BOOK TOUR MEMORIES

It is now nearing the end of the summer and the Book Tour we’d anticipated so very much and for what seemed like forever… a memory. We have a box full of souvenirs, tons of photos, and clips form dozens of publications…about THE DOG DIET. Its amazing! If I had known how much the adoption of a little shelter dog was going to change my life…how much joy she was going to bring me…how she would inspire me and make one of my dearest lifetime goals become reality…I would have told anyone predicting this that they were crazy! So…here are some highlights of our tour.

NEW YORK CITY—BOOK LAUNCH! Wow! it was totally fantastic to be in the Big Apple…city that never sleeps…destination for dreamers…home to the publishing industry and so very many writers…and here I was…with a book being released and interviews scheduled and it was all just so surreal!

Riding around the city in those black Lincoln town cars much greater celebrities take for granted was a big deal for me and my sister Bonnie who was able to share this wonderful experience with me. They appeared…we got in…the dropped us off…the came back for us! It was great. As a guest on the EMMA ON THE LOOSE Sirius Radio show I had a great time with Emma and her producer. Our book signings at Borders in Ft. Lee, New Jersey and Ramsey, NJ were so much fun. We met great people and our hosts couldn’t have been nicer. Bonnie and I celebrated the book’s release and her belated birthday with a delicious dinner at one of my favorite NYC restaurants…Amarone. It was perfect! A quick trip to SPOILED BRATS NYC to get Sadie some of her DOGSWELL TREATS and we were soon asleep anticipating the next day.The really fun event was taping a cable show at MIDNIGHT! Yet! The car came to get us and take us to tape THE NEW YORKERS at midnight. What a fun show with a fantastic host and many diverse guests in the green room. Hard to say goodbye to NYC…but the tour had to go on and we left feeling inspired, tired, and ready to move on to the next city!

HAPPY IN HARTFORD I landed in Hartford to be met with a familiar face, my friend Ellen. I had been to Hartford the previous year to speak at the TAILS OF JOY fundraiser and had such a wonderful time that I almost felt like I was coming home sorta. TAILS OF JOY is a wonderful organization training therapy assist dogs and READ dogs. Ellen put together a lovely luncheon at a small catering shop and I met many interesting women, enjoyed a great lunch and as I am now getting used to…signed copies of our book. The food was delicious and the company delightful…how do things just keep getting better and better is beyond me!
While in Hartford I appeared on 2 television shows…both were disappointed to see that Sadie was not with me…they had to settle for only me! As the Chinese President chose that day to be in New Haven, my first appearance kept getting delayed due to coverage of his event. GEe…upstaged by the Chinese President! The Tails of Joy Fundraiser was as great as it was last year and many dogs came out to keep me company as I missed Sadie. On Saturday I did a book signing at Book Worm in West Hartford. What a FANTASTIC BOOK STORE! Lyle and Chin Chin…two dogs I met the night before at the TOJ event, came with their Mom’s to keep me company at the signing. Even though it was raining, we met many great people and signed books for about 2 hours. We were right across the street from the THREE DOG BAKERY so I was able to stop in and meet the owner and get some treats for Sadie. Hartford is a wonderful place, the Tails of Joy Organization does such important work, and this was truly a wonderful stop on the tour.

RUSHED IN RALEIGH-Our trip to Raleigh was a quick one as we had to get home and get ready to drive to Atlanta as our publicist had booked us on CNN. So we were going to Raleigh for a book Signing at BORDERS and due to a scheduling mis-communication had to cancel our appearance at the Southern Women’s Show…which we did very reluctantly. But…when you are told you are going to be on CNN and you HAVE to be there…off you go. Driving with Sadie is always fun and we took our convertible and it was warm enough to have the top down. Sadie is very kind and endures my signing…something I do when I am overwhelmed with happiness which seems to be a lot of the time now. We’d made a reservation at the Marriott’s Residence Inn…complete with a reservation for Sadie. We’d stayed at these before…nno problem. Long story short…this property was not a DOG WELCOME property. They expected Sadie to be as close to invisible as possible, would not allow her in the elevator—reasoning behind this insane rule…PEOPLE ARE ALLERGIC TO DOGS SO WE ONLY ALLOW SERVICE DOGS IN THE ELEVATOR! DUH? Aren’t service dogs…after all DOGS? Are they of a special non-allergic breed? It was a ridiculous rule, they were rude on top of it so we left. MARRIOTT! QUIT advertising as DOG FRIENDLY at these properties if you are not going to treat the dog as a GUEST. You charge them a fee…the deserve kind treatment.

SO…right next door was a lovely La Quinta Inn…no weight restriction…to mean dog rules…lovely suite…nice employees. All was well. Quick book signing that night…nice dinner at Bonefish Grill…dogercise…and off we were.

ATLANTA! The drive to Atlanta was long, but we took several stops, navigated the tricky Atlanta interstate traffic and arrived at our Wyndham Hotel in plenty of time to get ready for our book event at Borders in Marietta that evening. The Wyndham staff couldn’t have been nicer…well maybe if they had comped our room or somehting…but seriously…they know how to make a canine comfortable. This hotel is lovely…its like being in a big park with the great location in lovely area. My sister Bonnie lives here in Peachtree City and she cam over to guide us to the book signing. What a great time. A good friend from high school came to see us, we met a handsome and interesting and SINGLY veterinarian…ok…he turned out to be a disappointment, but what the heck. The signing was fun…I met Mitchell Graham a best selling writer and lots of other great people. I did a radio interview with Dr. Shawn Meissner on the Martha Stewart Radio Network after the signing and then a friend of my sisters…John…who owns a courier service there in Atlanta…called ahead and arranged for a restaurant to stay open late and we all had a fabulous dinner THANKS JOHN! on the patio. Sadie was served some plain boiled chicken and brown rice and lots of water. When we got back to our hotel…we were dog tired and fell asleep. Next moring…we enjoyed dogercise on the lovely grounds, had lunch with Bonnie at a Thai restaurant and were ready to our national television debut. NOT TO BE>

Alas…a verdict came in in a very important case and of course CNN had to cover that so we were just booted from the show. We did however get to stay at the CNN Omni Center Hotel as planned and this is one great place for people and dogs. From the moment Sadie’s little paws got out of the car until we left the next morning…she was treated like the top dog.

We were quite disappointed about the cancellation and as we went to our room with the bellman it seemed we were both sulking over this. The first thing Sadie always does when she enters a hotel room is run to the window, stand on her hind legs…and look at her surroundings. This is usually a minute or two event with no remarks from her…good or bad. I think she just likes to see where she is. However, here it was different. She ran to the window as usual, but begin barking loudly and excitedly…then growling. WHAT ON EARTH I though as I went to the window and there…bigger than life…were three giant red letters on the room next door CNN…seems Sadie didn’t take being booted from the show as calmly as I’d thought!

PHILADELPHIA was next and we encountered our second UN-friendly dog hotel. The Doubletree Hotel in Center City wanted to shove us into a ground floor room reserved for “dogs”, but they never told us this when we made our reservation for a tower room with nice amenities. Later that night relaxing in our TOWER room…I thought this over. These hotels need to up front with dog parents when we make our reservations. In this particular location there was construction going on on the street…ALL NIGHT and even from our high floor room we were disturbed and could not imagine what it would have been like on ground level.

WE did have on other mishap in Philadelphia. We had to be at a radio station 7 miles outside the city very early the next morning. Assured a cab at 6 am would be no problem, we were happy to find a nice cab driver right outside the hotel door who took us to City Line avenue where the station was located. The show was a lot of fun and in high spirits we called the cab number on the card the driver had given us. I told the girl we had liked our driver so much and he had been so nice to my dog Sadie… would it be possible to give her his cab number and have him take us back? She asked if Sadie was in a cage…not many people carry a 30 pound dog around in a cage including me…so I said no…and she said that if Sadie was not in a cage no cab would be allowed to come get us and HUNG UP!

What do you do when you are 7 miles from your hotel in 3 & 1/2 inch heels? First you get coffee…and a great little Coffey shop allowed me to tether Sadie to their back railing and come in the kitchen and get coffee and they gave me a small treat for her. Then you walk across 8 lanes of traffic to the hotel across the street and you BEG cab drivers to take you back. Two refused…one very suspicious driver couldn’t resist Sadie standing up and putting her head into his cab as she did her own form of begging and he said OK after I promised she would lay down on the seat and no one would know. I was lying through my teeth because Sadie LOVES riding in cabs and limos and looking out the windows. But somehow…she realized the situation and she did stay down on the seat the entire way back. We thanked him and gave him a generous tip…relieved and back to home base.

WE walked all over the city and I showed Sadie many places that held memories for me of when I lived there. That night we did a book signing at Borders in Bryn Mawr…a short drive out of the city. Again…we loved signing and paw printing books for the nice people who came to meet us.

Next day. we drove on to Lancaster to my sister’s house and were joined by my Mom. It was a great time and we all had lunch at a nice restaurant on their outdoor deck…Sadie too…and in the evening we all dogercised to the quaint ice cream store near my sister’s house. Nest day was my birthday and we had our book signing at Borders on Lancaster Pike. It was again…so much fun and another high school classmate who live there came to see me which was a nice surprise. That night…my sister and her husband cooked me a fabulous birthday dinner…everything from shrimp cocktail to grilled chicken in different sauces…great salad…and of course…a chocolate cake. What fun.

WONDERFUL WILLIAMSPORT: Now Williamsport, PA might not be a place you’ve even heard of and I had never been there, but let me tell you…its one great place with wonderful people and the home to BRODART…they supply books to libraries and they had selected my book for the McNaughton List…which is a BIG DEAL for books I learned. So when they asked Sadie to come meet them….to speak at Lycoming College and attend a reception for the local SPCA…we were honored. Waiting in our hotel suite was a big gift basket filled with great stuff for Sadie and a gift card for the local coffee shop for me. That afternoon we got a first hand tour first of the SPCA facility which was impressive and then of BRODART…again…we were impressed. They can literally stock a new library in one shipment. Sadie and I thanked everyone for picking our book for the prestigious list and were reluctant to leave as I had to get ready for dinner. They hosted a dinner at a eclectic restaurant called the BULLFROG but as I was getting ready…I realized I had no hairspray. Years of being fearful of being late for court always gets me to places early, so I parked at the restaurant and asked the hostess where I could get hairspray and took off. I returned to the entire table reserved for us filled with everyone including Kelly from my publisher and John a top dog a Brodart and Melinda from the SPCA. And yes…they all asked if I had gotten the hairspray…the ice was broken at least and the food was delicious. After dinner I drove back to the hotel to get Sadie and my Mom and follow a lady to the college where I was speaking. It was a HUGE auditorium and I was listening to John introduce me and thought I was hearing things when he said that books who make the McNaughton List usually go on to become bestsellers! Of course it was wonderful to hear, but a little intimidating right before a speech! The audience was easy to talk to…Sadie just stayed by my side quietly surveying everyone…and then we were off to sign books in the lobby and return to the SPCA for a reception. It was fantastic…great food…relaxed atmoshpere…we felt like we had known these people our entire lives. It truly was a memory we will not forget and a place I can’t wait to go back to.

And so I could go on and on…there was Pittsburgh where Sadie took off after a squirrel while I was taping a television interview. I had to kick off my high heels forgetting I was on camera and run after her in the wet grass. When I asked if there were going to use that footage the reporter said..”You bet we are…that’s DOGERCISE at its best.”

There was the special evening in Dayton, Ohio where Books & Company took reservations for DOGS NIGHT OUT and Ritter Ice Cream provided ice cream treats for Sadie and all the dogs. The store’s manager creates these fantastic posters for author events…she had me sign mine and then they auction them off later and the money is for a charitable cause. It was a great evening and someone I had met at Kiawah Island while they were walking their two dogs and I was missing Sadie…came to say hello.

In Huntington, WV we were at Empire Books on a beautiful Saturday and had lunch at Max and Erma’s outdoor area where they treated Sadie just wonderful. We were happy to go to Hurricane, WV to a undressing event for the Putnam Animal Shelter…Sadie’s home before that fateful day she was brought to PetsMart.

In early May, we had our second book launch here at home at TAYLOR BOOKS. First we hosted a party and our friend Joe Walker let us hold it in his fantastic flower shop right near the bookstore. Joe’s Fish Market provided the most fantastic food, music played, and dozens of people came to wish us well. We got a big cake with our book cover on it delivered to TAYLORS for all the people at our signing. I spoke and read from the book and then we announced the winners of the POOCH MOOCH CONTEST…a short writing contest about begging dogs. Then Sadie and I signed and paw printed books and the line was amazing! It was so wonderful and all our friends and people who knew we had been “writing a book” got to see that we really DID IT! That evening surrounded by family and friends and all those who had been there when my idea was born in the Life Writing Class and people who read my column…it was just like a fairy tale. I took the left over cake to the Men’s Shelter and they were happy to have it.

In June we were in my hometown of Brookville, PA for the Laurel Festival Book Event at the Library and the most amazing luncheon at a lovely old mansion called Harper’s Run. The Library organized this fantastic event…the food was all dog diet approved and delicious…there were so many people to meet us and hear me speak…and preceding it I was on the Radio Show broadcast form the Baptist Church on Main Street along with the Baptist minister and the Chamber of Commerce President…and of course Sadie. After lunch, we went to the Library to sign books and meet more people and we learned…you really can go home again.

And while the formal amazing BOOK TOUR came to an end…our enthusiasim…our believe in the book…our memories….never will. And I know I have forgotten things and we will have a separate entry for BOOK EXPO, but what a gift this tour was…what an amazing journey we have been on and we continue to do book signings….to work on our second DOG DIET book….to enjoy the memories and make new ones. And here is a short summary of some things we learned while traveling:

Book Store Managers simply have to be some of the nicest people on earth!

Luxury Hotels that like dogs are great! We want to thank the Omni William Penn Pittsburgh, PA….the Wyndham Conference Center Peachtree City, GA…the Mayflower Hotel, Washington, DC….our hotel in Williamsport and we can’t mention them because they made an exception to their company’s no dog rule for us and treated us grandly….the Omni CNN Center, Atlanta, GA, The CROWN PLAZA, Dayton, Ohio, The Wyndham Airport Hotel, Richmond, VA.

Publicists really do KNOW EVERYTHING! And we had the best…we thank Kim Weiss at HCI and Elaine Krakow and Marika at PR By the Book. Thanks for getting us all the attention and all the celebrity treatment we got…we are slowly coming back to earth. Book EXPO was the greatest!

Being dog-tired after a successful book signing is a GOOD THING!

We liked limos a LOT better than cabs!

I can share Sadie’s perfume, but NEVER again her toothpaste.

Dog parents are alaways ready to help you out with your dog if you need something.

Sadie sells more books than I do.

The media likes to see Sadie more than they to me.

We both really like meeting all the wonderful people who come to see us.

Our little slogan..SMILE MORE….GROWL LESS….a good way to live.

And we hope if you are reading this and dreaming of writing a book and going on a book tour…you CAN do it. And we do hope to meet the readers of this blog OUT THERE ON THE ROAD!

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