If you’ve happened upon our site’s “Who Are We” page you’ll note that one of our “Three Well Beings” has been absent from the blogosphere due to her other author obligations! For a few weeks now Gail and her co-author Brenda have been interviewed on local public radio and featured in San Gabriel Valley newspapers and book signing promotional events. It was my great delight—and I mean it, I was thrilled—that my favorite bookstore, Vroman’s Books, hosted an author book signing promoting The Spa Less Traveled!
Since Gail and I have frequently attended author book signings at this wonderful and treasured bookstore, the event was particularly enjoyable. Vroman’s, the oldest and largest bookstore in Southern California, is also to many of us a treasured landmark. A. C. Vroman opened the doors in 1894 as a Book and Photographic Supply store, and as an avid photographer of Southwest and Native American culture, his store has a history of carrying interesting non-book items.
I spend a lot of time in this amazing place! And for many years I’ve also been a frequent guest at book signings, curious to hear stories from both well-established personalities as well as newly published first-time authors. I’ve collected signed first editions from a wide range of authors—Bob Newhart to President Jimmy Carter, Julie Andrews to Senator John Glenn–notables in Hollywood and the larger political sphere, and at other times including such respected authors as Anne Patchett, Anne Lamott and Tom Wolfe. Now I have added to my collection of signed books author signatures from Gail Herndon and Brenda Goldstein!
This fascinating and beautiful book simplifies and demystifies the spa experiences offered in hundreds of ethnic spas located in every pocket of Los Angeles and the greater San Gabriel Valley. The curious and adventurous will certainly be tempted to take advantage of very modestly priced massage services in Chinese, Korean, Thai, Japanese and even Russian spas, using this book to assist the consumer in what to expect, how to navigate cultural norms and how to prepare for ease and comfort in facilities that are different from hotel and traditionally upscale (pricey) services.
Gail and Brenda began their ethnic spa adventure more than five years ago. Their original objective was not to write a book, but to avail themselves of inexpensive spa services while investigating interesting pockets of Los Angeles. In time it was obvious that the materials and experiences they were collecting held potential for an interesting and useful publishable resource.
Let me go back and emphasize two words: five years!
It’s easy to see a finished project and pass over acknowledging the length of time and the amount of hard work and dedication that goes into a successful project launch. But I also think it’s encouraging to anyone with a strong creative urge! Sometimes projects start slowly and build to something more over time.
Perhaps this is also an encouragement to some of the wonderful blog writers! Daily I’m reading some of the most creative and artistically polished stories, memoirs and anecdotes! Why do these writers exhibit commitment, drive and dedication to the writing life as well as take precious time to support fellow-writers? Simply because of the creative urge to do so! And I often wonder if among them there is someone already thinking that perhaps they might take an idea or two—perhaps the insistent thought pushing into their imagination– and expand their writing goals towards larger publishable works.
I must admit that I take a little pride in Gail and Brenda’s finished work. How? I’ll just suggest that in part my encouragement (a very little part) kept this wonderful project moving forward. Brenda and Gail did all the work, but some of us, their friends, have continued to say over and over “keep it up, this is terrific” and now we all feel a little piece of pride in a fabulous finished project.
And I’m going to say the same to some of my blogging friends. “Keep it up” and continue moving forward. I see the potential for even more, if you want it! Creativity is a wonderful thing, isn’t it?
- New book covers L.A.’s ethnic spas (laobserved.com)