Friday, April 02, 2010

Rocky Rugs

It was a dramatic sky. Bruised black over the plains. Almost white over the Rockies where snow and hail swept down across the mountains. A washed-out yellow in the west where the sun was sinking and breaking through, turning the mountain ranges into paper cut-out silhouettes.

In the far distance I saw the Flat Irons - brooding and dark above the university town of Boulder, where I had gone on every one of my previous tours. But the book store where I had given my talks, High Crimes, had been forced to close its doors - a sign of the economic times.

But its owner, Cynthia Nye, ever resourceful, had swapped bricks and mortar for the internet, from where she is now selling direct to her clients. And making it work.

Tonight we were heading north of Boulder to the town of Longmont, and a rug store where Cynthia now holds her author visits. She had told me that some authors turned their noses up at this event these days, since she no longer had four walls and shelves lined with books. Which made me all the more determined to do my talk for her.

And what a venue she has chosen for her author encounters. An amazing emporium of oriental and navajo rugs - not unsurprisingly called The Oriental and Navajo Rug Company. Most of the rugs are hand made. The walls hang with them. The floors are soft with them. They lie in piles feet deep. There is artwork, crafted jewellery, and a small water fountain that brings the restful tinkle of flowing water and keeps the chi moving in a good way.

It is a wonderful, open, and colourful space for these events, and I took great pleasure in talking to the good folk of Longmont and Boulder who had braved the ever-changing elements to come and meet me and buy my books.

After the talk I got into conversation with one lady whose son lives in Olympia, Washington. I had noticed on the internet that my books were frequently among the top ten bestsellers in that town’s mystery bookstore, Whodunnit. This lady’s son had gone into the store and asked for a recommendation for a book to buy for his mother. The book they recommended turned out to be “The Firemaker”, the first of the China series.

As it happened, this was not a genre which had interested her in the past. She read mainly historical novels. However, something about “The Firemaker” had caught her, and she arrived at my talk with all six of the series for me to sign.

I signed Cynthia’s stock for her, sipping on a glass of soft red wine, and then a copy of “Virtually Dead” for the owner of the rug gallery, Patrick, who had been seduced by my tales of sleuthing in Second Life.

A word to those authors who have declined appearances at the gallery. Shame on you! Everyone who sells our work deserves our support. And I have to tell you that this is one of the best and most unique venues on any author tour.

So, then, it was back on the road. Through the dark to Denver, a glass of wine, a nibble of cheese, and bed. And today? Another airport, another airplane, another town. This time, Seattle. The forecast is for rain. Why does that make me think of Glasgow?


mm said...

We had fun taking Peter and Janice to the rug store in Longmont. It is an hour from Denver and we had never been there; so we had an adventure too. Hi to Carol, we will be in England in June, can we meet on June 14th, we will be in Chipping Camden that night.

Carol said...

We would love to see you guys!! Send me an e-mail with your details and Chris and I will see what we can do :-)

C x