.a. Michigan), never fear! We’re gonna party right now, right here!
First we need to set the mood….with FOOD! Here’s what’s on the menu at our soirée:
- Fruit and cheese tray w/crackers and crostini (a classic fave)
- Vegan Spring Rolls w/ sweet & sour sauce
- Kalbi (a spicy Korean sauce) Meatballs
- Thai Chicken Satays w/ peanut dipping sauce
- Beignets w/ powdered sugar and berry compote dipping sauce
- Chocolate covered strawberries
Mouth watering yet? If you are really ambitious and love to get down in the kitchen, you can cook up some similar delectables yourself. Certainly a fruit and cheese tray or chocolate covered strawberries are within range for even a culinary newbie or a kitchen klutz.
Otherwise, just gather whatever delicious munchies you have on hand. It doesn’t have to be fancy to be fabulous. Just go pantry diving and see what creative combos you can come up with: a half-eaten apple and a chunk of Cheez Whiz, mini pb & j sandwiches on saltines, a sliver of celery wrapped in a slice of bologna (a.k.a. “log in a blanket”), a spray can of Reddi-wip whipped cream spritzed on Oreos, a handful of leftover Valentine candy conversation hearts mixed with peanuts and chocolate chips. No judgement here. It’s the celebratory spirit that counts. If you’re really having trouble deciding, you can always count on the “ch” foods: cheese, chips, and chocolate.
Second: drinks! I always say the book reads better with bubbly. My sommelier husband Dave has recommended a few spectacular choices and described them for you: 1.) Since LONG LEGS AND TALL TALES is wacky and sexy, how about Sex sparkling Rosé by Michigan winemaker M. Lawrence (sparkly, happy, fruity, with a splash of fun and glamorous)?! 2.) Nivole Moscato d’Asti (slightly bubbly and sweet–like me–w/ notes of ripe apricot and nectarine). 3.) Or why not splurge and sip a bonafide French champagne? Dave and I adore Veuve Clicquot Demi-sec (absolutely the most elegant elixir you can pour into your glass). Cheers!
Now if you’re game to try a cocktail that tastes like candied rose petals, go for Dave’s very own concoction he calls a “Pomosa.” It’s simply 2 parts Nivole (see above) to 1 part pure 100% Pomegranate juice.
If you prefer something non-alcoholic but effervescent and festive all the same, my hubby and I created this cocktail we named “Cherry Red Lipstick”:
- sparkling water, chilled (like Pellegrino)
- cherry juice concentrate (pomegranate juice, cranberry juice, or any sweet fruity red juice works just fine)
- 1 lime, cut into wedges
Pour sparkling water into glass. Drizzle on cherry concentrate to taste (If you use juice, you may want to do 50% sparking water, 50% juice. Again, ask your tastebuds.) Squeeze a wedge of fresh lime juice on top.
Note: All the drinks above show best when sipped from a champagne flute.
Third: You’ve grabbed a Twinkie and a drinky. Now get slinky! With your dress, I mean. I, of course, am getting all dolled up, because I’m going to be out in public and have my picture taken. (Paparazzi and all, you know.) Feel free to dust off your favorite poofy taffeta gown (perhaps from your prom or bridesmaid gig back in the 1980s) and embellish with a sparkling tiara. If you want to really showgirl-it-up, false eyelashes and fishnets are fantastic. And you can never go wrong with a hefty dose of glitter gel. Think sequins, sparkle, and anything bling.
Or simply get comfy cozy in your footie pajamas. (I’ll certainly have my bunny slippers on standby in case my tootsies get tired.) But in any case, a feather boa is required. I can assure you that at the live Book Launch we will all be sufficiently plumaged.
Fourth: Music! We have keyboard master Neil Donato tickling the ivories to bring us our favorite musical theatre songs. So pull out the old show tunes! Perhaps a classic like Rogers and Hammerstein’s Oklahoma (my husband regularly belts out “Oh What a Beautiful Morning” and “Oklahoma”) or something more rock opera-ish like Andrew Lloyd Weber’s Evita (“Don’t Cry for Me Argentina”) or for you ABBA fans, how about Chess (Remember “One Night in Bangkok?”) or my daughter’s fave–Mama Mia? Of course, you just can’t go wrong with A Chorus Line. “One singular sensation, every little step she takes…”
Food: check! Drinks: check! Party apparel: check! Music: check! Now the stage is set, and we’re ready for adult story time! (A hush fills the room as I pull out my brand spankin’ new copy of LONG LEGS AND TALL TALES adorned with a shiny silver 5-star Readers’ Favorite sticker.) What better chapter to read from, for adult story time, than the chapter on “Playboy’s Girls of Rock & Roll?” Sit back, relax, and enjoy this excerpt, which begins with my job interview at Playboy Enterprises:
I must admit, I was nervous walking into Playboy Enterprises for my initial interview. Would this be the last we’d see of a once-wholesome Midwestern girl? Would I suddenly want to throw all caution and clothes to the wind? The success of Playboy magazine made me question the validity of the phrase “If you’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all.” Apparently, men never tired of looking at mammaries, at least not at those resembling full-grown melons. Hugh Hefner—the founder of this fruitful empire—had the money to prove it.
The multi-story glass office building looked perfectly normal from the outside. What did I expect? Giant breast-shaped domes and a phallic tower? It wasn’t until I walked through the hallways past oil paintings of scantily clad women that I sensed any sexual overtones. I suddenly felt a bit overdressed and concerned about what my interview would entail. When I met the producer of the show—former modeling agent Valerie Craigin—I was slightly comforted by the fact that she was a woman. Rumors had it that Valerie was in her mid-sixties but she looked like a well-preserved fifty. She had short coiffed brunette hair, professional attire, a deep smoker’s voice, and a nervous laugh. She took the liberty of saying “Hef” instead of “Hugh Hefner” although I don’t know how well they knew each other. Valerie seemed harmless enough and, thank God, had no intention of making me take my clothes off. We chatted a bit and that was it. I had the job! She mainly held the interview in order to get a good look at me and make sure I wasn’t a heifer, so I could be a “Hefer.”
“We’ll be touring all over Southeast Asia, so be sure to get your shots,” Valerie advised. “I’ll be sending you an itinerary as soon as our travel plans are confirmed. We’ll start out in Indonesia and then we may go to Singapore, Malaysia, India, Japan, Australia, Germany, Puerto Rico, who knows? There are so many possibilities, it’s driving me nuts! Plan to be gone for six months.” I tried to remain calm and professional but inside I was thinking “Ohmygod! Ohmygod! Ohmygod!” I was so excited: dancing for Playboy, traveling to exotic countries. Now this was something to call home about. Or not. What would my parents think? “Oh, I almost forgot,” Valerie continued. “Next week we’ll be doing a photo shoot with all the girls to be used for posters and promotional items to be sent overseas.”
I went home incredulous about the job I had just landed. Then the doubts and fears and insecurities set in. I’m not a model. I don’t know how to do a photo shoot. I don’t have a perfect body. I wish I had better abs. I wish I were thinner. I wish I were prettier. I wish…
Did I condone magazines that flagrantly promoted women’s bodies as mere sex objects? No, I can’t say that I did or do, and perhaps, if I had put any serious thought into it or been more enlightened, I would have taken up a feminist stance, stomped my foot, and shouted defiantly, “How dare you even ask me to be associated with a company that is degrading women by shamefully displaying them as play toys!”
Instead, I was eager to get a firsthand look at the debauchery behind this famous furry icon. It was more of a sordid curiosity—like wanting the forbidden fruit simply because it’s forbidden. My inner Tigress was roaring and ready to be let out of its cage. This was just too much of an adventure to pass up. After all, I wasn’t going to be doing anything really naughty; was I?
In the days leading up to the photo shoot, I may have appeared relaxed and confident on the outside, but on the inside I was a nervous wreck because, horror of horrors, over the course of the week a boil had sprouted out on the middle of my forehead. I was casually glancing in the mirror while brushing my teeth when, all of a sudden, my eye was drawn to a raised, red spot on my face.
“What’s that? That wasn’t there before!” I said in disbelief, touching the bump to make sure it was real. “NOOOOOOO! I have the photo shoot in three days!” I panicked for a few minutes, then quickly began pulling out my blemish-eliminating tricks. “Okay, maybe there’s still time to get rid of it,” I thought, hopefully.
I used lotions, potions, zit creams, and a steaming hot washcloth, but I think I only made it madder, because it grew. And grew. And grew. Bigger than any pimple I had ever seen. It was a dime-sized lump that birthed from my face like I was trying to grow a second head on top of the one I already had. There was nothing there to squeeze or pinch. Nothing short of surgical removal could have helped. I had no bangs (the fact that I wouldn’t even consider cutting some to cover that monster was evidence of how much I hated bangs) and no way to hide it.
And so it was that my new “friend” and I returned to Playboy Enterprises for the important photo shoot. As if I wasn’t nervous enough already about the photo shoot and meeting the cast for the first time, I was now also horribly self-conscious about my dermatological nightmare. Valerie’s eyes bugged out when she saw me. “Oh my. Uh, you’d better get yourself over to the makeup artist right away, dear,” she insisted, laughing nervously.
I agreed with Valerie, and I prayed the makeup artist would have some special pancake makeup to disguise that blasted boil. When I showed her the mountain on my face and, in desperation, asked her, “Can you do something to fix it?” she gave me this incredulous look like “I’m not a miracle worker, you naïve, acne-faced bimbo!”
Of course, trying to cover that sucker was about as easy as trying to make my nose look invisible. Even the best makeup artist in the world can’t hide Mt. Vesuvius. She made a valiant effort by piling on the thickest cover-up she had. It was the best we could do.
Back in the main room, I joined the rest of the all-female cast of Playboy’s Girls of Rock & Roll, which consisted of three singers, two dancers (myself and another girl), and three Playmates. Satin, Mallory, and Taffy were the three nude models who were willing to sing and dance in this show. They had taken their clothes off and been photographed for the most famous girlie magazine in the world. I was going to be dancing with them, talking to them, socializing with them. Word was, they made twenty-some-thousand dollars or so for posing for the magazine. I don’t know if that was true, but even that sizable chunk of change wasn’t enough to make me want to bare it all. Meeting the Playmates was like going to the Big Top of the Bizarre to see the woman with three eyes or the rubber man who could twist himself up like a pretzel. I stared at those real Playboy Bunnies like they were circus attractions. I was enthralled.
(The applause is deafening as the crowd goes wild! I humbly take a bow.) Thank you! Thank you! You’re too kind! Truly you are.
Now the very best part of every book launch: the part when you BUY THE BOOK! You’re intrigued, inspired, perhaps a little tipsy, and your index finger is jonesing to CLICK THIS LINK! “But where will it take me?” you might be wondering. To theatrical stages and dressing rooms and showbiz adventures all around the world! To luscious, laugh-out-loud, literary nirvana! To amazon.com.
Hooray! You did it! You bought the book. The print version, because the cover is so rockin’ awesome, you want to gaze lovingly at it on your shelf or your coffee table or the rhinestone-studded pedestal you built for it (no better way to class up a room). But then, while on amazon.com, you noticed the Kindlematchbook program–when you buy the print version, you can get the Kindle ebook version for only $0.99! Hallelujah! So you bought that, too!
Or…you wisely took advantage of this wonderful, one-day, super spectacular, singular sensational sale on the Kindle ebook–ONLY $2.99! (No other purchase necessary.) You’ll enjoy hours of luscious literary adventure for less than a large latte. After Sunday, February 21, 2016, it will return to it’s usual price of $9.99 (which is still a dazzling deal for all the virtual world traveling, celebrity schmoozing, and backstage-passing you’ll get).
Could this book launch get anymore exciting? You better believe it, sister! (And brother!) Settle down, everyone! To thank you for simply showing up to this shindig, we invite you to enter our AMAZON GIVEAWAY RAFFLE for a chance to win a FREE GIFT–an actual print copy of MY BOOK! (No purchase necessary! Raffle ends the earlier of Feb 22, 2016 11:59 PM PST, or when all prizes are claimed. See Official Rules.) CLICK HERE to enter. We’ll announce the winners on the next blog, but you’ll know right away if you’ve won. Good luck!
This concludes our Virtual Book Launch Spectacular! I’ll share pics of the live event on my next blog post. I hope you had as much fun celebrating as I did. Raise your glass, because I’d like to propose a toast: To fine, feathered friends; dreams fulfilled; and wacky, sexy adventures!
Kick high! Be spectacular!