Monday, May 21, 2007

Lost Dog Lands in Phoenix

Here's Bill Cameron grinning like mad as he pulls a copy of his debut novel, Lost Dog, off a Phoenix bookstore shelf. Not that he's excited, or anything!

I had a fab and melt-a-riffic weekend driving all over the Phoenix area with Mindy, "Ginsu Tongue", Tarquini, Sharon (aka Southern Bunion) and, of course, Bill, "lost dog," Cameron. Check out their blogs for other photos - I've still got to tone the group pic I've got & I wanna get this up before I fall asleep again! I lost count, but I think we hit somewhere around 24 bookstores in the space of a day and a half. Poor Bill was very sweet and gracious as we pulled U-turn after U-turn (I teased Mindy mercilessly about this) and we kept nagging him to drink more water.

"How much water have you had? What? That's not enough - Sharon, give him another bottle."
(10 minutes later...)
"Bill, did you finish it? No? Hurry up and drink it. Angie, pass him another water. Wait, I think we just passed the B&N."
(pulls U-turn)
"There's no parking. I'll drop you off - don't forget to tell them who your publisher is and that you've got another book coming out next year. Oh, and tell them about the event B&N is throwing for you in Portland!"
(this last bit hollered as we clamber out of the car & Mindy starts to circle the parking lot.)

But you know what? It was one of those insanely serendipitous adventures. When we got to The Poisoned Pen bookstore, Lee Child was in the middle of giving a talk before his signing for Bad Luck and Trouble. The store was beyond packed with probably 150 people there for the event. Very cool on a number of levels - not least of which is that Mindy and I met for the first time last year when Lee Child and Cornelia Read were signing at The Poisoned Pen. Kind of a bizarre anniversary deal. I had to arm-wrestle Mindy for the last copy of Bad Luck and Trouble (Bill very nicely capitulated without giving me shit!). Anyway, turns out that Lee will be in Portland next week for a signing & Bill will get to see him again - and can get his copy of Lee's book then, dammit. Another coolness - Twist Phelan was there to see Lee and I guess Bill knew her from LCC. Small freakin' world, but what the hell are the odds?! Oh, and the bookseller seemed interested in Bill's book, too!

The other truly serendipitous moment came when we hit a bookstore and Mindy recognized a bookstore employee from her book signing adventures last year with Barry Eisler and Joe Konrath. Well, they chatted (and she pointed out that there's a picture of him with Barry and Joe in Spinetingler here). So...he talked with Bill, was really interested in the book & put in an order while we were still there. Woohoo!

After 18 bookstores on Saturday, Mindy's hubby had a wonderful dinner waiting for us - barbecue ribs (with extra J.D. in the Jack Daniels barbecue sauce - yum!), salad, corn on the cob, and a fresh fruit salad for dessert. And I made some tongue numbing strawberry daquiris (hey, 6 people + half a gallon o' rum + 4 pints of strawberries + fresh orange juice + a few bananas = tasty alcoholic fun!). Sharon was smart and went home around 10pm to catch some z's for Sunday's bookstore extravaganza, but the rest of us stayed up way too late. When I realized Bill had fallen asleep in his chair, we sent him to bed & Mindy and I stayed up talking until around 1am. The view from the guest room balcony was beautiful, and we just had so much to talk about (not that that's unusual, or anything) that neither of us really wanted to call it a night.

Day 2 was slightly more mellow. Because it was Sunday & the stores open later, we were able to get enough coffee in us to be ready for the day. Sharon showed up around 10:30 and we hit the road around 11am. Several stops later, we dropped off a tired and teased-to-death Bill at the airport. All in all, a way successful drive-by marathon.

I'm still worn out - I left for Phx at 6:30am on Saturday and didn't get back home until 7pm Sunday night - but I had a great time. I learned a ton from the whole experience, and came up with some good ideas for how to maximize the pitch and get feedback on effectiveness of presentation. Also, I have a lot of respect for authors running themselves ragged and managing to keep their game face on with this kind of promo stuff - exhausting process, both physically and mentally. Definitely took notes and can't wait to do this again for the next author - are you listening, Mindy? Yeah, hurry up & finish so we can do this for you!

I give the Lost Dog Phoenix book-o-rama two thumbs up. Always good to see the Great Ginsu Tongue, and I got to meet Sharon Bunion and Bill in person. Writers are just the coolest, funniest, most interesting people to hang out with. Though I'm still waiting for Sharon's promised snappy comeback (she was still working on it the last time I talked to her...snicker). Next time Bill comes through AZ we'll have to man the photon harpoons and be on the look out for those pesky favre beans, but it's guaranteed to be a helluva good time!


At 11:42 AM, Blogger M. G. Tarquini said...

I felt kinda sorry for Bill - stuck in a prius with three humorists while one of them made hairpin turns...

We're shallow. We really just did this for the daiquiris.

At 11:43 AM, Blogger Bill Cameron said...

But the daiquiris were soooo good!

At 2:29 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The daquiris, yes, true...but the company was great.
Bill was such a good sport--2 days, 258 miles, and 3 women who never stopped talking.

And Angie, one day when you least expect it, there will be a knock on your door and I'll be standing there with a cosmo martini and a snappy killer diller comeback that will leave you speechless.

Bunion-Essa of Chandler

At 3:53 PM, Blogger Bill Cameron said...

Good sport? The pleasure was all mine! You three were wonderful company, and so generous with your time!

At 4:36 PM, Blogger angie said...

Okay, Bunion-essa. Maybe by October you'll think of something. 'Course I'll just have to zing ya back and we'll be back at square one...

And actually, I think Bill was too scared of us to do anything but be on his best behavior!

At 8:28 PM, Blogger dink said...

Wow...Drive-by signings, out numbered by the opposite sex, booze until the wee hours. NOW I remember why I wanna write a novel.


At 8:09 AM, Blogger Kelly Parra said...

Wow! haha! I loved reading about the Phoenix adventures!! :) :)

At 8:44 PM, Blogger Cornelia Read said...

Wish I had been there with you guys--especially for the daiquiris!


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