Cell at Eastern State

Cell at Eastern State

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Back From The Territories.

Got back from my homemade book tour on Wednesday, after hitting North Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Mississipi, Louisiana, Texas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Indiana, Ohio and Pennsylvania. The total was 3914 miles. Missed my kids, but I met a lot of great people along the way and enjoyed the hell out of New Orleans, Austin, Houston and St. Louis, where I met up with these degenerates:

That's me, badass Matt McBride, Scott Phillips, Jed Ayres, Derek Nikitas and a nice young lady who was the object of a fundraising auction at the bar and who I believe was named Heidi. The auction was emceed by silver-tongued Scott Phillips, and the money raised was either intended to send the nice young lady back to the convent she had wandered away from, or to defend her against charges of stealing a police car and burning down an orphanage.

I had a great time, but will have to insist for future events of this kind that the bill only include writers who aren't way better than me. Phillips took the hint and just ran the auction, but McBride, Ayres and Nikitas all insisted on wowing the audience with woozily funny and harrowing stories of mayhem. After the event, their tires may or may not have been slashed for what one crazed author present charged was 'obvious showboating.'

Got one ticket (thanks, Missouri!) but other than that the trip went off smoothly, and I even scored tons of great books, some given to me by the awesome Scott Montgomery of BookPeople, who is himself a walking encyclopedia of excellent genre fiction. One surprising note: the economy of America west of the Ohio is apparently dominated by fireworks and porn, as every highway exit west of Mobile and north of Houston features a fireworks outlet and an adult superstore, most with interestingly biblical names. Who says Americans can't handle ambiguity?

Back at home, I was joined by dozens of friends at the official launch of Wolves of Fairmount Park, at the Doylestown Bookshop. It was an excellent time and I saw a bunch of old friends. The great cake drew in scores of innocent children, who, no doubt corrupted and despoiled by proximity to crime fiction, may go the wrong road in future and end up penning pot-boilers and penny-dreadfuls of their own.

At right, a traveling huckster cons an unsuspecting farmer out of his wages with what seems to be a book about local fauna. When the poor local man realizes his error, the grifter will have made his way to the next town, leaving the unlucky sharecropper to grapple with the after-effects of exposure to unwholesome reading material.

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