Diana Renn

Mysteries that Matter


Today’s post will be hasty, as I’m writing to the soundtrack of Tom and Jerry cartoons. It’s breakfast time in our hotel room, and my 5-year-old and his dad are in full vacation mode. That means breakfast with Tom and Jerry on YouTube. Sigh. I’m not exactly a fan of this show. Partly because of the violence, and mostly because of the music, which makes me feel completely frantic. I don’t know about you, but I like to ease into my mornings, not start them with maniacal chase scenes.

Nevertheless. Tom and Jerry are generously giving me some blogging time, so I’ll wrap up my notes from the Seattle TOKYO HEIST tour before the cat catches the mouse! (For those of you who actually have leisure time to read . . . notes from Part 1 of my tour, if you missed them, can be found here. And Part 2 can be found here).

Saturday found me in the beautiful port town of Edmonds, just north of Seattle. Once again, a CSI team beat me to the bookstore! Here’s the creative storefront display at the Edmonds Bookshop:

The Edmonds Bookshop is a real gem, bursting with books and bustling with customers. The booksellers made me feel right at home, and the owner brought in a spread of sushi. I spent an hour chatting with customers about TOKYO HEIST, YA lit, mystery writing, and Japan.

I was thrilled to meet two ladies from the Edmonds Sister City Commission, both of whom had read the book. Edmonds, WA and Hekinan, Japan are sister cities, with a great exchange program for teens. I donated a book and some swag for their upcoming raffle, and they gave me this cool T-shirt (above). One of these women came in adorned in gorgeous contemporary clothing from Japan, including these awesome split toe shoes! She said they’re super comfortable. (If you’ve been following my footwear travails on the previous posts, you’ll know how much I want these!)

After Edmonds, my chauffeur husband, my personal assistant son and I raced, Tom and Jerry style, our feet spinning into blurs, over to the city of Bellevue, for my final book event on the tour.

At the Bellevue Barnes and Noble, I joined my fellow Seattle-area Apocalypsies J. Anderson Coats (The Wicked and the Just) and Marissa Burt (Storybound) to chat about our books. This was especially fun because the three of us had met in Bellevue for coffee at the beginning of our publication journey, about a year and a half ago when we all joined the Apocalypsies. Now we were all presenting together, our books complete at last!

This event had great turnout, despite competition from the huge Bellevue Arts Festival right next door and a street closure nearby. We had excellent audience participation for some fun activities, and excellent questions. I’ve been raving about indie bookstores on this tour, but I have to say, my experiences with Barnes and Noble — here and elsewhere — have also been extremely positive. Every B&N seems to have its own character, and they’ve all been welcoming and enthusiastic. They really do support teen fiction as well as debut authors.

With Marissa Meyer, author of Cinder

At this event, I got to meet two rock stars! One was fellow Apocalypsie Marissa Meyer (author of Cinder) who showed up for a little shopping! Hey, look what she bought!

And . . . I met Realm Lovejoy! Realm’s one of the four artists who did an illustration based on Tokyo Heist, which I displayed here on my blog last month. She’s also an agented YA writer, and I’m hoping her book sells soon and I’ll be seeing HER present at Barnes and Noble. (And if you want to look back at my interview with Realm and her artwork inspired by the novel, you can find that here).

Thanks for reading my Seattle dispatches and book tour notes!

I hear an anvil dropping . . . I’m off to catch the tail end of Tom and Jerry with my son! 

With artist/writer Realm Lovejoy

It’s been a busy week here in Seattle! I blogged about the first part of my tour here, and now that I’ve caught my breath, I’ll try to catch you up on the second part.

Just a few of your friendly neighborhood booksellers!

On Thursday, I met my amazing Penguin Sales Rep, Colleen, who put together a fun lunch with Seattle-area book buyers (complete with a TOKYO HEIST cake! Wow!) We went to one of my favorite Asian restaurants, Wild Ginger, which is also mentioned in my novel. It was great to chat about books with such a knowledgeable group, and to see their side of the book business. I’m amazed by how many indie store are surviving — thriving — here in Seattle. (Compared to New England, where so many have closed). Is it because of the strong indie spirit here in the Northwest, as one bookseller suggested? The gray weather that encourages curling up with good books? Whatever it is, I’m blown away by how many stores there are — I don’t even have time to visit them all — and I love the cooperative spirit of the store owners, and the creative ways they reach out to schools, libraries, and community centers. Yay for Seattle indie bookstores!

Me and my shadow

After that, Colleen and I strolled over to the Seattle Mystery Bookshop, where I got to sign stock, meet more wonderful booksellers, drool over the bulging bookshelf full of new YA and MG mystery titles, and blog in the hot seat from their store! I wrote all about this experience over on my Sleuths, Spies and Alibis blog the other day, so you can hop over there for all the details.

You can also check out the post I wrote at gunpoint at their kind request here.

Storefront at Queen Anne Books

Friday was another two-event day, which led me to regret my impractical choice of footwear. It started off at Queen Anne Books, the most charming neighborhood bookstore I’ve ever seen, and where TOKYO HEIST is their teen “Book a Month” selection for July. (15% off all month . . . two more days to take advantage of that, and there are now signed copies in stock!) When I arrived on the scene, I discovered that a CSI crew had beaten me there. Check out their amazing window display!

Bookseller Tegan Tigani made me feel right at home, and served up great sushi in honor of the visit. I had fun signing copies and meeting with customers, and getting to know the great staff there. The multi-talented Tegan also wrote an article about my Seattle tour in Examiner.com, which you can read here.

I thought I might escape empty-handed, but no such luck. I seem to be picking up books everywhere I go, and I left Queen Anne Books with two books and the dangerous knowledge that they have an online store and speedy shipping anywhere in the U.S.!

Author panel at Barnes and Noble, Northgate

Friday evening found me at Barnes and Noble Northgate, presenting with a panel of Seattle-area YA and MG authors: Carol Estby Dagg (The Year We Were Famous), Helen Landalf (Flyaway), Kendare Blake (Anna Dressed in Blood), and fellow Apocalypsies Megan Bostic (Never Eighteen), Jennifer Shaw Wolf (Breaking Beautiful), J. Anderson Coats (The Wicked and the Just), and Marissa Burt (Storybound). We had great turnout, and it was fun to hear about everyone’s writing processes and publication journeys — I picked up new tips and, yes, more books! (I was actually so giddy after meeting all these rock stars that I walked right out of the store with an armload of books I forgot to pay for! Which, uh, is a fancy way of saying shoplifting. Yep, I did a Barnes and Noble heist. How embarrassing. I did make it back into the store before sirens wailed, and I did pay for everything, I promise!)

Don’t feed this to children.

There were two more store events yesterday, but I’ll save that write-up for tomorrow, so please check back.

Today I have a real day off, and am leaving momentarily for a family hike in the mountains.

I’ll sign off with a picture of my son’s dubious breakfast the other day: The Mickey Mouse pancake special, served up cold at a bar/diner around the corner from our hotel. Yikes. Ah, life on the road!

I’ve been enjoying some, well, unusual book signing events lately! Thought I’d share a few snapshots with you . . .

Here are two grinning fans from yesterday’s signing event. Can you guess what kind of place this is?

All smiles over TOKYO HEIST!

Did you guess dentist’s office? You’d be right! I signed quite a few books there yesterday. For real. Okay, I have a connection. My husband happens to be a dentist. And his office happens to have a captive audience quite a few young people coming in for summer cleanings. My husband LOVES to chat about books, and he’s gotten a number of kids and their parents excited about mine. (Are they as excited about flossing? Hmm). Some people who bought the books wanted them signed, so we set up an impromptu signing event.

Signing books in a waiting room was LOTS of fun. I got to talk to young readers at length, and they got to have a non-frightening experience at the dentist’s office. (Once I put away that creepy skull). And don’t tell anyone, but I even slipped them some packets of chocolate Pocky, since I always bring that to signings.

The waiting room event was so fun I’ll probably do it again. I know an orthodontist (okay, mine) who says she’d be happy to let me do a book event in her spacious waiting room. I’m considering doing it, and am happily accepting names and slogans for a possible Waiting Room Tour. (Brush up on your summer reading?)

What do you think? Would you attend an author event in a dentist or orthodontist waiting room?

Tokyo Heist Storytime, anyone?

Another fun event I did was last week at my local Barnes and Noble (Burlington, MA). Here I am at center stage in the Preschool Storytime section. (Watch out for flying owls!) Um, yeah . . . TOKYO HEIST is not really for the under 5 crew? But the usual reading area was overtaken with heavy tables full of summer reading books. Hence my relocation. The management helped lure some older readers over from the YA section. People were good sports about sitting on the teeny benches, and it ended up being lots of fun. I refrained from pulling out a guitar and bursting into song.

My other recent book event was on Cape Cod, with fellow YA mystery author Elisa Ludwig (author of PRETTY CROOKED, and the forthcoming PRETTY SLY, Harper Teen). Elisa and I spent a lovely afternoon at Where the Sidewalk Ends Bookshop, in Chatham, MA.

Roughing it on Cape Cod, with Elisa Ludwig

This was a chance to chat informally with readers and sign books, not a big reading event. We did have a lot of competition that day (inviting beaches, great white shark sightings, ice cream shops) but we met some interested readers, and we got to hang out and talk about writing and books in person, which was just so much fun.

Speaking of events . . . if you’re in the Seattle area, please join me at one of my events next week! I’m appearing at five stores in Seattle, Bellevue, and Edmonds (including a cool sushi party at Queen Anne Books!) And yes, I always bring pocky! Check out my events schedule for more details.

Do you go to author events? 

Have you ever been to an author event in a unique location? 

What makes author events memorable for you?

My apologies for the blogging lapse; it’s been a busy three weeks since the book launch! I’m celebrating Independence Day this afternoon with a rare moment of Independence . . . the family occupied, a moment at my  desk to myself!

Thought I’d catch up  . . . Here are some of the things I’ve been up to since June 16!

Tatnuck Booksellers, formerly a grocery store!
  • I led a fun writer’s workshop at Tatnuck Booksellers in Westborough, MA, with fellow Apocalypsies Gina Damico (CROAK), Hilary Weisman Graham (REUNITED), and A.C. Gaughen (SCARLET). We had a nice turnout, despite the sunny afternoon following monsoons, and local access TV even showed up to film our panel discussion. We had great audience questions. And what a gorgeous store! It used to be a grocery store, and it’s been tastefully redesigned as a spacious indie bookstore/gift shop/cafe. So nice to see a “regular” store transform into a bookstore, rather than the other way around! 
  • I transitioned my son from Pre-K graduation into summer “camp,” swim lessons, etc, etc. (Ah, the glamorous life!)
  • I dug myself out of the warehouse that my house seems to have turned into — boxes of books, launch party supplies, and swag had taken over. Purged stacks of papers in my office so that I can actually use my desk again for its intended purpose.
  • Worked on some new directions and material for the group mystery blog, Sleuths Spies & Alibis — we have some fun changes coming up!
  • Did some advance marketing efforts for upcoming Seattle events.
  • Prepared for a getaway to Cape Cod, which will also involve a book signing event (with friend and fellow YA mystery author Elisa Ludwig at Where the Sidewalk Ends Bookshop in Chatham, MA, this Saturday July 7, 2-4 — come say hi if you’re on the Cape this weekend!) I must say, I’m so thrilled to be returning to Chatham under totally different circumstances . . . last year at this time I was also in Chatham, hunkered down in a rental cottage, madly revising TOKYO HEIST while my family frolicked on the beach! 
  • Visited some blogs of fellow authors, including Katherine Longshore and Linda Gerber
  • Recorded an interview for the Virtual Memories Show, a podcast run by my old college pal Gil Roth. I got to talk about how my experience with comics and manga influenced TOKYO HEIST. I’m not big on audio recordings and thought it would be nerve-wracking, but Gil’s a great host and put me at ease, and his questions were thought-provoking and fun to answer. I’m paired with an interview he did with a more seasoned writer, sci-fi/steampunk writer and critic Paul DiFilippo, and I sure learned a lot about writing career longevity after listening to that. Gil’s monthly Virtual Memories podcast is smart and entertaining; I recommend!

And here’s what TOKYO HEIST has been up to — it’s been a busy time for the novel too!

Whew! Thanks for reading my lengthy catch-up, and I’ll be blogging more regularly after this weekend!

Have a great — and safe — July 4th, everyone!