It has been brought to my attention–thus the ahem–that I haven’t updated my JaneBlog in quite a few days. Concern was expressed. A new blog was requested. I am fulfilling request although, ahem, I’ve nothing to say that’s funny.

There is painfully ironic.

There is ridiculously depressing.

There is poignantly touching.

And I don’t know where to begin, or what to highlight, or how to sum it all up as I’ve traveled a lot in the last week, setting the alarm for miserable wake up times (anything before 5:30 am is miserable in my book), catching 6, 7 or 8 am flights, renting rental cars, doing book events, attending social events, meeting readers, catching up with friends, checking late late into hotels, waking up miserably early and either catching another flight or jumping in rental car to drive to another city to start the the busy day all over again.

And if all events went like clockwork, it might have been a wee bit easier. But over half my book events this summer/September have been marked by difficulty. Either a bookseller has forgotten the event (despite a dozen emails on my part…) or communication between publisher and bookstore got befuddled or books never arrived or event never got publicized or CRM was sick and no one in store knew what was going on or what to do.

Happily, in every city, at every event–despite an amazing number of problems–books sold, or sold out, if not before event then at the event or soon after. Real readers have shown up, in many cases carrying worn copies of Flirting and Frog Prince with a request that I autograph both books. Redbook readers have been at every event and they’re amazing. They’re so nice! They have made me feel so good, not just as a writer, but a woman. The fact that women ‘get’ my books, and embrace the stories, just blows me away.

So yes, readers have made the difference on this year’s booktour. And if I ever do another one, it will be for the readers, and in cities where readers want me most.

A couple other things have made a difference in the last week’s book events:

1) In Fresno my friend Kelly Pipes and her friend Ana Paulson hosted a party for me after the B&N signing. There were Mai Tais and delicious appetizers and great conversation all the way around. I loved meeting Kelly and Ana’s friends and just wish we’d had more time to exchange mommy war stories

2) In Visalia I spent the day speaking to English classes at my former high school and I started out talking about what it was like being a writer, and ended the day talking about what my life was like during high school. I won’t go into it all here–it’s pretty intense, and more gritty than pretty–but I’d not really thought about what I went through until I stood there in front of the class room. And maybe it’s good I remembered because I told them that if I could survive all that crap, they could survive theirs, too. And if I could dream big, work hard and succeed, they definitely could as well. When ten high school kids later showed at my Borders book event to get books and say thank you, I knew something good had happened that day.

3) In Visalia in between 5th and 7th period I dashed off campus and treated my mom’s friends to lunch at the Vintage Press and it was wonderful to see the women who had been the ‘moms’ when I was growing up, women who’d watched me grow up and even given me a kick in the pants when I started to get too big for my britches in high school (Sally Winn, that would definitely be you).

4) Nerve wracking and yet exciting was meeting my boyfriend’s parents for the first time when I was in Oceanside on Tuesday. I wanted them to like me, but I hadn’t expected liking them as much as I had! I felt so comfortable with both of them and Pat, Ty’s mom, spoiled me so much that I felt like Princess for a Day. I was able to meet her friends at the quilt shop, enjoy a great lunch and just relax. It was also great to talk to Ty’s dad, Bill, as I realized that Ty’s lethal good looks, wit, and charm is something that’s genetic.

5) And the last highlight was having dinner after my B&N event in Oceanside with Karen Cope. Karen used to be my room mate and one of my best buds at UCLA and it’d been fifteen years since I last saw her.

The road trips are hard (especially when flights are delayed or cancelled, Hertz assigns you mini vans, and you accidentally book the wrong month for your hotel res) but seeing old friends, making new ones and getting to know readers make it so worthwhile.

So thank you to the folks that went, ahem, where’s your new blog? Friends, here it is.

And thank you to all of you for caring enough to ask.

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