By Pamela Fagan Hutchins
Wow. Wow. Wow. I’m over 1/3 of the way through the tour — 4700 miles, 17 states, 21 events down — and I can’t believe it’s going so fast. I’m seriously in need of sleep and a day off at this point. I’ve worked nonstop every day but one since we started on June 10, and my average work day starts at 6:30 am and ends at 1:30 am. Yes, folks, I need a break. And I get one: IN TWO WEEKS. That seems like an eternity away right now 😉
So since I last wrote about Indiana owing me a microwave and Chicago falling dramatically down my favorite cities list, here’s what’s transpired:
- Finished and turned in to my editor What kind of loser indie publishes and how can I be one too? It feels like a good book. I hope it is.
- Released Leaving Annalise, everywhere but on iTunes/iBookstore (coming soon there too). Apple may be the death of me. Seriously. Every other web sales channel makes it easy, why can’t they? It defies logic that they would be the hardest to work with.
- The audiobook of How to Screw Up Your Marriage came out!
- Pittsburgh: can you say gorgeous? Can’t wait to return to this area one summer with my husband. Wheeling, West Virginia especially drew me in. And the event went great too — they already invited us back for the launch of Missing Harmony (Katie & Annalise #3), as have many of the stores; this one just surprised us because they started out very skeptical (and stuck us in the Gift section, sigh). Made a new Aggie friend, and enjoyed seeing an old island friend.
- Cleveland: After a gorgeous drive from Pittsburgh and a stay at an RV park with Petey’s lost brother from another mother (his new friend the pot belly pig), the less said about this event the better, other than the store staff was incredible and made me feel like a rock star. Some of them had already read Saving Grace and couldn’t wait to get their hands on Leaving Annalise. It wasn’t our fault I was stuck in the back of the store behind a bunch of chairs for a speech I wasn’t asked to nor did I volunteer to give. Friends, I am a natural born bookseller. But I have to be given access to book readers to make that happen. I can’t “draw” people to the MUSIC department like frickin’ Steven King. Oh well. We had a compensatory (burger, rosemary skinny fries, choco-banana-marshmallow shake) dinner at the B Spot and hit the road.
- Syracuse: Spent the night on the banks of Lake Erie. I think. It was raining too hard to see the lake. I looked like I’d jumped in the lake though, after I got back in from VISITING THE DUMP STATION. Where oh where is a good husband when you need one? 😉 The parents of a sweet friend drove a long way to come, and surprisded me. Sold a lot of books. Loved the area. Big fan of Wegman’s now, maybe like it better than Whole Foods. Pictures to come when I find the camera. Don’t ask.
- Hartford: Our first partly sunny day in God-knows-how-long, and the first one for the locals too. They chose sun over books, and I don’t blame them, but I did a fun speech on Deliberate Creativity for a small group then adjourned to Fleet Feet — where Petey the Poo joined us — to sign Hot Flashes. The B&N store manager made my weekend when I walked in. She recognized me and said, “Let’s just get this out of the way. You are awesome.” Thank you, Jessica. I actually needed that, and right then. Marie and I celebrated our great time with the wonderful store staff at Ben & Jerry’s.
- Boston: Woke up to pouring rain. Oh well, the sun was nice for a day. Decided to get the heck out of our KOA, which, uncharacteristically (generally, KOA’s are our favorite overnight spots) had a yucky bathroom. And our parking spot was slanted, which gives you the feeling of a perpetual downhill roll while you (try) to sleep. We drove north to Boston through sloppy roads and flash flood warnings. We were jolted by tornado warnings all afternoon, including one that urged us to “seek shelter immediately” (we did) but no tornado came, thank goodness. I finished Loser in the parking lot and borrowed some free wifi from the B&N/Starbuck’s cafe to send the manuscript to Meghan. I’ll admit, it was a stressful day. But we still rocked the 4th biggest Barnes & Noble in the country in Burlington, MA on the launch day of Leaving Annalise. A posse from a local military base showed up courtesy of a reader I met in Carlsbad. They were rowdy and funny and awesome and all named Deb. OK, only three of them were named Deb, and the rest Not-Deb, but that’s kind of the same thing, right? And I got to see a good friend and a dear cousin, and they in turn scored a photo opp with Petey in the Bookmobile.
I woke up this morning, and, for the first time, I didn’t know where I was (Rhode Island). I miss my husband and my own bed. Actually, while I don’t technically get a day off until July 17th, I have decided to do no work except the tour for one week, from today through July 10th. A sort-of vacation. I need exercise and fresh air and brain decompression, which is obvious because there was nothing funny in this post!! I hope I don’t sound whiny and petulant, because I AM having fun, and I am all kinds of grateful and disbelieving that I get to do this, and that it is going so well.
Quick gratuitous “ah:” Susanne found this old dog tag deep in the grass in our backyard by Duke the Duck’s habitat, shed years ago when we first moved to Houston. Makes me super nostalgic.
Onward to Clinton, New Jersey where they’re pouring free wine and I’m giving away free books at the Clinton Bookshop. Don’t forget to snag your copy of Leaving Annalise, and to leave an honest review of it and my other books on Amazon and Goodreads, y’all.