Launch day! It started early, with a 0345 alarm and a 0415 pickup from the Vancouver airport hotel where I'd probably spent a grand total of eight hours. Tour life is fun but also sleep is at a premium.
I had a 0640 flight to Houston, which went smoothly. At first I was too excited to sleep and then I wasn't. I woke up with a sore neck on final approach, but at least I got a little extra rest.
The plane landed at about 1300 local time and by the time I got to my hotel it was 1400 and I was starving. I devoured a club sandwich (excuse me, a club royale) and a salad and felt guilty about it but the options were limited.
It was like eighty degrees in Houston, which was a big change from the Yukon. I decided to spend my afternoon by the pool, in the guise of getting exercise by doing laps.
It was not exactly the kind of pool you do laps in, though, and anyway they were closing the pool early so eventually I repaired to my room and did some workout circuit I found on YouTube.
My event was set for 1830 and would mark the official launch of GALE FORCE into the world. That it took place at Houston's legendary Murder By The Book was fitting for a few reasons, not least of which is that it's one of the best indie bookstores in the country, or that I swiped owner McKenna Jordan's name for my protagonist, Captain McKenna Rhodes.
Also, Murder By The Book has hosted me on tour seven times now, and staff McKenna, Sally and John have become dear friends of mine over that span. I always feel so excited to go back, and grateful that my career has introduced me to such wonderful people.
I think the event was a success. There were some friendly, familiar faces in the crowd (shoutout to Joan, Pat, Millie and Rosemary) and some new faces, too, and people laughed at my jokes and had plenty of good questions, which are my main criteria for a decent reading.
Also in the crowd were my good friends Michelle and Tommy Isler. Michelle is kind of the patron saint of crime fiction writers; she's a voracious reader and a supporter of all of us, and after my event she and Tommy were kind enough to treat me to dinner and good company, which always makes the difference on the road.
So, Day 1 of the American leg was a success! Today sees me fly to Minnesota for an evening event at another outstanding indie bookstore, Minneapolis' Once Upon a Crime. I'm looking forward to seeing some more familiar faces, and hell, maybe even eating a tater tot.