West Coast Bound

Good weather held up for me yesterday in Ann Arbor – more sunny skies and warm temperatures. Our Disney sales rep Barbara took me to the Borders corporate headquarters for lunch with their children’s book team. The lunchroom was transformed into Poseidon’s realm, complete with fish on the windows and glittery blue and green decorations. Barbara supplied Greek salad and other Percy-themed goodies, and even put little plastic toy labyrinths on the table. As soon as I figure out how to work mine, I’ll let you know. I enjoyed meeting all the folks from Borders, and as an added bonus I got to check out the George Harrison signed guitar that they keep in the lobby. I wish I had stuff like that just lying around at my house.

In the afternoon I had a phone interview with USA Today. Battle of the Labyrinth will debut on the bestseller list at #5 tomorrow (that’s out of all books, not just kids’ books, and I was like dang!) so look for a small write-up on the series next to the list. I understand the book is also #1 on all the regional bestseller lists, the #1 BookSense childen’s series bestseller, and the #1 children’s book at almost every major retailer. It’s also the #1 children’s bestseller in Canada. I can’t quite wrap my mind around all that, but wow. I’m so glad so many kids are enjoying the series.

After my interview, I got to visit one of Borders’ new concept stores, which was way cool, then we headed downtown to Store One (aka the Mothership) where we had a videotaped event. Thanks to Susan, the children’s book buyer, for interviewing me! I also got to walk around the store and narrate my short list picks, then do a presentation/book signing. I’ve never done this with a full film crew present before and I felt like Johnny Carson (I’m dating myself there, I know). At any rate, thanks for all the folks who came out. Among the many fans, I got to meet a young man named Jackson Percy – yes, that’s his real name. He signed his baseball league card for me as a keepsake. I also got to sample a sandwich from Zingerman’s. I was told this is a ‘must-do’ when you visit Ann Arbor, and now I know why. The sandwiches are amazing. Even the vegan entrée was so yummy I figure there’s no way it could be healthy!

Today, after much rain and a few engine problems on our plane, I’m in the air and on my way to San Francisco. Tonight I’ll do my first-ever signing in the East Bay – at Books, Inc. in Alameda. Maybe they’ll let me stop by Peet’s, or Zachary’s Pizza, or Noah’s Bagels before the event. Choices, choices. Ah, it’s always good to be back in the Bay Area.

Rick Riordan