Monday, July 25, 2005

Day #9

Apparently, everything in Portland closes at 7pm, which put a serious crimp in my drive-by schedule.

I got up early to catch my flight to Oregon, only to watch it be delayed for an hour.

TOU TIP #16---Don't fly if you can avoid it. My next tour will be more driving, less flying. Then I'll have more time to visit stores, and spend less time in airports being delayed.

That said, I got to Portland within an hour of my event at Murder by the Book, and had to hustle to make it in time.

I had an hour of solo, plus another hour with two other mystery writers, the talented Ron Lovell and the remarkable Shirley Tallman. Shirley impressed me so much with her wit, candor, and experience, that I plunked down the money for her historical mystery The Russian Hill Murders even though I've never bought a period book before in my life. If, like me, you thought historicals were slow-moving and sans action, think again---this one is a race car.

The event was well attended, and the owner, Carolyn Lane, was a great host who kept things moving at a good pace.

After signing twenty books, I got a lesson on Oregon hospitality. Barbara Tom, who works at MBTB, took pity on me when I lamented my lack of a GPS unit (the rental car compnay didn't have any) and offered to drive me to a nearby Best Buy so I could purchase one.

For all she knew, I might have been a violent maniac. But still offered to give me a lift since the store was closing in twenty minutes and I didn't know the area.

Turns out, Barb was the violent maniac. A believer in karma, Barb must have been a New Yourk cabbie in a former life, because she drove like the car was on fire. We made it to the store in time, I plunked down some big bucks for a GPS, and then Barb topped her kindness by showing my where the local Powell's bookstore was, so I could do a drive-by.

Thanks again, Barb. You're good people.

I managed only four drive-bys, which meant I had time to relax and enjoy the lovely Heathman Hotel, right?

Wrong. I got back to my room and rather than unwind, I was up until the wee hours trying to figure out my new GPS toy and programming it for my car trip to Seattle the next day.

Drive-bys:

Powell's Portland Airport, signed 3 paperbacks.

Powell's on Hawthorne, signed 1 hardcover, 2 paperbacks.

Powell's on Burnside, signed 2 hardcovers, 2 paperbacks.

Borders on 3rd street--closed ten minutes before I got there.

TOUR SO FAR: I've signed 770 books at 87 bookstores. I have two days in Washington. We'll see what kind of damage I can do there.

FUN FACT ABOUT PORTLAND-- Portland has 37,000 acres of green parks, and they all close at 7PM.

COLLECTION UPDATE--With the Heathman, I've now acquired 28 little bottles of shampoo and conditioner, 12 bottles of hand cream, 32 bars of soap, two sets of ear plugs, two eye masks, seven chocolate candies, three sewing kits, and a complimetary bottle of spring water.

Plus seven hairdryers, six coffee makers, 19 towels, five robes, three clock radios, a lamp, and a framed Warhol litho.

And don't even get me started on the mini-bars. I totaled up the cost of all the goodies in the room, and they're worth over seventeen thousand dollars.

Hotels are cool.