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The Oklahoma Tour

October 21st, 2006

I’ll begin by noting that Julia Spencer-Fleming has posted a very nice review of Hornswoggled on her web site. Please go have a look at it, Dear Reader. The address is www.juliaspencerfleming.com.

The Oklahoma tour had everything you could ask for in a book tour experience – laughter, tears, thrills and spills, edge-of-your-seat adventure.  It left me satisfied, yet physically and emotionally exausted. All in all, my review is two thumbs up. I wish, though, that I were rich and famous enough that I didn’t have to do these marathon tours.  Or maybe I wish I were younger and more energetic and these things didn’t tire me out so.

We drove from AZ to OK, a distance of about 1200 miles through some spectacular country.  It’s a fascinating trip the first 50 times you do it, but after twenty years, it seems to have lost it’s allure for me.  We drive so that I can take loads of books with me, as well as my husband and every piece of clothing I own. We’re rather wimpy drivers and take a full three days to get from Phoenix to Oklahoma City.  I’m already tired when we get where we’re going – there’s no need to push it to the point of blithering exhaustion.  That’s my philosophy.

My first event was in Oklahoma City at Full Circle Books, which is a gorgeous independent bookstore.  They always publicize their events well and are extremely hospitable, which all authors know is not something to be counted on.  I was able to do a talk, which I like better than just sitting behind a table to do a signing.  I had a fair crowd, including two of my cousins and my Freshman college roommate whom I hadn’t seen in 40 years.  From OKC we drove to Norman, home of the University of OK, where Don and I went to graduate school and then a few years later both worked in the University Library system.  The signing was at a Borders, and if it weren’t for childhood friends and blood relations, that event would have flopped miserably. We had a good time anyway, since we had dinner with our friends and got a refresher tour of the town we lived in 25 years ago.

The Enid event was a grand success, thanks to Don’s sister Dolores, who rounded up dozens of people with a whip and chair, and to reference librarian Amanda Kasheverof.  She publicized the event out the wazoo, if I may be crude.  There were three different notices and features in the Enid paper.  I was able to speak again, and sold lots of books. We love Enid, since it’s Don’s home town, and we love our relations there, too, of course, so that event was special for me.

I was lucky enough to have an interview taped for “Read About It”, which is a program on books and reading put on by the Oklahoma Department of Libraries. Each program is shown all over the state every day for a week, so the exposure is wonderful!  The host is BJ Williams of the lovely green eyes.  She interviewed me last year for Buzzard, and was kind enough to have me back this year for Hornswoggled. She also gave me a chance to talk about the Oklahoma Reads Oklahoma program, so we hope that means I drummed up a couple more votes for Buzzard.

The program aired the week of Oct. 16, and I was actually able to catch it just before we left the state on our way back to AZ.   I’ve done TV before in my various career incarnations, but I don’t think I’ve ever actually seen myself.  It’s an odd sensation to see yourself on TV.  Rather like having an out-of-body experience. To tell the truth, I didn’t much identify with that woman on the screen. That odd phenomenon did allow me to see myself in a somewhat more objective light, and I was surprised that I looked as good as I did. The hair was in place and the outfit was nice, and I seemed relaxed and fairly articulate. I don’t mind doing TV – I’m never nervous, but I never remember just what I said, either. The thing that surprised me the most was that I appeared to be a rather gentle person. I’ve known for years that I have that Southern veneer of manners whether I like it or not, but I never knew how it looks. I certainly feel much fiercer than that inside.

Since this is such a long post, I’ll save the rest of the trip for the next entry in a couple of days. I had three more events after the interview, all of which were pretty eye-popping – especially the trip back to the fount of it all, Boynton itself.

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