Book Tour and NaShoStoMo Updates

So my book tour is going very well. The book launched one week ago, and my two events in Utah were fantastic; my signing at the Orem B&N was the biggest I’ve ever had, and things are going well. Thursday morning I woke up early and drove to Seattle, which takes about 13 hours including stops for gas. People always ask if I use my road trips to listen to audiobooks, but I have a travel game I love too much to do anything else: I flip through the radio stations at random, seeing how long it takes me to figure out if each new one is Christian or not. My record so far is two and a half heavy metal songs before I realized it was a Christian heavy metal station. What audiobook could possibly compete with that? (Aside from my own, of course; go buy it now.)

My brother happened to be in Seattle for a job interview, and I got there early enough to meet him for dinner: raw oysters on the half shell, one of my absolute favorites and something he’s only just now getting introduced to. We both loved it. The next day I had a signing at the University Bookstore, which I was almost late to thanks to a deluge of rain causing significant slowdown on the freeways. “Deluge of rain causing X” is kind of an ongoing theme for this tour, as it didn’t stop raining for pretty much the entire three and a half days I spent in Seattle; we may have gotten three or four rainless hours total. Seattle is one of my favorite cities in the world, but it was really going out of its way to live up to its weather’s reputation last weekend. The signing itself was awesome, with a great discussion followed by a fantastic meal with local readers at The Night Kitchen. My decision to eat dinner with a big group of readers after every signing has been awesome, and I will carry it forth for the foreseeable future–if you’re in town for any of the rest of my signings (listed on the calendar to the left of this text), please join me afterward for dinner and scintillating conversation. Thus far, no one has died at any of these events.

The weekend itself was LDS General Conference, which doesn’t mean much to those of you who are not LDS, but it’s basically a series of five two-hour meetings broadcast over satellite by the Church’s top leaders to the entire membership. We do it every six months, but this one was especially awesome. I really loved it.

On Monday I woke up to a phone call from my editors at Harper, and we talked for three solid hours about my draft of Partials and their notes for the rewrite. This feels almost more like a collaboration than a typical authorship, and my two editors are very much involved on every level of the creative process. It’s been awesome. Finishing that I did several more business-y things, grabbed some steamed pork hombow from my favorite Chinese Bakery (Mee Sum in Pike’s Place Market), and headed south to Portland. Once again, the rain made the roads slow, and the drive became downright terrifying in more than one instance when a big truck started kicking up enough water I felt like I was driving through an aquarium. I arrived safely, and the signing was awesome–nearly as big as the one in Orem–followed by, again, a truly fantastic dinner with local readers. We had an awesome time.

I’m staying in Portland with Mary Robinette Kowal and her husband, and so far we’ve managed to threaten each other with death only two or three times each. They’ve been very accomodating, and Mary makes a mean peach cobbler, and in just a few minutes we’re off to watch True Grit. But first I’m on the phone listening to my son read my a book about manatees.

As promised, I’ve been writing a short story every day this month for NaShoStoMo. They have been unilaterally awful, but I’d like to think they’ve been at least getting better as I go. the list thus far is kind eclectic to say the least:

April 1: The Cat Lady. A woman tries to convince her weird old mom to start cleaning up her house and yard and get rid of her many cats.
April 2: Standoff. A mercenary cowboy and two deadly gunslingers try not to die.
April 3: Memory. A scientist experiments with a memory drug on a patient.
April 4: The Volunteer. A new story starting with the same basic premise as the last one.
April 5: Old Things. My attempt to come up with a story based on looking around Mary’s house, seeing her collection of old typewriters, and somehow combining that with the Cthulhu mythos.

I will continue to write and keep you updated. I’m really learning a lot.

16 Responses to “Book Tour and NaShoStoMo Updates”

  1. LegendaryBandit says:

    Awesome! I’m so sad you will never be anywhere near me. :’( Keep up the great work, though! :)

  2. Steve D says:

    High-fives Dan. Though I won’t be writing a short story every day, I chose to loosely interpret your writing challenge as “average 1K a day for all of April.” So far so good.

  3. Steve D says:

    Oh, and let me know what you think of True Grit (you already know what I think from my review).

  4. You know that NaShoStoMo is now taking the internet by storm, right? Search the hashtag #NaShoStoMo on Twitter. YOU HAVE CREATED A MONSTER.

  5. admin says:

    Steve, I agree with you on almost every point: the remake was fantastic, I liked it more than the original, the girl playing Mattie was amazing (and should have been nominated for Best Actress, not Best Supporting Actress), and the ending was lame. The only part of your review I don’t agree with, in fact, was your claim that the ending of No Country for Old Men was lame–I loved the ending to that movie, and thought it worked perfectly for the story.

  6. Steve D says:

    A part of me likes the end to No Country, but another part of me feels cheated. I think I like the IDEA and CONCEPT of the end of that movie more than the ACTUAL ending. I can see both ends of the spectrum pretty easily (hate vs love).

    I can lend you the novel to True Grit when you come over next if you like.

    Also, if you haven’t watched Appaloosa, you should. I think you will love the dialogue and (most of) the characters.

  7. Jace says:

    Wish I could say my NaShoStoMo was going quite so well. I’m on Day 7 and I’m only just starting my fourth story. I’m such a slacker.

    I have to admit that I’m curious about the LDS General Conference. Not being LDS, or even especially religious, I guess I don’t really get it. I also can’t think of any truly delicate way to say it, so… what, without divulging anything they wouldn’t want you to, made it so awesome for you? What is it even about? I’m guessing it wasn’t like an extended mass or sermon or anything quite like that. Ten hours, even broken up into two hour chunks, is a lot of time to spend just listening to a broadcast.

    I don’t mean any offence. I just don’t know much about LDS.

  8. Kim Mainord says:

    Your stories may be awful in your eyes, but I’m impressed that you’ve managed to do one a day while on tour. My NaShoStoMo is going ok. I’ve completed two so far and both are about the antics of minions.

    @ Jace: To learn more about LDS you can go to LDS.org. That’s the church’s official website. You can find answers to frequently asked questions about our beliefs and even watch General Conference. I highly recommend the Sunday sessions. They were excellent! You can also go to Mormon.org for information. If you’d rather speak face to face with a member about our beliefs at the top of the Mormon.org page click on missionary request, enter in your contact information and the missionaries in your area will contact you. They’re more than willing to answer any and all questions you have.

  9. Jace says:

    @Kim
    Thanks for the information! They actually let outsiders watch the General Conference? That’s neat.

    I probably won’t go so far as contacting a missionary. I’m a little skeptical of religions in general, though the concept fascinates me at times. I don’t want the missionary to feel like a goldfish in a bowl.

    But I may well check out the site, see if I find the Conference as interesting as you and Dan clearly do.

  10. May I read Old Things?

  11. Jace says:

    @Mary Robinette Kowal
    Wait, why ask here? Wouldn’t it be easier to ask him directly if he’s staying at your place?

    Or, y’know, pinch a copy when he’s not looking. Whatever floats your boat.

    Another thought: it’s a story inspired by Mary’s house… and Cthulhu.

    I sense more death threats. Or another peach cobbler.

    Maybe death by peach cobbler.

  12. Jace says:

    Addendum to previous (and hoping Dan’s not sick of having me post about this):

    I’ve listened to about 75 minutes of the Sunday morning session. Watched some of it. I liked David Bednar’s joke at the beginning of his speech, I appreciate that a person in religious authority can take themselves lightly. That’s cool.

    And I like the message in general. Help the poor, be kind to one another. Powerful stuff. Very inspiring, and if the majority of the followers practice the kind of generosity and graciousness professed in the talks, that is really, truly awesome.

    But I don’t think it really grabs me the same way as it does the faithful. As I said, I watched some of it and I’m sorry to say, I got bored. But I had that problem with Mass, too. Please don’t take it as an intended slight.

    It’s late here, so I’ll look over the site some more another time. Maybe listen to some more then, too…. do I sound as patronising as I think? I really don’t mean to. Maybe patronising is the wrong word. Pretty sure there’s something wrong with how I’m expressing this. Gah.

    Anyways. I’d say more but it gets worse and I need sleep. Good night.

  13. Andrew says:

    Safe travels, Dan, and good luck with the short stories! I enjoyed the food and conversation at the Night Kitchen. Looking forward to seeing the whole Writing Excuses crew at WorldCon.

  14. Hey Dan,
    Just wanted to tell you we loved having you here in Seattle. You’re not only a great writer, you’re a lot of fun to hang out with.

  15. Steve D says:

    I see what’s going on, Mary. Afraid Dan may have hit a little too close to the mark with his “fictitious” story about Cthulhu and your disturbing and uncanny ability to write excellent stories. My deductive skills easily picked up on that connection. Nefarious indeed.

  16. Steve D says:

    Dan, we need another update of your short-story adventures. You should edit them and publish it on Kindle or something for like $3.

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