Monday, June 13, 2005

A Weekend in the Life


6:00AM - Wake up.

6:05-8:30 - Answer email (I get anywhere from 10 to 30 a day that need replies.)

8:30-12:00 - Write. Mailman comes, gives me a rejection. Find a new market and send it right back out.

12:00-4:00 - Work on handouts for Dark and Stormy Conference tomorrow. I'm teaching two classes, each an hour long.

4:00-5:00 - Write Blog.

5:00-12:00 - Continue printing out handouts, and flyers, while updating website.


6:00AM - Wake up.

7:45 - Get to Dark and stormy conference.

8:00 - Meet bookseller. Schmooze. Notice they didn't bring enough copies of my books, and provide them with some copies at a 40% discount.

8:15-9:45 - Meet and greet writers, old friends, and new fans. Pass out business cards. Put flyers and cards on goody table. Introduce myself to strangers.

10:00-11:00 - Teach first class. Crowd of twenty. The class is about writing and selling short stories. I curtail the humor in favor of actual teaching, though there is still some humor. The class seems to get a lot out of it.

11:00-12:00 - Teach second class. Most of the first class also appears in the second one, which I consider a good sign. Thirty people this time. I keep my energy level high and stay animated, enthusiastic, and interesting. After class, I ask about 15 people how I did, asking for criticism rather than praise (can't learn from praise.) The only crit I get is for letting a student drone on too long when asking a question---I should have cut her off. I'll know better for next time.

12:00-1:30 - Lunch. Sit with strangers, work the table.

1:30-3:30 - Have a beer with William Kent Krueger, whom I haven't seen in a while. We're joined by Jon and Ruth Jordan (Crimespree magazine), Charlaine Harris, Libby Fischer Hellmann, and Laura Lippman.

3:30 -4:00 - Check with the bookseller. They're out of books. I bring them more. I'm stopped by a group and sign some copies. The woman running the conference (Jeanne Damms) tells me that the audio tapes of my two classes are selling like crazy.

4:00-5:00 - Attend last panel of the day. Sign more books.

5:00-6:00 - After conference cocktail party. Four people buy me beer, and I mingle with an armful of Heinikens. Several folks are going to Shaw's, a fine dining crab house, for dinner, and I snag an invitiation.

6:00-9:30 - It's like deja vu going to Shaw's; I used to be a waiter there four years ago. I see a few people I used to work with, tell them I'm a full-time writer now, invite them to my booklaunch party on Saturday. It's weird to think that had I not sold a book, I'd probably still be working there. I spent a lot of nights, serving seafood, wondering if I'd ever be published, wondering if my dreams would ever come true.

Dinner is pleasant. Most of us are writers, and we talk shop and compare notes. Gary Warren Niebuhr reminds me that I have to be in Milwaukee tomorrow at 10:30AM.

10:30 - Get home. Brief hello to the family before falling asleep.


6:00AM - Wake up.

6:05 - Panic because I can't find out the address to the place I visiting in Milwaukee.

6:07 - My wife suggests I check my website. The info is there. Apparently I'm more organized than I thought.

10:30 - I get to the Sheraton on time, bring in a box of books, and am met by several members of the CLOAK AND CLUE SOCIETY, who are at the bar and immediately buy me a beer.

My kind of crowd.

11:00 - After mingling, we go into the banquet room and eat a damn good buffet. I make sure I introduce myself to everyone in the room.

12:00 - I give a keynote speech. This time, I try to be funny instead of informative, with great results. I may never have a crowd this good again. They laughed at everything, applauded at several different points, and were a joy to talk to.

12:45 - Sign some books, take some pictures, then head for Chicago. I feel energized during the two hour drive. A great event always makes me feel like that.

3:00 - Arrive at the Printer's Row bookfair. Parking costs more than I paid for my shoes. I lug a box of books to the Twilight Tales signing booth, meet everyone, then settle in to sell some.

Perhaps "settle in" is the wrong terminology. I was signing with two other guys, who sat behind their tables and waited for people to approach. I walked out into the stream of bodies and talked to people as they passed, introducing myself.

I sold about 25 books in two hours. I could have done better, but the fair was winding down and so was I.

5:30: Dinner with more writers: Brian Pinkerton, Henry Perez (and his wife Cheryl), Tom Keevers, Raymond Benson, and Robert W. Walker.

9:00 - Get home. Brief hello to family. Crawl into bed, thinking about the summer.

I have to do 38 events in the next 48 days.

I'd better get some sleep.


  1. Anonymous5:21 PM

    I'm exhausted just reading this. It's also a little daunting for a soon-to-be-published-for-the-first-time writer who still has a day job. How the heck do you balance it all?

  2. Anonymous8:23 PM

    Beer at 10:30, definitely a fun crowd.

  3. 6:00AM - Wake up.

    Here's where you lose me.

  4. I got to witness a good part of this.
    Joe never slows down.

    It's a good thing they don't drug test authors, because he has to be on something....

    Surprisingly, Joe went home earlish Saturday night.
    Of course while he was driving to Milwaukee I was just getting up and thinking about a swim....


Thanks for the comment! Joe will get back to you eventually. :)