Saturday, October 2, 2010

Riding the Unicorn

by Kirsten Scott (and her mysterious friend Inara)

My secret identity recently did a blog post entitled "Riding the Unicorn" in which she told all about her recent book tour. Because there is a small chance you aren't all following Inara Scott's blog, and because I wanted an excuse to GIVEAWAY some of the adorable Delcroix Academy notebooks I got while on tour, I decided to post a little about the tour here.

First, let me explain the phrase "Riding the Unicorn." Because this is an adult blog, those of you with dirty minds (Tawny) may find yourself thinking this means something it does not. Riding the unicorn is a phrase coined by my sister, and it means doing something extraordinary -- something so wonderful and unexpected that you never need for it to happen again. If you ride the unicorn once in your life, you can die happy. You don't complain and say, "Man, I can't believe the unicorn only showed up at my window ONCE! What a rip-off!" Instead, you say, "Wow, I can't believe I got to ride a UNICORN!"

That, dear readers, is how it feels to go on a book tour. My tour was relatively short (four cities, six days) and because I'm an unknown debut author, they weren't packing in the aisles to see me at Borders. Nope, for this tour they needed ready-made audiences.

They found them at schools.

Yes, most of my book tour consisted of me showing up at a school, where an assembly of students (mostly eighth grades, but some as young as sixth grade and some as old as seniors) was corralled for me to entertain. I did this primarily by showing them pictures of me as a walrus in the high school musical, and images of the many (many many) rejection letters I received along my path to publication. Oh yeah, and talking about writing and the path to becoming an author. I gave lots of advice about staying in school, persevering, and the need for making your own luck.

The tour also consisted of me being treated like royalty -- or at least like a debut author in a strange city. I was picked up by black town cars and taken to hotels, most of which did not have mice in the restaurant (note I said MOST! eek!). I had a "media escort" in each city to take me from school to school (where I did up to three school visits a day!), and incredible kids made me billboards, bought my books, and generally acted as though I knew something special about writing

(Ha! Did I ever fool them!)

It was incredible. I'd never experienced anything like it before, and I doubt I ever will again. I adored talking to the kids, not to mention the amazing independent booksellers who helped organize the tour, the media specialists and librarians at the schools who had to give time out of their busy day to deal with me, and the teachers who love reading and literature enough to expose their kids to an author who is hardly the next Mark Twain (but sure hopes to entertain along the way).

At each stop along the way, we had these adorable little Delcroix Academy notebooks to hand out.

I have a few notebooks left over, and I'd love to give them away! So tell me about a time you rode the unicorn, OR about a humiliating incident from high school (a la my experience as the Walrus). Five awesome comments win a notebook!


Anna Campbell said...

Hey, Inara, what a gorgeous post.

Hey, rooster, are you coming to my place today?

Anna Campbell said...

Congratulations on riding the unicorn! Yeah, you're right, I can hear Tawny snickering from here (she has a rather LOUD snicker!) but I think it's a lovely phrase!

And how fabulous that you got treated like a star as you toured around touting the Delcroix Academy. Fantastic stuff! All Banditas and buddies should be treated like stars! It should be in the constitution.

Actually, strangely, I've got a riding the unicorn event next week. I keep thinking how excited my mother would be about it - she was a true Leo and loved stuff that let her act like the king of the beasts (or perhaps queen of the beasts).

The biggest magazine here, the Australian Women's Weekly, is flying me to Melbourne overnight and then doing an all-day photo shoot including stylists and make up artists and who knows what as part of a big article on romance. They're shooting Stephanie Laurens and Keri Arthur too - as you know, they're both MAJOR stars! I'm feeling completely thrilled about the whole thing!

Helen said...

Whoo Hoo Anna way to go have fun with him

That must have been soo awesome I have never had anything like that happen to me ever and not likely to either LOL Way to go

I remember one very embarassing thing that happened to me when I was in 4th grade at school our class put on a Christmas play for the whole school and our sewing teacher decided to make me Santa Claus because I was the biggest girl in the class (she never really liked me) and then made me a Santa suit out of crepe paper to wear in the play and yes you can guess what happen during the play the pants split I have never gone in another play since LOL

I am soo looking forward to Novembers Womans Weekly I can't wait to see it whoo hoo.

Sheree said...

What an experience it must have been to talk to kids about writing!

My riding the unicorn event was getting accepted by the college of my choice, a college that a few generations of my family had dreamed of attending (the only way this would have been better was if I were accepted by Harvard - my father would have been over the moon - but that was okay). All that hard work in high school actually amounted to something! My practical grandmother just lamented that it'd be harder for me to find a husband, but I was so thrilled I didn't care (besides, I was only 17 anyway).

As for the most humiliating, I just can't pick one... there were so many.


Kirsten said...

Hi Anna, thanks so much! Yes, ALL the Banditas deserve this treatment (except the mouse part -- that was gross).

OMG, you are going to have so much fun! A makeover shoot with fabulous authors, that's like a dream come true. Definitely a Riding the Unicorn moment. But darling, you are aware that you are a BIG STAR right? These things are bound to happen. More and more of them!

Kirsten said...

Oh Helen -- NOT THE SPLITTING PANTS! OMG, that's so horrible (and so wonderful now that you get to retell it). Sounds like a vindictive teacher, sheesh. Glad there were no lasting emotional scars. ;-)

Kirsten said...

Sheree, it was absolutely fantastic. The best part was the shy but determined ones who would come up to me after my talk and tell me how they have a passion for writing. Warms the author's heart.

Your Riding the Unicorn moment is fantastic. What an amazing accomplishment for YOU, and then how incredible to be able to share that joy and pride with your family. (Grandma sounds hilarious, BTW) I'm grinning just thinking about it. Congratulations!!

Anna Sugden said...

Wow! Inara - what an awesome experience! Well-deserved!

I'm just jealous of our BB's who get a chance to win one of those fab notebooks!

I love the phrase riding the unicorn - so perfect. I've had several of those in my life - like the with the Queen Mother in St Jame's Palace - and I look forward to one more ... making that final leap to a sale!

Kirsten said...

Hi Anna! Thanks so much -- and I love your response. Riding with the queen mother DOES sound like the perfect unicorn moment.

It's easy after you make the sale to forget that it is a unicorn moment all of its own. You get bogged down in fear about how the book will perform, whether there will be another sale, what the editor thinking, what the readers will think...etc. etc. I appreciate you reminding me that the sale itself is a big, white fluffy unicorn!!

Christie Kelley said...

Great post, Inara. I love the riding the unicorn phrase.

How awesome to do a book tour and especially to schools.

For me getting published has been quite the ride on the unicorn. I'm still amazed when someone tells me that they read my books. Or better yet, the email from someone who told me she'd never read romance until she picked up my book. I was flabbergasted.

Congratulations again on the book! It's in my TBR pile just waiting for me to have a free moment or two. That might not happen until November at this point.

Susan Sey said...

Seeing you in that walrus outfit is a riding the unicorn experience for me. :-)

Seriously, though, my riding the unicorn moment was winning a Golden Heart. I never need to even enter another contest, let alone win one, because that experience topped out my dreams. Selling that book was wonderful, too, but that was a dream realized in my own living room when I was wearing ten year old shorts & corralling dirty children into the tub.

The GH win was when I was dressed up and polished, wearing heels & not even allowing myself to hope such a thing would occur. And then it did, in the presence of my awesome CP, who gently nudged my arm after the winner was announced & I'd sat there, stunned, for fifteen seconds or so, to say, "Honey, I think that's you."

I got to celebrate with my banditas & have my head blown up on the jumbo tron as I gave a speech I can't remember but everybody assures me I didn't curse in. (Surprising--I curse when startled.)

But your book tours sounds incredible and fabulous & I only wish I could have been there to see it.

Susan Sey said...

Hey, Anna, your Woman's Weekly thing sounds amazing! I hope you have a fantastic time!

Susan Sey said...

P.S.--there's a scene in Anchor Man (the Will Ferrell classic) in which he & Christina Applegate, ahem, ride the unicorn over a few rainbows. Not to sully your family's treasured expression but every time I hear "riding the unicorn" that's what I think of. Heh.

Kirsten said...

Hi Christie! I'm so thrilled that you've had such a great ride with your books. They are, of course, fantastic, and all that fan mail is completely appropriate and well earned. I love that you have introduced people to romance -- the world will be a better place when everyone reads happily ever after, don't you think?

Kirsten said...

Susan, I put in the walrus just for you. ;-)

The GH is such a perfect Riding the Unicorn moment! I love it. There is something about a shared, public moment that is particularly overwhelming. I must say that I am completely thrilled that I got to be a part of that moment with you. (((HUGS)))

traveler said...

Congratulations on riding the unicorn. I enjoyed your delightful post. When I was young and went to a camp/summer school for a half day everyday for a few weeks we learned to be creative and make pot holders and elementary items. I was not at all artistic but persevered. Towards the end of the session there was a contest for the best scrapbook filled with photos of the Queen's coronation. This was more my type of thing so I worked on this and devoted all of my time and energy to this very important endeavor until it was complete. I was awarded the first prize and felt good about this accomplishment.

petite said...

What a wonderful honor. Congratulations on this amazing experience. I have been embarrassed several times and felt heartsick about it. When I walked into a sweet sixteen party I heard whispers and comparisons. My dress, hairdo and looks weren't up to par. I wish at the time I had the confidence to deal with this type of behavior.

Anna Campbell said...

Kirsten, the cheque's in the mail! Helen, really looking forward to seeing the mag!

Gillian Layne said...

I am such a fan girl now--I've introduced the book to our youth librarian, and told her she needs to get in on this before the sequel comes out. I'm hoping the kids will do a book chat about it.

Humiliation in high school--once I had a lead in the school play and had to light a cigarette on matter how much I practiced, I couldn't figure it out. I was way too geeky too be dangerous and cool. ;) So the co-star made up some line and the play went on with my lungs unblemished.

Kirsten said...

Traveler, thank you so much for sharing your triumph! Sounds like a great moment and something to be very proud of. :-)

Kirsten said...

Thank you Petite for the compliment -- and *ouch* on the hair/dress/etc not being quite up to snuff. But we often think that of ourselves, don't we? Even when we're the cutest ones in the room. I hope you had a good talking to (yourself) and made sure she knew she was beautiful and talented and all that *and a bag of chips*!!

Kirsten said...

Gillian, I had no idea you were a *fan girl*!! Thank you so much for talking up Delcroix -- I really appreciate it!

That's a FANTASTIC story about the cigarette. OMG, I would have been so embarrassed -- but it's perfect for the retelling! Thanks for sharing!

Louisa Cornell said...

Good on you, La Campbell !! Is the GR going to the magazine shoot with you? That could spell trouble in a BIG way. How can those of us stateside acquire this extremely classy issue of Australian Women's Weekly?

Wow, Inara !! What a great book tour! I am so thrilled for you! Definitely a "This is SO cool!" kind of moment !

My most recent riding the unicorn moment was being a Golden Heart finalist. It really was surreal.

Another riding the unicorn moment was singing my debut role as an opera singer. There is a lot of time during a 3 plus hour opera to look in a backstage mirror and say "Is this really happening?"

Most embarrassing moment in high school? SO many! I was SUCH a geek. Platform shoes were really big when I was in high school. (So now you know how OLD I am!) I can remember wearing my brand new white platform shoes to school for the first time. I had an awesome bell-bottomed pantsuit, enough high makeup for the entire Rockettes line and these fabulous shoes. I walk into school, stroll down the hall to my locker past all the football players and fall flat on my face. I was mortified!

Fortunately, I was also the English tutor for most of those players and they came to my rescue, helped me up with only a little laughter and helped me get to class. Needless to say I practiced for a long time before I wore those shoes again and eventually I could even dance in them. My niece discovered them in a closet at my Mom's recently and wore them to Disco Days at her high school.

PJ said...

Inara, what a lovely blog. Congrats on the successful tour. I have a feeling those kids were just as excited as you were!

Anna, congrats on the upcoming photo shoot. How exciting! Wish we could get a copy of the magazine over here.

I had one of your "riding the unicorn" moments the first time I won an award for a photo I had taken.

Kirsten said...

Oh Louisa, I remember meeting you that year of the GH final and we were all so thrilled and excited for you -- and will be again when your book is on the shelf! (I have no doubt this will be someday soon!)

Now that is a truly painful moment. I have never worn platforms or heels because I know I would end up on my face -- yikes! Thank goodness you had some allies in the fb players. :-)

Kirsten said...

Thank you PJ! I'd love to hear more about your photo -- what kind of pictures do you take? Landscapes, human subjects, etc? B&W or color? Any chance we can see the award winning shot? :-)

Pat Cochran said...

Hi, Inara,

Way, way back in the day when I
was a freshman in college, my
nursing group and one of the
school's fraternities grouped
together to help work on floats
for the city's Thanksgiving
Parade. We worked late on the
evening before the parade, dashed
back to our dorms to catch a few
zzzs, and then went back to the
work site. A problem soon became evident. Our float was to be preceded by a convertible with a
girl riding on the back. The girl
was nowhere to be found. As the
only girl wearing a dress, I was
selected to ride on the conver-
tible! I can't tell you what a
high it was to watch the film
later and see myself representing
the University of Houston student
body. Me, a lowly freshman! That
red convertible was truly my very
own unicorn that day!

Pat Cochran

SiNn said...

honestly i can tell u a time i was in the 8th grade and felelings oooo cocky and we went on alil feild trip to the bowling ally with the boys gym class well i ran in to a locked door things got worse i got up went threw the right one only to trip again and run in to the other side of the door that was locked managed to get in on my hands and knees whileee the cutest guy in gym class was staring down at me talk about embarassing i was soo embarassed ppl never let me live it down or the fact that i rolled a striaghtgutter ball game the whole time we played