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3 posts from March 2014

Book Tour So Far March 23, 2014

I wanted to tell you about book tour, but I don't think I can. It's been too much, too wonderful, too inspiring and humbling. I'll throw a couple of things at you, but mostly I want to tell you about Niagara Falls. 

I got up at 5:30am yesterday in Indianapolis. I drove to Hudson, Ohio, and had a marvellous reading/gabfest/knitting party in the early afternoon at the Learned Owl bookshop. Then I got in the car and headed toward Toronto, another long, ambitious drive. 

After about ten hours in the car on a day that was already busy, I decided it wouldn't be safe to go all the way to Toronto. I called my sister Bethany (of the 18 month road trip) and asked for advice. She said: Niagara. I said where? She said, "Call you back." 

She did the research, which included two main points: Get to the Canadian side, and get to the Tower Hotel. I do anything she tells me to (this is true), so in the dark, I got Niagara.  

I have to confess something: My image of Niagara Falls was apparently a postcard from the fifties. I'm not sure how this got so impressed upon my brain (probably from looking at postcards from the fifties) but this is what Niagara looked like: A large waterfall. At the top of the falls, to the right, stands a twenty-room low-slung pink wooden motel. At the edge, almost ready to fall over the railing, a buxom cartoon blonde waves at the camera, her arm draped around her newly-wedded cowboy husband. In my imagination, there are maybe a couple of other little motels in the area, but that one, the little pink one right at the falls, that was the one to stay at. 

Instead, I drove up to the Canadian Vegas. Neon raced across the top of skyscraper hotels! Music boomed from nightclubs! There was a casino so casino-ish I could almost put a quarter in the side of the building and pull its slot. 

Overwhelmed and tired, I almost checked in at the outskirts of town. The La Quinta, or the Motel 6 - those would have been fine. Then, in the morning, I would go look at the falls and continue to Canada Proper. 

But I heard Bethany's voice in my mind. "Just go look at the hotel. It'll just take a second." It was Saturday night, I told myself. Of course I can't stay at a fancy place. 

I found the hotel in a warren of tall boxy hotels. It was, actually, a tower. 

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My heart was racing at this point. I had to stay here. The gal at the front desk bit her lip when I said she probably didn't have a room, but could she check? "Well, I do have one left, actually. But it's kind of an obstructed view. I could do…" Pause. I mentally the math that I could afford. How much would I pay for an awesome view? Two hundred? Two fifty? (In a fluke, I'd gotten two comped rooms in Indiana due to an overbooking problem. I had a little extra in my hotel budget.)  "I could do $89? Would that work?" She was practically apologetic. 

"I WILL TAKE THAT ROOM PLEASE," I boomed as casually as possible. "THAT WOULD BE FINE."

I room up the elevator (the rooms start at floor 27 and end at floor 29). This was what I got. 

 

Also: there was a jacuzzi tub which also had the huge windows and the view (I had a little single malt Macallan and two Cadbury creme eggs in that magical tub). 

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It snowed and the falls sent up steam. At 10:30, suddenly revived again, I ran to the elevator and then outside and watched the flakes swirl and the falls steam.  

I slept to their roar and woke up thinking I could hear the ocean. 

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I took a picture of my face as I explored the room last night. This is how I felt: 

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That's not what this book tour is about. This tour has truly been about connecting with readers who are also friends. (I repeat: I am the luckiest.)

Chicago: A whack of knitters and these tulips, sent by my sister Christy (which made me cry) at Women and Children First, followed by dinner with friends. Oh, happiness. 

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Cedar Rapids: A tiny (really lovely) store in a tiny (honestly, not that lovely) town, and in a surprise twist, a whack of NON-knitters at New Bo Books. A town that cares about literature! It was humbling. Also, yarn was delivered to me (because I'd lost my own) by Perclexed (FROM WASHINGTON STATE!) and Catherine, local. Also humbling. Dinner with darling knitters and good friends Greg and Erick (I stole them from the FeralKnitter and I'm not giving them back). 

Indianapolis: A surprisingly awesome town! I really liked it. Fun reading at IndyReads which was everything I'd been scared of. Only seven people came--something I'd thought would throw me, something I thought would make me want to cry. Instead, it was intimate and SO FUN. Two of my Rachaelista street team members came! 

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 (Not pictured: The Two Kates!)

Hudson, Ohio: I have to tell you, Jeremy and I have been friends for a long time. I hadn't met him in person, though. Until WE RAN INTO EACH OTHER AT A REST STOP ON I90. 

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Our "cute meet" story will always be that: that we met at a rest stop. He was on the way to my reading. For that matter, so was I. That reading at the daring Learned Owl was also intimate (seven? Eight?) and RAUCOUS. Old friends and new ones (thank you, Rachel, for the g/f brownies -- they are breakfast today), and I was so happy. 

Then the Falls. 

I woke this morning to wonder how I'd ever work on my necessary book revisions in this room with this view, and then I just realized, I can't. I can write to YOU, friend, but not to my book. For that I need a beige wall, and the sound of housekeeping rolling loud carts in the hallways. I need an uncomfortable chair and a view of a dumpster. Not this heaven. So I'm checking out soon, going to meet the Falls in person (there are still occasionally flurries of snow floating past the great windows--last night I thought, why is there ash floating outside? THAT'S SNOW PUT ON CLOTHES PUT THEM ON AS FAST AS YOU CAN I MIGHT MISS IT!). 

I hope to see the Torontoians (?) in the house at Ben McNally on Monday night, 6pm. The rest of you I'll see on the next tour, hopefully. This is amazing. I'm the luckiest one. 

Book TourMarch 15, 2014

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I've never been on book tour before. I'm having a problem not dropping it into every conversation I have.

"Why, yes, I do like artichoke soup. I surely do hope I can find some when I'm on BOOK TOUR."

"Oh, sure, I can lend you my favorite pencil (Papermate Sharpwriter), but only if you give it back to me before my BOOK TOUR." 

"The cat threw up on the couch? Again? THERE ARE NO CATS ON BOOK TOUR." 

But honestly, I think I'm going to love being on book tour. <---See? I just did it again! I can't help myself.

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I've already done two gigs in the Bay Area and one in San Luis Obispo, all of which were AWESOME and nerve-wracking and embarrassing because I always tell too much about myself (like how NOW I'll mention (but didn't mention then) that at the beautiful Read Books in Danville (above), I forgot to turn off my phone because it's off 95% of the time and besides that, it never rings. So when it did (luckily, far away from me), I gave the area the ring was coming from a good glare. The nerve of that person!). 

BOOK TOUR: 

I'm going around the Great Lakes, and I'm sorry in advance to those of you I won't get a chance to meet. I can't afford to do more than five stops for this book, so I chose five cities in the region I sell best in.

And I have to tell you -- I'm so excited. There's a part of me that just KNOWS I set this up because I have some revisions still to finish before I turn in my next standalone book in at the end of the month. (On the flip side, who does that? Who accidentally plans a book tour right before her next book is due? Sheesh.) 

But I'm going on a trip. Alone. I'm basically giving myself a writing retreat. Even with 5-7 hours of driving a day, it's still lots more time to write than I normally have, since I'm off work for eleven days. Lots of time by myself in plain, boring hotel rooms. Nothing to do but stare at my computer (if I were smart I wouldn't pay for wifi in the hotels but I don't know if I'm ready for that level of commitment). 

So if you're in or near Chicago, Cedar Rapids (in Iowa! I keep writing it wrong, even though I know where I'm going), Indianapolis, Hudson (OH), or Toronto, please come see me. (I'm having that terrible fear that at at least one of these, no one will show up. Oh, my god, that might be better than just one person showing up, because at least then I could run away and hide in my hotel room. But if only one person shows up, well... then I'll just have to take that person out for a drink. See what I'm doing here? I'm BRIBING you into being the only person who comes to one of my readings, therefore ten of you might think you're the only ones, and then BOY OH BOY you'll be there for the reading!) 

So, book tour. *gibbers* 

Please follow me on FB or Twitter to hear me babbling about how much MORE freaked out I will no doubt become. 

(And if you've already read Pack Up the Moon and left me a review (anywhere, not just Amazon), thank you. They are, literally, a lifeline for me right now. The book I'm working on now is at that gangly adolescent point, going through a phase of lobbing as many f-bombs at me whenever I open its door to tell it to clean its room. Knowing you loved this last book makes me feel like a writer. And seriously, if you've been on the fence about reading it? Go read some of those reviews. I sure don't always feel I deserve them all, but I sure am grateful for every one of 'em.) 

Pack Up the Moon (sneak peek!) March 4, 2014

Hello, you!  

It's today! My book is out TODAY! If you haven't read my books, this is the one I want you to read. If you're already a beloved reader of mine, this one is a little different. It's both heavier and lighter at the same time, a bit more intense and quite a bit more emotional. This will require more Kleenex than Cypress Hollow does, but I'm hoping it will also bring you even greater joy.  



 

Amazon | B&N | iBooks | Kobo | Indiebound

 In Australia and New Zealand, it has a different gorgeous cover (I won the cover lottery for both): 

(Now, to whet your appetite, let me give you a quick sample. This is at the very beginning of the book, the moment Kate's life, off-track from a great tragedy, turns and heads in a new, wonderful, frightening direction.)

EXCERPT: 

A girl pushed her head in. "Can I just have a quick word with Ms. Monroe?" 

Kate had seen the girl--no, the young woman--during the talk. She'd stood in the back, her spine straight, the picture of an earnest art student. She wore a black, oversized tunic with red pockets and torn black tights. Her hair was multi-colored, stripes of blue and green cascading through her black curls. Kate had looked right at her, thinking she was a pretty girl who probably didn't know how beautiful she was going to be. An idle thought, that's all it had been. 

Vanessa raised her eyebrows. "Maybe in a moment? We'll be out in a--" 

Kate felt something twist in her stomach, an edge of nervousness, and she said, "No, it's fine," even while she wasn't sure if it was. She held the stem of her glass more tightly. 

Something was about to happen. 

Vanessa gave Kate a sharp, curious look and then nodded. The door clicked behind her. 

"It's me," said the girl.

______________________________________


BOOK TOUR - Please come if you can!

With Sophie Littlefield 
Diesel Books, Oakland, CA - Book Launch Party!
Thursday March 6, 7pm  

Barnes & Noble, San Luis Obispo CA
Saturday March 8, 11am

With Sophie Littlefield and Gigi Pandian 
Read Books, Danville CA 
Thursday March 13, 6:45pm 

Women and Children First, Chicago IL 
Tuesday March 18, 7pm 

New Bo Books, Cedar Rapids IA 
Wednesday March 19, 7pm 

IndyReads, Indianapolis IN
Friday March 21, 7pm

The Learned Owl Book Shop, Hudson OH
Saturday March 22, 1pm

Ben McNally Books, Toronto ON
Monday March 24, 6pm

 
Do swing by and chat with me onTwitter or Facebook

Thank you, again, for reading and believing in me, and especially in this book, the book of my heart. It means the world.