Sunday, October 29, 2006

The Wanderer Returns

I'm home! Actually, I got home Friday night (pretty late, thanks to a delayed flight), but I just now managed to drag myself upstairs and get on the computer. And then I promptly wished I'd done so earlier, because I had a lot of stuff to wade through. It's nice taking a break from e-mail and all that, but then there's even more when I get back to it.

I had a great trip and am very tired, but I don't think I'm quite as tired or as sore as I was the last time. For one thing, I managed to almost entirely avoid blisters. I just got one from a seam on the toe of a sock, and that was on the last day. I didn't even notice it until I had to put my shoes back on after the security screening. Then I felt it. My knees are a little achy and my shoulders are stiff, but I think that's a given from almost any travel that involves stairs, walking and carrying stuff. I didn't do as much insane walking as I usually do in New York, aside from the time I got my mental wires crossed and got off the subway one stop too soon on my way to Random House (oops). I made my frugality work in my favor this time -- I bought an unlimited 7-day MetroCard and was determined to get my money's worth in four days, so I rode wherever possible. I really just need to get in shape to do this kind of trip without pain. You can't expect to walk five or so miles a day after months of little activity without some soreness.

This trip ended up being focused almost exclusively on business. I didn't even get around to the possible book research wandering/sightseeing I had planned, and I didn't do some of the "hey, a real fall!" activities I wanted to fit in. Tuesday, I had a meeting with my film agent (and got to see what a big agency like that looks like). Then I got together with a group of readers, which is always fun. I've found that the readers I've met are all cool people to chat with. We talked some about my books, and then got sidetracked into other things.

Wednesday was the big meeting day -- lunch with my editors, then meetings at the publisher to talk about publicity, next steps and all that. It sounds like they actually like me over there, so chances of more books are pretty good. I guess that means I have to write something, huh? Then I got together with my former editor, who's now at a different publisher, for some hot cocoa and chat. It turns out I've thoroughly corrupted her and her husband. I got her into Firefly, and then from there they got into Buffy and Angel, and now they have all the DVDs. That world domination plan seems to be progressing nicely.

I spent most of the rest of the trip making a valiant effort to visit as many bookstores in Manhattan as possible to sign whatever books they had on hand and to meet the staff. The publicity folks at Ballantine said that was one of the more effective things I could do, promo-wise, so I did it. That also gave me a chance to visit some parts of the city I hadn't yet explored much. I'll have to post a list of stores with autographed copies, in case anyone wants to do holiday shopping (or even check to see if any copies are still there). Although there were stores with no copies at all (including the Union Square B&N that's even mentioned in the books!!!), I was pleased to see how many copies of both books so many of the stores had, even this late after the release. I think the two champion stores were the B&N at Lincoln Center and the Borders in the Financial District.

Thursday night, I went to dinner and the theater with my editor. We saw Mary Poppins, which had just opened. This was my first time to see the original cast of anything, which I thought was rather cool. It's a stage adaptation of the Disney movie, except they seemed to have gone back to the books more rather than strictly sticking to the movie version. I thought they fixed some of the structural, thematic and pacing issues in the movie, such as actually making the songs have something to do with the story. As y'all might have figured out, I'm a sucker for anything that mixes in magical stuff with ordinary life. And yes, I still cry for the "Feed the Birds" song. That one slays me every time I see the movie, and it got me in the show.

I may have maxed out on Italian food during the week, though I'm actually thinking about having pizza for dinner, so I guess it's not possible for me to max out on Italian. Wednesday we went for Italian for lunch, then I had pizza for dinner. We had Italian again Thursday night, and then I went to lunch in Little Italy on Friday.

Meanwhile, I think I now know what book 5 in the series will be about, and I may do that next instead of trying to do something in between. Part of it came to me while I was napping a bit before getting dressed Wednesday morning, and then the rest of it all came together when I fell asleep on the plane on the way home. It was one of those times where I didn't realize I'd fallen asleep, then I had this weird burst of insight and woke up with no idea I'd been asleep and a bit of disorientation when I didn't know where I was. Then I pulled out a notebook and started making fast and furious notes until I had a rough plot outline. After all that talk about wanting to take the rest of the year off, now I'm strangely eager to write.

But first I have a lot of taped TV to catch up on.

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