Monday, March 17, 2014

The Tucson Book Festival

Speed limits are 80 MPH across Texas and New Mexico on I-10, with gale force winds. No driveways or mailboxes, though! Many warnings about dust storms, but fortunately I didn't run into any.

After a day of getting myself acclimated and finding my way around, I spent the weekend at the Tucson Book Festival. I'd heard great things about the festival: how many thousands of people attended, how many book buyers there were, how many books people sold. My results were somewhat underwhelming. After selling only two books in my alloted two hours at the Tucson Sisters in Crime booth, I noticed there was a slot still empty the next day and asked if I could have it. Yes! Three more books sold. And one more at my signing in the festival author's pavilion alloted to self-published authors.

Because self published authors aren't allowed to participate on panels, where you get noticed, or in the signings for panelists.

Oh, well. My book events are becoming an excuse for me to do the traveling I like to do, which is hard to do alone. In addition, I meet so many great people in this same business of writing and then trying to sell books.

Besides, since I had several stops this trip, and saw so much of family, it was worth it even without the festival. Plus, I have to justify my membership in WorldMark the Club timeshares by using their wonderful resorts. Which I'll be doing for the next three days at Rancho Vistoso in Tucson before heading out to Prescott to visit with my sister before going back to Michigan. Unfortunately, I think winter will still be there to greet me when I arrive. Wish I didn't have to get back to file my taxes and take care of other business.

Friday, February 28, 2014

Highway to Houston

My latest trip takes me to Houston at the end of February, 2014. I've never been so glad to get out of the frozen Northwestern Michigan winter.

The first highlight of the trip was when I took my boots off at the end of the first day of driving. No boots for at least a month! What a relief. The second highlight was no snow on the ground AT ALL and SUNNY skies the whole rest of the trip.

The third highlight was driving through Missouri. I always love driving through Missouri. They don't threaten me with penalties for moving violations in Missouri. It gives me a warm and fuzzy feeling to know that I should obey the laws because MoDOT CARES.

The next remarkable moment was driving through or around Little Rock, Arkansas. I thought I had been transported back to Chicago! The only place with heavier traffic was Houston itself.

Then came the eye opener when I entered Texas. I have never driven in Texas before. Did you know that their highways, with speeds now allowed up to 75 miles an hour, do not necessarily have on and off ramps? They have mailboxes and driveways with access to the highway! And, in at least one place, the four lanes turned into two lanes WITH THE SPEED LIMIT STILL 75 MILES AN HOUR AND WITH THE ROAD STILL LINED BY MAILBOXES AND DRIVEWAYS. That 75 mile an hour limit will sudden a drop to 55 when entering a town. I'm glad I had my GPS to check when cars started whizzing past me and I looked down to realize it was back up to 70 or 75.

I must say I didn't run into a rude driver the whole trip. A few that were in more of a hurry than they should be, most of whom stopped tailgating me when they realized there was no way I could move over for them yet. But almost everyone obeyed the speed limit in contruction zones and, yes, construction is already taking place in Missouri and Arkansas.

After four days in Houston with my step-sister, I'm off to San Antonio for the next leg of my trip.