July 10, 2011

Hello from the road!

Filed under: Kids and Life,The Writing Life — jenny @ 10:41 am

Here we are in Richmond, IN, having only gotten one hour and seventy miles behind in the Plan (you know…that great plan of travel, the most fun of which happens when it gets a little bit lost). Having done this once before now, there are already familiarities to it. The land opening up in Ohio. Road food. The sun setting and my children, who are normally asleep long before, gasping at what the sky can do.

We’ve stopped at four bookstores so far and it’s been wonderful on three counts.

  • Bookstores are alive, well, and filled with customers.
  • Our reception has been warm and welcoming at each one. One proprietor complimented us on how “alert the kids were”. I thought this was code for running around the store asking to buy everything in sight, from a book listing the names of every single passenger who had boarded the Titanic to no fewer than eight Rainbow Magic books, but when I thought of the 11 year old girls I had just seen, waiting for a movie to begin, each individually absorbed in their own electronic devices instead of interacting with each other, I sort of got what he meant.
  • Although the focus of each visit has been telling booksellers about Take Your Child to a Bookstore Day, I’ve also had the inordinate, eleven-years-in-the-making gift of getting to murmur that I have a novel coming out, and dropping off a little early, early swag. It’s not every day you get to tell a complete stranger your dream has come true.

Here are the bookstores we’ve been to in case you’re nearby and looking for a great place to stock up or wile away a few hours. Tell Greg, Jeff, Dana, and Glen (respectively) that I was raving about ‘em.

The Midtown Scholar in Harrisburg, PA–where you can get a delicious snack or cup of coffee while you’re poring over the mixed up jumble of used books

The Whistlestop Bookshop in Carlisle, PA–whose owner has seen an astonishing parade of literary lights, including Edward Albee, Mario Vargos Llosa, and this November, Margaret Atwood, into his gorgeous event space. If you come to see Margaret, look for me–I will be there!

Books-a-Million in Triadelphia, WV–which represents the best a chain bookstore can be: bright, shiny, enormous, and stocked with every book you’ve ever heard of and about a zillion you have not.

The Book Loft of German Village in Columbus, OH–this might be the most stupendous sight we’ve seen yet on this trip. You enter down a path of uneven brick, with roses overflowing fences, and fountains burbling to the side. Once you get there, you find that ‘there’ is a warren of thirty-two–yes, that’s 32–rooms of books divided roughly by readership and genre. You could get lost in here–and what fun that would be.

Enjoy your travels this summer, everybody, and please keep your emails coming! Already we’ve got new stops to make and new friends to meet.

But no pithy nomenclature for readers of this blog yet.


Hmm, that doesn’t sound good. I’ll stop now.


  1. I was the manager on duty you met at the Borders in Champaign! We’re definitely looking forward to Take Your Child to A Bookstore Day – and I’m keeping an eye out for your new book!

    Comment by Amanda Mae — July 10, 2011 @ 10:23 pm

  2. I hope you’re coming to California because I’ll have a bottle of gold medal award winning wine from one of our local wineries just waiting for you! And if you don’t come, I’ll have to drink it all my myself. Can’t wait to read about more of your adventures.

    Comment by Cindy Sample — July 11, 2011 @ 3:24 pm

  3. Richmond, IN! That’s the setting of the non-fiction book I just completed: BEFORE IT WAS LEGAL: A BLACK/WHITE MARRIAGE (1945-1987). The man, an African-American, grew up in Richmond, graduated from Earlham College in 1933, and worked as a janitor for International Harvester (because they believed black men weren’t intelligent enough to operate machinery).

    Enjoy Indiana. It’s my birthplace as well.
    Nancy Werking Poling

    Comment by Nancy Werking Poling — July 11, 2011 @ 3:25 pm

  4. Jenny, this is so exciting! I am so happy for you.

    Comment by Judy Serrano — July 11, 2011 @ 3:27 pm

  5. Sounds like a blast! So glad you are doing this on your trip. Don’t let that Cindy Sample chick hog all the wine. ;) xo,

    Comment by Pamela DuMond — July 11, 2011 @ 3:27 pm

  6. I’m following your tour. My dream is to take the books I’ve written on just the kind of tour you’re doing.

    Cindy, if Jenny can’t make it, ask me. I’m already in California.
    Nancy Lynn Jarvis

    Comment by Nancy Lynn Jarvis — July 11, 2011 @ 3:48 pm

  7. Have you tried That Book Place in Madison, IN?


    Comment by Sarah Glenn — July 11, 2011 @ 4:30 pm

  8. Please come to Atlanta! PLEASE!!! Email me or send me a FB and I’ll be glad to publicize. I hope I get to meet you in person!

    Comment by Subourbon WIfe — July 11, 2011 @ 6:29 pm

  9. Wow, these are great comments. So fun to read them on the road!

    @Amanda: It was great meeting you the other day. Hope you got my email and saw the next blog post.

    @Cindy: That is the greatest offer, and boy would I love to raise a glass with you and @Pam and @Nancy. I don’t think we’ll hit California on this trip, but if we can plan on doing this next year, it would be a writers’ dream come true.

    @Nancy: Wow, your book sounds absolutely fascinating. I would love to feature it on this blog, if you’d be interested…? We just missed this bookstore in Richmond, but we’ll definitely try to hit it next time.

    @Judy: Thanks so much for the well wishes. Can’t wait to hear all about what you are doing too.

    @Sarah: Thanks for the rec. It is filed for next time!

    @Subourbon: We will definitely meet in person one of these days! I hope you’ll come North too. I love spreading the word about your great writing because it makes me laugh and think.

    Comment by jenny — July 12, 2011 @ 5:22 pm

  10. What a wonderful adventure, Jenny. Thanks for sharing these encouraging stories that are bound to lift the spirits of aspiring writers everywhere. As I’ve written myself, new media tools are terrific, but there’s nothing quite like getting out and meeting people face to face. I feel these connections are far more powerful than the ones we make on Facebook and Twitter. Success these days depends on finding the right marketing combination of new media and old-fashioned personal appearances.

    Comment by Steve Piacente — July 20, 2011 @ 7:17 am

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