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Live Book Tours ARE More Fun!

It's July 10 and I've been in front of more than 330 live people in four states over 6 events. For Poetic License, with the country in lockdown for Covid-19 everything was on Zoom. And while most of the events racked up higher numbers as friends from across the globe could join me, a live tour really is special. So buckle up and come along for a quick tour of the tour so far! I'll have four more events before the end of August and then, we'll see, it's been so much fun.

Norwich, Vermont — Norwich Bookstore

I couldn't have gotten off to a better start than here. My original favorite indie, in conversation with one of my best, longest-in-years friends Penny McConnel who used to co-own the store! But all thanks to Sam Kass, current owner for supporting this inaugural launch with gusto, and to a filled house of the perfect mix of friends from fifty years of living nearby. Such gems came out for this, people I've long loved though might not see that often. AND a surprise visit from a Vermont soon-to-be She Writes Press sister, Kathy Elkind alongside a second soon-to-be SWP sister Dena Romero with whom I grew up in Hanover. It was grand! Penny asked the right questions and gave me plenty of space to have fun with this crowd. And thanks to besties Charlene Gates and Bill Herrington for putting up with us for four nights so we could do some hiking and hang out with friends.

Portland, Maine — Mechanics Hall with Longfellow Books

Thanks to all our new friends who came out for this! I loved how Bob Keyes turned our conversation into a meditation on place and history and the wonder of going back in time while staying entirely relevant to today. It was such fun meeting and getting to know Bob, along with Annie Leahy of Mechanics Hall and Tuesday from Longfellow Books. This event takes the prize for customers buying the most copies of the book, headed for book clubs and family reading groups. With beverages and snacks and in that historically beautiful space — where so many luminaries have been on tour, too; it was a pure thrill to be there! And check out my "best seller's" rank this week at Longfellow's!

Check out this week's bestsellers!

1. Dead Man's Wake by Paul Doiron

2. In Other Words, Leadership by Shannon A. Mullen

4. Night of the Living Rez by Morgan Talty (47 weeks on the list!)

5. The Guest List by Lucy Foley

6. The Midcoast by Adam White

7. Trust by Hernan Diaz

8. Downeast by Gigi Georges

9. Pageboy by Elliot Page

10. The Creative Act by Rick Rubin

Austin, Minnesota — Pioneer Building, Mower County Historical Society

If there's an apex to a tour, this will likely be it. The place could hold 100 and there were at least 10 more standing around against the walls. Unlike every other event, this one was entirely on me. A "presentation" was requested so I got reacquainted with slide decks that went over my allotted 45 minutes but no one objected. This incredibly open, eager, and attentive crowd in Austin included those whose grandparents personally knew my grandparents and none of them believed there was any way that A.L. could have known about the embezzlement. Many who've worked for Hormel for decades came out and asked great questions. And for the first time ever I had a long line of waiting book buyers looking for signatures. A million thanks go out to Mower County Historical Society (which, BTW, I learned I'd been pronouncing wrong for 25 years — it's Mower like a lawn mower. Not Mower like a bower) and Sweet Reads Books' Lisa Deyo for all the books she sold.

I welcomed my three cousins — Patrick Galligan, Elizabeth Chevrier, and Lil Moffat who'd winged in from Albuquerque, Philadelphia, and Toronto and with whom Michael and I had three days of touring, laughter, and some tears of sadness for those who've been lost and/or not known before.

Oh, and aside from some mighty tasty Maple Spam bites at the Spam Museum (still a hoot!), we all experienced the BEST EVER FRESH DUROC PORK CHOPS any of us had ever eaten. Two inches thick and as juicy as a peach! Damn proud my grandfather helped build that company.

AND SPEAKING OF SPAM: Portland friend Peggy Wiley emailed me to say that it was this month on JUNE 5, in 1937 that Hormel debuted it's SIGNATURE PRODUCT. My cousins dutifully ate Spam sandwiches through the weekend, even though this happened long after my grandfather's time!

Woodstock, Vermont — BOOKSTOCK

I had two days at Bookstock—a delightful one with She Writes Authors Catherine Drake (The Treehouse on Dog River Road), Aimee Hoben (The Third Way) and Valerie Taylor (the What's Not... series). You've heard me say before that one of the big gifts from our publisher is our incredible sister-community. We had a great sales day and a LOT of visitors to our table, among them, apparently, at the one moment when I was away, said she was the great-great granddaughter of George Hormel! Small world stuff, right?

On Sunday, I was in conversation with Sarah Stewart Taylor discussing fictional and true crime stories and with a good crowd at the Town Hall Theatre — also an iconic venue as I've been to so many performances there. We had a lot to say about our respective research, ethics, the true crime buzz, and more. Super grateful to Sarah for being with me that morning and for sitting aside me while signing books in the Northshire Bookstore tent!

Meriden, New Hampshire — Meriden Public Library

If Norwich was the perfect start to this two week tour, Meriden, NH was certainly a fantastic cap! I lived there for fifty years and the community came out, again filling the room. It was also a delight to be in conversation with long-term friend and prior writing group member Marjorie Nelson Matthews who likely read some of the earliest drafts of The Butcher story! Marj had seen both Poetic License and The Butcher in early production and with her fine reading and critiquing skills, she had an impact on the narratige and great questions for our converstion. What a delight to see so many friends from Meriden and, in true Meriden style, we were able to get Poor Thom's to open its bistro for a wonderful after-event dinner party. Such fun!!

So what does this all mean?

For now, it means three things:

  • Books matter — they bind conversation and meaning.

  • Live connections with readers help authors grow — we see our books in new ways through the eyes of them.

  • The world is full of generous, engaged, wonderful people who support our work and want to celebrate alongside us!

If there's a third book.....which I hope I'll muster.....I sure hope another live tour iwill be in order!





Well, after many days of talking about MY book, I've retreated to our cottage in Brooksville, Maine, and have been devouring beautiful books by others! I'll feature two here.

Melanie Finn

The Hare

This one is a masterpiece. I have underlined at least half of most pages. The New York Times called it a "brooding feminist thriller," and while I'm not sure I'd use the word "brooding" it is a literary thriller featuring the issues of gender, class, patriarchy, abuse, cons of all kinds, a mother's great love, "the insufficiency of self", and many actions we don't think we'd take but in Finn's fine literary hands we sure think we might. A fabulous protagonist and equally compelling secondary characters. Thank you Aimee Hoben for buying it first at Bookstock. I absolutely loved this book. “Unputdownable”, as several reviewers said. Finn is a fabulous writer who currently lives in Vermont and in an interview I watched said she always has to leave a place to write about it. My only criticism is that I felt she took the Vermont dialects too far. A few phrases so we get the idea would have sufficed. I know there is controversy about using dialect but I think it best to not overdo unless one is personally proficient with it. Your thoughts? No matter, just read this book. And I will now read her others.

Kevin Wilson

Now Is Not the Time to Panic

What a treat, this one. Such a perfect summer for Frankie and Zeke, two quirky sixteen year olds in hot Tennessee who dream up an art project — aka installation — that takes their world by surprise, rendering impacts of all kinds. A sweet first love story; a beautiful reunion for the characters years later, and a perfect summer read! Highly recommend it! And now I guess I have to read his others too.

It's July — we've had our FIRST day of sun in a month here in Maine. I wish you all a happy, outdoor, fun summer filled with friends and books. And sunshine in every way we can manifest it.

To each of you who came to one of my events, I am truly grateful. THANK YOU and MUCH LOVE,


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