Day Ten was Wednesday. We awoke at Janette’s house where she helped me with the revision of the ending of a book where the ending vexed me, but I couldn’t figure out how to fix it. Janette is brilliant and someone I just genuinely love. I hated saying goodbye to her.
From Janettes, we went to Thatcher Arizona to the bookstore called Bookworms. It’s always fun to have a line of people waiting when you arrive! It was nice to see a few faces who used to live in my home town and now abide in Thatcher. Great signing and AWESOME owners. I tried to sneak and buy josi a present since she loves chocolate covered cinnamon bears and they had a whole ton of them in cute little gift bags, however the sweet staff refused to let me pay. So though I was thwarted in my moment of gift giving, I think they are all awesome in Thatcher. The owner’s are amazing. Their daughter, Megan, was perfect. You’ve got to love a kid who opens her arms up with a big smile on her face and says, “I’m a hugger!” Me too, Megan! Me too!
We spent the night with Alison Palmer’s parents, the Preys and were treated with tons of hospitality. They even made Josi’s favorite, Hello Dolly’s, and packed her up a plate of those and brownies for the road. They were fascinating people and I loved hearing about their mission in Africa. And the cute pictures of Alison as a youth were way fun to peruse.
Day 11: We left bright and early (sigh. There were a lot of bright and early mornings.) so we could make it to brunch? with Marsha, Connie, and Marjean. I only get to see Marsha once a year if I’m lucky and the last time I saw Connie was at the writer’s cruise we went on several years ago, so it was a huge treat to spend the morning with friends.
From breakfast we went to Deseret Book, where we were greeted by an incredibly lively staff. FUN! Simply just fun! We took a picture for Craig’s (there were two Craigs) wife with a sign letting her know we missed her since she couldn’t join us for the signing. We really did miss her too. I laughed myself hoarse and hated leaving. Great fun store.
Then we drove for eternity to get to Nevada in time for a book group. Book group was great in a very lovely home where they made lemon tea cookies from Josi’s english Trifle book (I love that Josi’s book got us fed all the time. Way to go Josi!) These cookies were the total bomb. I think I might break down and actually bake because I want to eat these things again.
To the hotel with us where we entered the fitful sleep of two women who were seriously exhausted. Josi should have strangled me this night but to my good fortune, she’s better than that and she put up with me instead. There really is not enough to be said for best gal pals.
Day 12: woke up and got another page written in my WIP. I really believed we’d have tons of free time to do things like, oh I don’t know . . . WRITE! I had no idea how all time consuming this trip would be. We packed up the car and headed to our Vegas store signing at Deseret Book on Sahara. We got a way cool tour of the new Distribution Center area they have upstairs. After that signing, we hurried to St. George for the signing at the Deseret Book there. Loved Paul. I’ve done sigings at this store before and all signings there have been successful which I think can be attributed to the immense great staff. They were great! And we got to spend time with Alexes who drove up from Mesquite just for the occasion.
After the signing, I got to be with my daughter and my mom and dad. I really miss my daughter and so love every chance to be with her. Josi fixed my dad’s problems with his Ipod and is now worshipped in my parent’s home.
Day 13: We had breakfast with Heather Horrocks and her sister and had a good time chatting about books with her. Next stop was Deseret Book in Cedar City. The last bookstore on the tour. It was a great way to end. We sold lots of books, Josi was a rockstar surrounded by friends and family and Lee Modesitt surprised me with a visit. Lee is amazing and I was so glad to see him! He came bearing gifts that only Lee could give: the first few books of the Recluse series in . . . SWEDISH!!! So now I can read about Lerris nar han har det trokigt! These books hold places of serious rank on my bookshelves. That was a great way to end this tour!
But it wasn’t over . . . not really. We went to lunch with Josi’s family (who were great) and my daughter. Then we finished our sojourn home.
I cannot begin to describe how it felt to hug my kids and kiss my husband’s cute face! The house didn’t even look too bad if I didn’t scrutinize too hard. The first thing Murks had to say to me was, “We even did our own laundry!” The guys had fun being bachelors, but Mr. wright said they were pretty much to the end of their rope and were glad to have me back. I am certainly glad to be back.
Josi and I each now have a sign (gifted to us by her talented sister, Crystal). The sign reads, “We’ll be friends forever . . . You know too much!” That is certainly true after two weeks of conversations in a car. I could never have pulled off such an amazing two weeks without Josi. She is steady and funny, and great conversation. we talked about books, writing, publishing, life, our pasts, our hopes for the future, our great husbands, and our firm belief in all the things that are right in the world. She made signings effortless and kept us organized and on time. She is awesome!
Sorry I have been negligent in blogging updates. It’s been a lot of time on the trail and when I get in, I am so exhausted, I seem to crash rather than spend much time on the computer. Sunday was a great day of rest–sooooooo needed. We stayed with Melanie Jacobson who is just the bomb. She lives in Huntington Beach just a few blocks from the ocean. I LOVE the ocean. Her husband made us these awesome inlaid wood ornaments commemorating our tour and they welcomed us in with absolute warmth and kindness. Melanie had us over for dinner at her in laws house and we went for an evening ride in their boat through the harbor. Her whole family was amazing and her sis-in-law, Jill, is a complete kindred spirit. I laughed myself hoarse and felt like part of the family. Melanie was an amazing host and made us feel so welcome! And I cannot believe I left without her chicken chowder recipe!!!
Monday morning, I walked down to the ocean and took some time out to actually write. It was wonderful to stretch those writing muscles that aren’t getting much use through this tour because we’re so busy. We had breakfast with Melanie, and her cute as heck son, at Ruby’s on the end of the pier and went home to get ready for our next book signing.
Monday’s signings were in Newhall and Fountain Valley. Again, great employees, great stores, and great times. It’s fascinating to me that the people who come into these bookstores all seem to know each other. These stores are genuinely a part of their communities and they play a role in social gatheries and feelings of community and togetherness. It’s something I hadn’t realized until taking this time to visit them.
That night we were supposed to sleep in Lake Havasu where we had a reservation for our hotel. But all the locals in the LA area gasped audibly when we told them that was how mapquest had planned our route to the Mesa area. Apparently this route took us an extra four-five hours out of our way. We’d had no idea. The moral of this story is check mapquest against an atlas before making reservations. We were seriously so tired. It’s a lot of time in the car and that seems to suck energy away from us. We made an executive decision to just take the 10 to mesa and throw ourselves to the mercy of Janette Rallison, who we were supposed to stay with the next night.
Janette is twenty shades of awesome. She totally took us in and made us feel welcome in spite of the fact we’re a wee bit like transients. Janette’s home is beautiful and her cute daughter gave up her room for us (which we totally appreciate). And Janette is one of those people who is not only nice beyond measure, she is just naturally funny. I’ve laughed a lot and enjoyed our conversations.
Tuesday’s signings were at the Glendale Deseret Book, and the Mesa Seagull. Between the signings, we had lunch with Peggy and Cindy who manage the Seagull store. They treated us to this spectacular place called the Landmark. Beautiful. The lunch was supreme, the company even better, and I loved getting to know them. Peggy and cindy were interesting and fun and just delightful. We were supposed to have been joined for lunch by Kerry Blair and Janette Rallison, but alas, it was just us. I really missed not being able to see Kerry. Kerry is darling and any chance to see her is a treasure.
After lunch we had the mesa Seagull signing. To my great surprise, I had a delivery at this signing. A big beautiful flower cookie bouquet was waiting for me. Pearl, my sister in law, sent me a treat for the road. Pearl also sent me a care package before we even left with things like chips, nuts, and dried fruits so we had something to snack on in the car. Seriously. So. Awesome. I shared the wealth with the seagull employees and with Mary, who had come to the signing to see us. Pearl is big on sharing and doing nice things for others, so I am certain she would approve.
Peggy has a stuffed chicken that dances the chicken dance and gargles if you grab it by its neck. I want one of those, and have to be honest . . . I really liked Peggy before she brought out the chicken, but I absolutely love her now.
Last night we spoke at a book group with Janette Rallison and had a great time. I met a young girl who was smarter than any kid I’ve ever seen. She let me know I used the word awesome a whole lot. I’m still laughing at that. So cute.
You know how when you meet people, it takes only a few moments to decide they’re your friends? I’ve met, and spent time with, lots of people like that on this trip–people who have proven to me how good humans can be to one another–people who prove our world is a beautiful and miraculous place to live. It’s been truly humbling at the same time it has been inspiring. People are good.
Awesome! So. Seriously. Awesome.
Day five was Oakland Seagull Book and Tape and Beehive Books. As Josi mentioned in her blog, the traffic gods either hate us, or they hate California roads, but either way it affects us the same. Mr. Wright always drives in California so I never have had to deal with it before, but this trip I have Dora and though I love her, she is no replacement for Mr. Wright. I’ve seriously yelled at Dora. And yelled at the drivers sharing the freeway with me. But once we arrive at the bookstore, we are greeted with nothing but kindness and sweetness, which makes me feel slightly(though not entirely) guilty for my road angst. It isn’t road rage. I haven’t purposely driven anyone off the road yet, but it is definitely a step or two down from road bliss, or road peace.
The managers at the seagull, John and Marilyn. were wonderful. Though we didn’t get much time there in Oakland, I feel that our time there was well spent. Loved the store set up.
Beehive books was another thing of amazement. The manager/owner, Vicki, had decorated her store and set out a table of wonderful foods–sandwiches, lemon tart and English Trifle (in honor of Josi), and drinks. It was fabulous and what a sweet and generous thing for her to do! We couldn’t stop for lunch since we were so tight on time and since the traffic gods had already declared war on us. We were starving! So to find sustenance when we arrived was appreciated in every way.
We then went and stayed with Victoria Gunther for the night. She was a very gracious hostess and is a truly stalwart woman. Her husband deserves many kudos for making us breakfast and her daughter was awesome. Victoria is a new author with a new book out and we were able to spend the day with her doing signings at three of the Ensign Books stores: temecula, riverside, and upland. Helen is my hero of bookstore managers. She was wonderful! And to our absolute delight, we were surprised with a visit from Lael Littke! Lael is an amazing author and a great friend and it was wonderful to see her.
Here are some pictures from the days:
Wow. Tired. And excited. The tour has been great. I’ve made some fabulous new friends and had a great time meeting and greeting. Day three was a long drive to Cottonwood California where we were fortunate to go to the Classic Books store. What an amazing group of women! They were having a “Girl’s Night Out” event and it was genuinely a great time. There was a festive air to the store that kept us going long after we left. The store was beautiful and so very well put together and the staff was incredibly accommodating. Good times.
Day four, we woke up early and hit the road to Reno. Josi hates backtracking so she reprogrammed Dora to lead us on a highway that cut through the mountains. Great choice as the scenery was beautiful! Misty mountains and snow frosted trees that were also covered in bright green moss. I’m pretty exhausted so I won’t really try at eloquence in descriptions other than to say it was worth every moment of driving. And we made great time. Josi wouldn’t let me stop to take pictures (she’s under the impression that it’s important to be on time . . . what’s up with that? KIDDING! I know we need to be on time) so I did the best I could out the window. I’ll include a few here so you can judge on my photos at 70 MPH outside a window with an Instamatic. I think I did okay
We made good time, so we had a few minutes to spare before our signing. We found a thriftstore not too far from the bookstore and decided to powershop. I found a wicked awesome black jacket, and Josi got a gorgeous red shirt. We paid three bucks each and felt proud of our . . . well, thrift.
Reno was fabulous. Again–a great staff, fun patrons and an all around good time. Loved joking around with everyone and getting to know them.
And on the road again BACK to California. we ended the day at Sacramento’s Deseret book where I was glad to greet the familiar face of Lori (who comes from my home town and is just lovely in every way) Lori works at DB and helped set up this signing. She is awesome! Josi was reunited with her sister and family and one of her friends. The singing was a blast, the people were excellent and we went to dinner with Josi’s sister and her family and it was wonderful. Good food, seriously wonderful women, and good conversation.
Josi’s sleeping. I should be too, but I can’t help but feel incredibly grateful to be on this journey. My last few months of life have been filled with tough decisions and changes I had no control over and it’s good to come to a place where I’ve decided to do what I love (write) and make it work. Josi’s been a huge supporter and it’s great to have someone like her who’s got my back (even if she won’t pull over to let me take a picture ) I miss my family and hope they miss me too. It’s tough being away, but it’s also good to know Mr wright has things under control.
So after reading the comments on my previous post, I’ve come to realize people name their GPS. Well, we’ve named ours as well. Her name is Dora (as in Dora the explorer. The map! The Map!) Yes we do have smallish children. Dora has been awesome since we stopped her from speaking Swedish at us.
Dora has served us well these last couple of days and we tried to repay her by taking her out to dinner, but she declined. Dora is just humble like that about her service.
We started in Idaho at the crack of dawn and wound our way to Kennewick Washington to the Far West Bookstore. Great staff and hey! People were waiting in line for our arrival. Awesome!
The time flew quickly and we had to leave well before we were ready to go. And we drove to our next stop in Lake Oswego, Oregon. Once we really entered the gorge and the scenery changed from baldish rolling hills to tree infested woodlands, we were enchanted and decided we could easily set up residence in Hood River Oregon. Seriously. So. Beautiful. I will come back with kids in tow since Josi was the time nazi and wouldn’t let me pull over to see the waterfalls. Yes, I know we’re on a time sensitive drive, but I could have sped a little more and made up time on the road . . . Maybe . . .
And speaking of time on the road. The speed limit through here is 65. No joke. I feel like I’m Sunday driving at that speed. And whenever I get too far over the speed limit, Dora yells “Caution!” at me. Dora yells “Caution” at me a lot.
We stopped at Trader Joes and bought ginger snaps and vanilla meringue cookies. Awesome.
And we made it to our signing few minutes early (because Josi is right to be the time nazi, and knows how tight the schedule is). The signing was great and again the staff was great. We had some wonderful conversations with the employees and the customers and had pretty good sales for the day. Yay!
Now we’re kicking back at the hotel and getting ready to shut down for bed. Tired already.
Pics for the day:
A Fun Day
Josi is a most amiable companion and the many hours of driving was filled with good conversation. We stopped first in Idaho Falls where we met up with Erin Klinger who treated us to breakfast and accompanied us to our signing at Deseret Book. It was great to see her and to meet the staff of the Idaho Falls DB. They were very gracious and we enjoyed our time there. Toward the end of that signing we received a semi-worried phone call from my publicist wondering why I wasn’t at my scheduled signing. Turns out we were double booked and the Idaho Falls Seagull was expecting us as well. So we made a hasty farewell to Db and headed over for a quick visit to Seagull.
It’s good to be wanted
Next stop was Boise Seagull. Loved the staff there and had a great time with Stephanie and Meghan. Cute store–had to work hard to resist buying stuff. Since my recent status of employment change, I need to be responsible with all things financial.
I got a refill of Dr Pepper and it seriously tasted like watermelon had been squeezed into it. Not exactly unpleasant, but most assuredly odd.
Note to self: wear wrist brace while driving. Remember the GPS is your friend so don’t talk back to her. Try not to sing along to music while Josi catnaps in the passenger’s seat (good thing she isn’t cat napping in the driver’s seat)
Here are some pics from Day one:
The car is packed, the gas tank full! I hope my kids are off to school, but since I’m not home anymore, for all I know Mr. wright gave them a free day and they’re all playing X-Box. We are officially on our way to our first stop, Idaho Falls. Just as a reminder, here are the two contests we’ll be doing during the tour:
*In Person: For those people who are able to come to one of the bookstores, you’ll have the chance to enter a drawing for a $40 gift card to either Olive Garden, Best Buy, or Bed, Bath and Beyond.
*On-line: Anyone that comments on a blog, facebook status, or twitter update will be automatically entered into a drawing for a $15 gift card to Amazon.com
Both contests will end when we get home; winners to be announced and contacted on Monday the 23rd.
I will be updating my twitter and facebook via cell phone throughout the tour, so if you’re not subscribed to me on either of these forums and would like to be, please go to my pages at Julie Peterson Wright for facebook or for Twitter: http://twitter.com/scatteredjules
We’ve had people tell family members in some of the cities about the signing, other people have announced it in their wards and we just can’t thank you enough for the amazing support we’ve been given. It’s truly priceless!
I was at World Fantasy in San Jose over the weekend and had an excellent time with old friends and new friends alike. I had great roommates: Stacy Whitman and Heidi Summers, and great hang out buddies: Rob Wells, Marion Jensen, Josh Perkey, Joshua Bilmes, Dan Wells, Eric Stone, Lee Modesitt and his lovely daughter Catherine Modesitt, and some guy named Nick–who was hilarious.
The weekend wasn’t much for furthering my career as a writer, but it *was* great fun. Guy Gavriel Kay watched the Yankees stomp the Phillies with me and he bought Catherine and me chocolate-covered strawberries. He is a complete keeper. Not only am I a huge fan of his books, but I get to be a huge fan of the man. It constantly amazes me how wonderful these famous authors are. How Lee Modesitt befriended me even back when I had little to offer as an author. Good people are in the writing world folks–some seriously good people.
I did get to help a few of my friends meet agents and get business cards and make acquaintances that will help their careers so the weekend was definitely worth experiencing. Even though it meant leaving Mr. Wright in charge of Halloween.
The boys all fared well enough for face painting in spite of everything and the house wasn’t in near the disarray I’d imagined I’d return home to. But I did ask Mr. Wright to start a pagemaker document for the relief society christmas dinner. That way I could get the times and dates entered, print up the invitations, and send them off to my relief society president without delay.
When I opened the document this morning this is what I found:
We’re going to eat, drink, and be merry. No men are invited so we’re having Chip and Dale Dancers coming. Bring your dollar bills and a side dish! Love, the Relieved Society
Good thing I looked before I printed. I am sure Mr. Wright thinks he’s amusing. I know I think he is.
Here are some pictures from the con: