Date: November 20. No travel.
On November 20. I was told (by Jeff Young, the top-notch facilitator for the Camp Hill B&N reading group, Watch the Skies) that I would be receiving a “big welcome.”
I read a few scenes from NTT, which were very well received, and some of the folks bought books – particularly paperbacks of Dark Crusade. This was the most relaxed professional appearance of the entire trip, and followed a day in which I didn’t have to drive anywhere or do much of anything. It was a welcome change – particularly since I’d be heading home the next morning.
Thanks again to Jeff and the group for having me visit. I hope to come back when NTT is out. Which requires it to be bought by the publisher that currently has it. Which requires . . . well, I don’t really know. I’m hoping for the best.
Date: November 21.
Route: I-83 to I-78; across country in New Jersey due to traffic; I-280 to the Garden State Parkway to the Dewey Expressway; I-287 across the Tappan Zee Bridge, Saw Mill Parkway to I-684 to I-84; I-84 to I-90 to I-495 to home.
What a drive. It didn’t turn out to be a matter of Driving Fu, a grind or a rush – it was just long. I had intended to get home in the early afternoon to meet up with A., but terrible backups near Clinton, NJ forced me to cut across central Jersey, eventually dumping me on to SR 10 for a bit. I bought gas in Whippany, NJ, and then just worked my way to the Garden State.
My intention was to visit Dr. Mikes on the way home to pick up ice cream for Thanksgiving, but their winter hours thwarted me; they’re not open Monday or Tuesday. I-84 was a struggle, even more than usual, due to construction near Waterbury and near New Britain; everyone and their cousin was trying to get through Hartford at 1 in the afternoon.
I pulled in just before 3:30. Six days, 2200+ miles, 11 states, three visits to friends, four public appearances. Was it worth it? Hard to tell. It certainly makes it a little tough on my best pal back home, just being away – but I was able to help the Smoky Mountains Book Fair, I got to appear at an airport, and I spoke at a high school. I didn’t do too much writing, and didn’t find very many bookstores.
Some of my professional colleagues, old and young, tire of this after awhile; after all, this is me promoting me the best I can, something my publisher doesn’t do for midlist writers. I ask myself if my sales and my public profile would be significantly worse, or even affected, if I didn’t go to cons, do these sorts of trips, even keep up a blog of my activities. None of this might matter at all, but at least there’s the sense that it’s helping a little. When the next contract is as yet unsigned, the next book unsold, the future largely uncertain, it’s worth something.
Thanks again to everyone who hosted me, helped me, and let me visit. Let’s do it again soon. Well, not soon. But let’s do it again.