Houston, We Have Lift-Off

Writing from Houston, where I’m about to start my second day of school visits in CCISD, near NASA headquarters. Yesterday, I visited Seabrook Intermediate and spoke with grades 6-8. The kids were a great audience. We sold out of Titan’s Curse after the first session and ended up doing a huge number of bookplates for reorders. My favorite comment: a girl said, “Annabeth gets lost. Artemis gets lost. The Golden Fleece and the lightning bolt get lost. People in your books keep losing things. They’re very absent-minded.” Guilty as charged. My characters obviously take after the author.

In the afternoon I stopped by Annunciation Orthodox School to kick off their Percy launch party. The kids had box dinners and got T-shirts provided by the school. There was a typo on the T-shirts so The Titan’s Curse became The Titanis Curse, but I’m sure that will just make them more valuable for collectors. We also spun the Oracle’s wheel to discover our Greek god parent. One boy got Aphrodite as his mom and was NOT amused, but I told him it was a real compliment. The kids insisted I take a spin, and just for the record, according to the wheel, my dad is Dionysus. What that says about me, I’m scared to guess. Hand me a Diet Coke, will you?

Last night, we had the first Houston book signing for The Titan’s Curse. We packed about two hundred people into Murder by the Book. We ran out of Titan’s Curse copies, but I think almost everyone got at least one copy, so no one went away sad. After the huge signing line at BookPeople, I decided to play it safe and keep my presentation on the short side. It seemed to go well. Thanks to all the librarians and teachers who came from all over Houston and the surrounding area, some driving over an hour to get to the store, to get copies signed for students who couldn’t make it. Now THAT is dedication to your kids! My favorite comment of the night: a concerned-looking boy said, “I just read the cover flap that Percy gets a ride from his mom.” He frowned at the cover and pointed to the pegasus. “Is . . . is THAT Percy’s mom?” I assured him that, as far as I knew, Percy’s mom was not a winged horse. However, with Greek mythology almost anything is possible, so it was a perfectly reasonable question.

Tonight at 5:30 I’ll be at Blue Willow Bookshop (Memorial Drive at Dairy Ashford in West Houston). We’re expecting another big crowd, so Valerie tells me I’ll be out on “the patio.” Woohoo, I feel like I’ve graduated to the grown-ups’ table for Thanksgiving! Now I’m crossing my fingers it doesn’t rain. If you’re in the area, come on by!

Rick Riordan