Day 3 of the Iron Elves road trip and the frost is on the pumpkins this morning!

Other than the cold snap, (which I’m playfully tweaking my homeland about) I’m having a terrific time. I realized this is my first real vacation this year. But let’s be honest, going to bookstores to meet fans and sign books is not work. This is fun.Every time I set foot in a bookstore no matter where I always feel a sense that I’m coming home.

Lest anyone think I’m only focusing on big chains, I visited two independent stores yesterday – Greenley’s in downtown Belleville where I met proprietor Tammy Grieve. The store is quite large and has an entire second level that’s not obvious when you look at it from the street. Very neat and organized. In the afternoon I went to Novel Ideas on the main strip in Kingston. For those who don’t know Kingston, it’s a university town which means when you see all the students walking down the street you suddenly remember you went to school a loooooooong time ago. They looked like kids. Did I look that young when I was 19? Anyway, Novel Ideas is another wonderful independent bookstore and well worth a visit.

I really enjoy visiting stores and saying hi and getting to know the people that work there. They’re readers, book lovers, and they’re the folks on the front line fighting for our society’s literacy rate. I often ask what they’re reading because odds are it’s going to be something interesting. That’s why (if you’ve ever wondered) why I go out of my way to get names and cards and mention them on my blogs. They aren’t likely to show up in acknowledgements, or get a shout out at an awards show, but they are indispensable and make bookstores the haven they are for fans of the written word.

In other news, I bought my parents a new GPS for the trip. This one has a bigger screen and more functions. Now I just need to find out how to search for routes to the nearest place with a senior’s coffee discount and my dad will be thrilled.

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