Corrections or additions?
This article was published in U.S. 1 Newspaper on July 29, 1998. The
remainder of the Preview section consisted of a detailed calendar of
events (http://www.princetoninfo.com/us1evts.html plus the
Summer Fiction Issue — short stories and poems that are not available
on this page. All rights reserved.
Rhona’s Tip: Go Slow, Don’t Inhale
You’ve seen them in lavish color on the cover of Cigar
Aficionado — or if not there, then in larger-than-life full-page
ads in the New York Times — the cigar smoking women of the ’90s.
Demi Moore, Whoopi Goldberg, Claudia Schiffer, and Linda Evangelista
are just a few of the celebrities who have lent their fame to the
But before these women climbed on the bandwagon, there was Rhona
Princeton businesswoman, cigar enthusiast, and author who
her first diminutive "Woman’s Guide to Cigar Smoking" in 1996.
Now St. Martin’s Press has published an enlarged, upbeat hardback
edition of Kasper’s amusing musings (128 pages; $13.95). Kasper talks
about and signs the book at Encore Books in Princeton Shopping Center
on Friday, August 7, at 7:30 p.m.
Kasper is her own model for the cover of the new book, in which she
looks out, cigar in hand, over an oversize cigar band. From her very
down-to-earth chapter on "How to tell if it’s a good cigar,"
to the more questionable issue of "Licking your cigar?!",
Kasper has a quip for every occasion. "When smoking a cigar, make
like molasses in January and Bill Clinton in college… go slow and
don’t inhale!" And on the licking controversy: "It’s a real
head turner when a woman coyly licks her cigar from end to end. And
I am definitely not one to waste a chance to turn some
"It’s all about cigars for fun, having a good time, and as a way
to meet men," says Kasper, who notes that the best place to meet
the man of your dreams in the ’90s is at the cigar dinner, the cigar
bar, or the tobacco shop. Here’s why:
piece right at your fingertips.
(it takes a while to smoke one — a relaxing experience during
which she recommends unplugging the phone). "And according to
research, they earn more than the average Joe. The cigar smoker’s
average household income exceeds $148,000."
How a modest self-publishing idea became a mainstream book is an
of the author’s entrepreneurial, go-get-’em nature. "This is truly
a story of perseverance," says Kasper, who now runs a home-based
marketing consulting firm.
It began in 1996 with a tiny (4-inch square), attractive, claret and
gold cover, 56-page stapled paperback of which she sold 1,000 copies
at $4.95. This relative success motivated her to upgrade to a slightly
bigger, 64-page perfect-bound paperback that retailed for $6.95. She
marketed and shipped 18,000 copies of the second edition.
At this point a friend suggested she get an agent, and Kasper went
straight to William Morris. "I called the receptionist at William
Morris and she started to give me the runaround, so I asked to go
straight to voice mail. A couple of days later someone called back,
and within six weeks I had a book deal." It took about a year
from sale to the appearance of the hardback in bookstores from coast
"I should have done that in the beginning," says Kasper in
hindsight. "All that work, all those paper cuts, but I learned
to put cardboard shipping boxes together really well."
Kasper grew up in Oklahoma, the daughter of a physician and a physical
therapist. She graduated with honors in German language from
in 1983, and has a master’s degree in international business from
the University of South Carolina. Before settling in Princeton, she
held several positions as an international marketing director for
high tech companies. A columnist for Cigar Friendly, Cigar Affair,
and Chicago Smoker magazines, she has been an official taster for
Smoke magazine and is the Online Cigar Goddess for America Online’s
CigarCafe. Over the past two years she’s been invited to present at
least 40 cigar events around the country.
Kasper says she shares today’s health concerns about smoking. She
has never been a cigarette smoker and limits her enjoyment of cigars
to a couple of times a week.
"My father’s a doctor, a general practitioner, and he’s completely
anti-smoking. But he takes my book as it was intended: it’s about
cigars for fun and in moderation. And hopefully it’ll help get his
little girl married off."
Although she’s not giving out her home phone, she invites E-mail at
Center, 609-252-0608. The Princeton author of "A Woman’s Guide to
Cigar Smoking: Everything You Need to Know to be the Ultimate Cigar
Aficionado" (St. Martin’s Press). Free. Friday, August 7, 7:30
Corrections or additions?
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