Breakfast in San Francisco, Dinner in New York

I’m sitting in my hotel room looking out at the San Francisco skyline on a sunny Sunday morning. Later today, I fly to New York to begin the East Coast leg of the Last Olympian tour.

Yesterday, we had two events in the Bay Area, and both were great. Books, Inc. hosted the first at a high school auditorium in San Bruno. It was a beautiful Saturday morning so we figured the crowd would be fairly small. Wrong! Over six hundred people showed up, according to the booksellers. Thanks to Walter (aka the Giant Storyteller) for introducing me. I’d heard legends of Walter for years, as he’s an institution in the world of children’s literature, and it was great to finally meet him in person. The only challenge of the day was the orchestra pit in front of the stage, which reminded me of the Pit of Tartarus, but we all avoided falling in as the kids came up on stage to get books signed. I met quite a few families from my old school, Presidio Hill. The staff from Books, Inc. was extremely well organized and we got through the signing line in record time. Thanks to everyone for being so patient.

In the afternoon, we headed down to Menlo Park for a second event at Kepler’s Books. I was a little worried that having two events so close geographically would make the stores compete for attendance, but I was proved wrong again. Kepler’s was absolutely wall-to-wall with kids. I was told we had somewhere between 600-700 in attendance, and the store quickly sold out of Last Olympian even though they had hundreds in stock. We signed bookplates for those who didn’t get a copy, so hopefully everyone will get their signed edition. Some of the moments that stood out for me at Kepler’s: Astara and her brother came up to the table and said they had a bone to pick with me. They were about the age of Camp Half-Blood counselors. They had their orange Half-Blood T-shirts on, ripped from what they told me were harpy claws, and their clothes were stained with soot from various explosions. “Who’s brilliant idea was a lava wall?” they wanted to know. LOL. I apologized that being demigods had made their lives so difficult, but I have a feeling those two are up to the challenge. I also got to see a former student from Saint Mary’s Hall in San Antonio (hi, Mirage!) who was in town with her mom. It’s so cool, and yet so surreal, to see people out of context like that. She was very sweet and told me how excited she was about the success of the books. Finally, thanks to Jenny, a young fan who made me an origami Pegasus. My youngest son Patrick is an origami fan, so he will love seeing that. Thanks to all the other fans who handed me beautiful artwork and thoughtful letters.

All in all, it was a great day. Thanks to my media escort Dave who helped out a lot. Dave told me he is gearing up for a Walk Against Cancer. Next week he is going to walk 43 miles from San Jose to San Francisco to raise money and awareness for cancer research. That made me feel like my travels were easy! You can check out his charity event site here.

Time to head to the airport. Thank you, Bay Area, for so much enthusiastic support. Now it’s off to New York where I’ll be staying at one of my favorite hotels, Le Parker Meridien. The burger joint in the lobby is one of Thalia’s favorite eateries, so maybe I’ll run into the Hunters of Artemis there. I’ll let you know. For my signings in the New York area, check the website calendar.

Rick Riordan