It has been an astounding whirlwind of travel, talk, and tales since the release of Two Minus One: A Memoir. I have met and mingled with so many readers and authors and have been honored by the enthusiastic reception wherever I have traveled. I have been treated like a celebrity yet embraced like family everywhere I toured. Every stop has been an adventure.
It would take pages to describe each visit, or to thank each person I had the opportunity to meet. So, I will take a different approach. I will share the awkward, embarrassing, and most memorable moments of the last six months – my Book Tour Troubles and Tumbles:
The ladies at Itinerate Literate Books graciously offered to host my first book event in their recently opened storefront just two days after the release. I was delighted by the opportunity, terrified of their expectations, and concerned that books would not be available in time for the occasion. I hoped I would not disappoint while continuing to worry about the “reading” the owners were asking me to do.
I arrived early with Robbie, and immediately noticed the volume of my books on the table to sign. I perused the shop and inventory as I grew increasingly apprehensive. I wondered how I could possibly do a reading, and I wondered where my audience might be. I had solid confirmation of a packed house for this debut, yet the clock continued to tick and the shop remained empty.
After more than an hour, my “posse” arrived at last! The shop filled with laughter, lively conversation, and a line up of women purchasing Two Minus One for me to sign. The wine flowed and because the group had gotten lost and arrived so late, I was spared the formal reading! The 41 books that had been ordered all but disappeared. I was asked to sign the remaining five. My first presentation was behind me.
Robbie and I drove the few blocks to join a dozen supporters for a celebration dinner. Arriving at the restaurant, darkness and fatigue set in. The parking lot was overflowing. Circling several times, I finally located what I thought was an available spot. However, I was mistaken. Backing up, I backed into a telephone pole. I was momentarily deflated, but there was no damage. Relief flooded over me. I was officially “on tour.”
Later in the month, I was signing books at Fiction Addiction in Greenville, SC. Another author arrived with a caged raccoon to market her book and a local rescue program. A friend with her young daughter stopped in and I was signing a book for her mother. Suddenly, a piercing scream rang out across the store as the racoon jumped toward the little girl. Luckily, the animal remained restrained and there was no physical injury. The purchase of a new picture book and an assortment of stickers seemed all that was necessary to restore the previous calm.
In January, I boarded a plane for Shreveport, Louisiana on my way to the Pulpwood Girlfriend Getaway Convention in Jefferson, Texas. By this time, I had been going nonstop and sleeping little. The four days at the Convention were filled with exciting presentations, discussions, and celebrations. By the time of my return trip on Sunday, I was exhausted. I dropped my laptop in the security line and the screen shattered. The machine would not power up and I had not backed up my most recent files. I was at the computer repair shop in town the first thing in the morning. Luckily, the files were retrieved. I had the expense of a new computer, but that was a small price to pay.
Park Road Books in Charlotte, NC provided another lovely venue filled with caring proprietors and inquisitive book lovers. I was fortunate that an aunt who lived close by stopped in for a visit while I was there. I was less fortunate when I arrived at my hotel to learn that my reservation had been for the previous night. Luckily, a room was available, but awaking the next morning, I knew I was ill. Returning home, I picked Lucy up from the kennel and put myself to bed. The next day at the doctor, it was confirmed. I had Type A flu and a sinus infection. I would be going nowhere but bed before my next event in Virginia the following week.
Perhaps the most exciting incident occurred while I was a guest of The Book Lady at an outdoor celebration to mark the birthday of Flannery O’Connor. Interesting people were stopping to chat and purchase signed copies of the book. All were admiring a well-behaved Great Pyrenees resting in the shade at the end of his leash. As the dog and owner began their departure, modern marketing had infiltrated the dog’s instincts and training. “Eat mor chickin” must have been at the forefront of the dog’s mind. He passed a performing chicken beside us and the chicken was gone. Inconsolable sobs were heard from the child who was caring for the chicken prior to its demise, and the dog and owner made their escape.
Event after event and I was gaining my stride. I became comfortable in all kinds of settings. I was capable of talks and presentations in any situation. I had my “elevator pitch” perfected, and my blurb and signature were clear and concise. But then, it was over. Six months of travel and adventure had come to an end. I could now sleep in my own bed. Lucy was home. I could meet with my friends, work out routinely, and rest whenever I needed. But not for long. I have more events to add to the calendar. I will have more opportunities to meet more wonderful people and to discuss the merits of Two Minus One. I am certain of more adventures ahead and grateful for all who have supported my journey.