Tours virtual and real

The virtual: My buddy Rick Kleffel has recorded a quickie (an interview, that is) podcast over at his agony column, made just before the inaugural event for Touchstone at the Capitola Bookcafe on Monday night.

The real: Wednesday was Portland, with escort Elizabeth driving me to drop-ins all over the city, including one of my favorite little shops, Murder By the Book. It’s always hugely encouraging to see a shop like MBTB going doggedly on, held aloft by the hard work of the owners and the support of the community around it. It’s the sort of place to show people when they ask why they shouldn’t spend all their book dollars at chain stores. Chains can be great, especially when they come into a newly developed area and offer a center for coffee and culture, but all too often they overlook one element in bookselling: love. The love for books and the love for other readers is not what immediately comes to mind when one walks into a supermarket-sized bookstore, although even there one can find islands of Booklove among the managers and staff.

The real institution in Portland, however, is Powell’s. An independent with several branches, both general and specialty, Powell’s is central to Portland’s identity. I was asked to do an event at one of the branches, down in Beaverton, and found a crowd of readers that gave me one of the best events I’ve ever had–120 people turned out on a rainy night, listened with care, laughed at all my feeble jokes, and then rewarded me by buying books.

Portland rocks!

And today I’m in Seattle, buzzing about doing drop-ins at chains and at the superb Elliot Bay books, then a lunchtime hour with my long-time friends at Seattle Mystery Books. They do informal events, plunking the author in a big comfy chair and letting people come up and chat and have their books signed—and then at the end going into high gear and trucking in cartloads of books to be signed for customers near and far: Why would someone in England want a book dedicated to Yomama?


And distant smoke signals reached me on the road that Touchstone has ventured into the NY Times extended list and a whole lot of regional Booksense lists, which are all Good Things for Laurie. Now if we all talk it up lots and lots, it may climb upward, right?

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  1. LaideeMarjorie on January 10, 2008 at 7:25 pm

    Okay, last time I will bother you about this, but the link to “agony column” won’t work because there is an extra “http://” in the link address. I think your linking software must be pre-filling in the “http://”, which many of them do. I just wanted you to know in case you want to correct it in the future.

    I loved listening to the podcast and getting to hear you lauch. Reminded me of Sarah Grey!

  2. corgimom on January 10, 2008 at 8:10 pm

    I finished Touchstone last night and am still waiting for the reverb to quiet down a bit in my mind.
    It is the best book you have written, ever, in the humble opinion of this lawyer and mom. Harris and Bennett will not leave my side.

  3. Strawberry Curls on January 10, 2008 at 9:23 pm

    I’m envious of each and every person who got to the Beaverton Powell’s yesterday. My son lives in Portland and, at one time, lived very near that Beaverton Powell’s bookstore. We have visited it together. I wanted to come up from L.A. and be at the event, but life intervened and it just wasn’t possible, but I mourned yesterday. I guess this virtual book tour will have to do for now.

    I agree, Portland Rocks, and so does Touchstone. It’s a great book. I’m going to read it again in a week or so. I’m sure I missed so much as I read too fast wanting to find out what happened next. Your books require several readings to really appreciate the wonderful layers of the characters, their relationsips and the depth of the discriptions of the settings and the feel of the period.

  4. Vicki Lane on January 10, 2008 at 10:14 pm

    My copy of Touchstone arrived today and only the fact that I am wading through page proofs for Miz Miciak has kept me from opening it. I’ve promised myself time alone with it before bed.

    Huge congratulations on the NYT extended list! May Touchstone continue to soar up and up and up. Your books are my Platonic ideal for mystery fiction.

  5. Kerry on January 11, 2008 at 10:25 am

    Congratulations on what sounds like a great tour so far. And I agree with corgimom — best book yet.

  6. vicki on January 11, 2008 at 5:26 pm

    “Why would someone in England want a book dedicated to Yomama?”

    Okay. I had to wipe tea off of the computer screen over that one. Good on Portland and the rest–it’s great to hear about all the book-love, the wonderful indy stores and the appreciation for Touchstone! Travel safely.

  7. kitty on January 12, 2008 at 12:00 pm

    Just bought the book ( I was hoping my husband was going to buy it for Christmas, but….) and will settle down to read it soon.Any possiblities of you heading to the east coast? would love to see that.
    congrats on a great tour.

  8. Carlina on January 13, 2008 at 12:23 pm

    Wow! Congrats on the NYT! It’s well deserved! Glad the tour is going well and um yeah…Yomama…ok. My best to you and your family.

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