I should be tired, but I’m exhilarated! Okay, here’s the tour wrapup:
Days from beginning of tour till end: 65
Total events: 75
States visited: 16
Urban areas visited: 16
Cities/towns visited: 52
School presentations: 50
Bookstore signings/presentations: 21
Festival events: 4
Blog posts: 10 (See full list here)
Videos made: 4
Photos taken: gazillions
Number of times I saw spring 2012 begin: 4
Number of times I left a cell phone in a taxi: 2
Number of times I missed a flight: 1
Lion statues: 4 (plus one painting)
Forms of giraffe found: 3
Meerkats converted to 39 Clues fans: 1
Chocolate signs received: 2
Chocolates eaten: countless
Visited cities whose names I love to say: Oconomowoc, Wayzata, Skokie, Calabasas
Friendliest reception: EVERYWHERE
After Salt Lake City, I became sad about the end of tour — until I saw this hidden Cahill message in Houston, Texas! It’s a variation on a quote from a famous speech given by a Tomas ancestor featured in The Viper’s Nest. Do you know who that is?
I took the message seriously. And I had a fantastic visit to the Valley School, where the kids were amazing. Even the statues enjoyed The Dead of Night.
That evening I visited an awesome bookstore called the Blue Willow. How awesome? Maybe you can tell from the expression on my face (and the refrigerator magnet in my right hand):
Houston only reinforced something I already knew: Cahills are everywhere! On my way back home, I had my eyes and ears out for Cahill messages wherever I could find them.
Even in New York City I could not stop seeking Cahill wisdom from odd statues.
(And who put this lion just blocks from my house! Do you think they knew?)
But it was only a brief stop at home before the tour’s last stop: Connecticut! I visited a school with an unusual name and an inspiring slogan:
Talk about an enthusiastic welcome!
They even arranged to include a cow in their mural for me. Can you find it?
The fourth and fifth graders at Totoket Valley created a quiz about my life history. I think I failed it.
Later that day, I ventured to the Abraham Pierson School. Sign, bookmarks — how lucky can a guy get?
No cows or lions here. I think they were chased away by the Connecticut Huskies.
My very last event was a very special one at a new Books-A-Million store in Waterford. (You have to like a place whose logo says “BAM!”)
Here I met Timothy, a seven-year-old clue hunter extraordinaire and aspiring screenwriter, who traveled over two hours to attend the event! I dubbed him “The Noble Traveler.” And he floored me with his knowledge of the series.
What great way to end the tour! I sit writing this at home, inspired by the aroma of chocolate and new books (baseball caps, alas, do not have an aroma). As you may know, I posted responses to the latest prompt here. Wow, has it been fun discovering all the great writers out there! I am amazed by the volume of responses. (Many of you have asked me to read separate stories, excerpts from novels, responses to earlier prompts, etc. Alas, I’m maxed out from all the plane travel, car travel, school visits, bookstore visits, explorations, making videos, writing blog posts, answering guestbook posts, reading and commenting on hundreds of writing-prompt responses, and managing to keep up with my own family! So I will leave those to the skills of the Cahill Command Message Board members. You guys are more than up to the challenge.) I have seen some tremendous growth in writing skills. You have made me laugh, gasp, and even shed a tear or two; and I fully expect to see some of your names on the covers of books in the future. Remember, you can always contact me with questions on my own guestbook page. I love hearing from readers, and I answer every question.
OK, I promised a surprise, and here it is. The first ever 39 Clues Prompt Contest — yes, YOU write the prompt and I respond! I am inviting you all to write your own 39 Clues–inspired writing prompts. I will read them and select one to serve as the starting point for an original story written by ... yours truly! It will be dedicated, of course, to you. With my thanks and best wishes to the greatest agent-readers on earth.