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Entries in Authors (11)


Fellow travelers

The students at Yulee High all had "I Am ______" buttons. Elliot's reads, "I Am Legend." Well played. I’m sitting in the half-empty first-class cabin (thanks to a fortuitous upgrade), winging my way home, knowing that I’m less than 5,000 Delta miles away from qualifying for “Diamond” Medallion status—a dubious honor at best. It officially means that I’m spending far too much time away from my family.

If there’s a level above Diamond, it’s probably passed on like some secret handshake at a candle-lit fraternity swearing-in ceremony. Let’s hope for my sake, we never find out.

My goodly wife, Leesha, does come along when she can. Or more aptly, when she chooses to do so. “That’s okay Hon, you go to Des Moines in winter, I’ll tag along for Palm Beach,” is a familiar, and entirely understandable refrain. And the kid-posse does accompany me as well, but alas, the school year is still in full swing.

But despite the bout of homesickness, the week was a grand time.

Northern Trust put on a tremendous event in Fort Myers, followed by my whirlwind weekend on Amelia Island which included daily, crack-o-dawn treks to Jacksonville for morning news segments, a trio of story-generations workshops at Yulee High School, a sold-out Books & Jazz event featuring yours truly, and a pleasant siege of signings, talkings, hand-shakings, and other book-doings through Saturday.

Susan and I share the same editor. And are equally grateful.The best part was meeting (and hearing) authors Rick Bragg and Susan Vreeland.

For an author on the road, fellow travelers are as close to family as one can get, even if it’s just a laugh, a handshake, and a pat on the back.


From the Halls of Literary Justice

A question that kept popping up on this last round of book events (13 in 9 days) was, “Did you ever imagine you’d be traveling this much?” The answer, “Not even if I were on the run from the law…”

My event schedule is somewhere between a traveling salesman and a drug mule. I checked into a hotel for the third time and half expected to find my dirty socks under the bed. (They weren’t there, I looked).

From the Halls of Literary Justice (otherwise known as Garth Stein's house). But I did have time for a few special moments, not the least of which was a gathering of Seattle7Writers and related authors. I think there were 22 of us? No spouses or kids, just a gathering of writers: Garth Stein, Jennie Shortridge, Stephanie Kallos, Erik Larson, Kaya McLaren, Boyd Morrison—the list goes on and on. (Not counting Jess Walters, Tom Robbins, Elizabeth George, Jim Lynch, Mary Guterson and others that couldn’t make it). The evening felt like a gathering of the Justice League—or at least the SuperFriends, with more wine and fewer capes.

And later I spoke to a gathering of teachers during an in-service day. I didn’t realize the extent of the program, which included a presentation by Tom Ikeda and the Densho Foundation as well as a tour of the Wing Luke Museum and the Panama Hotel. The thought of Henry and Keiko sparking such interest still amazes me.

Speaking of amazing, Unca Harlan called yesterday. Evidently the New York Times has sent a reporter to spend a week with him for some unknown, “Harlan Ellison piece.” All I can say is—about time. Write about him now, while he’s still spitting fire, rather than eulogize him decades later. Kudos to the Times.

And on an unrelated note, I bought Nelly tickets for Rissa's 15th birthday. The mega-selling rapper is appearing in Helena, Montana of all places, which speaks volumes about our current economy. Oops, gotta run, The Rolling Stones are playing the vacant hayfield behind my neighbor's barn.

Admission is a bag of zucchini.


Lock up your daughters––it's Authors on Tour


They don't travel with as many roadies as Monsters of Rock, but they're rolling into town just the same. Here's a little something to liven up your iPod or MP3 player. The Tattered Cover Book Store, a fine independent in Colorado, is featuring a lovely series of podcasts. Authors include Neil Gaiman, Frank McCourt, Clive Barker, Robert Hicks and Zadie Smith. You can play them through your browser, download them to iTunes and best of all, they're free. Thanks go out to T.L. Hines for telling me all about it.

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