Saturday, November 26, 2011

It's Pat Browning's Day on My Blog!

Pat's the person who tortured me until I agreed to join this blog tour, so I'm glad she's here!

Pat Browning on a camel!

President Jimmy Carter and Leonid Brezhnev, Soviet Communist Party Chief, showed up in Vienna in 1979 to sign the SALT II treaty. Guess who else was in Vienna? The timing wasn’t planned, but there I was. 
Cover of Time magazine, Europe edition, 25 June 1979

 Vienna just happened to be a stop on my TWA Getaway Tour “The Dalmatian.” Our tour hotel was the Hilton, where the world’s movers and shakers were staying. I actually walked up to the pressroom on the mezzanine and looked over the handouts. There was no one about, but the room itself was intimidating. The vibes were heavy, man, heavy. I left without sampling the handouts.

Alas, my brush with the famous consisted of chatting with a woman who rode in the elevator with Tom Brokaw. It was like the old song “I danced with a man who danced with a girl who danced with the Prince of Wales.”

Vienna remains one of my favorite cities, although I’ve only been back once. I remember it as elegant, with a history going back to the Roman Empire when it was Rome’s eastern outpost. It has a long and tangled history, a subject for another time.
 Vienna photo from

For some reason, the people I met on my travels never made it into my fiction with one exception, a character in my WIP who is based loosely – very loosely – on a tour guide I sat with in every café in Vienna and Paris, with Antwerp thrown in for good measure. He shows up on Page 68 of METAPHOR FOR MURDER, when Penny learns that her live-in lover wants to start a dude ranch:

“Something else to mull over. Living happily ever after, with horses in the corral and Watt’s first wife and her tony friends clinking drinks around the fireplace in the parlor. Too bad I didn’t have an ex-husband to round out the friendly, fractured family.

“Puck. The name floated up from my sub-conscious like a dead body. Puck had been a close call, a flaky tour guide whose Viennese charm hadn’t traveled well, a souvenir my globe trotting parents picked up in Europe. They called him Puck because they couldn’t pronounce his real name and he had convinced them he desperately wanted to attend an American university.

“What he really wanted was to visit California. Toasted himself to a dark brown in the September sun. Turned morose when early November fog set in. His Christmas present from my parents was a one-way plane ticket home. God only knew where he was now. Probably playing his zither for tourists in the Wiernerwald. Poor Puck. Lucky me.”

All grist for the writer’s mill. Stay tuned …

Alice, thank you so much for hosting me today! I hope your readers enjoy reading my post as much as I enjoyed writing it!
Pat Browning

Thanks for joining me today, Pat. I loved your blog and your pictures! You've lived a much more exciting life than I.


Jackie King said...

Pat, I loved reading about your adventures. You're like a heroine! And Alice, it's delightful to visit your blog.

For those who haven't read Pat's wonderful book, ABSINTHE OF MALICE, buy it for your own Christmas present. You deserve a good read.

Alice Duncan said...

Hey, Pat! I'm so happy you're here today. ABSINTHE OF MALICE is such a fun book -- and you're a hoot. I hope you don't mind me saying that :-)

Jacqueline Seewald said...

Hi, Alice and Pat,

This is a very interesting blog. I did a double take seeing Pat sitting up there on a camel. How exciting! I'm certain you're novels are just as exciting.

Marilyn Meredith a.k.a. F. M. Meredith said...

Loved this post, Pat. Every time I read a new post of yours I find out something I didn't know before.

Mike Orenduff said...

I absolutely love Pat's Absinthe of Malice. I know I'm going to love the sequel, especially now that I've been briefly introduced to Puck.

Thanks to Alice, another of my favorite writers and also the only person who came to my book signing in Roswell.I know both Pat and Alice will see the humor in this: the word verification thing below is asking me to copy UNFLINGL.

Carol M said...

You lead such an exciting life! It sounds like a wonderful trip even if you didn't meet Tom Brokaw!

M.M. Gornell said...

Ah, to sit atop a camel! What an amazing path through life you're cutting! Great getting to know you.


Jean Henry Mead said...

What a great job you had, Pat, traveling the world and balancing yourself on a camel. I enjoyed reading Absinthe of Malice and look forward to book #2.

Earl Staggs said...

Awww, Pat, it was Brokaw's loss. I'll bet he never rode a camel. I'm looking forward to your next book.

Anonymous said...

Jackie, I really can't complain. Life truly is an adventure. My mantra is "Life is full of surprises," and I'm about ready for a new one. It's been awhile!
Pat Browning

Anonymous said...

Alice, I like being a hoot. You're never too old to be a hoot, right?
Pat Browning

Anonymous said...

Jacqueline, alas, my travels have never really made it into fiction -- but what an idea! Maybe ....
Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment.
Pat Browning

Anonymous said...

LOL Marilyn. One of these days I'll run out of true stories and have to start making them up!

So glad to call you my friend, and I really miss you!

Anonymous said...

Mike, "Puck" and I corresponded briefly after the tour ended but then he died. His parents sent me a black-bordered notice of his death -- in German. I couldn't get it translated in time to visit his grave the next time I was in Vienna. "Puck" was corker. I never forgot him or that trip.

Thank you again and again for liking ABSINTHE OF MALICE.


Pat Browning

Anonymous said...

Carol, I took so many things for granted when I traveled. I just got on an airplane confident that someone would meet me in Casablanca or London or Shanghai or Bombay or Paris, and someone always did.

Travel was easier in those days. I doubt that I could do it now -- too many rules and inconveniences.

Thanks for stopping by. See you around the bookshelves.

Pat Browning

Anonymous said...

Madeline, we all cut an amazing path through life. The trouble, darn it, is that we usually don't realize it at the time. We take so much for granted!

Thanks for stopping by. See you on my blog Dec. 5!

Anonymous said...

Jean, it's been a journey, and I'd gladly do it all over again. Once is never enough!

Thanks for stopping by!

Anonymous said...

Earl, I don't think Tom missed me. LOL Now there's a small-town boy who has had an amazing life. Maybe he was born under a lucky star. I'm sure I was.

Thanks for coming by, and by the way, you're on my blog today. Hey, everyone, read what Earl has to say about his shorts at

Pat Browning

Anonymous said...

Sorry, I got overly excited thinking about your shorts (short stories, that is). You aren't on my blog until Nov. 28. I just consulted a calendar and that is next Monday.

Beth Anderson is on my blog today, Nov. 26, at

Pat Browning

Anonymous said...

I also enjoyed this!


Timothy Hallinan said...

Wonderful answers, Pat, and the best image of the day. The moment I saw you on camel-back, I thought, "This is how I'll know if Pat passes away before I do. The Post Office will immediately issue this as a stamp."

Now get back to that book.

Anne K. Albert said...

I'm reading Absinthe of Malice now, and thoroughly enjoying it. (Just as I enjoyed Vienna on 1978!)

Great post, Pat and Alice.

Alice Duncan said...

Tim, you crack me up. But that photo *would* make a great stamp, Pat!

AnnNoE said...

That looks like fun!

Alice Duncan said...

I always wanted to ride a camel. A camel and an elephant. Don't ask me why, 'cause I don't know.

desitheblonde said...

the info and the travel are great i lov the pic

Chester Campbell said...

Great story, Pat. Your comment about using the tour guide as a character was interesting. I did that in Secret of the Scroll. It was the tour guide we had on my Holy Land tour. Only I changed it from a woman to a man. Used a lot of her actions, though.

Alice Duncan said...

I love that pic, too, Desi. And I think it's great that Pat used the tour guide as a character in her book, Chester!