Sunday, November 16, 2014

Planes, trains, and automobiles

Kelley and I got in late last night—given jet-lag, it was about midnight when we walked in the door, 2 am when we got to bed.

It was a fab trip. I talked myself not-quite-hoarse. (It takes a lot to make me hoarse...) To old friends and those who are now new friends. To lots of people we'd only talked through through the photons and electrons of the übernet. Family (in Washington DC, all too briefly, alas). To booksellers and readers, editors and publishers—even a couple of cats.

Here are a few random statistics of our paperback tour (so far):

  • 5 airports
  • 1 hospital ER
  • 6 hotel rooms
  • countless cabs
  • untold elevators
  • a billion beers (and a not-inconsiderable quantity of wine, a handful of cocktails, plus some Armagnac)
  • 1 night of live music
  • a score of truly memorable conversations
  • 5 bookshops
  • 13 bars
  • 2 cats
  • 7 gifts (3 ARCs, 2 t-shirts, 1 nifty water bottle, 1 whistling rock)
  • a river of photos (I didn't take any; I'll try to round up others' for your delectation and delight)
  • 2 videos (not posted yet)
  • 4 bestseller lists (more on that anon)
  • 100s of books signed—maybe even a thousand
  • 6 gorgeous autumn sunshine days
  • 2 eh-it's-November days
  • 3 days of cracking cold
  • 1 airplane de-icing
  • 1 broken-on-the-jetway tow-bar
  • 1 very long perhaps-we'll-have-to-deplane wait on the snowy runway
  • 5 miraculously intact, checked luggage, on-time-to-right-destination deliveries
  • 5 we-took-apart-your-luggage-and-fucked-with-your-careful-packing TSA inspections
  • 1 lost iPad charger (not TSA's fault)
  • untold kindness of strangers
  • 2 or 3 dozen receipts to be sorted
In other words: hellacious busy but absolutely worth it. Two things I'll expand on now: the ER and the bestseller lists.

The ER was in Washington, DC. It was my left eye. Since my surgery, I've had a couple of spectacular-but-not-dangerous subconjunctival haemorrhages. They look awful, but they don't really bother me (except the shock on others' faces). They don't affect my vision, they clear up fast, I don't worry about them. But on the plane from Atlanta to DC something began to happen. Long story short, it turns out to have been an atypical (sigh; atypical is typical for me) vitreous separation. Apparently these things usually happen slowly over a period of two weeks (which is what happened with my right eye a couple of years ago); this one happened whap-whap-whap all at once and (given recent surgery and the haemorrhages and the fact that it happened at 44,000 feet) freaked me the fuck out. But everyone at George Washington Hospital was fabulous. Yes, we were there four hours, but they called in a consultant ophthalmologist from home, and he gave me the most thorough eye exam I've ever had, and said he couldn't see anything wrong with my retina but that I should come back to see the retinal specialist the next day to be sure.

As the next day was a busy one (I ended up spending 13 hours with a drink in my hand—when I wasn't holding a pen to sign things), I declined. But next week I'll go in to see my own eye doctor and get a definitive opinion. Meanwhile, I think the GWH interlude was probably the best ER experience of my life: astonishing kindness and efficiency. And I've been in a lot of ERs...

The bestseller lists are exciting. Hild is on three regional independent bookstore lists: Pacific Northwest, Northern California, and Southern California. And it's number 21 and "on the rise" on the national indie list. So keep your fingers crossed. I can imagine few better end-of-year presents than being able to add National Bestseller to the cover of the next printing of my book. Of course, the book needing a reprint so soon would be pretty fine, too. So remember: gorgeous-looking immersive paperbacks bought from your local independent make perfect holiday gifts. And you can get a signed copy from any place I've been recently; they'll ship.

There's more tour stuff to come, of course, but all regional: right here in Seattle (Third Place, Ravenna, Wednesday 19th, 7 pm—they have a great restaurant; definitely worth a trip), Wenatchee and Leavenworth and Port Townsend. Meanwhile, it's lovely to be back!
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