Thursday, February 14, 2008

Chocks Away!

from Jacqueline

It’s that time again. With my new book, AN INCOMPLETE REVENGE, published next week, it’s time to hit the road once more. Or, should I say, the sky.

Mind you, things could be worse ...

For those of you who’ve read this blog before, you know that, while I feel most honored to be invited to bookstores across the country to talk about my book, and completely chuffed that people might come along to listen to me and even buy my book, it is likely that by the time I get there I will have barely a nail to my name. And why might this be?


I will be on tour for six weeks, and dare not even count the number of take-offs and landings. My carbon footprint will give the impression that I have clodhoppers on my feet. I asked the hard-working publicist at Henry Holt if she thought I could travel by train, if at all possible, for some segments of the tour. I imagined a smooth shuttle across the great sweep of America like this ...

Instead of this ...

But the train plan failed, and when I went online to look up a few journeys myself, I discovered that, for example, it takes 18 hours to go between Denver and Chicago. Not terribly inviting, or convenient.

Yet there’s much to look forward to. If someone had said to me, six years ago, “You’ll get your first novel published if you’re willing to fly thirty-odd times over a couple of months," I would have said, “No problem, chocks away and let’s get on with it.” And I would have known I was lucky, lucky, lucky, to have the chance.

Of course, there is the other side of the travel coin. I am an enthusiastic people watcher and eavesdropper. I think it's a natural prerequisite to being a writer - see Patty's recent post about the conversations we overhear. And people in transit, whether at a railway station, an airport or the bus depot, are an interesting study. That's why I think I loved the film, "Love, Actually." You see all sorts of people and scenarios that make you think, make you wonder about those people, their lives, and who they're off to see, or meet. Is that woman over there, the one smoothing her gray suit, traveling to an important job interview, the one that, if she gets the position, will mean her family have to move half-way across the country? And what about that woman with the two kids, one crying to beat the band - who will meet her at the other end, or will she have to struggle to a car, or bus, on her own? I'm also wondering whether she'll be sitting next to me, with the screaming child. And what about that guy drinking at the bar, tears streaming down his face. Has he been called back to his childhood home by a sibling, who could barely utter the news?

So, here I go. On my way and looking forward to seeing you if you are somewhere in my flight plan. You can check out the tour schedule (which is being updated again soon) at the following link:

One of these days I’ll learn about embedding URL’s (go on, someone make a joke about bedding Earl).

And as I fly off - towards Houston and Murder By The Book on Monday night, followed by a duo with Our Miss C on Tuesday at Poisoned Pen in Scottsdale - here’s a YouTube link, just for a bit of a chortle.

Ditto the uploading with video clips. If Our Miss C can break the blog, believe me, I can annihilate the entire internet with just one keystroke while trying to get that little screen to embed itself in this post.

Wheels Up!

Have a lovely weekend, and always happy landings ....


  1. See? If only we had our N.A. tour bus...

    Wishing you a safe and successful tour, Our J. Many many congratulations on the release of your book. And happy eavesdropping.

  2. from Jacqueline

    Thanks, Patty - and you're right, we need that tour bus! People would pay to eavesdrop on our magical mystery tour.

  3. Jackie,
    I'm looking forward to our paths crossing in six weeks in Virginia.

    Amtrak is not the answer. Trust me.


  4. from Jacqueline

    See you there, Jim - and all good wishes for your own book tour, which I know it taking you all over the place. I've had some good Amtrak experiences, and some bad ones - and I know it's not really the answer. I just wish we had a rail network that was more like Europe's. Mind you, then where would the petrochemical industry be?

  5. Our J, whenever I get nervous about flying, I always remember the guy I bummed matches from in the Tokyo airport. We struck up a conversation, and I admitted my nervousness about being up in the air.

    He smiled and said "I was a fighter pilot in Korea. As long as they're not shooting at me, I figure it will turn out okay."

    I still always say the Lord's Prayer and read the emergency card before take off, however. Also, a month of hypnosis and PTSD finger-waving stuff in Boulder made it a LOT better.

    I used to start getting sick to my stomach three days before I had to get on a plane. Now I'm pretty okay with it.

  6. Happy landings at every stop, Jackie! And congratulations on the new book.

  7. funny you should hate flying, jackie. whenever i have to travel by plane nowadays, i think of the stories you used to tell us and i feel better.
    have a great tour and safe trips,

  8. from Jacqueline

    Thanks, Cornelia and Louise - and I'll give thanks that no one is shooting at me (mind you, I was once on 'plane when ... oh, but that's a story for another time).

    Sybille - lovely to hear from you. Oh, gosh, I suppose must have told a lot of "flying" stories in those days. And by the way, books are winging their way to you!

  9. Went to New York on Amtrak last summer and had a delightful trip, inspite of my wife's bout with bed bugs. This year we're going to Chicago on Amtrak, then driving to Owensboro, KY. We've decided driving and training are the only ways to travel. There were some engine problems, and so we were an hour late getting into New York--not bad for cross country and a three-day trip.

    A friend of my wife's flew from L.A. to Newark a month or so prior to our trip, and it took him three days too: hours ahead of departure for security guff, missed connecting flight due to "normal" (he was told) late arrival, circled airport at Newark until so low on fuel they had to divert to Philadelphia, yada, yada, yada. Was a three-day trip for him.

    We had three good meals a day, excellent porter service with our luggage, no security checks, no missed connections, no circling, no airline attitudinal staff, no phoney Home Security, nothing stolen from our luggage. Sorry, Jim O, but for now, for us, Amtrak IS the answer. (Oh, they gave my wife $1000-voucher for her eighteen bed bug bites.)

    Congrats on the new book, Jackie, and I'll see you on the 23rd, begging you to let me buy a couple (few?) copies, then hounding you to sign them.

    Tom, T.O.

  10. Good luck with your book tour! Here's hoping the updated tour stops include an event somewhere in the DFW area.


  11. Tom,
    I had just about convinced Renee to take a train trip...until she read your bed bugs comment.

    I was looking into the Los Angeles/San Francisco trip on the Coast Starlight. Scenic excursion up the coast. Checking into it, I found that the trip requires 2 different trains, with a four hour bus ride between San Jose and San Luis Obispo.

    It's an 11-hour trip when the trains run on time, which is almost never. Often they are 6 to 7 hours late, or roughly the drive time between San Francisco and Los Angeles. It's a one hour flight.

    And....have fun and sell lots of books, Jacqueline!

  12. My parents always used to travel from Emeryville down to Santa Barbara, when I lived in the Bay Area full-time (as opposed to part-time) and my brother was living in Santa Barbara. That train was always on time and they said it was the most wonderful journey down the coast - legendary, in fact no wonder they called it the Coast Starlight. However, now that there are problems - I think on the Cuesta Grade - they have to do that bus thing between San Luis Obispo and San Jose, which is dreadful - and probably more time than they need to have you on that bus. I've always wanted to travel across Canada via train, but everyone tells me those miles and miles of prairie in the middle can get tedious.

    Thanks, Paul - I'll try to sell a few books. And see you in T.O., Tom!

  13. Ouch! Paul,

    And here I was thinking about Amtraking up the coast, seeing scenery you can't see from the road, since part of the tracks cut through restricted military base(s). Didn't know about the bus trip. Guess I'll wait. Thanks for the tip.

    Soprry about the bed bugs: for what it's worth, L.A. to Chicago was great; the bugs hit on the older train from Chicago to New York. At first we thought the bites might be spiders, but the conductor who took our report told us it was probably bed bugs, since they had had another incident a month before. We also learned that the U.S. outbreak started in New York in hotels and apartments, and that if you aren't careful in getting rid of them, you can bring them home, transfering them to cars, buses, trains, and planes--wherever you go. Hope you can re-convince your lovely Renee to give it a try; it is a fun (to us) and relaxing way to travel, especially if you get a compartment with your own bathroom facilities.

    And, Jackie, if you get tired of the beauty of the Canadian prairies, and the majestic Canadian mountains aren't compensation enough, well...dare I say it: you could...always..., um, open a book....

    Tom, T.O.

  14. Tom, I was actually thinking it was the perfect time to write a book.

  15. oh yes, jackie, you did tell us the most amazing flying stories and they always left us sitting at the egde of our seats.
    thanks very much for the books. i can hardly wait - the suspence is killing me, if you pardon the pun.
    happy sunday, sybille

  16. Maybe I'll wrap some of those stories into a book one day, Sybille. Hmmm ... now I'm thinking.

  17. oh yes, please do that, jackie. they´re just too good to be kept locked away!!!