Sunday, September 24, 2006

HARROWING Tour, Week Two (Cont.)

So Monday and Tuesday (Tour days 15 and 16, I think) were a little odd. I had to do my taxes. For 2005. (Note to new authors: Do NOT leave your taxes for the first week of the launch of your first novel. This seems self-evident, right? But just wait and see what YOU leave festering when you have a second book due the same day your first book is launched.)

I'd done most of the numbers - somehow - in various hotel rooms throughout the South. Finished off on Monday and turned it all in to my accountant on Tuesday. I feel 5 million years younger and 2 tons lighter. Now I can concentrate on WRITING on my off-hours during this tour, of which so far there have been none, but that has to change, because if I don't get some serious writing in soon I'm going to implode.

Wednesday was back to the tour for real. I did a bookstore blitz with LA media escort Ken Wilson, as lauded by Naomi Hirahara on - read in detail here. Ken is amazing, irrepressible, a consummate professional. We did a mad dash of 10 bookstore drop-ins, from Costa Mesa to Santa Monica. LA traffic. Wildfires burning on three sides of the city - by sunset the sky was apocalyptic.

But you can't argue with the method. You run into the store, meet the CRM and manager, sign the stock they have, leave a book for the employee most likely to love your genre and do a staff recommend, leave a stack of bookmarks, and on to the next. The great thing is that after every such visit, your signed books, which may only have been shelved before, are moved to a front table or end cap display. Exhausting, but so effective it seems not optional. Now, this is of course the exact thing Joe Konrath is doing all on his own. But working with Ken has its extreme advantages - he knows EVERYONE, and can steer you to the booksellers who really do hand sell. And there is NO WAY I could have done 20 bookstores in two days by myself, even on my home turf.

I dreamed of malls, that night.

Thursday I drove down to Mysterious Galaxy in San Diego for a lovely evening hosted by Christine, Terri and Sam. Another bookstore you just want to live in.

Friday was my day off - to catch up on my record 888 e mails. Needless to say, I didn't.

Saturday, off with Ken again to do a sweep of selected bookstores in West LA, the Valley and Glendale/Pasadena, timed to arrive at 2 pm for a signing at Dark Delicacies with Barbara Hambly (RENFIELD) and the legendary Chelsea Quinn Yarbro. As owner Del Howson said - "Now that's a pair you want to draw to." I sold out my books, very satisfying! and got to catch up with friends - altogether great day.

Slept 11 hours then caught a plane to Phoenix (LAX is worse than ever, but couldn't get the right flight out of Burbank), where I am now (love the desert!!! - spectacular sunset over a park of surreal red rocks and anthropomorphic Saguaro... I could seriously live here if it weren't so far from the ocean...). Doing a TV spot tomorrow AM - Good Day Arizona, at 11, then hitting Poisoned Pen and then driving to Sedona (LOVE IT - can't wait!!) to do a signing and screenwriting workshop at Well Red Coyote.

Then on to BoucherCon, which actually sounds like a vacation by now! Can't wait to catch up with everyone there.

In case I don't have time to post this later, I'll be guest blogging at Murder She Writes, this Thursday, September 28th. Here's the link.

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