S.G. Browne

The Glamour of Book Touring

You wake up at 6:00am PST Wednesday morning in San Francisco. You spend all day running last minute errands and packing for a 10 day trip and trying to get all those bright yellow Post-It notes with reminders off your desk. You catch the Super Shuttle, which arrives 10 minutes early and deposits you at SFO two-and-a-half hours early, but at least you saved $30 by not taking a cab.

You board your 11:40pm flight and get as comfortable as you can, hoping to catch some sleep during the five hour flight. But you’re not sitting in first class, so you know that’s not going to happen. Especially since someone a few rows back thought it was a good idea to bring their two three year old boys on the overnight flight and one of them screams and throws a tantrum every twenty minutes.

You land at Ft. Lauderdale at 8:00am EST, awake now for twenty-three hours, and rent your car from Budget and get on the Florida Turnpike to drive up to Orlando for your book signing later that evening. As you drive on the Turnpike, you blow through the SunPass lanes, the prepaid/pre-registered lanes that avoid the hassle of having to stop and pay the tolls or dish out exact change. You do this because the guy at Budget who checked you in told you that was how it worked and the credit card you rented the car with would get charged for the tolls. As you blow through toll after toll, you read the sign that says $100 per toll violations and wonder if you’re racking up a lot more than toll charges.

You get to Orlando at noon and spend a few hours having lunch and hanging out with Tommy Castillo, zombie artist genius and karaoke god (who sang “The Rainbow Connection” in the voice of Kermit the Frog in Winnipeg) and eventually realize you’re about to pass out, so you crash on his couch but can’t sleep because his two dachshunds have decided they really, really want to climb all over you and lick your face. So you rest instead.

At 6:00pm, after a shower and a change of clothes, you’ve been awake for thirty-three hours, so you drink the 5-hour energy drink you bought at the airport and head over to Barnes & Noble in Colonial Plaza for your 7:00pm signing. Geoff and the crew at B&N make you feel welcome and have up great displays and there are actually people waiting there for you and you talk and read and sign and it makes the fact that you haven’t slept in a day-and-a-half worth it.

At 9:00pm, you get on to the I-4 to Tampa because you’re booked at the Hilton in St. Petersburg, courtesy of the editors of Zombie St. Pete, the zombie anthology you wrote the introduction for and the reason you’re in Florida in the first place. You get on the Interstate and see the EZPass lane and blow through the gate, the same you’ve been doing all day long, only this time under the red light instead of the words DON’T STOP it says WAIT FOR GREEN. You don’t notice this in time, so you don’t stop. An alarm sounds behind you and you wonder if you’ve just earned yourself a ticket for running a red light. But at least you can write it off.

At 10:00pm, you pull off the freeway to use the bathroom at Burger King and because you haven’t eaten in eight hours, you cave in and order a BK Big Fish value meal. You decide that the BK Big Fish is considerably superior to the Filet of Fish from McDonald’s. You also realize you’ve just used the word “superior” to describe fast food.

At 11:00pm you check into the Hilton in St. Petersburg and you’ve now been awake for thirty-eight hours. Before you go to bed, you get on the Internet to post a few comments to Twitter and to check e-mail. Only the Hilton doesn’t provide free Internet service and because this annoys you, you go downstairs in your jeans and bare feet to sit in the lobby instead. The next morning, you cave in and pay for the Internet service.

Filed under: Breathers,The Writing Life — Tags: , , , — S.G. Browne @ 7:52 am