Friday, January 25, 2013

TOUR TALES (Pt. 4): The Grand Finale

(Photo: Ty Oglesby)
(Pt. 4) 
The Grand Finale

What a week!
Brent and I logged 
nearly two thousand
miles over our five-day 
author tour. We visited 
amazing places, met 
fascinating people 
and heard some 
incredible stories.

From the beginning, I knew that the tour was about much more than simply selling and signing books. In fact, our excursion will prove to be one the most memorable experiences of my life.

I first became aware of author Brent Jensen when I discovered his book NO SLEEP 'TIL  SUDBURY while surfing the Internet late one night last summer. His personal coming-of-age memoir of growing up with a passion for heavy metal music in a small Canadian town during  the 1980s was a compelling read — a story that mirrored many of my own teenage experiences of hanging out in record stores, going to concerts, meeting chicks and celebrating all things that rocked, dude. Brent hooked me immediately with his conversational writing style and by the end of the book I was kinda sad, as I felt that a re-connection with a long lost friend had come to a conclusion. So, like any dedicated fan, I stalked Brent online. I soon discovered his email address and reached out to him personally and in no time, we were becoming BFFs. Soon, plans were being discussed for Brent to come visit me in Florida for a groovy surf, sand and sun getaway weekend. But before I knew it, that plan had morphed into something bigger and in short order, an entire Southeast adventure had been mapped out — the 2013 Rock and Roll Author Tour was on!

I finally got to hang out in record stores with Brent
while we were on tour. BTW, Chad's Records in
Chattanooga had an awesome vinyl metal section!
Macon, GA.

After a week living on the road, traveling in a rented van, staying at hotels and making appearances, I'm proud to call Brent Jensen a true friend. And the relationships that I now have with both Brent and his sidekick Steve will last a lifetime. I'm blessed, indeed.

I've always enjoyed the Meet-and-Greet aspect of book promotions. Personally, I'm simply not content with Internet social networking alone. I need to also be on the road, connecting personally with readers one-on-one — shaking hands, "kissing babies" and sharing stories. And from police officers to business owners to aspiring writers to the typical man on the street, we met some fascinating people and heard many incredible stories as we traveled throughout the South this week.

Shop owner Dale Kellerman and my
son Jesse, following our appesrance at 
Young, Loud and Snotty in Jacksonville, FL.
The greatest earthly gift that I've ever received is my son. Looking back, I've blown it in so many areas of my life over the years. However, I was pretty spot-on with the parenting thing. Jesse and I always have and a rock solid relationship and I've written extensively over the last year or so regarding my coming to grips with him growing up — turning 18, graduating from high school and becoming his own man. And therein lies, for me, the real value of the tour. Perfectly timed between his last term at local community college and leaving home to attend a state university in the fall, my boy and I were  able to experience one final father / son cross-country adventure.                                           
Melbourne, FL
From Orlando to Chattanooga to Macon to Jacksonville, we had such a blast that I didn't even mind the sub-freezing temperatures that we faced along the way. But it was our appearance in my hometown of Melbourne, Florida on Thursday that provided the sweet icing on the cake. Brent and I were honored to be invited as guests on Todd Kennedy's popular afternoon Sound Waves radio program on Melbourne's WFIT 89.5 FM. We had a great time on the air, discussing our current books and sharing some of our many rock and roll stories. And the all-new Open Mike's lounge located inside Florida Discount Music in Melbourne proved to be the ideal venue for our signing that night. The crowd was quite enthusiastic and made for an awesome tour grand finale!


In sum, the tour proved to be everything that I hoped it would be. And I want to thank Brent, Steve and Jesse for making it one of the best experiences of my life. Much gratitude also goes to the various venue owners who believed in us and showed us such downhome southern hospitality — welcoming Brent and I into their businesses and hosting our events. I want to also thank everyone who came out to our signings. Whether you bought books or simply came to hangout and say, "hi," we truly appreciated your support. For those who didn't make it, you were missed, and we look forward to seeing you — next time.

-Christopher Long
(January 2013)

Check out these other
tour-related blog posts:

The latest from author Christopher Long
is available NOW on Amazon.

Also from Christopher Long...
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