Tomorrow, I can say that "Blackberry Winter comes out tomorrow"! A day and a half away! Sort of feels like Christmas Eve, Eve over here. Have you gotten your pre-ordered copy early? Are you reading it yet? I'd love to hear from early readers! And, are you coming to meet me on my book tour? (P.S. The blackberries above are the sweetest ever. They're growing like crazy behind my parents' home in Poulsbo, Washington.)

Here are the dates set for the Blackberry Winter book tour! It's a little shorter than usual due to the fact that I have three little boys who need their mama around. There were lots of cities and book stores I really wanted to visit, and it was excruciating to say no, but I am a mother first, and I know everyone understands that. There will be a time and a place one day in the future when my babies won't need me as much as they do now, and I will happily travel far and wide. But, that time is not right now. :) Still, look at all the fun places I get to visit this fall! Will you come meet me? I would love it! Seattle, WA September 25: Third Place Books, Ravenna, 7:00 Seaside, OR October 4: Beach Books luncheon, noon Portland, OR October 4, Powell’s at Cedar Hills (Portland), 7 p.m. Los Angeles (Pasadena) October 11, Vroman’s (Los Angeles), 7 p.m. Tacoma, WA October 14, PNBA tradeshow–Author’s Feast event, 5 p.m. San Diego, CA October 23, Warwicks---a Blackberry Tea Party! 2 p.m. Oakland, CA October 24, A Great Good Place for Books, 7 p.m.

Hi all! My editor shared today that Blackberry Winter has gone back to press for a second pre-publication printing, all because of the amazing number of pre-orders that are pouring in. I am so excited, and grateful to you all. Thank you, friends and dear readers, for your amazing show of support. I often get questions from people about how and why to pre-order, and I thought I'd share a little about that here: Why pre-order a book? Because it's a speedier way to get a book in your hands come publication date. If you arrange for a pre-sale at your favorite local bookstore, you can secure your copy if there is a shortage (which has happened with my past few books at various retail locations). Also, if you pre-order from certain online retailers, there' s a chance you might even get the book before publication date. This isn't always the case, but I've heard from readers who had copies of my book in hand one, two and even three days before publication because they pre-ordered. I love the possibility of getting Blackberry Winter into all of your hands as quickly as possible! Also, if you pre-order via your Kindle, Nook or other e-reader, you get the book delivered to your device instantly at midnight the day it is released---love that. How do you pre-order a book? Check with your favorite local bookstore, or if you're an online shopper, you can order Blackberry Winter on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or also Powell's, a terrific Northwest-based bookseller that ships nationwide. Do pre-orders help the author? Yes! Pre-orders are one of the best ways to show support to an author you enjoy (in addition to writing them an email or a letter, which I adore). The quantity of pre-orders signals to the publisher that there is demand for the book and the author. Pre-orders also factor in to the tallying of bestseller lists. Many thanks, all!

After we got the keys, we brought the kids over to the houseboat to have dinner--so fun! (For the complete backstory on the houseboat, click here.) It was a heavenly evening, and here are some random photos to share: (P.S. Um, so, yeah, I really don't sit around reading my own books! :) I had to take this for a magazine piece that needed a photo of me with the book, and I loved how sparkly the water looked in the background.) (Below: He took his life jacket off for a split second, and I made him put it back on after this was taken!) On the bookshelf in the houseboat I found my friend Margaret Dilloway's lovely novel, How to Be An American Housewife!

A few days ago, I shared on Facebook that my husband, very generously, offered to rent a houseboat for the fall as a place for me to write my fifth novel, which, as you know, is set on a houseboat in Seattle. At first, being the thrifty person I am, I said "no way!" After all, we just bought another property in town, and it seemed like an outrageous additional expense to take on, but then I thought about it: What would be more amazing than having my own houseboat for the fall? A place I could sneak away to and work on my new novel? A place to uncork a bottle of wine on the rooftop deck with friends and watch the boats go by (while thinking about plot points, of course)? A place to invite friends and family to have dinner and even stay the night in the upstairs loft? Dreamy, right? So, thanks to some wonderful encouragement from my pals on Facebook (and in the real world) who encouraged me to take the plunge (quite literally, here), today I got the keys to a beautiful, cozy, unbelievably quaint little houseboat on Lake Union. The owner happens to be a book publisher who is a dear, and when not living in this gorgeous floating home, she lives in Canada. We'll be renting her houseboat for four months---just enough time for me to submit my manuscript to my editor, and time enough to celebrate Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's Eve on our little lakeside oasis. "You only live once," my husband said today, and he's so right. I not only believe my new novel will be richer for this experience, but I also think this will be a time my family and I will treasure for a lifetime. Obviously, houseboats and little boys don't really mix that well, so we'll have to watch them like hawks when they visit, and we won't be living there in any permanent way (we'll still sleep at our permanent residence in Seattle), but I'll plan to spend as much time as possible there, and plan frequent stayovers (for research, of course!). I took some photos of our new houseboat and the surrounding floating home neighborhood today, and wanted to share them with you here: