I know today is Halloween, but I am studiously ignoring that fact. Anyone who has spoken to me for more than five seconds in the month of October knows how much I hate Halloween. I hate costumes. I hate my children going out begging for candy. I hate the fact that I bought two full-sized bags of candy corn and one bag of candy corn pumpkins on Saturday and by Sunday every last crumb of them… gone! (A Halloween mystery? Or three family members who love candy corn and one who mocks us and keeps moving the bowl out of reach, although our arms are longer than he thinks.) So instead, I’m going to talk book tour.

The books for sale at the Ann Katz Books and Art Festival in IndianapolisThe hardest thing about book promotion for a writer like me is public speaking. Don’t get me wrong—I have no fear standing in front of a room and rambling on about my research. It’s the actual speaking of words that gets me. As someone who learned all her vocabulary from books, I have only seen words, not heard them aloud. So when I say them, my pronunciation is totally whacked. The Merriam-Webster pronunciation doohickey is the most helpful publicity tool I have. But often I begin to speak and realize I’m about to use a word I don’t know how to say, and so I take a circuitous route around the sentence to avoid the word.

That said, I’m having a ridiculously fun time doing presentations as my book tour gets underway. From the Boston Book Festival panel with Louise Miller, Dawn Lerner, and Lori Galvin to my talk at the Ann Katz Book and Arts Festival in Indiana to the Concord Festival of Authors with (again!) Louise Miller and Mary Waters-Sayer, I’ve been having fun.

Coming up this week I’ll be at Beyond the Book: The Austin Jewish Book Fair, the San Diego Jewish Book Fair, and the Arlington Book Festival. Next week I head to Jacksonville’s JCA Jewish Book Festival and Atlanta’s Book Festival of the MJCCA.

(And I’m super excited about the review the San Diego Jewish Journal gave Modern Girls: “The novel Modern Girls is a historical fiction written with such sincerity that the pretense of history falls blissfully away…. The story, surprising and heartbreaking, keeps the reader guessing through each chapter, until the last word.”)

Dawn Lerman, Lori Galvin, Jennifer Brown, and Louise Miller at the Boston Book Festival

Dawn Lerman, Lori Galvin, Jennifer Brown, and Louise Miller at the Boston Book Festival

At the Boston Book Festival, I was on a panel called “Eating Our Words,” and I’d say the talk was delicious, but even I’m not that cheesy. (Hmm, apparently I am.)

In Indianapolis, I was made to feel like a rock star. For starters, I know one person, Jody, in Indianapolis, although in truth, I hadn’t met her in real life. As you well know, I’m a huge genealogy geek, and I’ve taken (more than one) DNA test. My Indianapolis peep is a certified DNA cousin, and while we know which ancestral town we’re both from and even from which family tree we both hail, we haven’t pinned down the exact branch. When I received the invite to Indianapolis, I was super excited to meet Jody. She was even kind enough to be the volunteer to pick me up at the airport. We had a fabulous afternoon talking family and books and politics and all sorts of things. The folks at the JCC couldn’t have been nicer, and I had the friendliest crowd in the audience.

I will say, two things surprised me about Indianapolis: One, how rich in history the city is. Some of the buildings and monuments downtown are simply stunning. If you didn’t know that Tippecanoe is from Indianapolis, you’ll know after spending two minutes in the city (as in “Tippecanoe and Tyler too”). And two, that place really needs to be in the Central Time Zone. I couldn’t believe that the sun didn’t come up until after 8 a.m. So very dark. (I was told that they used to be on Central, but the governor at the time thought it would be better for business if they switched to Eastern, and so they did, darkness be damned.)

Just yesterday, I appeared on the New Literary Voices panel as part of the Concord Festival of Authors. The room was packed, our moderator effusive, and the crowd enthusiastic. I’m digging this whole book tour thing.

Now it’s off to pack. I need to look over my To Be Read pile and pick out a good selection, because over the next three days, I have six flights to take, so I imagine I’m going to have a lot of reading time. If you’re in one of my upcoming cities, I hope you’ll come out and say hi. And if you’re not… well there’s still more tour to happen come winter.

And in the meantime, may we all survive Halloween without eating too many fun-size boxes of Milk Duds. (Oops. Too late!)