Monday, February 16, 2009

Book Tour Tales

Book tour is always a whirlwind--like a traveling family reunion—fun, but challenging. First there's all the anticipation, the prep. Like what are we going to pack? Ten days, temperatures from 18 degrees to 60 degrees, that takes planning—never would have guessed 18 degrees would be in Birmingham, Alabama and the 60 in Chicago. Then we had to find the right excerpt from What Doesn’t Kill You to share. It has to pique your curiosity, not give away any secrets and still leave you wanting more. Going on tour also means for a few days we get to leave the computer behind--OK as many of you know because of Twitter, Facebook & MySpace updates, we actually do travel with a laptop and Blackberrys.

The getting from place to place part has definitely gotten more adventurous starting with the free with every ticket strip show in the airport. This little performance is much more complicated in January, thanks to coats, boots and scarves than it is in say August when you’re wearing a sleeveless dress and flip-flops! And then there’s the take-off lottery. We have absolutely no control over whether the plane leaves on time. Will we make our next connection? Because everything is a connection now and it seems to get to and from anywhere in the south you have to change planes in Atlanta. Hartsfield was starting to feel strangely homelike--scary! In ten days we had one non-stop flight--mercifully it was the last one because by the end we were soup. And Virginia was still feeling the after affects of food poisoning (at least this time she didn't faint, like the last time she had food poisoning while we were traveling).

Then there's handling the day to day--Trying to zip the suitcase closed because the same clothes are in there, but after a few days they mysteriously SWELL. And from one hotel to the next--trying to remember the room number-304? 403? 2010? 1012? Is the bathroom left or right for those middle of the night trips? What car we're in-- the green Mazda, the silver Mercury, the black Nissan SUV—so many rentals, so little time. Hard to find it in the lot if you don't know what you're looking for. And interpreting the GPS becomes an art, because what does, "slight right onto a local road," actually mean? You make your move, wait to hear the dreaded, "recalculating route," which means we’ve screwed up again, but with Virginia navigating and Donna driving (we're on the same sides as we are when we write and we figured out the formula works “vehicularly” too) we rarely get lost.

Late planes, quirky GPS and food poisoning aside, we had an amazing trip. And we got to meet new readers and see those who have, through the years, become friends. We keep in touch with most of them online, but sometimes we need to reach out and hug. Thanks for coming out to see us!!

We had so many wonderful moments that it’s hard to pick some to share. We enjoyed participating in the Pyramid Books New Year, New You Book Festival where we met author, and E. Lynn Harris protégé, Celia Anderson. We look forward to reading her debut young adult novel, Love, Ocean (Click here: Celia Anderson, Author of Love, Ocean http://celiaanderson.com). In Atlanta we met old friends like Angela Reid and Imani Literary Group—Angela was among the earliest people who reached out to us after Tryin’ was published. We made new friends in EastPoint, GA where we were hosted by the AKA’s and their Club Lit Reading Circle. We also had a great conversation, videoed for later online enjoyment, with Michelle Gipson publisher/founder of Written Magazine , the bi-monthly newspaper insert celebrating the word and the reader (Click here: Written Magazine http://writtenmag.com).

In Charleston we didn’t get to the waterfront (sounds like we need another trip), but we did squeeze in some barbecue and she-crab soup. We also thank Z93 Jamz DJs Deja Dee and Big Show for not only talking up our appearance on the radio, but also coming out and showing live, in person support!

And all along the way, we had readers sharing their Best Broke Stories. While we were in Georgia we even met online winner Carolyn who told us about how she used her ingenuity to start Karolyn’s Kloset (her story is on our blog). However the stimulus package works, lots of us are rethinking our finances and having to make choices we never dreamed we’d be faced with. Hearing each other’s stories lets us know we’re not alone. Check here soon for more Best Broke Stories to come and for pictures from our travels.

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posted by DeBerry and Grant at 3:46 PM

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