Thursday, June 30, 2016

Another Post from the Road

In my last post we'd made it as far as Los Angeles, mainly by plane.  The next phase of the tour began with a road trip to San Francisco!

Thanks to the generosity of new friends, we had a fun home base in a camper-van near Golden Gate Park and this author & entourage used our time off to explore the city.  Here's the view from Moraga Steps:

We visited the Castro on our day off as it was Pride Weekend.  It was an emotional visit due to the recent tragic crime in Orlando.  We made friends with some lovely folks at a bar near Dolores Park, and I felt like the heart of the community was sore but still so proud, so kind, and so alive.

Curtis and I got to sign books at landmark bookstore Borderlands, and then we had a great event at Laurel Bookstore (photo courtesy of my aunt Mia Stageberg):

Next stop: Portland!  On the road there, we began listening to the audiobook of Spells of Blood and Kin.  What a cool experience to hear my characters voiced so well by Vikas Adam (especially Nick and Jonathan--he really nails the stoner-speak!)

Powell's at Cedar Hills Crossing hosted another fantastic event.  No rest for the wicked though--we departed the next morning for Seattle to the University Book Store, this time listening to Hamilton along the way.  Both events had great after-parties too: a highlight was the Zero Gravity Football, a signature cocktail created by a friend of Curtis's based on a cocktail that appears in Waypoint Kangaroo.  (Before you ask... if Spells of Blood and Kin had a signature cocktail, it would probably not be a good one, since most of the drinking is done by immortal alcoholic Gus Hillyard, who doesn't have much money and tends to go straight for the bottom shelf.)

All the bookstores on this tour have been so amazing.  At every stop we're meeting people who are super-organized, enthusiastic, and supportive.  Some of them have already read our books and have their own copies waiting to be signed; some have given us fantastic recommendations of other things we'd like to read.  Without exception, they're proving to me, over and over again, the immense importance of booksellers to their local communities and to the wider community of readers and writers.  I'm so proud to be part of this community!

Yesterday the tour had a fun social media moment--Indigo is currently running a campaign to promote Canadian authors under the hashtag #ReadtheNorth.  As an employee I was fortunate to get my t-shirt a bit early so I could participate from abroad!  Expect to see it again, and happy Canada Day Weekend wherever you are:

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

The Road So Far

One week!  One week since Spells of Blood and Kin officially launched.  What's happened in that week?

First: the launch itself!  A power failure at the Yonge & Eglinton Centre meant the Indigo store had to close for the afternoon, but the amazing events team quickly found a solution--the courtyard of the mall.  Check out the amazing setup (and the long signing line!):

Curtis Chen and I are tag-teaming a lot of our events as his debut novel, Waypoint Kangaroo, is with the same publisher at the same time--what a great coincidence!  Curtis came to Toronto for this event and the next one--a day later, at the Chiaroscuro Reading Series. Here's a great picture Kelly Robson took of me at the reading series...right before I classily smacked myself in the face with the microphone:

Next up, a double-header of Indigo signings: Chapters Chinook in Calgary, and Indigo Granville in Vancouver.  Both stores were lovely!  Indigo Granville had an especially great location for a signing table:
I got to chat with not one but two different readers who were celebrating birthdays and decided to treat themselves to a signed copy of my book.  I hope they both had great days!  (There were a lot of people who bought my book for no particular reason, of course, and I hope they had great days too!)

From Vancouver, author & entourage flew on to LA and landed late enough that we could see the wildfires burning on the dark hills: a harsh and ominous reintroduction to a city I haven't visited since the year my father died.  Yet thanks to dear friends, we were welcomed warmly and put to bed in the guest room of a lovely house with mango trees in the yard.

Barnes & Noble in Torrance generously hosted the next stop, Curtis's official launch.  Both Curtis and I had the pleasure of seeing our high school English teachers at our respective events--how awesome to have been taught by people who remain so invested in their students' lives and in the literary community!

This super-long post is going to have to leave out a lot of the non-book-related details--pretending to be a runaway horse with our small cousin in Calgary; running on the sea wall to Dundarave; mangoes with chili and lime in Santee Alley.  By the time I get back home I'll have a whole library of new scents and tastes and views and accents to draw from... all ready and waiting for whatever I write next.