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Andrew Fox
Posted on Wednesday, August 18, 2004 - 07:56 am:   

The "Andy Fox Busts His Hump to Get Out There and Sell Bride" Tour continues this week with its "Heart of the Delta" component. Those of you who have ever taken a guided bus tour know that every leg of the tour is described in the brochure as "Heart of. . ." something. "Heart of the Wine Country." "Heart of the Lake District." "Heart of the Unending South Florida Suburban Megalopolis."

Well, I'm hopping in the car tonight and pretty much hardly stopping until I get back to New Orleans late Saturday night (then I get back on the road again next week). I'm heading for almost every spot between here and Memphis that has a halfway decent independent bookstore. Here's the schedule for those of you who live in or near the Delta:

Thursday, 8/19, time unknown
Interview on KNOC Radio, Natchitoches, Louisiana

Thursday, 8/19, 8:30-9 A.M.
Interview on KEDM Radio, Monroe, Louisiana

Thursday, 8/19, 5-7 P.M.
Reading and signing at Windows Books
609 Park Avenue, Monroe, LA

Friday, 8/20, 11-11:30 A.M.
Interview on WYPL FM 89, Memphis, Tennessee

Friday, 8/20, 6-8 P.M.
Reading and signing at Davis-Kidd Booksellers
387 Perkins Road Extended, Memphis, TN

Saturday, 8/21, early morning
Signing books in stock at Square Books
160 Courthouse Square, Oxford, Mississippi

Saturday, 8/21, 1-3 P.M.
Signing at the Book Merchant
512 Front Street, Natchitoches, Louisiana

Wednesday, 8/25, 10-10:30 A.M.
Interview on Mississippi Public Radio, Jackson

Wednesday, 8/25, 5-7 P.M.
Reading and signing at Lemuria Books
202 Banner Hall, 4465 I-55 North, Jackson, MS

Thursday, 8/26, 7-9 P.M.
Reading and signing at Barnes and Noble Bookseller
2490 CitiPlace Court, Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Yes, I know that Natchitoches and Baton Rouge aren't exactly part of the Delta Region. So I'm fudging a little. "Heart of the Delta, plus Natchitoches and Baton Rouge" just doesn't have much of a ring to it. Give me a little poetic license here.

Maybe I'll see a few of you Night Shade Books posters somewhere out there in the heartland???

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Andrew Fox
Posted on Monday, August 23, 2004 - 07:42 am:   

Temporarily back home in New Orleans. . . I put nearly 1600 miles on my little Ford in less than four days. Most of my stops were worth the trouble (with one exception). The ladies at Windows Books couldn't have been nicer, and although thunderstorms helped keep the crowds away, those who braved the weather enjoyed my reading and pretty much had the uber-charming Mr. Fox all to themselves for a couple of hours. Plus, I got to meet Mark Simmons, fellow vampire novelist and station manager of Monroe's public radio station. We really hit it off, had a great time talking shop and comparing notes on conventions, and he treated me to a really nice dinner at Outback. Thanks, Mark! I owe you a dinner! Turns out my radio interview in Memphis will be syndicated to twenty-six public radio stations in late September, so that was most definitely a worthwhile stop. It did my heart good to see so many copies of my two books piled on the front table at Square Books in Oxford, after so many years of my stopping in there and browsing. Friday night's event at Davis-Kidd in Memphis was the best of the tour so far; lots of friends from MidSouthCon showed up, plus new faces, and the store managers hung a HUGE Bride of the Fat White Vampire banner that made me feel like a visiting rock star. Then my friends Michael and Ann from MidSouthCon had me over to their home in North Mississippi for a Shabbat dinner with some other guests. Michael served a kind of sushi salad that was terrific, and it turns out that their other guests both grew up in New Orleans, so we had plenty to talk about. Then Michael and Ann let me crash on their couch, because I needed to get up at 5 A.M. to make a seven-hour drive to. . .

Natchitoches, Louisiana. This was one leg of the trip I could've done without. It would've been fine if I could've headed there straight from Monroe, because that would've been only a two-hour drive out of my way, and what happened wouldn't have been so aggravating. But the schlep from Memphis to Natchitoches was over 400 miles, longer than it would've taken me to drive there from New Orleans. And my big payoff was a somewhat tortuous two hours during which I sold a grand total of three books (despite newspaper ads and a radio interview). No problem, I thought; the store owner will be able to hand-sell the signed books I leave behind in the coming months, so the drive will not have been a waste. Unfortunately, the store owner had different ideas. Here's a bit of advice to all you bookstore owners and managers out there: don't tell a writer who's just driven 400 miles to reach your store that you don't want him to sign your extra stock, because if the books remain unsigned they're still returnable. You want to return the books after I'm gone? Fine. You're the businessman. It's your money that you're putting on the line, after all (not that I didn't invest any money in gas and wear and tear on my car and myself to get to your store). But don't rub it in my face while I'm there and still feeling woozy from the drive. That's called being rude. Actually, I don't think this particular gentleman was being rude; I think he was just being thoughtless.
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Andrew Fox
Posted on Thursday, August 26, 2004 - 07:40 am:   

I spent yesterday in Jackson, Mississippi. I was fortunate enough to be scheduled for two radio interviews, a live one on the Nellie Neal Show on WFMN and a taped one, to be broadcast at 9 A.M., either Friday, August 27 or Friday, September 3, on Mississippi Public Radio. The first interview was scheduled for 9:20 A.M., so I had to leave New Orleans before 6 A.M. Brought a big cup of iced coffee on the road.

For any of you who find yourselves visiting or passing through Jackson, don't miss a stop at Lemuria Books (Banner Hall, located at 4465 I-55 North, on the access road next to the highway; 800-366-7619). This is one of the nicest, best-staffed independent bookstores in the country, and the fact that it thrives in a city as small as Jackson is amazing (and heartening). The store recently added a collectible books annex that also serves as a performance space, bar, and patio. This was my second year making an appearance and doing a signing at Lemuria. I ended up personally inscribing only a couple more books there than I did at the store in Natchitoches, but the atmosphere was completely different. The staff at Lemuria are plenty confident that they'll sell the remaining stock over the coming year, just as they did with my first book. The reading was a lot of fun, and I got to sit and talk with some customers after it was over, including a medical resident who'd just moved to Jackson from Chicago and a young man who'd grown up only three blocks away from Bamboo Road in western Orleans Parish (and who remembers the Stern Mansion/Longue Vue Gardens very well, the model for the walled compound owned by the High Krewe of Vlad Tepes). He doesn't recall growing up with vampires for neighbors, but as a little kid, he wasn't staying up too much past dark.

Tonight, it's off to the big Barnes and Noble in Baton Rouge. Crystal, the Community Relations Manager there, has been a big supporter, so I've got high hopes for this stop.
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Lou Anders
Posted on Thursday, August 26, 2004 - 08:18 am:   

Man, all over the south and no Alabama on that list! What up with that?
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Andrew Fox
Posted on Thursday, August 26, 2004 - 01:16 pm:   

Hi, Lou! Actually, I'd love to come to Birmingham (only five hours or so away from New Orleans) and do an event. Would you recommend I get in touch with any stores in particular?
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Lou Anders
Posted on Thursday, August 26, 2004 - 08:12 pm:   

Well, now that you mention it, there are a number of possibilities.

There are several Barnes & Noble outlets, the newest of which - the Patton Creek location - has an impressive SF&F section.

Barnes & Noble Booksellers
201 Summit Boulevard, Suite 100
Birmingham, AL 35243

Barnes & Noble Booksellers
Patton Creek
171 Main St.
Hoover, AL 35244

Then there's a new independant bookstore called Milestone Books. The owner's name is Jim. He freely admits that he doesn't know much about the genre, but is willing to learn. Despite this, Milestone already has a decent SF&F section and Jim has said that he is very open to instore events. His contact details:

Milestone Books
700 Montgomery Hwy, Suite 106
Vestavia Hills, AL 35216 USA
(205) 824-2223

Then it occurs to me that your particular forte might work well at Empire Comics, a sprawling, unkempt three store outfit that sells comics, games, toys & models, techno music, anime, and even a few books. The store attracts hundreds of gamers on a Thursday, Friday or Saturday night, flocking in to play Vampire the Masquerade and other such nonsense. While gaming isn't my thing and I tend to avoid it during these hours, they might be a sympathetic audience as there will no doubt be more than a few fat, white and desperate vampires, who could perhaps relate to your title character.

The owner's name is Paul Stewart. He's not done any instore events before, but it's something he's interested in exploring. And something I'd like to see him explore, in my growing quest to get more of these tours to stop in the Magic City.

Empire Comics
3248 Cahaba Heights Rd
Birmingham, AL 35243
(205) 970-0999
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Andrew Fox
Posted on Friday, August 27, 2004 - 06:53 am:   

Lou, thanks so much for all the great information. I'll get in touch with some of these folks, see who might be interested in hosting me, and check my calendar for an open weekend. Thanks again!
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Andrew Fox
Posted on Friday, August 27, 2004 - 07:05 am:   

Last night in Baton Rouge was fairly typical for the tour so far. Not much of a crowd showed up for the formal part of my presentation, but the store manager (Crystal) brought in a cartload of books for me to sign, and the store was filled with signs and displays that will help to sell over the coming weeks the copies I leave behind. Interestingly, in some places, the second book has been a catalyst for making the first book's sales reignite. In the last few weeks, Crystal's store has sold two cartons' worth of Book #1, versus half a carton of Book #2. Which makes sense; if I'm picking up a new writer's series, I'd want to start with the first book. I'm pretty confident that those customers will want to come back for the second one. One fellow who listened to me read last night bought both books and told me he was going to read the second one first. Hey, he pays his money, he does what he likes -- he can cut up the pages into individual paragraphs and sentence fragments and create his own collage novels, a la William Burroughs, if that's his thing. Plus, he bought an extra copy of Bride for a friend undergoing chemotherapy, which I really appreciated. A few members of Baton Rouge's SF club, Star One Delta, showed up in time to keep me company while I signed books, which was terrific, as I was able to catch up on lots of the latest Louisiana fen gossip. Crystal was a wonderful host; her next Random House event features an author who wrote a book about LSU's championship football season, so I'm beyond sure that she'll get a much, much bigger crowd the next time. Hey, maybe in the next Fat White Vampire book, Jules should become an LSU assistant coach or something. . . maybe the coach in charge of weight training and conditioning???
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Lou Anders
Posted on Friday, August 27, 2004 - 11:31 am:   

Hey Andrew, definitely check in with Paul Stewart of Empire. I stopped by there today, and mentioned you, and Paul agreed that his clientele was a good fit.

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