Taking the Cake

August 9th, 2008

I’m now a member of the mile-high club.

Talk about a cheap lead.  What it means is that I just did a signing at MURDER BY THE BOOK in Denver (the mile-high city, remember?) and had one of the best times of my life.

For one thing, even by the standards of independent booksellers, who are among the world’s nicest people, Lauri at MURDER BY THE BOOK is just improbably nice.  Not only did she make me feel at home, but she also worked her lists and filled a bunch of chairs.  When I walked into the shop an hour before the event and saw all the empty seats, I said, “Kind of optimistic, isn’t it?” and she said, “I don’t think so.”

And it wasn’t — we were close to sold out.  And there were two people with all — and I mean all — of my books.  Books I’d practically forgotten I wrote.

And then there was this:

High-calorie thriller

That’s about fourteen pounds of cake in the form of an extremely fine novel set in Bangkok.  You can’t see the spine, but it was 100% accurate.  Lauri had commissioned this from a local “adult bakery” (who knew?) in honor of the evening.

Lauri with cake, writer with book.

And if all that weren’t enough, the people who showed up were kind enough let me drone on and on, and even asked questions.  I came home and told my wife, “In Denver, they think I’m interesting.”

And one more absolutely great thing about the evening:

Right: Lisa Kenney; Left: Shamu the Killer Whale, trucked in from San Diego for the signing

I got to meet Lisa Kenney, she of the ridiculously good Eudaemonia blog, and her very interesting significant other, the painter Scott Mattlin.  And their friend Karen Carter came along and bought a book, earning a sentence in my memoirs, and then Lisa and Scott took me out to dinner to a first-rate restaurant with an extremely high noise level where we yelled at each other for hours.

In all, I had a wonderful time.  And then Scott and Lisa e-mailed me the pictures they took (those are a few of them above), and I am now on the Thought Wave Diet.  When I’m hungry, I think about an orange.

Thanks to everyone — Lauri, Lisa, Scott, Karen.  What a great evening.

11 Responses to “Taking the Cake”

  1. Lisa Kenney Says:

    I can’t tell you how much we enjoyed meeting you and having the opportunity to spend some time in your company. Thanks so much for making the time to spend with us.

    You’ll be pleased to know that the next day, Scott said to me, “you know, I think you ought to listen to what Tim said about getting all the way to the end of your story before you monkey around with it any more.”

    And I am listening to you 🙂

  2. Karen DeGroot Carter Says:

    Love the photos! The whole event was a lot of fun, Tim, and I’m looking forward to your next visit to Denver. Next time I’ll join you, Lisa, and Scott for dinner. And more cake. 🙂 K.

  3. Merrilee Faber Says:

    That sounds like a tough diet! Sounds like you had a lovely time, and what a great cake.

  4. bets Says:

    I’m sorry I missed it. I was in Denver at WorldCon and too busy to swing over. 🙁 Maybe next time.

  5. Andrea Says:

    Haha, a cheap lead indeed! That cake is amazing.

  6. Dana King Says:

    Damn, I missed you by a couple of days. I was in Danver as part of my vacation, but had left for Yellowstone by the time you got there. Let me know if you’re ever in the DC/Baltimore area.

  7. Cynthia Mueller Says:

    OK, I admit it. I’m pouting. I googled directions from California to Denver and couldn’t help but notice how every single route brings you right smack dab through the middle of Las Vegas on I-15. Why didn’t you stop? We have bookstores. And cake. And coffee. And…lots of cool stuff, like…um…coffee. And…well, coffee.

    But, I’m really happy that Lisa got to meet you. And the cake looked good, too.

  8. Timothy Hallinan Says:

    Hi, everybody, and please forgive how long it’s taken me to respond. Between traveling and trying to finish MISDIRECTION, I find myself pretty much completely energy-free; like my computer, I go into HIBERNATE mode after a few minutes with no external stimuli.

    Lisa, you and Scott (and Karen) made my evening in Denver, and it was so great to meet you all. Absolutely the best stop on this whole tour. And I’m glad you’re pushing ahead with the story. I think you should finish it and then worry about improving it.

    Karen, you were so kind to make the time to come to the signing — next time, by all means, come to dinner. (I can invite anyone, because next time it’s on me.)

    Merrilee — It would be a very tough diet if I stuck to it. But I can’t, so I’m running again instead, 2-3 miles a day and seeing some changes. Thanks for writing.

    Bets — WorldCon is sci-fi, right? But it’s not the one where people dress up as Chewbacca and speak Klingon, is it? Or is it? Did you wear a costume? Maybe pin a couple of bagels to your head and go as Carrie Fisher?

    Andrea — Sometimes a cheap lead is the only lead that shows up for the party. I sit here, casting chum on the creative waters, waiting for that divine spark to strike, and what comes is a cheap lead. Maybe I should have bought some worms.

    Dana – I’m SO sorry I missed you. Some time soon we have to meet up.

    Cynthia — I managed to get the United Pilot to follow I-15 all the way, but he refused to drop below 29,000 feet. But I could smell the coffee as Vegas slid beneath us, and I thought of you. And thank you also for the kind of review that may actually get me to the last page of MISDIRECTION.

  9. Cynthia Mueller Says:

    Thanks, Tim. Couldn’t help but notice that your overall Amazon sales rank jumped from 79,000ish to 29,000ish in the past three days. You musta done something right at the event in Phoenix. Or is the US air-dropping them on Afghanistan and Iraq as a part of a pychological operation? (Oops, maybe that was a secret???)

  10. Marilyn Says:

    “I can not keep myself from coming back to the site to read and re-read bit after bit of your inspirational tips for finishing!” … why should she,as she toyed with the idea that her one comment in hundreds would be read. “I am still working on the “bunch of stuff happening” with my writing.” The keys were clicking wildly. “You, are a gift,you are really something else.” Tears of laughter spat from her eyes as she scanned the pages looking for the reference of something about the middle being hell to get through. The ending would no doubt be the worst to find. “I think the world of writers need the “straight talk” of Timothy Hallinan Writer’s Resources!” The clicking ceased. Reaching for the mouse she moved the curser to the box below encased by its defining blue highlight rim with the words that puts an end to further guesswork of what to say. It was done.

  11. Timothy Hallinan Says:

    Thanks, Marilyn — Finishing is pretty much everything on the large scale. On the smaller scale, getting a day’s work done every day, or almost every day, is everything.

    Hope you keep at it.

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