So I was up extremely early on Friday morning, like 3:15. I got in the shower and got ready quickly. I mean, how much primping do you really need before hopping a plane to Tijuana? I was of the opinion that clean was good enough. My stuff was all ready; I had gathered it the night before. Then I had some Special K and waited for the rest of my family to get moving. Yes, I made all three of them take me to the airport. It didn´t faze the youngest kid. He chattered merrily about Pokemon all the way to the airport. There was no traffic to speak of at that hour, which makes Mexico City seem muy apocalyptic. Driving through the empty streets beneath a dark sky called up all my best zombie outbreak paranoia. Needless to say, that was fun.
They dropped me off at National Departures, where we all exchanged hugs and kisses. Since I had printed off my boarding pass the night before (go me!), I did not have to wait at the ticketing counter. Instead I got ahead of all the suckers who were waiting, and I slid like a greased amphibian through the security check. (Actually, I gimped. My ankle swelled from all the walking and it was hurting like a bitch. Took me ages to limp down to my gate. Like an idiot, I had forgotten to take any pain medication before leaving the house. Luckily I had it with me.) Anyhow, I was there super early, so there was a considerable wait for my flight. I tried to read, but I was too sleepy to focus. Dozing ensued. It was interrupted, however, by the arrival of a particularly grungy male who swigged Pepto, ate Saltines, and then compulsively picked his nose. Why do people do this? Trust me, sir, even if you pick your nose with your eyes closed, I CAN STILL SEE YOU.
The plane arrived on time, and I had been put in first class, even though I didn´t pay for it. Sweet! I sat by myself in the third row, also fantastic. Not so fantastic, the stupid sore ankle. By the time they brought the drink cart around I was in some serious agony. The altitude and pressure changes had made my whole foot swell until you couldn´t see any of the bones. Tasty! I took my medicine, which alleviated the pain, if not the swelling. I figured I could only grin and bear it.
Other than my foot, that was one of the best flights I have had the privilege to experience. It was so quiet. No crying babies. No annoying children. No hacking cough man. No constant peers ambling up and down the aisle. I slept a bit.
We put down at Tijuana a bit earlier than expected, and I was out of there like a shot. Very efficient. I got my Greyhound ticket for San Diego and hopped on the early bus. I had told my agent I probably wouldn´t catch the 8:45, but I so did. The pain medication allowed me to increase the speed of my gimping!
It took quite a while to pass through the lines at the border and go through immigration. Then I got to walk down to the bus terminal in San Ysidro, which is not the happiest place on earth. Next time, I think I will take the trolley from there, but I thought since she was planning on picking me up at the Greyhound station downtown, I had better not experiment with my ability to take the trolley successfully. Waited half an hour and then took the bus to San Diego. That trip was super fast, which meant I arrived an hour early for my pickup.
I decided to get my hair done and called a local salon I had scouted out the night before, just in case the gods were kind and I got in early. As it happened, they could take me, so I gimped over to Horton Plaza. (I tried to take a cab, but the cabbie wouldn´t drive me, even though I told him I had torn ligaments in my ankle, and he could see it was bruised and swollen.) So I made the walk. The pain meds were wearing off by then. That walk kind of sucked, but I did eventually arrive at Trade Secret in Horton Plaza, where they did a fab job on my hair. (Thanks, Ashley!) As I was coming out of the mall, I got a text from Laura, wanting to know if I was close.
I called her and told her my location, so she came to pick me up, very relieved that I had the sense not to get swept into the abortion demonstration half a block away. From there, we went to this awesome brew pub restaurant for lunch (totally cannot remember the name) where I had a kickass cup of lobster bisque and a BBQ pulled pork sandwich (with coleslaw on the bun!) Totally yummy. We lingered and chatted and generally had an awesome time. From there, we hit three bookstores, where I signed a good amount of stock. In every bookstore we visited, BLUE DIABLO had good placement in the New Paperbacks rack, generally at eye level too. Very exciting. I bought some books as we went, but I´ll do a book pr0n post later, showing off my stash. Around 5, we headed for my hotel, which was lovely, peaceful and totally out of the way. Laura was fascinated by it, as she had never been there. The quiet really worked for me. I got checked in, changed, and put on some makeup, so I would look presentable for the signing.
After that, we headed out again, and went to one more bookstore to sign stock. At that Borders, they had 14 copies, and Rob was really cool! He was very excited to see both of us, and he had me personalize a book for him. He said he had read the first two chapters of Grimspace in some email SF book club! That was cool, too.
Onward then to Mysterious Galaxy. We got there just after half past 6. The other author, Linda Thomas-Sundstrom , was already there. She had brought her husband, cupcakes, and some friends, which was cool. She is acquainted with Laura, so they chatted while I book-shopped. I had brought a list and the vast majority of the titles I wanted should be on those shelves. After a while, the fab staff at MG noticed my determination to find these books before the signing started at 7pm, so they went to work locating the ones I wanted. (I got a signed Patricia Briggs!!!) By the time I was done, I had a huge stack.
The signing went well. We had a good turnout, and people seemed interested in what we had to say. Jackie Barbosa was there, yay! I signed a fair number of books, some of them special orders from customers who couldn´t attend. That was cool. I also signed and personalized books for a couple of fans (*waves to Scott & Rachael), which the awesome Patrick took care of shipping for me. Everyone at MG was fantastic, but I have to give special mention to Patrick. He is just wonderful!! So friendly, positive, and supportive of my work, I swear I had a buzz from his warmth by the time I left. But that´s not all: through Patrick, I also discovered that Grimspace has gone into its second printing. I had NO idea!! But as Patrick was having me sign stock after the signing, he commented casually. ¨Oh these two copies of Grimspace are signed first editions. They must be left over from Comic-Con last year.¨ While I was mentally scrambling, he gave me other books to sign, flipping deftly to the correct page. I stammered out, ¨First editions? Does that mean there´s a second?¨ He nodded, and I asked, ¨How do you know that?¨ So he flipped the page to the copyright and pointed to where there´s a 2 after the 1, in that long string of numbers. Well, holy crap! I was totally elated and stunned. Nobody told me! Shouldn´t someone have told me?! But hells to the yeah, that was some UBER exciting news. Patrick also predicted I will be going to hardback in the next few years, which made me heart him all the more. (Not because I really want hardcover per se, but his faith in the fact that I will succeed to that extent made me very, very happy.) He also helped us carry all my books out to the car, which earned him a big hug. He´s now my favorite bookseller in the whole world. They also gave me a mounted BLUE DIABLO poster Rosanne from Penguin had sent them to publicize the event.
Jackie agreed to have drinks with Laura and me, so we first tried Cheesecake Factory, but it was hella busy. PF Chang´s was almost that bad. A brainstorm occurred to me. I mentioned there was a restaurant at my super quiet hotel, called Citrus, and I put forth that we might enjoy a quiet meal there. Everyone agreed, and Jackie said it was on her way home anyway, so we stopped there. Sure enough, the place was very peaceful. We were seated right away. The food was tasty, and the conversation even better. By this point, I was seriously flagging (and my foot was freaking huge), so after hugs, I stumbled off to my room, where I called my husband to let him know I was still alive, and then fell into a coma until 7:45am.
I showered quickly, got ready, and then went to wait for Laura in the lobby. She picked me up time, of course. We went to the best breakfast place EVER. If you´re in San Diego, you really shouldn´t leave without going Brian´s. In many visits, I have yet to order anything that wasn´t delicious. But in particular, their breakfast is fantastic. I love their omelettes and scrambles. The portions are enormous, though, so maybe split the food whoever you´re with. After a nice breakfast, we went to what may well be the coolest bookstore I´ve ever been to. Bookstar is located in an old theatre; it´s owned by Barnes & Noble, but style-wise, it is in a class by itself. They retained all the old decorative touches, so there´s a marquee outside, and it´s all very retro cool. I wish I had taken a picture, but dude, there was stock to sign inside! They only had four books left, which meant they had sold some (good!), but I signed what they had and bought one more book for the road. At that point, Laura dropped me off at the bus station. I waved cheerily, and trotted inside with my book-full carry-on bag, my purse, and my giant BLUE DIABLO poster. Let me tell you; that earned me some interesting looks.
I got there at 10:55, was buying my ticket at 11, and it was apparently my lucky day. The cashier called outside to tell the bus driver to wait, so I gimped quickly out the first door, where I climbed aboard for the next bus to TIjuana. We left presently after, but there was one more person who had to chase us. He caught us at the corner, and the driver let him on. I had some nice conversations in Spanglish with a man heading to visit his son in Guadalajara. He spoke in English; I replied in Spanish, so we both got to practice our foreign language skills.
It´s always much quicker getting out of the US than trying to get in. It took less than an hour to get to the airport in TJ. They didn´t even check my passport. I did push a customs button, and got a green light, which is good because they may have been alarmed at all the books in my bag. Yes, aduana officer, it is true. I am a book mule.
Anyhow, that meant I was seriously early for my 4pm flight. However, this is where things get super fun. As I was passing through customs in Tijuana, one of the officers spied my poster. She squealed; I kid you not. She called out my name. I thought, at first, that she had just read it, but she hurried over to shake my hand. She didn´t recognize me, but my name, she knew. She wanted to tell me she has read my first two books and she is very eager to get BLUE DIABLO as well, particularly because she knows it is partly set in Mexico. We had a nice conversation, and then she waved me through the line. Woot, my first special treatment as an author! I am considering carrying a big-ass poster everywhere I go now.
I was stopped outside the money exchange as well by a passenger who recognized my name. She made conversation with me as well. (How cool!) Then, I changed my dollars to pesos and headed to my gate, which wasn´t far at all. The last (and coolest thing) that happened at the airport came around 3 when I started to get peckish and decided I better have a sandwich before getting the plane. I went over to a cafe, where the the lady at the counter saw my poster and asked about it. She told me she loved to read, so I dug into my bag and got her a copy of BLUE DIABLO. I signed & personalized it for her, but refused to take any money. Hey, I´m not selling books out of my luggage! So she made me a delicious ham and swiss sandwich for free (thanks, Claudia!) to say thanks for the book. She said her husband would be excited she had met me.
From there, it was more waiting, and then the flight home. It wasn´t quite as peaceful as the prior journey, thanks to a small child with a whistle. But really, I had no enormous complaints. We landed on time; big thanks to Interjet, I will surely fly them again. I took a bus to the terminal, and found they had dropped us off right by the exit. Yay! By this point, my foot was huge again, but the high doses of pain med left me not feeling a thing. I took a taxi home, and soon exchanged hugs and kisses with my family, who seemed to miss me a lot. All in all, it was an amazing trip, and as I look back, I cannot believe how much I packed into those hours.