Home from California

So, folks, I’ve been to a Mysterious Galaxy, out on the Borderlands…

Really!   That is, I’m back from California where I did signings for Artemis Awakening at Mysterious Galaxy bookstore in San Diego and at Borderlands Books in San Francisco. I had a great time at each event.

Sand Shadow

Sand Shadow

The signing at Mysterious Galaxy was an evening event. I’d been up since 5:30 a.m., pulling together loose ends before getting on a plane. I’ll admit, by the time 7:00 p.m. California time rolled around (8:00 p.m. my time), I was running on caffeine and good fellowship. Happily, there was plenty of both. I started my evening with a very enjoyable dinner with some my Lindshield cousins who live in the San Diego area.

The Lindshields took me off to Mysterious Galaxy. To my delight, there were already people waiting. I chatted with these – a few of whom I’d met several years before – as I climbed up behind the high reader’s table and unpacked my things. Among the items was the stuffy toy puma who is featured in the accompanying photo.

Sand Shadow is a custom creation. The original toy is from Wild Republic, but on the original the eyes are all wrong, even a little creepy. It took me a couple of days to figure out why. All at once, it hit me. The original doesn’t have “cat’s eyes.” Its eyes are small and round. I immediately enlisted input from some of my artistically talented friends. They agreed with my conclusion. Then Tori took on the task of giving Sand Shadow her proper look, courtesy of agile “make-up” application using Sharpie markers. Jim and I finished off the project with a colorful selection of hoop earrings and a bag for Sand Shadow’s marbles.

Original version

Original version

Seriously, an earring-wearing, marble-playing puma will make sense once you’ve read the book! It isn’t even a comic element.

Although each event shared elements – I read the first chapter of the novel; I took questions; I signed books – they were each unique. At Mysterious Galaxy, a couple of the regular “Commenters” on the Wednesday Wanderings and Thursday Tangents showed up. I’d met Nicholas a few years back, but this time I got to meet his mother, Ann, and his brother, Michael.

“heteromeles” also showed up, revealing his identity when he came up to have his copy of Artemis Awakening signed. He gave me the option of his screen name or his “real” name. Of course, I picked “heteromeles.” After all, what’s a name if it’s not what you call a person?

In San Francisco, my cab got me to the bookstore a little early. Fortified with an excellent cup of coffee and a buttery bittersweet chocolate croissant from the store’s café, I went to peruse the offerings. After I complimented a young lady who was in the same section for her very “anime” ensemble (the pink streaks in her long hair were especially nice), we fell into conversation. We rapidly discovered a large number of shared interests, including the works of Tamora Pierce and several anime/manga titles. I think we were both delighted when we learned that she had come to the store specifically for my reading.

After the Borderlands signing, most of those attending melted away, but my young lady friend (Eva),and an avid local reader named Corky, joined me up at the front desk where I was signing stock for the store. We ended up having a very good discussion about cover art that works and that doesn’t – a discussion in which several people who had come up to pay for their books offered their own opinions.

I’m happy that those who attended these events seemed to have a good time. Before a book event, I always need to fight down a sneaking suspicion that my readers expect me to be one or more of my characters. I’m not, of course, so it’s nice when no one seems too terribly disappointed.

This weekend I’ll be doing two more book events, this time here in Albuquerque. On Friday, I’m speaking at the meeting of our local SF club. Then on Sunday – Father’s Day – I’m doing a reading and signing at Page One Books.   Times and locations are available on my website, http://www.janelindskold.com.

Speaking of authors who aren’t like their characters, George R.R. Martin is once again proving that he’s not at all like the grasping, greedy, self-absorbed, murderous people he writes about. Instead, he’s showing himself more like a classic super hero, determined to use his power for good. This time those who are benefiting include wolves and the hungry humans of Northern New Mexico.

To quote George directly:

“I’ve signed on with Prizeo.com to raise funds for the Wild Spirit Wolf Sanctuary in Candy Kitchen, NM and the Food Depot here in Santa Fe.  It’s a kind of kickstarter lottery, where donors get a chance to win the grand prize — a trip to NM, a day with me, and a helicopter ride to Wild Spirit for a private tour of the sanctuary.

“There are all sorts of lesser prizes as well, depending on donation levels — signed maps, signed books, premiere tickets, tuckerizations, even one of my old hats.

“Details are here.”

I’ve long been a supporter of Wild Spirit (you can read more about my experiences with itvia links on my website homepage). I’m thrilled that George is helping the organization keep going at this difficult time. And there’s a nice parallel in his helping humans keep “the wolf from the door.” Even if you aren’t in a position to sign up, I hope you’ll help spread the word.

On that note, let me wander off and see if I can finish off my re-read of Artemis Invaded. (Working on that was what I did when I wasn’t at bookstores.) I’m a couple chapters from the end, and things have gotten tense!

5 Responses to “Home from California”

  1. Paul Genesse Says:

    Well done, Jane. Congrats on your trip!

  2. Heteromeles Says:

    It was great to see you in San Diego. Glad you had such a good trip.

    Glad to hear about what George is doing too. Hope it raises all the money they need.

    • Chad Merkley Says:

      I would have guessed that your friends called you “Toyon” and that you saved “Heteromeles” for formal occasions.

      • Heteromeles Says:

        That’s a nice guess, but no. As I told Jane last Friday, I started using Heteromeles years ago when I was working for a firm that “claimed all my intellectual output as its own property” (which isn’t exactly legal…). I used this pseudonym to separate my online comments from my paid work. After awhile, I decided simply to keep it up, just because it was better known in some places than my real name.

        Still, toyon is one of my favorite plants, so it’s good to give it some press now and then. It’s one of the only plants in California that still goes by its Native American name.

  3. Other Jane Says:

    Just got the book – the hardback and Kindle version and I’m just getting started. Enjoying it so far!

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