One of my many goals in life is to write and publish a book. Starting to write a book is easy. I have yet to know what it's like to finish writing a book. When I discovered Backstreet Boy Nick Carter was writing a book I immediately was skeptical. Nick, writing a book? Yeah, right. I'll believe it when I see it.
On 9/16/13 Bird Street Books (a publishing company owned by Dr. Phil's son, Jay McGraw) released "Facing The Music And Living To Talk About It." It's a hybrid memoir slash self-help book. While it's more than likely Nick used a ghostwriter, he was still able to have his story told for the world to read. I admire his courage to tell some of his story while trying to inspire people to get better.
The book is a must read for Backstreet Boys fans. It gives an insight to Nick's past, present, and a hint of the future. I've been a fan of Nick's since I was 11 years old (I'm 28 now) so I devoured this in about a day. I saw some of my Backstreet friends post little tweet and status update reviews on the book. Some cried. I thought I would cry but I didn't.
What stuck to me the most is a quote Nick mentioned. The quote is "Luck is where preparation meets opportunity." I think that's very true. Nick is lucky because he was prepared to become a performer by participating in a school play, taking singing, dancing lessons, and being on that cheerleader thing. The opportunity came when auditions for the Backstreet Boys began and he went for it.
That quote made me realize I'm missing a key element in my quest to be a writer. I'm not prepared thus the opportunities pass me. I know I need to be prepared so that when the opportunity comes I can seize it.
That quote made me realize I'm missing a key element in my quest to be a writer. I'm not prepared thus the opportunities pass me. I know I need to be prepared so that when the opportunity comes I can seize it.
There were some parts in the book that freaked me out and some parts that made me literally laugh out loud. What freaked me out is when he said he would wake up somewhere and he didn't know how he got there. I've never experienced that feeling in my life. I can't imagine being so out of it that I can't remember how I got somewhere. I'm glad that he was able to wake up in a place that kept him alive. I couldn't help imagining what if he passed out in a place where someone could have hurt him or killed him.
The parts that made me laugh was when he wrote that he cried the first time he got arrested in Florida and how he lived like a monk for 6 months except for the whole abstinence thing.
Throughout the book Nick emphasized heavily getting therapy. After the fifth time he mentioned it, I was like okay, we get it. While I love that he shared bits and pieces of his life, I think he only scratched the surface of what he actually went through. It would probably take the length of the Harry Potter series for Nick to tell everything.
If the book was a movie I would rate it PG-13 or if it was a TV show TV 14. I think he glossed over some parts. I also couldn't help feeling Nick was an unreliable narrator through some parts of the book. He even admits he can't remember details of what happened so how am I supposed to take what he wrote about seriously if he was drunk and/or high most of the time in the stories he described.
If I had to grade the book I'd give it a B. It wasn't perfect but it was an easy read. It's a slight motivator to be a better person. I know Nick isn't completely healed but he's really shown that he can improve himself. I'm actually jealous he was able to publish a book and have it be on the New York Times Best Seller list.
I love that Nick can execute his goals when he puts his mind to it. He was able to lose weight because he wanted to. He was able to release solo records because he wanted to. He was able to publish a book because he wanted to. I hope someday my mind can be that powerful that when I set my mind to writing a book it can join the ranks of Nick's book as a New York Times Best Seller.
With the release of Nick's book came promotion. I hoped he would do a book signing in California. A date was released in New York and as the book's release date came closer I was doubtful other signings would be announced.
Thanks to Twitter I found out that Nick would do a signing at The Grove in LA on 9/27/13. I thought about driving but my car's battery had issues so I almost decided against going. Then I remembered I had some Southwest airline miles. I looked up flights and it was still early enough that I could get a flight from SJC to LAX for only $5! I couldn't pass the opportunity so I booked a flight.
Then I booked a hotel through Hotwire which turned out to be the Grafton on Sunset Blvd. A typical night at the Grafton for that weekend was about $270 a night plus $36 for valet for an approximate total of $306. I was able to get a rate for around $152 plus $36 for valet which is an approxmiate total of $188. I saved $118.
I then booked a rental car through Southwest's rental car partner Hertz. I got a decent deal and also earned a bonus of 600 miles for booking with Hertz. Thankfully the book signing was on a Friday. I was able to switch my day off from Wednesday to Friday and come home Saturday which was already my day off. I've never been to LAX before but I was glad that it was fairly simple to find my way to the rental car shuttle.
The night before my trip I signed up to be a Hertz Gold member. I had no idea that when you're a member, once you get to the rental center, you look for your name on the board and then walk to the stall number next to your name. I liked that since it eliminated waiting in line and then having to choose a car. It took a while for me to find my car but I finally found it. They gave me a white Chevy sonic. It's a 4 door compact car. I'm so used to driving my baby Acura RL that it took me a while to get used to being inside such a tiny car.
I was very disappointed when I saw the car didn't have a CD player! I had even brought my CDs to play but all it had was a radio. I had no choice but to listen to 102.7 KIIS which played too much Justin Timberlake. On the way to Hollywood I found it funny that I was mostly listening to Justin Timberlake when my sole purpose was to see Nick Carter.
What I wanted to do first was find my hotel and then find somewhere to eat since I wasn't sure if there was time to eat at The Grove. On my way to the hotel, I was so amused when I passed by the LFP building. For those who don't know LFP stands for Larry Flynt Productions. Larry Flynt is the creator of Hustler Magazine, a dirty magazine. I mainly know because I had one of my short stories published in Hustler Magazine before.
The drive was a bit long because of traffic but I found my hotel easily. It was finding a place to eat that was the hard part. For those who haven't been to LA, parking and traffic is a bitch. It costs to park almost everywhere and it's not so easy to turn into a street because you have to yield to oncoming traffic.
After nearly 2 hours of driving around I finally found a McDonald's so far away from my hotel. I tried to go to the McDonalds about 3 blocks from my hotel but I couldn't find how to get into the damn parking lot and it was too hard to go back around in a circle. I ended up somewhere past Beverly Hills but I was just glad I found a place to eat. I stuffed myself with chicken nuggets, fries, and a soda.
Then I drove back to my hotel. The Grafton is right on Sunset Blvd and is valet only. Thankfully there was a short term parking lot across the street so I park there for $2. I check-in and then go to my room to get ready. I was given a room on the first floor with a nice view of nothing. When I walked into the bathroom, I saw a cute frog toy that I had to take a picture of. Then above the beds were huge portraits of a woman's crotch and cleavage. I found that very amusing. I quickly shower and throw my clothes on.
Then it's back on the road to drive to The Grove which is about 3 miles away. It was about 5 PM'ish by the time I got on the road. It was the height of rush hour since people were going home from work and also there were plenty of tourists too.
On the way to The Grove I passed by the CBS studios. Gah, I wish I could get a TV job there! The Grove wasn't hard to find. My GPS maybe old but she gets me to places! I expected parking to be difficult but to my surprise I was able to find a spot. I took the escalator down and when I stepped into The Grove I was shocked to see so many people wandering about. I had been to The Grove once before in like 2006 for the One Tree Hill soundtrack signing. That event happened during the morning so there weren't very many shoppers there at that time.
The book signing was taking place at Barnes and Nobles. It wasn't too far from the elevator. I go pick up my wristband and book. When I got my wristband I noticed it was a brownish color. I asked the cashier what does that mean and he said he didn't know.
Earlier, I had been texting/talking on the phone with my two Backstreet friends Brittany and Whitney. They both told me they had purple wristbands and were letters E and F. My wristband didn't have a letter. I first met up with Brittany and we went up to the 3rd level. That was where the book signing was happening. There was already a small line formed.
We had wristbands so we weren't really too concerned with getting in line right away. It was there I discovered that those with gold wristbands, which is what I had, got to skip the line and be one of the first to get their books signed.
At first I thought, nooooooo I don't want to be one of the first. I didn't have a choice though since I already had a wristband. The reason I got a gold wristband is because on Twitter, I told the Barnes & Noble Grove Twitter account that I was traveling from the Bay Area to LA for Nick's book signing. The person running the account asked me to e-mail her which I did. She then told me that she would set aside a wristband for me. I'm forever grateful to her for doing that for me!
Brittany and I then head out of Barnes of Noble to explore a little bit and find my friend Whitney. Whitney had texted me saying she was at a restaurant near the fountains where people were giving away tote bags.
Brittany and I walked past the fountains and that's when we were approached by a girl who gave us a free tote bag. They were promoting a company called Airbnb. It's a website where people basically rent out a room in their house/apartment for a short term stay like a hotel. I really love the design of the bag! I remember seeing some people on the way to The Grove holding the bag and thinking they just bought the bag because they're from LA. It's a cute little souvenir.
After we got the free totes, Brittany and I found Whitney at La Piazza. We chatted for a bit. Then we went over to stand in front of Barnes and Noble for a while. That's where I saw fellow Backstreet fans I've met at past events Leslie and Diane and we all caught up. The signing was supposed to start at 7:00 PM so when it was almost time we decided to go inside and wait in line. Before we went in line we went to the bathroom.
When we left the bathroom that's when we saw Bodyguard Mike. We didn't see Nick but we knew he was nearby somewhere. Then I found out later that Bodyguard Mike and Nick were at Starbucks. Since me, Brittany, and Whitney all had different wristband colors and letters we had to split up. We decided that after the signing we'd go eat at Cheesecake Factory since it was next door.
I went toward the front of the line and a male employee guided me where the gold wristbands start. I ended up standing next to a table filled with books. While standing in line Courtney's mom, Tammy spotted me and said hi. The waiting wasn't so bad. There was a group of photographers near the table where Nick was going to do his signing. I also had a hunch that one of the camera people had to be for his reality show filming. There's some commotion in the line behind me. Then I see the photographers and camera people position their cameras. I position my camera too.
Nick then walks by and goes to the table. He poses for some shots. It was like witnessing a mini-photoshoot. He poses by himself and then he's filmed signing books. Then he comes near to where I stand and takes some pictures and signs some books for people in wheelchairs. Those were the only people he did posed pictures for.
On Twitter I mentioned Barnes and Noble Grove and said I hope us Bsb fans can work together to get candid pictures of each other while Nick signed our books. Barnes and Noble Grove replied saying a staff member could take pictures of us while we got our books signed.
I asked one of the staff members if that was still happening. The female staff member claims that Nick's people decided against it which was disappointing. I was really hoping to get at least one candid shot with Nick as he signed my book. However, my disappointment went away when I saw online that I ended up being in some of the photographer's pictures as Nick entered the signing. At least I have proof I was there!
The signing was super fast. I went up to Nick and quickly explain that my birthday is next Saturday so that's why the post-it that a staff member had written beforehand with my name said, "Happy birthday Jocelyn." Before I could even finish my sentence Nick said, "I got you. I got you."
He scribbled, "Happy B-day Jocelyn." What a cheater. Why couldn't he spell out birthday? :p haha j/k Beforehand I had thought heavily about what to say to him. I thought about saying how I admired his courage for writing a book and telling some stories he hadn't before. Then I thought about saying how I was freaked out he woke up in strange places before and to not do that again.
This is what I ended up asking him, "How did you deal with writer's block?"
He didn't answer right away. I probably stumped him with that question. He probably thought errrr, I had a ghostwriter but shhhhh lol He did a little one-shoulder shrug and said, "You just gotta push through it you know." I nodded my head and said, "Okay."
I thought he was done with me but then he asked, "You write?"
(Oh, Nick Carter, yes I write. You probably can't imagine the explicit nature of what I write and all the dirty things I've had you do and things I wish I could do to you in my stories... whew.)
Once again, he catches me off guard. I did not expect him to come back and ask me if I write. For a split second, I considered being honest and saying, "Yes I write erotica." But my shyness and lack of self-confidence held me back.
This is what I ended up saying, "Yes, always."
He nods his head and I kick myself mentally for sounding lame. He then reaches out and touches my right hand. I didn't even realize I had my hand resting on the table until he touched it. It was a small gesture but it meant a lot to me.
He then shuts the book he signed for me and pushes it toward me. I thank him and then say, "See you on the cruise!"
In a flash it's over. That was the one of the fastest meet and greets ever. There is a part of me that wonders what Nick's reaction would have been if I had said what I write but I guess that's meant for another time.
I hang out on the 3rd floor for a while with Courtney, her mom, Brittany, and other fellow Backstreet fans. The meet and greet breezes by. Apparently Nick was booked for only 1 hour and a half of signing and he actually finished before that. I honestly was a bit surprised there weren't more people there. I would've thought he would draw a big crowd because the LA events I attend are always crowded. I guess LA people aren't into book signings?
After we see Nick leave through an employee exit we don't have access to, we decide to have a post-Nick signing dinner. The Cheesecake Factory was nearby so we try to get a table there. It was a Friday night so the wait for a table almost 3 hours!!!
Courtney called The Grove's concierge to ask what restaurant nearby had tables open. The concierge told her there's a restaurant called Wood Ranch BBQ & Grill nearby. We all agreed to go there. We walk there and we're immediately given a huge table to accommodate the 9 of us.
Our server then asks us if we just came from the Nick Carter book signing. We said yes. One asked how he could tell and he said he saw the Barnes and Noble bags we were carrying. He took our drink orders and then let us browse the menu for a few minutes.
Since it's a BBQ place I had to splurge on getting ribs. Before we ordered our food, there was something about our server that looked very familiar. I tried to see if he had a name tag but he wasn't wearing one. He looked a lot of Trevor from O-Town. I was too shy to say anything because I hate being wrong. I even looked him up on my phone to compare the server to Trevor's Twitter profile picture. However, the picture on Trevor's Twitter was too small to confirm.
Everytime our server came to our table he would engage in conversation with us over Backstreet Boys, 'NSync, NKOTB, and 98 Degrees. He knew more about boybands than a typical man would. That only furthered my suspicions. He said his favorite Backstreet Boys song is "What Makes You Different (Makes You Beautiful)."
Sometime in the middle of dinner Brittany turned to me and said that he looks familiar. Then I said I thought the same but I didn't want to say anything since no one else was saying anything. That made me feel so much better that I wasn't the only one!
So Brittany being braver than me asks the rest of the table if the server looks like Trevor from O-Town. Some start Googling on their phones for pictures of Trevor. Then they were like naw it's not him. Courtney's mom Tammy decides to ask what his name is when he comes back to the table. She says something like we really enjoy your service, what's your name?
The server said that his name was Carl. I pout and think it's probably someone that looks too much like Trevor. We go about dinner and discuss lots of Backstreet. Whenever Carl would come by he would also jump in and talk about Backstreet and ask us questions.
When I got my food, it was way more than I expected! The ribs were HUGE. If I had known they were HUGE I would have chosen the baby back ribs. They were delicious but I wish they more falling off the bone.
Someone in our group asked if we could get separate checks. Carl gave us our checks and when I looked at my receipt I saw the server's name as Trevor. That confirmed it for me. He was Trevor from O-Town. I told Brittany that's Trevor because the receipt said it.
When Carl/Trevor came back to our table Brittany showed him the receipt and said that the receipt says Trevor and not Carl. Trevor shrugged and said nothing. He didn't deny it.
Earlier someone in our group had asked him if we could take a picture as a group with him. This was before we confirmed he was Trevor from O-Town. He probably thinks we already knew who he was.
Trevor leads us to the entrance of the restaurant and we take a group picture with him. Then we take individual pictures.
It was just so random how our primary goal was to meet a Backstreet Boy and we got a bonus of meeting an O-Town member.
We all bask in the high of meeting two boyband members and then part ways. In a flash my mini-adventure had come to a close.
I got about 4 hours of sleep that night. Part of it was because the hotel's walls were soooooooo thin! I could hear the people above me. It was like 2 AM and they were still up and talking. I'm a light sleeper so I know I won't be returning to stay at that hotel. I like my hotels quiet.
I woke up around 7:30 AM and the sun was bursting into my room. The hotel had no curtains. The only things shielding the sunlight were some wooden panels. Even then the sunlight still slipped through.
At around 10 AM I checked out of the hotel and decided to go back to The Grove for more exploring. I was curious to see if the Barnes and Noble had any of the books my stories were published in. I found they had 3: Caramel Flava, Purple Panties, and Yes Sir: Erotic Stories of Female Submission. If I had known beforehand my books were there, I probably would have bought them and given them to Nick for amusement lol
Then I walked to the Gap which is next to Baby Gap. Part of my point in going there is in my Nick Carter fan fiction Fantasy/Reality I had a scene with Nick and Viola in there. I wanted to get a feel of it since I mentioned it in my story.
When I left The Grove I had miscalculated my time. I thought I had time to visit The Grove and then go to Sprinkles Ice Cream in Beverly Hills. When I left The Grove it was about 12:30 PM and I had to return the rental car at 1:00 PM. When I passed Sprinkles Ice Cream it was already 12:50 PM and I knew that wasn't enough time to park, get ice cream, eat it, and get back on the road. I sadly had to pass it and resume driving to Hertz.
I made it on time to returning the car. I didn't like that I was rushed by the car return person to get out of the car as he inspected it. I also didn't like that my car rental fee went up. I learned my lesson for whenever I rent a car is to make sure I leave time so that I can return it without rushing. I probably won't rent with Hertz in the future. I had a pleasant experience with Enterprise in Vegas so I'll probably stick with them or another business.
Overall it was a good trip. I saved a lot of money on the flight and hotel. I got to meet Nick again with the bonus of Trevor. I also got to see my Backstreet friends and make new ones.