The Tour Begins!

I’m writing from the Hotel Derek in Houston after the first two days of The Lost Hero tour. What a great start it’s been!

Tuesday was launch day. I was reminded how fast kids can read when I got up in the morning to discover some readers had already finished the book, which is the longest I’ve ever written. And here I was feeling all proud for producing two books a year, which is twice as fast as I usually write. My readers are like, “Burp! Great. Where’s the next one?” Ahhhhh! But of course, what a fantastic problem to have.

Before hitting the road, I stopped by my local independent bookstore The Twig and signed stock, so if you want to order a signed book, feel free to contact them. They are happy to ship orders. (I’ve always got to support my hometown store, right?) Most of the stores where I’m doing events will also have signed stock left after I visit.

Tuesday afternoon I drove to Austin for the launch party at BookPeople. Honestly, I’m running out of adjectives to describe how over-the-top amazing their events are. We had costumed Roman legionnaires, satyrs, goddesses, Mr. D himself, and even a walking tree that stole the show. I’ll post some pictures and video as soon as I can, but seriously, you had to see this guy to believe it.

The event was also a live simulcast on the web, and I understand we had over 10,000 people tune in from all over the US, Canada, the UK, China, and Brazil – just to name a few countries that participated. Disney will be posting the video soon, and I’ll share a link as soon as I have it. Some of the questions: Will there be a butt-kicking hero like Annabeth in the new series? Answer: Jason is no slouch with the sword. Piper is not really a fighter, but she has a demigod ability that is possibly the coolest power ever. You’ll see what I mean. Question: Who do you like writing about better, Percy or Jason? Well, it’s not really fair to say yet, since I’ve written about Percy for five books and Jason for only one. Of course, everyone is more familiar with Percy, including me, but Jason is an awesome hero too. The real question: What happens when and if these two meet? Hmm . . .

We had a crowd of thousands, with folks driving in from as far as Little Rock and Louisiana. I also got to meet Stanford from Louisville, Kentucky, who won the Red Pyramid contest last summer and got a trip to attend the party. What a great kid, and if he could figure out those on-line puzzles, he’s a lot smarter than me!

Thanks as always to Topher Bradfield and the entire crew at BookPeople for a fabulous event. They manage to top themselves each and every time! We also announced the Seven Demigod sweepstakes at the event, which will send seven lucky kids to an exclusive session of Camp Half-Blood next summer. Check out the details, rules and regulations on the Heroes of Olympus site.

Yesterday I got to sleep at home one night in San Antonio before flying to Houston, where I did an event for the always incredible Blue Willow Bookstore. We used an athletic center near the store, and I understand this was their first event in that space. Ironic that the first event in an athletic center is a book signing, but hey, why not. The director of the center joked that the IQ of the place went up tenfold during the signing. (Their joke, not mine!) I got to run down the tunnel onto the court, so I felt like I should be wearing a numbered jersey. The crowd of about 800 people was really enthusiastic. I especially liked all the homemade T-shirts, including “My Other Car is a Centaur,” which seems to be the popular slogan for this tour! Favorite questions: Who is the most complex character I’ve ever written? I think it would be either Sadie Kane from Red Pyramid or Leo Valdez from Lost Hero, though they are all complex in their own ways. Question: Which character is the most fun to write about? Answer: I normally say Tyson and Grover, but now I have a new favorite: Gleeson Hedge from Lost Hero. He is a riot.

Thanks to Blue Willow and all the teachers and librarians who brought their kids to the event. Always a pleasure to visit Houston. Now I’m off to St. Louis for a library-sponsored event tonight. I understand the last event I did in St. Louis was the largest book-related event ever in the city at 1700 people, and this event will be even bigger. It’s sold out. Yikes! Don’t worry, guys. I’m happy to stay until everybody gets their books signed.

Looking ahead, I hear that my events in San Jose and Pasadena are also sold out. Wow! For other stops on my tour, you can check my web calendar. Hope to see you all on the road!

Rick Riordan