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Tour Life: Minneapolis

As far as tour days go, Wednesday was pretty leisurely. And awesome.

After my 0345 wakeup call on Tuesday, the 0845 pickup from my Houston yesterday hotel felt like a ridiculous luxury. The ride to the airport was smooth and uneventful, and checking in at IAH for my Delta flight took next to no time at all.

No security line, either; I was through the whole process in under ten minutes, found my gate and bought a yogurt cup and some fruit and sat down to wait for my flight.

The flight to Minneapolis, too, was just fine; at 2.5 hours I had plenty of time to put a dent in my book (I'm reading GAME CHANGE, about the 2008 election, and boy it makes me feel cynical. It's like the book has a layer of slime all over it), try unsuccessfully to nap, and listen to a bunch of ignorant 90s rap music instead.

It was rainy and about 62 degrees in the Twin Cities. I caught a ride to my hotel, the Grand in downtown Minneapolis, where I've stayed a few times before.

Up to this point, though, I'd never taken advantage of the super baller fitness club attached to the hotel that is free for all guests to use, but I resolved to change that on this trip.

Right after lunch.

I had a delicious strawberry walnut and grilled chicken salad from the Crowne Plaza across the street, and then I set out to find the gym.

(I'd left my credit card behind, but that wouldn't possibly be a problem, right?)

The fitness club was amazing and I'm kicking myself for not using it earlier. In addition to a full and well-equipped gym, it featured a lap pool, saunas, squash courts, etc.

I opted to swim. I did a rotation of two hard laps, one easy for 40 minutes, and by the time I climbed out I was sore and pretty well spent.

I'm not sure how my exercise level would compare to a dry-land workout but I certainly felt like I put some effort in.

My event last evening was at Minneapolis' Once Upon A Crime bookstore, which is another absolutely lovely indie store that I feel fortunate to have been able to visit, geez, six times so far in my career.

Its previous owners, Pat Frovarp and Gary Shulze, were truly wonderful people who were so generous with their time and energy toward me and about a hundred other writers in the mystery community, and Gary's passing a couple of years ago was a profound loss for all of us.

The store's new owners, Meg King-Abraham, Dennis Abraham and their daughter, Devin, are equally as wonderful as Pat and Gary, and have kept the store humming and as friendly and welcoming to authors and readers alike as their predecessors did.

I'm always so thrilled to get to come back to Once Upon A Crime, not least because I have so many good friends in Minnesota and it's a sure bet that the crowd will be packed with ringers.

Last night was no exception. Kristi Belcamino, Alex Kent, Dan and Kate Malmon and Mike and Julie McKuras anchored the cheering section, with a few new faces sprinkled into the mix as well.

It was a great event, and I planned to put a punctuation mark on the evening by raiding the store for some books on my To-Buy list, but that's when I discovered I'd left my credit card...somewhere.

I had enough cash in my pocket to buy a copy of Dan and Kate's Anthony Award nominated anthology KILLING MALMON, but Ace Atkins and William Kent Krueger will have to wait.

We topped off the evening with snacks at World Street Kitchen, and then Dan and Kate very kindly drove me back to the Crowne Plaza, where I regained my credit card and finally let myself breathe.


Today sees me fly to Phoenix for an appearance with Kelli Stanley at Scottsdale's Poisoned Pen. It's apparently like 105 degrees in Arizona these days, so I might just show up in my swim trunks...

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