So, Monday of last week I flew to San Francisco for the final leg of my book tour. As part of their merger with Continental, United Airlines changed my reservation and flight numbers without telling me, but fortunately I figured it out in time to send a heads-up to the media escort who was picking me up at the airport. (United also has a new procedure where they board all the people with window seats first, then the middle seats, and finally the aisle seats. This may make boarding faster, but if you’re an aisle-seat guy worried that all the overhead luggage space is going to fill up, it also makes it a lot more stressful.)
The flight itself was uneventful, and I had a couple of hours to relax before my first event, a reading at the Book Passage in Corte Madera. In what was a first for me, I recognized one of my Twitter followers, @taddsche, in the audience (fun fact: people’s real faces are much larger than their Twitter icons). Another attendee was a book collector who’d driven 50 miles to get his first-edition Fool on the Hill and Set This House in Order ARC signed. So, a good night.
Tuesday morning I went for a long ramble through Chinatown and up to Coit Tower before meeting my friend Christopher Moore for lunch. He brought me a copy of his new novel, Sacré Bleu, and we talked shop and commiserated about the rigors of book-touring, while our waitress—working an eight-hour shift for tip money—played a very small violin in the background. I spent the afternoon being driven around the East Bay and Palo Alto to sign stock at various bookstores.
Tuesday night’s reading was at Borderlands Books, a very cool SF/fantasy and horror bookstore in the Mission district. Everyone had been telling me about Borderlands’ cats—Sphynxes all named after characters from the Aliens movies—so I was a little disappointed that the cats weren’t there (long story short, until they install the new doors between the bookstore and the adjoining cafe, non-service animals, even hairless ones, are a health-code violation). But even without the cats it was a fun evening. Good crowd, and I met another Twitter friend, @lisaeckstein. Also, in a bonus bit of surrealism, a woman I went to high school with, and who I’ve seen maybe twice since the 1980s, just happened to be in San Francisco on vacation, and just happened to walk by the bookstore and see my name in the window—she came in, introduced me to her kids, bought a copy of The Mirage, and left again (Hi Doris!). The night ended with a further trip down memory lane, a late dinner with a Cornell pal at Lefty O’Doul’s.
Wednesday was more stock signings and an interview with NPR’s Rick Kleffel at KQED. I also did a recording for the KQED podcast, The Writers’ Block. Then it was off to The Haight for an event at The Booksmith. Superfan Susan Tunis took video of the reading and Q&A session and posted it here. Afterwards I went out for drinks with David Moles, his girlfriend (and noted IRS-nemesis) Meredith, Tiptree Award short-lister Alice Sola Kim, and tech writer Anthony Ha.
And then it was time to go home. More fun and games with United—they switched my departure terminal at the last minute, and the computer that scans the boarding passes crashed, and then I nearly set off a panic in cyberspace when a friend with 10,000 Twitter followers retweeted my joke about solar flares disrupting the flight—but I made it back safely.
And with that, the Mirage book tour is over. Thanks to the fans, booksellers, and other folks who made the last month so much fun, and a big shout-out to my hard-working publicist, Heather Drucker.
If you’re in Los Angeles, you can catch me next month at the L.A. Times Festival of Books. (If you’re not in L.A., but you’d like to order a personally inscribed copy of one of my novels, you can contact Secret Garden Bookshop in Seattle at 206-789-5006 or via email.)