Monday, March 10, 2014

Wall Of Spears tour week five wrap

Week five was focused on Brisbane - in fact it was all about Brisbane. And racing around in taxis!
Thanks to Queensland steadfastly refusing to switch to daylight savings time, I flew out at 6.20am and arrived in Brisbane 10 minutes later. The perfect time to hit bookstores - not!
First up was TLC Books, a delightful bookstore in Manly, a waterside village on Moreton Bay. It's exactly the sort of indie bookstore I love to support but there was one problem. No books!
The HarperCollins delivery driver was stuck at a Kmart shop about 15 minutes away. Now, what he was doing being stuck at Kmart I have no idea and, frankly, don't really want to know. It's his business entirely. But all I could do was chat with owner Tanya and then sign some books when they arrived exactly five minutes before I was due to leave. Now that's timing ...
Next up was the big city Dymocks store. This is a great store but almost all the books are upstairs, so I have to get people to stop and talk before they are on the escalator up. Not easy. But I met many wonderful people, including a couple from Singapore who bought all six books to have them shipped back home.
There were also a few people who insisted they hated to read, even though they were in a giant bookstore. Hmmm ....
Next up was Angus and Robertson, around the corner, or so I remembered. I didn't remember that well, because I spent 15 minutes wandering the streets before I found it. Nothing like a brisk walk in 30C heat to get you cool, calm and collected ...
The table was also set up in the sun, which meant I and the table kept inching backwards as the sun chased us into the store.
This was a challenging one - not helped by about 25 Japanese tourists posing for photos with stuffed animals out the front of the store for most of the time I was there. Seriously, don't they have stuffed animals back home? If it was a display of live marsupials I would have understood but 150 selfies with a toy tiger?
Anyway, thanks to Jamie who came in specially to buy the new series, after picking up the originals last time I was there, as well as a bunch of other lovely people, it was still a pleasant afternoon.
Then I was off to Carindale, a huge shopping centre with a great Dymocks. That went superbly, highlighted by meeting Aaron.
He was the perfect example of why you can't tell who might read fantasy. About six feet tall and the same across the shoulders, with plenty of tatts, it turned out he was a David Gemmell fan and bought my original series, then came back to say he'd read chapter one and loved it. He's the sort of bloke that makes me love coming out to stores and meeting readers!
Then there was Tony, who posed for a selfie with me on his iPad, after coming in specially to pick up the rest of the books after he got hooked on the first series and had been following me on the blog. That is fantastic for a writer!
After a short 40 minute wait for a taxi (!) I collapsed, ready for day two.
This kicked off at Pulp Fiction, the specialist fantasy store in Brissie. But, again, the delivery was missing and they only had Wall Of Spears. Not an easy sell to someone who hasn't read book 1, let alone book 2 ...
Next stop was Dymocks Indooroopilly, which is undergoing renovations and I'd never been to before. No problem, because the people were great and we sold out in under 2 hours.
Highlights included the lovely lady from Mackay who bought the whole new series in case she was stuck in Brisbane with nothing to read because of the cyclone forecast to hit her home town and the lady who bought the new series for her fantasy-loving husband's 45th birthday the next day!
Last stop for the day was Chermside, truly one of the biggest shopping centres in Sydney. First time I visited there, I wandered, lost and bewildered, for what seemed like hours. On my third trip back, I actually went in the right door and walked into Dymocks a few minutes early.
The delightful Anne and her daughter Eden were waiting for me and bought the new series, having picked up the earlier books already. We compared tendon scars - mine is pretty much healed but hers needs more operations, which is a bizarre way to start but lovely to catch up once again!
It was an interesting mix of people, some who wanted to grab the whole series, others who wanted the books but didn't have the money that day. Still, as long as they remember the name ...
I also had to control myself from laughing at one point. A young woman was walking past, wearing almost nothing so she could show off the tattoos that covered her. That wasn't hilarious - the expression on the face of the middle-aged woman walking behind as she pointed and gestured and silently commented on this sight to her teenage daughters was. But, of course, I couldn't give away what was going on behind the tattooed girl by smiling myself ...
Chermside was busy but always lurking in the back of my mind was the need to catch a taxi to the airport and the huge wait I'd had at Carindale, plus the rush hour traffic that was surely building. By 4.15pm I couldn't wait any longer but needn't have worried - after just five minutes I jumped in a cab to the airport.
Brisbane. It was indeed beautiful one day and perfect the next ...

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