Nothing To Lose
US Day 18|
June 16, 2008
Until next year...
So…I got up at a very civilized hour and headed over to Toronto’s Convention Center for my signing hour at Book Expo Canada. Then straight to the Indigo Spirit bookstore for another signing hour. Then a very pleasant lunch with Reacher Creature Stuart. Then…nothing. The end. The tour is done. I had a blast and want to say a huge personal thank you to all who came to see me, and to Maggie and Sharon who labored mightily behind the scenes. I had a great time. Shall we do it all over again next year?
US Day 17|
June 15, 2008
This is the Embraer 190
when it's not moving.
Oh Canada. Eventually. This part of the trip is being handled by the folks at Random House Canada, who are every bit as charming as their US counterparts, but they don’t have Sharon’s travel karma. I boarded a very nice brand new Embraer 190 at La Guardia…and the pilot came on and said it wasn’t actually working at the moment and some maintenance persons were heading over to fix it. I read my book (an ARC of Dennis Lehane’s new one—loving it) and ate some toasted almonds. Two hours later we took off. Then we circled an hour over Lake Ontario because thunder cells over the airport meant that the ground crews could not be out on the apron. What do these Canadians want? To live forever?
But I made it to downtown Toronto just in time for my first event, which was a bookseller reception connected to Book Expo Canada. Charming people all, as booksellers tend to be. Then came a trip out to J.D. Singh’s store Sleuth of Baker Street for a signing—my first time there. One guy had come up from Virginia and two ladies had come down from Newfoundland—not certain where that is (my geography gets a little shaky north of Yankee Stadium) but I think it’s near the Arctic Circle.
Then back to the hotel. Ate a club sandwich. Read my book.
US Day 15|
June 13, 2008
RCs Tina, Phyllis & Teri flew
all the way from Michigan for
Lee's NYC signing.
Boy, are their arms tired.
I spent the night in the Campus Inn in Ann Arbor, eleventh floor. Non-smoking room, which sucked, but so did the bathroom fan, so that was OK. The room number was 1111. I was in and out a few times before it dawned on me: four number ones. How did they know? Sharon? Maggie?
I woke up in my own time zone for the first time in two weeks and left the Motor City an hour late due to a spectacular thunderstorm. The pilot came on and said he and the copilot had a combined 55 years experience in the Air Force and for Northwest and they wanted to wait. Good enough for me. But that was the only delay I have had so far. Sharon’s travel karma is powerful. Next to me was a pretty girl who slept all the way to La Guardia. Pleasant morning.
Always nice to be home, if only briefly. With access to my big computer I read the forum and the Amazon reviews. Seems some people aren’t happy. Some aren’t happy with the book itself. But I stand by it. I agree it’s more allegorical and contemplative and less slam-bang than some of the others, so people will react differently depending on their preferred mix of strengths and weaknesses. But I’m happy with it and glad it came out the way it did.
And some chickenhawk dittoheads aren’t happy with the “politics.” Ah, well. Critics say Reacher is the thinking person’s action hero, so I suppose that explains it. Actually I think the issues in the book are way beyond politics. Politics is trivial compared to death and maiming in a nation’s service. And I’m amused to see they think this stuff is “Lee Child’s politics.” For the record all views in the book are taken verbatim from active-service military. They aren’t my views. My views are much worse. They would make Trotsky blush. I’ve always had a soft spot for old Leon. Especially his uncompromising determination. He said, “If you cannot acquaint a fascist with reason, you must acquaint his head with the sidewalk.” Also he advised, “Spread love and understanding. Use force if necessary.”
But it has been a serene couple of weeks. None of the chickenhawk dittoheads showed up at my events. Just like they didn’t show up in Vietnam, or Iraq, etc.
Tonight was the New York event. New venue—Barnes and Noble in Tribeca—plus some new faces, plus plenty of old friends. Tradition was maintained with a select gathering in a dive bar nearby. Tomorrow is a day off, and then I head to Toronto on Sunday. More then.
US Day 14|
June 12, 2008
Who's the real Reacher?
Easy day today, with a spacious geographical distribution around Michigan…landed in Detroit, hotel in Ann Arbor, event in Okemos, where close to 200 people showed up at Schulers. Great crowd, fun time. Got a photo of another dog called Jack Reacher.
Then the geography in reverse, the night in Ann Arbor, and a flight from Detroit in the morning.
US Day 13|
June 11, 2008
Nothing to Lose is #1
in The New York Times!
Late to bed last night due to dinner with our web site’s technical guru Maddee James, and then up at 4 for the flight to Chicago. First stop was the library gig I missed at the end of January due to bad weather—it was way more fun in the warmth and sun. (Hi Becky!)
Then a feature interview with the Chicago Sun-Times—during which my phone rang with The Call. You know the outcome. You can’t imagine how I feel.
The evening event was at Borders in Oak Park—106 lovely people and one very happy author.
US Day 12|
June 10, 2008
Get some rest!
Getting tired now, and
I have to
be up in
so this will have to be quick…Dallas to Denver, some radio, some stock signing, a nice event at the Tattered Cover…
I’m getting old, but *it* never gets old.
US Day 11|
June 9, 2008
Lee, Alison & Harry Hunsicker
First up was an early call-in to a Cleveland drive-time radio show, then a short hop up to Dallas and a half-hour local cable TV show. Then Borders in the evening, followed by dinner with Dallas author friend (and MWA EVP) Harry Hunsicker and his wife Alison. No tour day is really like any other, but somehow this one seemed like how they should be. Does that make sense? Probably not. But hey.
US Day 10|
June 8, 2008
The real Jack Reacher
A 2pm event at Houston’s famous Murder By The Book meant trying to arrive by 1pm to deal with their customary huge stack of pre-solds and mail orders…which meant aiming to touch down at the airport at, say, 11:30am, to allow for possible delays and ballpark traffic…which, because of flying time added to two time zones, meant leaving Phoenix at 7am. Which meant checking in at 6am, which meant leaving the hotel about 5am, which meant getting up at 4am.
But it was worth it because the store had an amazing crowd of close to 300 people, and I got to meet “Jack Reacher”—store owners David and McKenna’s dog. McKenna has a habit of asking him, “What’s going on, Jack?” Naturally the little guy doesn’t reply, whereupon McKenna gravely reports, “Reacher said nothing.”
Dinner afterward with the aforementioned David and McKenna and our very own Deanie, and Mr. Deanie, i.e. Ken.
US Day 9|
June 7, 2008
Forget "Reacher vs. Rain vs.
Pike", think Lee vs. Audrey Jr.
Got away from the hotel just before Portland closed its downtown streets for its annual Rose Parade, which I believe concerns flowers, which I believe are small colorful items attached to certain types of vegetable matter. Then fifty-degree Portland to hundred-degree Phoenix was an easy on-time hop aboard a US Airways Airbus A320. Sharon had the phantom passenger thing working again, so all was tranquil.
My Scottsdale hotel is alarmingly named “The Valley Ho” which to my New York ears conjures up an image I’m sure they didn’t intend.
Main event of the day was the Poisoned Pen signing—224 people there, which was their most ever. Lots of fun.
Then in the evening I spoke at a fundraiser for the Phoenix Public library. Then I went to bed.
In other news, I see we have the first dittohead rant on the forum. Sad, really. But not a huge surprise. And thanks, Paul, for your reply.
US Day 8|
June 6, 2008
Lee, this is called "parsley."
Gray, cool and rainy this morning in the Pacific Northwest, but a fun day anyway. First up was a live radio phoner with a Denver station ahead of my visit there, and then a TV half hour with Nancy (“Book Lust”) Pearl…the first time I had met her, and a real pleasure it was.
Then the lunchtime event at Seattle Mystery Books, and another tour first—maybe a worldwide book first: I signed the title page and Rae and Janine both signed the dedication page. I know dedicatees have signed before—certainly Maggie signed plenty of One Shots—but I doubt if two dedicatees have signed together.
Then a car service for the ride down I-5 to Portland. I saw many large green objects from the window. I believe locals call them “trees.”
The evening event was at Powells. More than 160 people showed up, including another tour first: a little boy named Samuel Reacher Upkes. There was a racehorse named for Reacher, but young Sam is the first person I know of.
Early bed tonight. The downside of the pajama party last night was about four minutes of sleep. I feel like someone sandpapered my eyeballs.
US Day 7|
June 5, 2008
Heff has LA, Lee has Seattle.
Early starts? Don’t like ‘em. Alaska Airlines? Not a fan. But Seattle? Gotta love it. The Emerald City. The Capital of Coffee. The home of a baseball team even worse than the Yankees.
And I knew that our Janine, our Rae, and our Cornelia were waiting somewhere to waylay me.
First stop was the Starbucks main office, which was like the mothership calling me home. They have an employee book club there and I did a lunchtime event with them.
Then the serious hanging out started, interrupted only by the evening event at Third Place Books. Good crowd, good fun, then the unofficial West Coast RC dinner-champagne-chocolate pajama party.
Seattle? Gotta love it.
US Day 6|
June 4, 2008
Lee's idea of breakfast.
Hardly like touring at all—still in the same place, enjoying late starts after long leisurely breakfasts with lots of coffee and newspapers (but I’m not in the NYT today—what’s up with that?)
First event was a lunchtime reading at Mysteries To Die For in Thousand Oaks…a packed store awaited. Escort Karen went to park the car and couldn’t even get in the door. Evening event was at the Borders at Torrance—plenty of folks there, but less crowded because it’s a huge place.
Reality bites tomorrow—I just set my alarm for 4 a.m. More later, if I live through it.
US Day 5|
June 3, 2008
Lee whistles a happy tune.
My twelfth launch day, and still as exciting as ever, and the start of the tour proper. First up was the lunch event at Mystery Bookstore on Broxton—with a big SRO crowd…and sandwiches, and coffee, and a gigantic slice of chocolate cake for me.
The evening event was at Barnes and Noble in Huntington Beach—another SRO crowd, including our very own Dan M. It’s going to be a fun trip.
US Day 4|
June 2, 2008
What Me Worry?
Not after today's NYT review.
Up early and straight to the dentist’s office, which was across the street from the Rampart Division cop shop. The dentist examined the tooth, agreed it was in bad shape, and outlined several options. I thought, “What would Reacher do?” I said, “Rip the damn thing out.” So he did. Feels great. No more pain. No more tooth either, but hey.
Then, my work at BEA done, I moved to Beverly Hills and the Four Seasons Hotel. I’m with RC Rae on this one. Very few things in life are completely satisfactory, but a Four Seasons hotel is always one of them. The sun is shining. Life is good.
Then dinner with my movie agent, the one and only Steve Fisher. Did I mention the NYT review? Did I mention that life is good?
US Day 3|
June 1, 2008
My official BEA duties finished yesterday, and the tour proper begins Tuesday, so I have two days off. Tomorrow will be about emergency dentistry—I have the kind of toothache that would kill a mule—but what should a thriller writer fresh off a conversation with Robert Crais about tough-guy fiction do today? Well, of course, I went to…a couple of museums.
First up I indulged my Motor City (British version) DNA by hitting the Petersen Automotive Museum. Then I crossed Wilshire to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, where there are a couple of great Ellsworth Kellys that I wanted to see. Plus some decent Rauschenbergs, two of which were on loan from Michael Crichton, of all people.
Like a lot of slightly insecure museums, LACMA is curated to death…on Rauschenberg, for instance: “His mark-making is thus as gestural as abstract expressionist, though its final image is predetermined.”
Or in English: his paintings of flags look like, er, flags.
US Day 2|
May 31, 2008
"The Brass Verdict"—Oct. 14
"The Given Day"—Sept. 23
Today was about signing, basically—first an hour in the traditional BEA “cattle chute” area, and then a second hour in the Random House booth.
And today was about old friends…I bumped into Dennis Lehane (and he gave me a copy of his new book “The Given Day”, which looks great) and then I went to a party for Michael Connelly at Union Station—a cool venue full of people I knew and some I was happy to meet. All very mellow and SoCal.
US Day 1|
May 30, 2008
Barb at Woodstock?
Today was about eating, basically.
First, the independent booksellers’ lunch—an annual BEA event—with my publisher’s publicity head honcho Barb Burg at my side…and then dinner with my publisher’s promotion and marketing folks—all the people who do such a wonderful job of believing that there can never be enough Reacher Creatures in the world. My publicist Sharon was there, plus the aforementioned Barb again.
Little-known trivia alert: Barb’s dad was the local doctor in Woodstock NY back in the Sixties, so she attended the historic festival as a very young person.
US Day 0|
May 29, 2008
Didn't he say he wasn't
going to name-drop?
Today was a travel day, involving the first of 11 flights and the first two of 31 cars in my schedule. JFK to LAX on an elderly AA 767. I sat next to Alec Baldwin. Across the aisle someone was watching him on 30 Rock on the video system. In front of us someone was reading Bad Luck and Trouble in paperback. We didn’t talk. Alec watched a classic black-and-white movie on an old Apple laptop and I read an ARC of Alafair Burke’s latest, Angel’s Tip. Real good.
Room service pizza. Bed. Sleep.
US Day -1|
May 28, 2008
A few of the names Lee didn't
want to drop. Seriously.
Wednesday started with five iPods, a BlackBerry and a cell phone all charging for tomorrow’s departure, so if there was a temporary voltage drop in Manhattan, I apologize. Then I checked the schedule for laundry logistics…which are unusual this year, because I start in LA (for BEA) with a six-day stay and then move eastward, a city a day, which means limited opportunities for hotel valets. So, it will be a Reacher year—buy as I go. Basic black will be the sartorial theme, so I dug out the black polycarbonate Rimowa to match, plus the black Tumi briefcase.
Then, two phone interviews…and then a new superlative. The youngest Reacher Creature I ever met was a nine-year-old boy in New Zealand, and the oldest was a 101-year-old woman in Scotland. Last night I met the richest. He is multi-billionaire financier Stephen Schwarzman, and he just donated 100 million dollars—not to me, but to the New York Public Library. It was the largest-ever donation to a cultural institution—for a week: the next week Ronald Lauder gave 117 million to the Whitney Museum. But the Library had a dinner to honor Stephen’s gift, and I was invited, because Stephen is a big-time Reacher Creature. The invitation said black tie, which I don’t do, because I think it’s a silly, elitist habit. So I threw on my $200 Lands End suit, a $19 Lands End shirt, and the black tie I bought for my grandfather’s funeral in 1985 (good shoes, though), and prepared to mix with New York’s haute monde…and it was a lot of fun: a name-dropper’s paradise, so I won’t do that, and I saw several people I had met before, and generally had a great time. For a guy who can drop a hundred million the way I spend ten (dollars, not million) Stephen was a total sweetie and I was delighted to meet him. Candice Bergen was nice, too. As was Caroline Kennedy. And Chris Matthews. I sat next to a woman who was out of work because she had been Eliot Spitzer’s director of communications. Great conversations, good food. The Library is an amazing place. 53 million books. What’s not to like?
April 4, 2008
The Scotsman Hotel,
So, I woke up in the Scotsman Hotel, which is in Edinburgh, which is in Scotland, so I think it is fair to say that there was a whole Scottish vibe going on… but there was no porridge on the room service breakfast menu. What’s up with that?
Then I stepped out for a smoke, and the Bradmobile was… missing. Stolen? Towed? No, Brad had moved it to a better spot, that’s all.
So after those iffy moments we set off south to York, for the lunch-time signing. Then to Lincoln, for the evening event. Then… the tour was over. Finished. Done. Completed.
Many thanks to all who came out to see me. It was, as always, a lot of fun and I’m already looking forward to doing it again next year.
April 3, 2008
Carol & Lee in Dundee
(Ooh! That rhymes!)
We’ve done automobiles and planes, so today was trains… we left Aberdeen and trundled down the east coast of Scotland, across the Tay Bridge (which I didn’t see, because the motion rocked me to sleep) and on to Dundee. Beautiful day… the sun was shining, the North Sea was blue, and Waterstone’s was packed for the signing session. Then another train to Edinburgh, across the Forth Bridge (which I did see.)
Meanwhile Brad was bringing the ‘Mobile north to meet us… would he arrive before the evening event, or would we have to walk to the bookstore?
He got there just in time, so we arrived at Blackwell’s in fine style, to find a good crowd waiting, including the Scottish Reacher Creature contingent, and my friend Ian Rankin. Dinner afterward at a hotel. A really nice day, which passed in a happy blur, because I was tired, because late last night I got a call from New York… easy to forget that BAD LUCK AND TROUBLE just came out in the States in paperback too, and the figures just came in… and it went straight to #1 on the New York Times list—my first American #1, so I was celebrating all night. Still am, basically. A very sincere thank-you to you all.
April 2, 2008
An early start and a long, long day. We were at the Heathrow airport shortly after 8 in the morning and signed stock in Terminals 1, 2 and 3 for five hours, breaking only for such essentials as coffee, cigarettes, and a fabulous lunch at Chez Gerrard.
We ran out of time and skipped Terminal 4—but I will get there on my way home next Thursday—and we avoided the Terminal 5 chaos, including re-booking our flights to Aberdeen on an alternative carrier. We went on BMI, which used a regional jet—shock, horror, see previous tour blogs—but it took us north OK. We had to cope without Brad (he’s bringing the Bradmobile to meet us in Edinburgh tomorrow evening) and decided to walk to the evening event, based on local advice that the book store was a 10-min stroll from the hotel. Yeah, right. It was 10 mins if you were a sprinter with realistic hopes of qualification for Beijing. But the event was great—a sold-out SRO crowd awaited and we had lots of fun. We took a taxi back, naturally.
April 1, 2008
London at night
A light day today—some TV and then two drop-ins in the West End, separated by a slow drive through traffic, which I didn’t mind at all, because I was gazing through the Bradmobile’s blacked-out window and thinking just how lovely London looked. It was a sunny spring day and the city was glorious—imperial, clean, spruced, full of spectacle and history. It looks even better at night—lit theatrically and dramatically.
Tuesday is numbers day—the paperback, in its third week, has slipped a little, but NOTHING TO LOSE is still a massive number one. “Emphatic” is what my agent calls it, and I have to agree—it outsold the number two book by 300 percent. Thanks, UK!
Dinner with Brad and his charming family up in their ‘hood, and then bed—we’re heading for Scotland tomorrow, starting at a gruesome hour.
March 31, 2008
First Merlin, and now Lee's
living his life backwards.
That's one way to look
younger every year.
So, I’m writing this on the Bradmobile’s new computer on the way home from the Bluewater event, so I might as well recount the day in reverse:
Bluewater is a huge mall built in an old chalk quarry, and it has a big Waterstone’s in it where a very long line gathered. Only one thing worse than a long line—a short line, so I was delighted to run 30 minutes over. Before that, we spent the day at the Gatwick airport, signing books for the travel shops. Before that, I got up and had breakfast. Before that, I went to sleep.
March 30, 2008
The Bradmobile: think this,
but much bigger
A fine couple of days… Highlights were many and various and included seeing the bestseller lists “in the flesh”, plus football at Chelsea (thanks, Brad), and a party at Random House UK head honcho Gail Rebuck’s amazing London home, which was full of celebrities for the occasion… And of course the new website, which looks great on my BlackBerry—but I’ll get a better look tomorrow, because the Bradmobile has just been fitted with an onboard computer with ultra-fast wireless broadband. We now have every gadget known to man… it’s going to be a tough decision how to spend the travel time: Planet Rock on the satellite, movies on the DVD, or surfing the net?
March 28, 2008
In Lee's dream, the
Nottingham swim team are all
Woke up again in Manchester but headed straight for Nottingham for a 90 minute lunchtime signing line at Waterstone’s. An uncannily large percentage of the attendees were called Chris. So, hi, Chris!
Then back in the car—with Planet Rock on the satellite radio—for the trip to the Midsummer mall in Milton Keynes, and another Waterstone’s event. “Midsummer” is one of my very favorite words in the English language and the Milton Keynes Waterstone’s is one of my favorite stores. The event was great—I saw legendary forumite Dot and a school friend for the first time in 38 years.
Then back to London with a movie playing. I’ll tell you what I did on the weekend on Sunday night.
March 27, 2008
If she'd kill for coffee, what
would Reacher do?
Woke up in Manchester, which I have done many times before, but not recently. Weird system at the Malmaison hotel—they deliver breakfast, but you have to make your own coffee. Guys, I can stay home and do that!
First up were two interviews—in the hotel bar, where someone else made the coffee. Then to Waterstone’s in the Trafford Center, which is a huge mall where once there was nothing but urban decay, for a lunchtime sit-and-sign, with an hour-long line. Then to the BBC for the Simon Mayo show, then drinks at the hotel with some competition winners from the UK web site JackReacher.co.uk.
Then the Deansgate event—sold out weeks ago, huge crowd, familiar faces, old friends and new. Plus steak and champagne at the Gaucho afterward. Repeat after me: it’s a hard life, but someone’s gotta do it.
March 26, 2008
Not the loneliest number
OK, Wednesday, right? Started with stock signings around the West End, including the gorgeous Selfridges store, where famous bookeseller Foyle’s has an outpost. Pizza for lunch—oh, the glamour—then some highbrow BBC radio in the afternoon.
Then the sales news. BAD LUCK AND TROUBLE is in its second week, and NOTHING TO LOSE is part-way through its first week. Both are on the list. Both are high on the list. Not sure if I’m supposed to confirm this yet, but both are at positions indicated by small numbers. Very small numbers. In fact, what is the smallest number of all? (Apart from zero, that is.)
Therefore a good time was had by all at the Transworld party tonight. And by Brad and Patsy and me on the late drive up to Manchester, ready for more fun tomorrow.
March 25, 2008
Maxine & Lee at Blackheath
Nice civilized start at 10 am, and a gentle round of stock signings around the City—which is London’s equivalent of Wall Street. No depressed bankers hurtling to their doom from high windows, so clearly the financial crisis has been exaggerated. Although London is generally a low-rise town, so perhaps things were happening behind closed doors. Hangings, perhaps, or overdoses.
Then a fun hour with Jon Gaunt on Talksport radio. Then a two-hour break (did I mention that this has been a civilized start?) Then into the Bradmobile for a long trip to the wilds of south London for the first formal event, in Blackheath. Terrific crowd, lots of fun.
An eleven o’clock dinner, then this blog, then bed. Night night, sleep tight.
March 24, 2008
Have to watch out for those
little extras in the suitcase
Got an e-mail Saturday morning inviting me to check in online for my London flight that evening … which reminded me that I better start thinking about packing … which was complicated by the fact that the tour will end with the British Book Awards dinner. I will never wear a tux, but I figured I should at least take a suit and a shirt and a tie, which meant a bigger bag than my trusty metal Rimowa … so for the first time ever I am touring with checked luggage—not a huge deal in the UK, where my old mate Brad will drive everywhere apart from the Scotland part.
I left JFK with WITHOUT FAIL on the New York Times list—not bad for a six-year-old book—and arrived in London with BAD LUCK AND TROUBLE #1 on the British paperback list. Very nice—except that it was snowing in London. So much for pleasant pre-tour strolls through the parks. I did make it as far as Marks & Spencer in search of a hat and gloves … but they were well into their summer stuff, so I’m obviously going to be cold all the time—unless the weather changes.
Did a phone interview with a German journalist in the afternoon Monday, but apart from that, nothing to do until tomorrow morning when the fun starts in earnest. Full report coming up.