I just got back from my NATION-WIDE BOOK TOUR!!!
Ok, so there were only 5 stops in this tour… but still, it spanned the entire country. Counts.
I apologize in advance for the length of this post (and splitting it in two so that I can cover it in depth) but my aunt Marie wants details. So details she shall have!
I picked up my friend Kay at 4 in the morning on Tuesday the 18th to get our road trip underway. My book signing was in Columbus, OH at 6pm that evening. I get very anxious about being late so I wanted to make sure we had plenty of travel time!!
Then we arrived at noon…. Awkward.
We were too early even to check into our hotel. Oops! Being overly early is a trait I get it from my mom. We were always embarrassingly early to parties and appointments. I hated it as a kid but apparently the trend stuck with me.
All we could do was get lunch and take a nap to pass the time. Finally after a shower and some thumb-twiddling, I was ready for my first book signing on the tour!
It was fun and surreal and the book store was remarkably quirky. I met a lot of people and talked about books and mermaids. It was a huge success!
The next morning we left bright and early again to get to Arkansas! Well, what’s it called when you leave before the sun comes up? Dark and early? In the car by 4:30am again, we hit the road dark and early!
Of course our arrival was extravagantly early, but this time I didn’t mind. We were staying with a dear friend of mine whom I hadn’t seen in years. It was time well spent catching up and having dinner that was made in a kitchen! (Road trip food is the worst)
While at the book signing that evening I had a few minutes to myself where I was overcome with emotion. Long ago I used to think about how excited authors must be when they’d go to a book store and see their book sitting on a shelf. It must be powerful and rewarding and, really, I couldn’t comprehend what it would be like.
So I stood there in little ol’ Rogers, Arkansas, quiet while the store was bustling around me, and tears filled my eyes. My book was in Barnes and Noble.
I did it.
Day two passed just as surreal as day one.
Our next stop was Denver, CO but since I couldn’t find a book store in the whole city that would take a little unknown author like me, the stop was just a respite along the route so we took a leisurely pace and enjoyed our drive.
Well, I use the word “enjoy” loosely… Do you know what is in between Arkansas and Colorado??
Kansas was the fist stretch along the route so full of NOTHING that we had to pull on the side of the road to pee. We were near bursting before we realized that there wasn’t going to be any place to stop. Ever.
Kansas is also where we hit a deer! Hit. A. Deer.
We were lucky because this could have derailed the whole trip in one swoop. The “hit” was more of a graze and the deer ran off into the woods. The damage that was done to my car was so minimal it took us a minute to find it. Now there is just a little flappy part on my bumper, no harm done. (Hopefully none for the deer as well.)
We left Denver early–to no one’s surprise– and headed for Utah. I’ve done a lot of driving in my life and I can say with 100% confidence that the drive along I-70 from Denver to Utah is the most beautiful stretch of highway. It is such a gorgeous and serene drive through the Rocky Mountains.
Then once you hit the Utah border it’s nothing but a hundred miles of desert.
And the gas station situation is sparse.
When the empty light came on my trusty old Mazda we were feeling a little panicky. We dropped down to 65mph to get more fuel efficiency and I think we still drove another 50 miles before seeing a sign for a gas station.
However, upon pulling off the freeway for the pump we were directed 12 miles out of the way for the closest gas station. By this point I was a pile of nerves and had to put something over the gas light to stop looking at it. We were quite accurately in the middle of nothing. In the desert.
The lonely gas station sold shirts that said, “I ran out of gas in Emery County” (bought one) and the clerk said they have non-stop business every day because of people like us. Glad we could help. We didn’t actually run out of gas completely but we probably coasted into the station on fumes.
Naturally I planned for delays so we still arrived in plenty of time for my first ever speaking appearance.
This is something I’ve always wanted to do! I wrote Breathing Water because of the dozens of treatment youth I’ve worked with in my professional life. I love working with teenagers and speaking to them about overcoming obstacles. I talked with Sunrise School to a group of about 50 girls and loved every minute of it. I hope they enjoyed it as much as I did.
St. George Day 2
Having a travel-free day was marvelous! We ate breakfast that was hot and swam in a pool that was cold. Both much needed activities!
That afternoon I had a signing and was warmed to the core to see my family waiting for me to arrive. It was like my own personal fan club… But isn’t that was families are? I know I sure am a big fan of theirs!
It’s very important to get my book in the hands of people who I’ve never met, but it’s also important to spend time with the people who have been there for me along the way. For this reason, the St. George signing was special to me.
Friends and family showed up in droves! I saw people I haven’t seen in 10 or more years. The day was marvelous and wonderful AND everyone who came by for a signature got a special treat.
My cover artist, Becky Fawson, lives in Southern Utah and was at the table all day giving Readers an extra signature and mermaid love.
That was a fun experience for both of us!
The next morning we were off to Nevada for another afternoon signing. This one was most notable for me because I only had two people stop by whom I actually knew and yet I still sold out early!
I met a bunch of really wonderful and enthusiastic Readers in Las Vegas who wiped out my supply in just over an hour leaving me with nothing left to do but pack up and hit the strip!
After that I deserved a celebratory night on the town.
My long-time friend Kellie drove down from Utah and the three of us hit the town! I’m sorry but the details of the night are confidential in accordance with the rules of Vegas.
The Pacific Ocean was the farthest I could possibly drive so it seemed like a good place to turn around. I swapped my lovely friend Kay for my sexy husband Dan and headed home.
What a trip, huh?? And I still had more book events and a week’s worth of driving before I returned home.
But we’ll save that for another post another day. Just remembering all of this makes me tired!