Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Tales from the road

Well, last week we had the launch of my new novel, The Fallen One (everyone got that title memorized yet?), and it was a huge success. The Great Hall in Toronto’s famed Arts and Letters Club was filled, we had two wonderful and talented opera singers (Emilio Fina, of Canada’s Got Talent fame, and Anna Bateman, who performs all over Canada and abroad), and people were so generous buying books that we sold out – after people who had not been able to attend had gotten in touch with me. For that, I thank everyone who attended and bought books. We raised a lot of money for Frontier College.

But that’s not what this post is about.

I’m now on the first leg of “The Endless Book Tour”, and I have to tell you it’s off to a flying start…not. Actually, I’ll find what’s been happening to me quite funny someday in the distant future. First up was a chain bookstore about an hour east of Toronto. I called, as I always do, to check in four days before the date, only to find out that the month of the booking had got confused and they had no books and had done no promotion. My contact felt terrible and we re-scheduled, but it left me feeling pretty depressed, considering that I’d sent two confirming emails and supplied a store poster – with the date.

Next up was a signing for the same chain about an hour and a half east of Toronto, kind of a long distance to travel. Everything was fine, a nice set-up right near the front door and they even brought in a few copies from my back-list. I had my son to do the publicist thing and direct people to the table and I sold nearly all the copies of The Fallen One that had been brought in. All in all, it was a pretty good day, right?

Wrongo. Disaster struck once more when we got to the car and the automatic door locks wouldn’t work. The reason? Dummy me had left the #$@(*$! headlights on three hours earlier. The car’s battery was stone-cold dead. No problem. My son hot-footed it back into the store and came out with an employee who had jumper cables and would help. (Nice lady, and if you’re reading this, many thanks!) But her car had the weirdest darn battery set-up I’ve ever seen. You couldn’t get at the terminals because of a plastic cover. Still no problem. A helpful driver offered his car for a boost. I connected up and told him that the red cable should go on the positive terminal on his battery. He was all excited because he’d never done this before. I was about to ask if I could do it when sparks flew. Poof! My electrical system was gone.

Two hours later the tow truck arrived, loaded us on and we drove back to good old T.O. with our tails between our legs.

This weekend I will be in and around Ottawa, Canada’s capitol. That’s five hours away (four-and-a-half if my wife’s driving) and I’m finding myself a bit anxious, wondering what might go wrong this time when I’m so far from home. I just hope another ride in a tow truck isn’t part of my future…

Ah, the life of a writer!

Sidebar: The sharp-eyed among you will notice the display of Fifty Shades of Grey in the lower right of the photo above. Several times during my signing people rushed in my direction saying, “Oh! There it is!” and I thought they meant my novel (a heart-warming response, don’t you think?), except that they kept going right by me, hungrily grabbing up their copy of the second-most important book in the store that day. Sigh…


Melodie Campbell said...

Love this, Rick! I've been a victim of the 'Here's the launch day - where are the books' fiasco of the classic book tour. But at least my car started.

Rick Blechta said...

Thanks, Mel. That was my biggest concern with the launch: that something would go wrong. We had several people upon whom the night depended, but everyone came through with flying colours, thank heavens.

But it will be a long time before I drive near Peterborough without feeling a shudder!

Charlotte Hinger said...

Rick, for once I'm speechless.