Signing books at Between Books in Claymont, DE.

Signing books at Between Books in Claymont, DE.

Fourteen days, ten cities (well, okay, some of them were towns), 2,930 miles, seven signings, a class on writing taught at Cushing Academy in Ashburnham, Massachusetts, a business lunch in New York City followed by drop-ins at a couple of NYC Barnes and Nobles, where I signed a bunch of books for stock, visits with wonderful friends and beloved family, and even a couple of truly memorable meals.  I would say that the THIEFTAKER Summer 2012 Signing Tour — my very first signing tour ever — was an unqualified success.

I have to admit that as I was preparing to leave for this trip I was intimidated by the scope of what I was doing and afraid that I was setting myself up for one disaster signing after another.  What’s a disaster signing?  That’s when you sit in a store, in front of a table piled high with your books, and no one shows up to buy them.  No one speaks to you.  No one comes near you, because they’re afraid that if they do, if they so much as make eye contact, they’ll HAVE to buy a book that they don’t want.  Disaster book signings happen to just about all of us at one time or another.  I’ve had more than my share of them.
But this time around I had none.  Not a single disaster.  This is not to say that I had people lining up out the door and around the block to buy copies of THIEFTAKER.  Far from it.  But I did have solid foot traffic at every signing.  And I’m so grateful to every person who came to hear me read, and/or buy a copy of the book.  I hope you enjoyed the various events, and that you’re enjoying the book itself.

Signing at Books-A-Million in Charlotte with Faith Hunter and Kalayna Price.

Signing at Books-A-Million in Charlotte with Faith Hunter and Kalayna Price.

Mostly, I want to thank everyone who made the tour possible — my terrific publicist at Tor Books, Leah Withers, who put much of the tour schedule together; my brother, Jim, who let me stay at his home and came to my Albany signing; my friend, Alan Goldberg, with whom I had a memorable musical afternoon, and who also came to the Albany event; my friends Elyse Poller and Gerald Dunne, who hosted me in Storrs, and told so many friends about the signing that we very nearly sold every copy of THIEFTAKER in the store; James Tracy, the headmaster at Cushing Academy and my closest friend from my graduate school days, who not only offered me the chance to stay in the lovely town of Ashburnham, but also invited me to speak to a creative writing class at the school — those kids and their teacher then accompanied me to my signing at the Somerville Public Library; my cousin, Lynne Gold-Bikin, who let me stay with her in Pennsylvania, as I made my way from New York to a signing in Claymont, Delaware; Faith and Rod Hunter who hosted me for three wonderfully fun days in Rock Hill, South Carolina, who took me out on the river for a glorious few hours on Monday, and shared a late-night jam session Tuesday; and A.J. Hartley and his charming family, who hosted me for my last night on the road.

Speaking at the Somerville Public Library.

Speaking at the Somerville Public Library.

And of course, the folks at the various stores where I signed: Maria Perry and her staff, at Flights of Fantasy, Suzy Staubach and her staff at the UConn Coop, Maria Carpenter at the Somerville Library, Greg Schauer and his volunteers at Between Books, Mike Pruett and Alison at the BooKnack, Mel and Rae and the rest of the staff at the Harbison Court Barnes and Noble, and Sonya and her staff at the Cotswold Mall Books-A-Million.

It was as fine a tour as I could have imagined, and I have a pretty good imagination.  How good?  Well, I’m already starting to envision my next tour . . .  Again, thanks so much to everyone who had any part in it.

Our eleven day, three state, nine college tour is over, and my daughter and I are back home with Mom and little sister.  We had a terrific week and a half:  few disagreements, nothing that could be considered a fight, and more laughs and giggles and candid conversations than I can count.  We enjoyed a few wonderful meals, took in the sights and sounds and tastes of Washington, D.C.  More to the point, she found four schools that she loved — she intends to apply to all four.  She was also able to cross several other schools off her list, which is valuable, too.

I’m glad to see her finding schools that excite her and have her thinking about her future.  I’m deeply proud of the maturity she has shown throughout this process.  And I’m grateful beyond words for the time we’ve just had together.  I will treasure the memory of this trip for the rest of my days.

A Full Weekend

January 28, 2012

Exciting day in our household.  Our older daughter took her SATs this morning, and actually came out of the exam feeling pretty good about it. And our younger daughter is up in Nashville swimming in the regional Middle School Swim Championships.  Her finals are tonight, but she has already qualified in both her events (with personal-best times, I might add).  As I say, an exciting day.

So the older kid and I are going to celebrate with a sushi dinner (seems a good choice while the younger one is at her swim meet).

Enjoy your weekend, all!

My friend Mindy Klasky, who is a fellow SFNovelists author and a regular guest writer at Magical Words, has started a new enterprise at her web site.  She is releasing a brand new book in serialized form, one chapter at a time. The book is called Fright Court, and quite frankly it sounds like tremendous fun.  The first chapter of the book can be found here.  And for those of you with a little time on your hands, you might want to check out her Cupcake Quiz (apparently cupcakes figure prominently in the story).  For what it’s worth, I am a “White Hot Chili Pepper Cupcake.”  Please visit her sites and tell her that David sent you!

Hanukkah and Chili

December 16, 2009

Done for the day with “Robin Hood” writing and I realize that I haven’t posted in a couple of days.  I’ve been a little busy, you see….

But I did want to wish all of you a belated Happy Hanukkah.  Belated because this is the sixth night, but still, the good wishes count, right?

Really not a lot going on here.  I managed to throw together a pot of chili (vegetarian, so it’s kosher, even with the cheese…) and still get to my word quota for the day.  The house smells good and my wife didn’t have to cook dinner; both good things.  And now I’m going to get me some beer and some chili and enjoy an evening off.

Weekend Ephemera

July 11, 2009

First things first:  There’s a new contest up on my website and you should definitely check it out.  You don’t need to be familiar with my books to enter — all you need to do is read a story I recently posted there and tell me who should play the lead roles if it’s ever made into a movie.  Easy, right?  And if I choose your response as the winner, you’ll receive an autographed, hardcover edition of The Sorcerers’ Plague, book I of Blood of the Southlands.  So visit the site and check it out!

Remember the owl who showed up at our place a few nights ago and sat on the swing set?   Well, he came back last night, and he brought his brother.  The two of them were sitting together on the play set, looking around, making their little rasping call, waiting for Mama to bring them something to eat.  They hung around the house all night, actually, calling to each other, and fluttering from perch to perch.  They’re newly fledged and not very accomplished flyers.  One of them flew off the swing set last night without first deciding where he was going to land next.  He wheeled and turned and finally tried to grasp the trunk of a tree.  That didn’t work for long and eventually he had no choice but to drop to the ground in a most undignified manner.  He was fine and a moment later he flew back into the woods.  But he and his brother were back a short time later, ready to try it all again.  They’re very cool.

And now it’s the weekend.  Nancy is taking my older daughter and some of her friends out camping tonight.  So my younger daughter and I are having what we call a Daddy-Daughter-Day.  Not sure yet what we’re going to do.  A water park if these clouds clear and the temperature rises; otherwise a movie and sushi dinner (we’re both nuts for sushi).  Should be fun.

Hope all of you are enjoying your weekend.

Greetings from the road!  I’m currently at the home of my good friend and fellow Magical Words blogger, Faith Hunter.  She and her husband, Rod, have been wonderful hosts.  Last night we had a signing with another fellow MW blogger, Misty Massey, and also author Gail Z Martin.  It was not the best attended signing I’ve ever had, but it might well have been the most fun.  Italian dinner afterwards, also great fun.  All in all, a good start to the trip.  Today we’ll be heading up to Charlotte, NC for ConCarolinas.  Hope to see some of you there.

Today at Magical Words, we have a special guest blogger.  Author Mindy Klasky has posted a piece on her career path and is now answering questions and responding to comments.  Stop by the site and say hello!

Nancy and I had a real treat yesterday.  We went up to Nashville to see the live radio broadcast of Garrison Keillor’s  A Prairie Home Companionat the historic Ryman Auditorium.  It was a terrific show.  Garrison’s musical guests were country music’s biggest star, Brad Paisley, and bluegrass giant Sam Bush and his band.  They did all the normal classic skits — “Guy Noire, Private Eye”; “The News From Lake Wobegone”; “The Ketchup Advisory Board”; plus a few others we hadn’t heard before.  They played some great songs, and generally put on a great show.

Keillor himself makes it clear that he owes a debt to old radio show hosts like Fred Allen, and Bob and Ray, but the fact remains that he is a unique talent in American culture.  He has a wonderful sense of humor; he’s not a great singer, but he’s good; he’s a decent writer; and his “News From Lake Wobegone” is a brilliant monologue that he does without any notes or visual cues.  I know that he doesn’t make it up on the spot.  I mean, he couldn’t, right?  But it’s all in his head, and that’s pretty stunning given how well each week’s installment of the “News” holds together.  Anyway, it was all great fun and I have no doubt that we’ll go again the next time he and his crew are in town.

After the show, we went to a restaurant called Horn of Africa, where we had a marvelous Ethiopian meal.  Truly excellent.  If you haven’t had Ethiopian cuisine, you should.  It’s spicy and delicious, and you eat it with your hands, using a special spongy bread called injera to pick up the curries and stews and lentils.  Wonderful!

A Good Trip, But….

March 22, 2009

Well, we’re back from Savannah, and I have to say that it is truly a marvelous city.  For those of you who don’t know, the city is laid out as a grid, with each section of the grid built around a square of green space.  Most of the squares have a statue or a fountain or a monument at their center, and all of them are filled with magnificent Live Oak trees, their branches covered with Spanish Moss.  Stately old homes and churches surround the squares; some of the homes have been converted to museums; others remain privately owned (I can’t even begin to imagine what one of them might sell for).  Most of them date from the early 19th century; all of them are beautifully maintained.   We walked all over the city, stopping in to view some of the museums, shopping in antique shops, and eating lots of great food.  During the three days we were in the city, we didn’t once use our car — we were able to walk everywhere, and the girls didn’t even complain.  Of course, we kept them well plied with ice cream and salt-water taffy, which helped a lot….

My one complaint:  Any of you know what no-see-ums are?  They’re also referred to as biting midges.  Look in your dictionary at the letter “l” in any entry — that’s how big they are.  Don’t let their size fool you, though.  They’re vicious.  You can’t see them until you feel the sting of a bite, which, in and of itself, isn’t too painful.  But then the fun begins.  A small welt rises where the little bugger bit you.  It itches like mad, so you scratch it a bit.  A moment or two later the welt is the size of a penny and the itch is driving you nuts.  But you’re having trouble focusing on that one because you’ve just felt that same like sting in about eighteen other places:  your forearm, your scalp, your leg, in between two knuckles, on your wrist, on your neck . . .  You get the idea.

Worst of all, the bites are as persistent as flea bites.  I’m still covered with welts several days after the worst of the no-see-um swarms, and all of them still itch.

So, yeah, I had a great time in Savannah.  But I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that the bugs made this trip a bit harder to enjoy.  I need to remember that the Southeast coast in mid-March, while lovely in terms of the weather, is also prime no-see-um country.  I had this problem at Cumberland Island two years ago and at Hilton Head six years ago, but I thought that being in a city would make this trip different.  I was wrong.  And I have the welts to prove it.

If ever there was a day of hats, this was it.  I wrote my 2000 words in the WIP (Writer Hat).  I took care of my younger daughter , who stayed home from school with a bad cold (Daddy Hat).  I had some work to do for our local organic food buying club, of which I am Big Boss Man (Co-op-Coordinator-Guy Hat).  I wrote up an alumni interview that I did for my alma mater — Brown Class of ’85, Baby!  Woot-woot!  (Brown-Interviewer-Guy Hat)  In my capacity as 8th Grade Parent Council Representative at my older daughter’s school, I wrote a tribute to the teachers and staff for Faculty-Staff Appreciation Week (School-Parents’-Council-Guy Hat).  I did some laundry and the after-dinner dishes (Husband Hat).  And now I am about to dun the weirdest hat of all.  Nancy and I are part of a little, VERY informal wine club here in town (we get 5 bottles of relatively cheap wine — $10-20 range — gather at someone’s house for munchies, and taste the wines to see which are worth getting again and which suck).  Well, this week Nancy and I put together the program, which means that we chose and bought the wines that all of us will be tasting.  Our theme was Shirazes from Five continents (Africa, Australia, Europe, North and South America).  And I now have to write up the tasting notes for the tasting.  So I get to put on my Pretentious-Wine-Guy Hat! 

“It’s an ambitious little red, but I think you’ll admire its presumption….”

Finally, today I’ve also had on my Son-Hat, which is one I don’t get to wear very often anymore.  My Mom would have turned 87 today had we not lost her to cancer way too early (1995).  She was a brilliant, kind, sensitive woman who taught me to love the written word, to believe in myself and follow my passion, and to value family and friendship above all else.  There isn’t a day that goes by without me wishing that I could call her or visit her, tell her about her granddaughters or ask her for some parenting advice. 

I love you, Mom.  Happy Birthday.