Blessing Is Coming and Book Tours Are Back

This past week someone sent me a copy of a Craig Johnson essay about his book touring history. He started twenty years ago and has always done big tours. And Craig, like yours truly, enjoys meeting and interacting with his readers.

I started forty years ago in the world of original paperbacks where there we no tours. So we made one up. Before my publishers ever paid for a book tour I had already done nine at my own expense—doing events at Walden Books, B. Daltons, Little Professors, and anywhere else that would let me in the door. While Bill was off selling microwave semi-conductors to customers up and down the West Coast, I’d ride shotgun, and we would spend his fee evenings marketing books.

Much of that consisted of doing drive-by signings which means, I’d go into a store and do a signing of whatever ones of my books they happened to have in stock, aka stock signings. Some later time, people who had bought stock-signing books would show up at a regular signing wanting to have them personalized. At that point I’d have to go looking for a pen with ink that matched that signature. By book number three, I wised up. That’s when I started signing all books in red in and I use only one kind of pen. That way I always have a pen with the right ink in my purse.

Many of those early signings were not well attended. Sometimes a few people turned up; sometimes no one did. At my first signing for Village Books in Bellingham on the evening the Iraq War started, five people came. I did the full meal deal as far as those five people were concerned. Whenever no one showed up, I talked to the booksellers on duty, engaging them and hopefully giving them enough information so they could hand-sell my books later when I wasn’t there.

Book touring came to a screeching halt during the pandemic for Craig Johnson and for J.A. Jance, too. For Blessing of the Lost Girls, due out September 19, touring is back in a big way. The schedule is posted on my website and my Facebook page.

JA Jance Schedule

JA Jance Facebook

Blessing of the Lost Girls, a Walker Family/Brady crossover, is my 66th book. I know there are some readers who have drawn the at the Walkers, saying they’re too scary or too dark. I don’t think that’s the case with Blessing. I believe that little touch of Joanna Brady and most especially her daughter, Jenny, help lighten the load.

The book I wrote just before this one was Collateral Damage. Most of my books take about six months to write. Collateral Damage took twelve. While I was battling with it, I thought maybe I had lost my mojo and that would be the last book I ever wrote. But then, when it was time to write Blessing, I wrote it in two months flat, beginning to end. That’s a record by the way. And writing it definitely gave me back my mojo.

The inspiration to write Blessing of the Lost Girls came from a Sioux warrior who told a friend of mine, “Tell J.A. Jance to write more Walker books. There aren’t enough Indian heroes.” When you read Blessing, you’ll find that the man who told me that IS now an Indian hero!

A couple of notes about the tour itself. For one thing, you’ll notice that events in the Seattle area are limited. By the time NY got around to doing the schedule, my favorite venue, Third Place Books in Lake Forest Park was already booked. Sorry about that, folks. But if you want a signed and personalized book, please come to the event in Redmond. And feel free to contact Brick and Mortar Books in Redmond, Washington.

The book goes on sale September 19, but I should be able to stop by Brick and Mortar Books to sign books before I leave town for the tour. You can either stop by the store to pick up your copy or have it shipped to you. Signed books will also be available from Mostly Books in Tucson and the Poisoned Pen in Scottsdale. And speaking of the Poisoned Pen. That one will stream on Facebook Live, at 7PM Pacific. Yes, it’s in Arizona, but Arizona does not believe in Daylight Savings time.

I’d like to address two of the tour events in particular. The first is sponsored by the Tucson Festival of Books on September 21st. Admission is free but tickets need to be obtained in advance. Register here. This event does have an attendance limit. We will open up a waiting list once it is full.

Tucson Jewish Community Center
3800 East River Road
Tucson, Arizona 85718

For the past thirteen years it has been my honor to participate in the TFOB’s annual March extravaganza on the University of Arizona campus. The event always runs like a well-oiled machine, due to the help of hundreds of volunteers who act as guides by taking authors to venues, provide crowd control, bus tables, empty trash boxes, handle sound boards, and work in various booths. The problem is those hardworking souls hardly ever get to attend any of the individual panels. I’m hoping some of them will be able to attend this one because I’d like to express my thanks to them directly.

The second really special for me event is Saturday, September 23rd in the San Xavier District Council Chambers on the Tohono O’odham Nation. San Xavier Mission plays an important role in Blessing of the Lost Girls, and I’m hoping some of my readers will come early enough to visit the mission itself and also to sample the popovers for sale in the mission’s parking lot. Be advised, the chili is mild, but the stains it leaves behind on your clothing are indelible! Whatever you do, DO NOT WEAR WHITE!

San Xavier District Council Chambers
2018 West San Xavier Road
Tucson, AZ 85746

I can’t tell you how excited I am to be going back on the road. I’ve missed having those person-to-person interactions with fans.  Here’s to seeing you somewhere along the way.

And now, at risk of repeating something from last’s week’s blog: Happy Trails to You!

PS: Now is the time to order signed bookmarks, but there’s a good chance they won’t be sent out until AFTER the tour rather than BEFORE.  Please send a business sized self-addressed stamped envelope to:

J.A. Jance
P.O. Box 766
Bellevue, WA 98009-0766

36 thoughts on “Blessing Is Coming and Book Tours Are Back

  1. You are coming to my neck of the woods this month – Prescott Valley – to sign Blessing of the Girls.
    I am unable to attend (I no longer travel) but I am so glad you are coming. I might get a friend to attend and get an autographed copy for me.

    Thank you for “lightening up” on the Walker family series. I do like the Indian stories you weave in. Amazing recall.

  2. I see you are going to be in Wickenburg.. one of my favorite towns and I always eat at Anita’s…great southwestern restaurant.

  3. This was a semi-recent signing, maybe 2006 or 7, at Joseph Beth in Charlotte, NC. I don’t know if the store didn’t promote it much or what, but there were only 6 of us that showed up. You ended up moving us from the small auditorium to the comfy seating area, for the discussion. Worked out well, as I had my Jance collection in tow to be signed. Best of all, we still got “At 17”!

  4. Well, Judy, the closest to get to me in Long Beach, WA, is Vancouver on October 7. And that is the very day I’m hosting a PNW Authors’ Book Fair in Seaview, WA! Got 22 authors attending! But… Big bummer in missing you. Guess I’ll be settling for a bookmark. Safe travels, many sales, and thanks for addressing the “Blessing” issues.

  5. Touring must be exhausting, but I think meeting and greeting fans is worth it. You obviously enjoy meeting people and telling them your story. Good luck to you.

    The San Xavier Misson is my favorite spot in Tucson.

  6. Had the privilege and joy of meeting you at the reservation a few years ago. Always a loyal fan.

  7. I was lucky to see Craig Johnson when he first started out. He would arrive at Sunriver Books on a huge motorcycle, which is how he did his tours then. He presented in a small meeting room for several years. He schedules a date in Sunriver every year, although he’s now in a huge special events room. Great author!

  8. Yay!!! You’ll be within reach of my home when you come to Salem, OR! I’m already thinking about who to invite to carpool up from Corvallis. This is going to be so much fun!

    • Publicity in NY sends me where libraries or bookstores have expressed an interest in having me appear. No invitation? No appearance.

  9. I did not find the Walker books too dark while reading them for the first time-
    I found them thrilling- However, when I tried to reread “Queen of the Night,” I found I kept losing concentration, or getting tired, or fidgety, and could not get further than the first few chapters- Finally I realized that I was simply dreading a scene in which characters I was very fond of would not survive- My mind would just not let me revisit that event, which had caused me to feel real grief when I originally encountered it-
    So it might be a relief to have Joanna and Jenny around to counter the sense of tragedy with some more lighthearted interactions-
    In addition to the “thrilling” aspects of the Walker Series, however, I found all the
    descriptions of the Indian mythology and spiritual life fascinating, especially the interweaving of Indian and “Milgan” cultures as personified in Lani-
    I look forward to “Blessings!”

  10. The first series that I read was Ali and I was sad when I had read the last one because I thought, how could this author ever top this series. Then, I read Beaumont and loved it. Again, I was sad to read the last in that series and again I thought, how could she ever top this….and then I read the Brady series. Each series seems to be “my favorite” because they get better and better. I can’t say that the Walker series is dark….just different. It must take a huge amount of research into finding tribal stories to incorporate them into the books. Would you say that each Walker book takes longer than the other series of books because of the research?

    • So have you been keeping up with the most recent Ali books? Collateral Damage took a year to write. Blessing of the Lost Girls was written in two months flat. Many of the Tohono O’odham stories are ones I learned and told during my time as a school librarian on the reservation.

  11. Bummers that you aren’t going to be at Third Place Books. Sandy Haug and I have been coming to your signings since Beaumont 8–Minor in Possession. We met you at Ballard High School and have been fans ever since. When we got the book, we told you that both our boys had just gotten MIPs. You said that if that was the worse thing that happened to them, we were lucky. And, we have been lucky!! Hope to see you in Redmond. If not, we’ll be tuned in to the Poisoned Pen on 9/19.

    • Yes, when I found out Third Place was off the list, you two were the first people I thought of.

  12. I am going to the Apache Junction one on September 18th. I am wondering if a book will be available to purchase?

  13. Oh, goodie!! Redmond is on my calendar to see you once again. I love the Walker books and this one I’ve been looking forward to since I first heard of it. It’s an issue that needs more publicity and enforcement. I’ve seen you at Mill Creek and Lake Forest Park several times and have a collection of your signed books. I only am 1/64th Cherokee, but have been fascinated with Native lore since I was a child and long before my heritage became known to me. Guess that little drop of Native blood carries a lot of inner awareness. Thank you for all you’ve done for Native awareness.

  14. My cousin passed away last week – but before she died I had the pleasure of finding out she loved your books as much as I do – and that she always looked forward to reading your weekly blogs. We hadn’t communicated for over forty years; so when we did, and we found we had a love of you in common, it became a special bond. So when you’re in Salem, OR, on your tour, think of Deanna. She would – or is(!) – thinking of you. KL

    • My condolences on the loss of your cousin; I’m glad you reconnected. I’m grateful for reconnections with my extended family as well. I will add my thoughts to Judy’s, since I live in that area as well.

    • Yes, please accept my condolences as well. It touches me to know that I was a common denominator in your cousin’s and your lives.

  15. What about Texas????????? Ever heard of it?
    I have never been to Beaumont, and don’t live anywhere near there, but that seems to be a perfect place for you to visit, especially for your next J.P. Beaumont book. Dallas would be wonderful, but Tyler in East Texas would be absolute heaven for me. LOVE, LOVE all your books. Just finished the first five Beaumont books during an emergency trip to Philadelphia and am even more in love with them than ever. I am reading the whole series in order, again. Keep on writing!

    • Yes, I have definitely heard of Texas, but publicity sends me to places from which they have requests for an appearance.

      • And Carthage, in East Texas, is the home of the Texas Country Music Hall of Fame and Tex Ritter Museum. A lovely old fashioned country town. We go there nearly every year for the Hall of Fame annual inductions from the Seattle area.

        • Thank you so much for the response! I will keep my eyes open for the Carthage event – it is a lovely drive from Bullard. I would love the opportunity to see you in person.

          • It’s usually on the 2nd weekend of August every year; Thursday through Sunday morning. However, the Hall of Fame and museum are open all year and are first class exhibitions.

  16. So glad you are excited about being back on the road for book tours. Your fans are Thrilled that there’s a chance of seeing and hearing you again. It’s hard to imagine that you ever had a signing and no one turned up. You’ve come a loooooooong way, baby!
    I can hardly wait to see you!

  17. I started re-reading “Birds of Prey” yesterday. The paperback is falling apart so I had to stop and glue it together. After a few days with rubber bands around it I’ll pick it up again. Maybe it’s time to buy a new copy.

  18. Hi, J.A., just got finished reading “Unfinished Business” and “Collateral Damage.” The books are just brilliant, not only as page turners, which they are, but in the fact that your backstories for characters are detailed, fascinating and believable! For instance, the care and attention you gave to a character like Juanita Ochoa, made the book so much more than a mystery/thriller, closer to literature with fully fleshed out characters. These “asides” apart from the main characters and plot are really interesting, and make the story so much richer than it might have been with more 2 dimensional ancillary characters. Great job!

  19. We first met you at the little book store in Port Orchard, Washington then the library in Bremerton once at Fort Lewis. Well, we moved to SW Indiana June 2022 so we’re going to drive to Boling Green!
    So excited

  20. I sure wish you would make it to Naples,Florida on your tours someday! I heard you speak on a cruise ship once and totally enjoyed it. The night before, we were at the table next to the captain’s table and I kept telling my husband that ”I know that woman”! But out of context and at a distance, I simply couldn’t place your face. Then they announced your speech and I instantly told my husband that we were going. Not a problem since he’s a fan as well!
    So thank you. And keep Naples in mind!

  21. I love a writer who enjoys their audience and makes such huge efforts, and to some degree sacrifices, to meet them.
    I know I LOVED the experience of being in your audience and meeting you, and I’m positive others will cherish it too.
    Happy travels!

  22. Thank you! I only ever heard that first line, “laugh and the world laughs with you.” I was familiar with the Elephant story, but only second hand. So much of poetry has always seemed too obscure for me; to the point where I actually become irritated if I feel the poet is being intentionally so. But I do love a good poem when I happen upon one.
    I frequent used book shops, so will keep my eyes open for “A Treasury of the Familiar “.
    Thanks again.

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