Peggy & Michele, the owners of Otowi Station Bookstore, took us to dinner after the signing, so by the time we started down off the Los Alamos mesa, it was pitch dark. I couldn’t see the sheer drop-off at the edge of the road, but the lights of Pojoaque reminded me the cliff was there. It was like looking down at a town from the window of a Boeing. Fortunately, going down puts you on the lane next to the mountain.
We ended up in Santa Fe, always a good place to be. I had been trying for weeks to arrange a signing at the Borders in the Railroad area, a section of town that has become trendy since the building of the RailRunner, a modern new commuter train between Santa Fe and Albuquerque. Galleries and restaurants cluster around the old passenger station, and they are always crowded with tourists and locals, a much better locale than the strip mall Borders away from the center of the city.
The problem with the signing was that the second book, The Pot Thief Who Studied Ptolemy, did not yet have a Borders number. I turned this issue over to Billie Johnson at Oak Tree, and she badgered whomever one has to badger to get a BINC number (BINC being Borders Incorporated). She got one, but when I contacted the store, there was some new delay I did not understand. So I decided phone calls and emails were not getting it done. I went to the store and asked to speak with Jim West, the person who handles events. He is extremely busy, and I was worried he might not appreciate my unannounced arrival, but he was happy I came in. He asked if I happened to have the books with me. I handed him a copy of each one. He called up the BINC list on a computer as I stood next to him, and – sure enough – Ptolemy was not there. So he said he would put it in. Then he said, “You don’t happen to have a schedule of your other signings, do you?” and I produced one. He was about to make a copy when I told him the copy was for him to keep. He seemed almost flabbergasted that an author was organized. (Fellow writers who are not household names, take note – Bookstore workers are your best allies; make their jobs as easy as possible).
We worked everything out, and I left him the poster I had brought. What would have happened if he had turned me down? I would have been stuck with a beautiful 3’ x 2’ laminated color poster announcing a signing at the Railroad Borders. But it has a white slot where the date & time can be filled in using a dry-erase marker, so I could have saved it for next year. And if they never agreed to host a signing, I was out six bucks, which is the ridiculously low price I am charged for large posters by the Media Center at the university where I teach. There are some good things about being an adjunct.