Thursday, May 18, 2006

Dateline: New York

So book tour has begun.

Ten cities in four weeks. Tonight I’m at the Borders in New York City, where we give away a 42” NEC plasma TV. Then – just to give you a taste of what my travel schedule is like – I have to bolt out of the signing at 8:45 p.m. and get on a 10:40 p.m. shuttle to Washington D.C. I have to be at the CNBC TV studios in Washington early the next morning so I can be on “Squawk Box” (one of my favorite shows, actually) at 7:50 a.m. (Watch and let me know what you think!).

Then I head over to BEA – BookExpo America, which is the big book trade show for the whole industry – and do a signing at 10 a.m. The next day I’m on a panel with Mark Bowden (author of Black Hawk Down and Guests of the Ayatollah) and Jim Belushi (author of Real Men Don't Apologize!) That night I fly out to Miami to do a TV show Sunday morning . . .

Since I spend much of book tour in a state of sleep deprivation, I really should try to bank up sleep. But last night we stayed up late at home, because I wanted to spend as much time with my wife and daughter as I could before I go off for weeks and miss them everyday. Our Golden Retriever, Mia, seemed to sense that I’m leaving. She put her paws on my knees and proceeded to lick my face for about 45 minutes.

I let her do it, of course.

And I got up way too early this morning – maybe because my body is just programmed to get up early to write, or maybe out of excitement. Lots to pack – enough for at least 2 weeks of dress clothes for TV and other public appearances. Books to read on the plane (including Barry Eisler’s first novel, Rain Fall. I keep hearing how good the John Rain thrillers are, so it’s time for me to find out firsthand.) My PowerBook so I can keep writing my new book. My iCam, so I can do video “conference calls” with my wife and daughter and see their faces. (And so that Mia can see my face too.)

I won’t lie and say I love book tour. It’s exhausting, and in a lot of ways it’s stressful. But as I always tell my friends, if my publisher didn’t send me on a book tour, I’d really be pissed off.

The one thing that totally lifts my spirits is meeting readers. We writers spend too much time alone in a room staring at a computer. We need to get out there and meet real people. This is the part I love. (If you’re coming out to meet me at one of my signings, please bring your digital camera so we can get your picture up on my website.)

Oh, yeah. I guess I should recap what’s happened so far. The tour started with a special fundraiser Monday night at the Boston Private Bank. Boston’s Mayor Menino introduced me, and so did my great friend Rick Weissbourd, the founder of ReadBoston, Boston’s amazing literacy program. The event was not only a way to launch my book tour in high style, but a way to raise funds for an important cause. It’s a tradition – Boston Private has hosted a book talk and signing for me every year for the last 3 years.

The next morning, I did my favorite Boston morning radio show, "Matty in the Morning." I love his show -- he's the number-one radio "personality" in Boston -- and he’s a great interviewer. He actually reads the books. After that came a TV morning show on Boston's Channel 38, and Tuesday evening was my first “official” signing, at Brookline Booksmith.

Very exciting – a decent turnout despite torrential flooding in the Boston area. And I gave away the first plasma TV. I closed my eyes and picked out one slip of paper, and as it turned out, it went to a friend I went to college with! (Maybe not so surprising, given that a bunch of friends showed up at the signing.)

Time to get packing. Mia will not be happy.


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