And, We’re Off!

This weekend I got my first real taste of “book tour living.” The whirlwind kicked off with a fundraiser for Carolina Mountains Literary Festival in Burnsville. This event included ticketed-entry for wine tasting and light snacks, and I was happily surprised when a crowd of thirty filled the tiny Burnsville Wine store just a few minutes after event kickoff. Asheville authors Dale Neal and Katherine Soniat read from there work, Charles Price came from the Pensacola side of the mountains, and Abigail DeWitt and myself represented the South Toe Valley. We read for 5 minutes roughly every half hour, and folks mingled and shopped and drank between events. The evening also included beer and brats on the patio!

Less than 12 hours later, my mom and I hit the road for a there-and-back trip to Chapel Hill, where I got to read at the one-and-only Flyleaf Books. Apparently there are
about six major, successful indy bookstores in North Carolina and this is one of them (Malaprop’s is another, of course). I’m happy to report that, after 42 years of employment, my mom RETIRED last week…which is exactly why she had the time and energy to go to Chapel Hill and back with me on the same day. I was greeted by a last minute appearance by my awesome uncle and cousin, and dear family friends rounded out the group.

At the Flyleaf event, which was partitioned from the main part of the bookstore and included THE BEST MIC I’ve ever used and a lovely podium, I also got to read with author Peter Makuck. It was interesting to experience reading in a city that I don’t know with another author whose work I had never read. I studied up beforehand — learning he was a Professor Emeritus at UNC Wilmington, that he had read several times at Flyleaf before, and that he had books in both poetry and fiction under his belt–but I hadn’t found time to read any of his books yet (I only had a few weeks notice!). Peter and I talked for a few minutes before meeting the audience, the bookstore owner introduced us, and we were off and running. Will it always run this smoothly? Who knows. I had a blast! And Peter’s reading was humorous, delightful, and uplifting. Check him out here.

Come Sunday, it was time to catch up on life (just barely) by running all manner of errands in Asheville as I prepare to leave this Friday for Michigan, two weddings, and the rest of the book tour. Boring but important, these things needed attending: new socks, a strapless bra for the dress I have to wear in the wedding I’m in, specialty foods (I have allergies) that I can’t get in Michigan, and purchasing locally made ceramic art as wedding gifts. It’s the little things we run out of time for, folks, and Sunday was my last day to pull it all together. I ran errands for 12 hours, came home to a rain storm and a new leak in the Airstream, and went to sleep.

Tonight, I read with author Abigail DeWitt (two writers in the same valley writing about war!) at The Celo Inn at 7:30pm. You can’t get much more “hometown” than the Inn that’s 2 miles from my Airstream, and a venue where most audience members will probably walk to the event down a gravel country road they can find their way home on through the dark. I’m looking forward to a strong send off, and although I’ve said it before, these local readings make me feel SO GRATEFUL for our community here. Being surrounded by so many self-employed studio artists and self-made small business owners, I feel people really “get it” here. This is hard work. They know hard work. And as I’ve rooted for them over the years, they’re rooting for me. I couldn’t feel more blessed by them. What a wild ride this is!

New: The reviews page has been updated. Flashes of War is getting nods left, right, and center. Check it out here!

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