The first week of publication for THE FIXER UPPER was busy. Okay, it was a blur. I remember the launch party–which was great fun. I remember the first signing, at Barnes & Noble in Buckhead, also big fun, especially catching up with former newspaper colleagues and loyal fans. After that it gets a little hazy. I drove to Highlands, NC, and spent an afternoon with Claire and Arthur Simpson, the charming owners of Cyrano’s Books. We sold tons of books, even for what Arthur termed “a dead-ass Wednesday afternoon.” The North Carolina mountains were beautiful–green and much cooler than the flatlands of Atlanta. I even spotted a great billboard on U.S. 441 advertising “Bates Cottages–NOT affiliated with the Bates Motel.” Had to laugh out loud. Flew from Asheville to Atlanta–and then on to Raleigh on Thursday, where I immediately cabbed over to Salon ROI for some intensive care from my buddy Roi–who I met when I shopped his yard sale six years ago after we moved to Raleigh. After Roi clipped and dipped me–and slapped some makeup on me, I scooted over to Quail Ridge Books. Owner Nancy Olsen has been a long-time friend and supporter–going back to the days when I wrote the Callahan Garrity mysteries under my real name–which is Kathy Hogan Trocheck–in case you didn’t know. Nancy and I got a few minutes to chat and catch up on book gossip, and then it was over to dinner with The Scribblers, my NC writers group. Although a couple of the gals couldn’t make it, it was great to see my mystery mama Margaret Maron, Sarah Shaber, Bren Witchger and Alex Sokoloff, as well as mystery maven Molly Weston and her friend. While we were in the restaurant, I happened to look at the television in the bar and see the shocking news about Michael Jackson. But no time to reflect, because it was showtime at Quail Ridge Books. We had a huge turnout, and it was wonderful to see so many old friends, including a couple of my Crusader baseball mom friends from Boomerang Boy’s days at Cardinal Gibbons High School. Boy, did we spend some time in those bleachers during all those baseball games. And boy, do I miss those days of listening to the crack of the bat. I left tons of signed copies of THE FIXER UPPER behind at QRB, so if you didn’t get there Thursday night, don’t worry, there are plenty of autographed books still there. Friday morning, I flew to Memphis. I thought Atlanta was hot, but Memphis, hoo-boy, Memphis was boiling. Still, we had a nice turnout at Books-a-Million in Southhaven, Miss. And then I went back to my hotel room, turned up the AC and watched the bargain DVD of BYE-BYE BIRDIE I picked up at BAM. Talk about a blast from the past–and so appropriate to watch in Memphis, home of Elvis, since Birdie is a spoof of Elvis mania. I flew home Saturday morning, and we’ve spent the weekend celebrating the wedding of good friends Jack and Shay. In between parties, I’ve been doing laundry and re-packing my suitcase. In the morning, I’m off for Nashville, for a signing at Davis-Kidd Books Monday night at 7pm at the Mall at Green Hills. And hey, you peeps in Lexington, KY, I’m headed your way Tuesday night for a signing at Joseph-Beth Booksellers at Lexington Green Circle, which my publisher just informed me about. Then, Thursday, I’ll be at Page & Palette in Fairhope, ALA. As Diana Ross and the Supremes would say, come see about me. On Friday, I’ll head over to Savannah for a signing at Seaside Sisters on Tybee Island at 11 am, and then Mr. Mary Kay and I will have the weekend off, biking around the island with an adult beverage in our handlebar koozies, watching fireworks, and most likely, fixing crabcakes. I’ll report in when I can. Until then, stay cool.