Tag Archives: readings

Cheese on the Street

My San Francisco book release party was over a year ago, but remnants of the evening remain.

While looking at Flickr cheese photos, I found this portrait of a cheese left over from the reading. Abandoned on Valencia, the picture is certainly evocative. A sad, neglected cheese, used and discarded, all alone and alienated in an overcrowded city.

Late Night Mission Cheese (Photo by Jutta, click through for lots of awesome pics)

I’m glad I could help contribute to the urban art world and the ongoing story of the struggle of cheese to come of age in the Mission.

My year of self-promotion (part 3)

So, I miscounted. I actually did 34 events. Sheesh, just reading this list makes me tired.

20. 6/8 Alexander Books, SF I will fully admit that I don’t get downtown much. Alexander Books does lunchtime reading downtown and I never knew it until they asked me to read. A great, interested crowd materialized out of nowhere and disappeared just as fast at the end. A great way to spend a lunch break

21. 6/11 Readers Books, Sonoma What a beautiful place to read. Outdoors right off the town square. This is a great little bookstore and a very food-knowledgeable crowd. And, since it was in the North Bay, friends of my parents showed up.

22. 6/23 Get Lost Travel Bookstore, SF Another place I read at that later went out of business. The owner was a regular customer for years and this was one of my favorite bookstores in SF. I never missed a visit to Get Lost before I went anywhere on vacation. Lee’s partner got a job in another state that he couldn’t turn down so it’s understandable why they closed up shop. But they are very much missed. Get Lost was one of my favorite things in San Francisco.

23. 7/12 18 Reasons, SF with Laura Werlin Great little space for food talk Doing an event with Laura was fun. Our different styles worked together well and we had fabulous cheese.
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24. 8/2 Encuentro Café, Oakland Very crowded and I kept it short because people were hungry. They made an amazing glossy, color poster for the event. This place is part-owned by a co-worker’s wife and a bunch of Rainbow workers who live in the East Bay showed up. Encuentro is a terrific veggie restaurant and wine bar and after I was done some folks called me over to talk about vegan cheese.

25. 8/24 Calf and the Kid, Seattle, WA OMG, my ears popped on the airplane so I couldn’t hear, I was snotty from judging 100 cheeses during the day, and the restaurant next to the cheese shop had their music on way loud, but this was an awesome event at an awesome shop. Up the Cheese punks!

26. 8/26 American Cheese Society Conference, Seattle Usually these kinds of sit down signings suck, but this was completely rewarding. It was great to be in a crowd of peers who (at least the ones who approached me) appreciated my book. If my book had been unpopular here, I would have considered it a failure. Satisfying and fun!
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27. 9/18 Skylight Books, Los Angeles I fell in love with this bookstore. I wanna write another book just so I can read there again. Hopefully this time my car won’t die on my way home. Oh, and reading in front of a stack of Ellroy’s new book was hilariously ironic.
skylight books readings

28. 10/7 Litquake at Book Passage, SF I’ll be honest, I didn’t sell many books here, but I had an awesome time. It was a crowd that cared deeply about writing and food and who laughed at all the right parts of my reading. Litquake is really a fun thing to participate in because it really does bring out the book lovers.

29. 10/23 Cheese Plus, SF Back behind a table trying not to take things personally. At least I got to hang out with Sasha Davies for a couple of hours. The Cheese Plus events are really fun places to be, I wish we could do these kinds of things at Rainbow, but we just have a pee-soaked alley, not a busy pedestrian street.

30. 11/2 SF Public Library RADAR Reading Series This was me, Novella Carpenter, Dori Midnight, and Chelsea Rae Klein and woah, what a packed house and diverse readers/artists. My only reading that included queer goth cemetery porn on the bill. Probably the youngest crowd I read to (my crowds were usually 35-50 years old I would guess). I had to explain what Reagan Cheese was and break the news that the Frugal Gourmet was likely a child molester.

31. 11/7 Pt. Reyes Books Pt. Reyes, CA I got to share the reading with Jill from Pt Reyes Farmstead Cheese and I think we encouraged each other to tell cheese gossip in public. I won’t repeat it here, but the folks who were there enjoyed it for sure.

32. 11/12 Oakland Museum of California (Lonely Planet), Oakland I got to sample out cheese and work with my old buddy (and co-worker) Rana. They made awesome trip itineraries for local cheesemaker visiting. The bookstore there is fabulous and the crowd that attends these free Friday night events is full of real people. I would do another event here in a second.

33. 12/18 Rainbow Grocery Cooperative, SF Ha. I actually did a book signing at the store. I had meant to do a reading at some point but we don’t have a good space for it. It was really weird standing behind a table at the store and not selling cheese. Still, it was a good thing even if I did get a little mocked by co-workers. My book made a great holiday gift!

34. 12/12 18 Reasons Book Club, SF I was honored when 18 Reasons made my book their book for December. The folks there all had read it and had interesting questions. It was a real treat to do this kind of event where people already know your book. I would love to do more of this in the future because it was a lot less answering of questions I get at work (“What’s the best way to store cheese?” was asked at every event) and more about themes in the book. A wonderful experience.

The only problem with all these events was that Schnitzel didn’t like that I was away so much:
Everyon'e a critic!

My year of self-promotion (Part 1)

One of the biggest problems last year was not having enough time. I was working full time and promoting the book (plus being in a serious relationship and getting a puppy) and I just had no time to write. This year will be different. While I will do an occasional promotional event (and definitely hit the Midwest and New York) I am going to be working on a new book. Still working out the details (and the contract) but I am super excited to be spending time writing instead of self-promoting.

I did 32 events last year. 32! And I am not including interviews or radio in that count either. While I didn’t get rich on the book,* I hadn’t expected to. It was successful beyond, well, maybe not my wildest dreams,** but certainly my pretty enthusiastic ones.

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(photo by the awesome Myleen Hollero)

Because I deleted my events after they happened, I am going to list them all here so I don’t forget them as years go by. Feel free to skip these, but thanks to everyone who helped me get the word out about my book.

1. 2/20 Sonoma Valley Cheese Conference, Sonoma, CA My book came out early so I managed to premiere the book at my buddy Sheana’s yearly conference. I can’t think of a more appropriate place!

2. 2/20 Cheese Plus, SF Technically this was still a part of the Sonoma Valley Cheese Conference but it was at Ray’s store in San Francisco. Let the standing-around-behind-my-book humbling begin. Ari from Zingerman’s and I actually switched places and tried to sell each other’s books for awhile.

3. 2/25 Books Inc., Berkeley Calvin, the Berkeley Store manager, was incredibly supportive of my book. In fact, he had booked an event for it when it was supposed to come out on a different press in 2009 so I figured I owed him the first bookstore gig since he had to track me down to find out the book wasn’t coming out back then (my old press wasn’t returning phone calls). The Berkeley Books Inc. is really becoming a food book destination in the East Bay.

Plus, they made a home-made punk poster for my reading!
books inc flyer

4. 3/13 Modern Times/Amnesia, SF My first SF reading was sponsored by a co-op at the bar where I did most of my drinking in the early ‘90s. I saw some great bands there (The Fastbacks, Bratmobile, Tribe 8, Harris Flush etc.) here and I could barely believe I was on the same stage. This was an amazing experience. Look at the packed crowd!
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5. 3/14 Book Passage, Corte Madera A hometown bookstore in the mall that used to have the Food Co-op back in the ‘70s. My parents invited all the parents of people I went to high school with so it was an odd, yet awesome, crowd. We even had two Seana/Sheanas serving cheese!

6. 3/20 Oregon Cheese Fest, Central Point, OR I thought this would be more stand-behind-copies-of-my-book-and-be-humiliated-while-no-one-cares but I underestimated the drunkenness of the participants and the sales pitch of the lovely Laurie Jones Neighbors. This event stood out for the two drunkies who insisted they knew how publishing worked and that I must have had the book ghostwritten.

7. 3/21 Reading Frenzy, Portland, OR I knew I loved Chloe and her fabulous store. I didn’t realize how awesome the Ace Hotel would be. I accidently read the paragraph about growing up Californian that I was going to omit when reading to Oregonians, oh well. Luckily, many of them were transplants. I totally cut myself while preparing cheese but managed not to bleed on the cheese or books.
cheeseWEB

8. 3/28 California Artisan Cheese Festival, Petaluma, CA Oh, the humbling of the behind-the-table book signing returns.

*I only put that in here for the non-writers. Anyone who’s published a book already knows I didn’t get rich from it.
**Wildest dreams redacted to keep this a family friendly post.

(Tomorrow: April and May)