On Saturday, I headed down to Albuquerque with Melinda Snodgrass, where we had a joint signing to celebrate the release of our novels. (Melinda’s newest novel, the fantastic and thrilling The Edge of Ruin, the sequel her wonderful The Edge of Reason, was released by Tor on the same day as Bitter Seeds.)
Aside from briefly wondering if I was going to get thrown out of the store, and some confusion about the actual start time, I think it went pretty well.
We started the afternoon with a proper lunch. Walter suggested we meet for dim sum at a place not far from the bookstore, and that proved to be an excellent suggestion. Walter, Melinda, Daniel Abraham, his daughter (who just turned 4, as she will be happy to tell you), and I worked our way through a good number of trays. Mmmmm… Yummy dim sum.
I was a bit nervous, so I spent more time playing with Daniel’s daughter than eating. I’ve been part of several signings in the past, but Wild Cards is a different beast because those signings usually take place within the reality-distortion bubble of GRRM, Carrie Vaughn, and Daniel. This was the first time my work had to stand (almost) on its own.
After lunch, we headed over to the Coronado Center Barnes & Noble, where I managed to walk right past the sign in the entrance advertising our reading. Because I’m super observant, you see. (But I got a photograph later, to prove it really happened.) The sign advertised our signing as starting at 1:30, which settled the “What time were we supposed to be here?” debate. The B&N website had listed our signing as starting at 1pm, so that’s what I’d told people, even though Craig Chrissinger, who had arranged the event for us, had scheduled it for 1:30. And thanks to my poor record keeping, Melnda notified people that the event was set for 1 rather than 1:30. Ooops…
Since we got there in time to start at 1pm, I had plenty of time to go see with my very own eyes, for the very first time, my very first book on bookstore shelves. Hooray! Corny, I know, but so what? It was the culmination of a lifelong dream. It was also the one dark spot to the day. As I was photographing my book — corny lifelong dream, right? — a staff member came over to tell me they don’t allow photography in the store. He was polite and apologetic about it, and to his credit he backed off when I explained to him that I was there for a signing, and did he really mean to say that they didn’t allow ANY photography at all in the store? No, just photographs of the bookshelves. (When I told this story later, somebody told me that this is because they don’t want people from competing stores photographing their stock and displays. Which, okay, fine.)
A posted sign would have prevented any misunderstanding from the get-go. The encounter did leave a bad taste in my mouth. [All of which is beside the point, though, since without any posted signs to announce their no-photogaphy policy (and there aren’t any), their stance isn’t legally enforceable in the first place. Or so I seem to remember, based on a post on Making Light that I can’t find now. So who knows. Not me.]
But it went away quickly enough. Thanks to Craig’s tireless efforts, our reading had been promoted in the Albuquerque Science Fiction Society newsletter, which attracted a few more warm bodies than it might have otherwise. We also stacked the deck with a couple of local Wild Carders (oh, like I could resist). And a few folks from our local writers’ group showed up, which was generous and awesome of them, since they’d been helping me with Bitter Seeds since months before I wrote a single page of it. And, oddly, one of my coworkers showed up at the signing entirely through serendipity– he’d been at the store to buy some books and CDs, and just happened to see the sign advertising the event. (Yes, the big sign that I didn’t manage to see.) And one or two locals whom I’d only known online and hadn’t met in person, including the urbane Alan Lattimore. (Thanks, Alan!)
Melinda and I spoke a little about our books, posed questions to each other, fielded a few questions from the audience, and read excerpts from our novels. The readings were well-received, and overall I think the event was a success.
After that, we headed over to Page 1 books to sign more stock and to visit with Pat Rogers, who is made of wonderful. Then it was time for a group outing for dinner at my favorite Thai restaurant, Thai Tip.
So that was Saturday.
On Sunday, I spent a couple of hours making an audio recording for something I’m not quite ready to announce yet.