Saturday, June 23, 2001

American Gods Blog, Post 92

Ahoy shipmates. Belay there. Avast, and other nautical things.

So I`m in a car with Jennifer Hershey, on the way from Lexington to Dayton, being driven by the lovely and competent Gwenda Bond. Gwenda in her real life does something in the governor of Kentucky`s office, and she is an angel in human form. Well, more or less.

Last night I signed in the Barnes and Noble in Skokie - a huge store. I read some of Chapter Four, with Czernobog and the Zorya, answered questions and signed, signed, signed. About 150 books sold, for a total of 300-odd for the day in Chicago. My favourite present was a double CD of a 1996 Elvis Costello Chicago gig.

Somewhere a little before midnight Jennifer Hershey and I got into a car driven by Bill Young, the Author Escort, and we drove through the night to Lexington. Got to our hotel at 6:30 am to find that Gwenda had already checked us all in and set everything up, I went and found my room and went to sleep in a real bed. Woke up, showered, did a little e-mail (not much - I`m way behind right now, and probably will be for another month). It was around midday, and Gwenda turned up bearing sushi for us all for breakfast. (Really good, by the way. I never thought of Lexington as one of the great Sushi places in the world. Whodathunkit?) And then we drove to the signing.

Some time ago Gwenda used her mysterious influence to have me made a Kentucky Colonel. Now, to celebrate me actually turning up to sign books in the Commonwealth, she presented me with a certificate and a card proclaiming me an Admiral. I shall hope that Kentucky does not declare war on any other states during my lifetime or my lack of nautical knowledge will come out.

I read some of Chapters 7 and 8, up to the autopsy in Cairo scene , did a Q & A, then signed for a few hundred people - a real Head Down and Get On With It signing in order to be out on time. Strange and wonderful gifts. ("It`s wonderful. What is it?" `I`m not sure. But it`s small. You said on your journal you liked small.") Nice people - I say that every signing, but I`m always pleased and surprised by how very nice everyone is.

After the signing, I signed the pre-orders (books for people who had phoned the store and ordered copies but couldn`t be there) and a small amount of shop stock.

There`s an urban legend among authors that simply the act of signing a book that the store has in the back sells it. "A signed book is a sold book" they say. Actually this is tosh. Bookstores return books for credit, and signed hardbacks enter the system all the time; while the covers are ripped off signed paperbacks and the insides are thrown away (or walked off with). A signed book is just a book.

On this tour there`s not much stock being signed, mostly because there`s not been time, but if you`re hunting a signed book it`s always a good idea to call a bookstore after an author`s been there.

And now we`re driving to Dayton - it looks like we`ll be on time, which is a relief, as I`d not been certain it would be possible. (This was because someone had told us it was a certain 3 hour drive if we were lucky. Not the way Gwenda drives it wasn`t.)


Much later. We`re in a hotel room, waiting for room service. It`s 1:10 and we put in the order a bit before midnight. We`re hungry and we`re getting kind of sad. The hotel is filled with drunk Jaycees. A couple making love in one of the elevators asked me if I had a room free that they could use. On the good side, there`s a minibar in the room. On the downside, it`s completely empty. At 1.00 am we phoned down to the front desk and we told them that we didn`t had any food , and they said they`d tried to bring it and knocked on the door and we didn`t answer, and I said they hadn`t and they went off to investigate.

There. They investigated. They`re bringing it up to us. Really they are.

The food came at 1:30 am. It was cold where it should have been warm and warm where it should have been cold and tasted like they really had made it when we called down for it, ninety minutes before. We ate it anyway. We didn`t care. Then Jennifer and Gwenda said goodnight and went off to their room, and I sat here and typed this final entry.

Books and Co. in Dayton does wonderful signings, and this one was no exception. But I have to be up in a little under 4 hours time and on the plane to Cleveland, so details will have to wait for another time.

Labels: , , , ,