Friday, February 3, 2012

Headed for Thousand Oaks

Day two on the MAGICAL ALIENATION tour...

Today didn’t start out great. It started too early with a baby screaming in the room next door, which surely must have been separated from ours by a wall made from a used tissue box. Baby was unhappy and remained so for a looonnng time. Then the Internet that I needed to work on my online writing class went out in the hotel, and we were told it would still be out well after we were gone.

But the day began to look up when we found a nearby coffee shop that not only proved to be quite good, with a chatty, goth barista, but where the barista/owner allowed us to bring Annabelle in. It was a little chilly, and I wasn't looking forward to sitting outside, though that's the nature of traveling with a pet. 

I don’t know why more coffee shops don’t allow pets. In most locales, it’s only a health violation if the pet goes into the food prep area. I find most animals cleaner than lots of people. I do realize that’s a subjective opinion, and not everyone wants to share their coffee spot with a creature whose idea of greeting is to sniff someone else’s butt. Annabelle is totally different, of course. She’s a bookstore dog, meaning she’s not only uncommonly polite, she’s erudite.

It’s a long drive from San Diego to Thousand Oaks, where my next signing was scheduled, at the Mysteries to Die For bookstore. In these first two days, we seemed to be spending all our time driving. But that’s the nature of book tours, and especially of Southern California — long distances filled with lots of cars. We actually made good time considering the distance — not too many slowdowns at all — but this ex-SoCal’er did forget what that endless sea of cars looks like. Thankfully, it’s been a long time since I spent considerable time muscling my way up the 405.

We made it to MTDF with a enough time to do a little book shopping — owning a bookstore as we do, the one thing I miss is book browsing, on actual bookshelves (as opposed to publisher and wholesaler catalogs), that is, which someone else is responsible for arranging. touring lets us do that. It also gave me time to catch up with the customers I see when I go there, and some old friends who also dropped by.

I love Mysteries to Die For — it’s one of my favorite stores. I always find a nice, enthusiastic crowd waiting for me there, and I always seem to enjoy strong sales. I can also always count on seeing some old friends. This time I got to see and spend time longtime friend Suzanne Epstein, and writers Dale Culpepper and Pete Goodman.

Tired now, and moving a little slower, after a day that started out pretty so-so, but turned out to be pretty great.

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