Monday, February 4, 2013

Adventures in Kim Harrison World

Hello! So you may have read last week that I went to a Kim Harrison book signing at the Tattered Cover in Denver last week...

It was snowing that night, and ever so coooooold.

It was actually clear in Colorado Springs when we left, and I hadn't checked the weather. The drive up to Denver is about an hour long, though probably a bit over to this part of Denver. We hit snow about halfway there and slowed to a crawl on the interstate.

~Pause, roll, pause, roll.~

It was so bad, my friend and I had to open the windows and let the snow drift in, because we were both nauseous. There's something about swirling chunks of snow that gives a person a little vertigo, especially when it's dark and the snow is whirling through various sets of headlights (plus, I suffer from a chronic migraine condition that causes frequent vertigo, so that didn't help).

The Tattered Cover is a shrine for readers and writers alike, and one I've wanted to visit for ages. Problem being, I'm not a big-city girl. I don't like to drive in the area, and I hate having to find parking (and pay for the privilege of using it). However, for Kim Harrison, and with the company of a friend and my little sister (who we picked up in Denver), I figured the trek would be worth it.

There are two Tattered Covers, but this one is somewhere called the 16th Street Mall, a stretch of old roadway with shops rising on either side. A shuttle runs from one end to the other alongside horse drawn carts, bicycles and pedestrians.

We found parking just a couple storefronts up. The meter wouldn't let my sister put in more than an hour with her card, so we shoveled in a few more coins, figuring we'd come back out to add money if we were in there too long. We then braved the slick pavement, shuffling through bits of slush, until we came to the unassuming, yet still magnificent, double wooden doors. My first sight of the Tattered Cover!

The old wooden floors creaked and groaned beneath our feet. I've always loved that sound. Bookshelves rose all around us, the smells of ink, paper and coffee enveloping us, drawing us in. Covers both shiny and dull beckoned us--leather, paper and cloth.

I should have taken a photo of the inside of the Tattered Cover, but we were late due to the snow, so we rushed upstairs to get our numbers for the book signing: 111, 112 and 113--yeah, we were really late.

For the signing, we were upstairs in a dedicated area. I dream of signing a book I've written in that space some day.

We moved around the already seated audience, taking in photos of famous faces that lined the walls, and ended up in a row one from the back, behind a large column. A few more people made their way in, some wearing matching shirts. We'd find out later that Kim Harrison gives away shirts at her signings/readings, so these guys must have attended others.

A brief intro, and Kim Harrison stood before us on a podium, wonderful thick hair, dark glasses.

She read a snippet from her new book, Ever After. I learned I'd been saying one of the character's names wrong the whole time...whoops! It was great to hear it in her voice, and she didn't read for so long that I was bored, which was nice. She then did a Q&A, her favorite part, she said.

The questions were good, better than I expected. One amusing one stuck out: they asked what burnt amber smelled like and she said she really had burned amber, and she didn't recommend it, because it stank. She was asked if she was tired of writing the series yet, and she said she was getting there, but wasn't yet. She also said that it was an author's job to keep themselves interested in their stories, because if they're bored, the reader is bored. She did say that when she grows bored of it, she will let it go.

She and her husband had some fun banter back and forth throughout, and during the signing process he came around and asked if there were any additional questions anyone had, any stories anyone might want to hear. He chatted with us about Kim Harrison World, and how she writes every day and keeps business hours. As he said, that's how you get a series of best sellers. He told us about their first date (Valentine's, but he had no idea it was that day; he just knew it was Friday). He makes her tea in the morning, and then checks on her throughout the day to see if she needs food. I asked him to write a letter to hubby so he'd know what would be expected of him. ;-p

During the signing, they also had a camera going around, and asked people to take photos of themselves or their shoes. Yes, she has a Pinterest board for shoes/feet, as well as photos taken at her signings, so check it out if you have an account.

We finally got in line, and when we got to the front a woman offered to take a picture of us (my little sister, me, Kim Harrison):

She was pleasant to talk to and, despite being a self-confessed introvert (her hubby is the extrovert), she was a great speaker. I highly recommend attending if she has anything in your area. I think she was heading east again, to one of the Carolinas?

When we got out of there, it was after 10pm, and I had a big fat parking ticket, because the meter had run out. I'd turned my phone off inside and had no idea how late it had gotten. Instead of putting the ticket on my windshield, where I first looked for it, they shoved it in the door, so I was all relieved when I didn't see the darned thing, then brought right back down. Messed up. I was NOT a happy camper. Jerks.

It had stopped snowing while we were inside, so we went to dinner at a Village Inn. By the time we walked back out, the snow was falling in those big, heavy chunks again, and the drive down was hellacious. My windshield wipers froze, so they stopped actually clearing anything off the windshield. My contacts dried out. Visibility was low. I couldn't tell if it was icy or just wet. I did finally pull off in Castle Rock and get the ice off my windshield wipers, but yikes! It dried up soon after, and we arrived to find a bone dry Colorado Springs (though it did snow overnight).

And that was my Adventure in Kim Harrison World.

I'd love to go back up to Tattered Cover, but I have no interest in paying the city anymore money to do so. Boo, hiss. Way to ruin a girl's night. Stupid meter. Stupid me for having manners and turning my darned phone off!!!! Next time I'll turn it on when it comes to signing time. (And, no, I can't wear watches--I kill the batteries.) My bad.

Ever been to a signing? How about a Kim Harrison signing? Did you get a shirt? Heard of 16th St Mall or Tattered Cover? Been there? Do you have as much trouble as I do adjusting to using only one space after periods?

May you find your Muse.


  1. I've never been to a signing but I'm hoping to soon :)

    Sounds like you had mostly fun - except for the drive and the stupid ticket. Sorry :(

  2. You were determined to go, weren't you? Bummer about the ticket.

  3. I was lucky enough to go to a signing with Aprilynn Pike and Veronica Roth (there were two more and I feel super guilty for not remembering, but I haven't read their books) and another for Kelley Armstrong. They were fun and I love that I have those signed books now.

    I had to laugh about your battery issue. My mom and grandpa drain their cell batteries like crazy, and watches fall out of sync when my mom wears them. Me, I just lose the stuff, then it's not a problem. ;)

  4. You were mighty brave to go out in that weather! It sounds like it was a great signing. Sorry about your ticket - major bummer!

  5. At least the book signing and reading were awesome, even if the parking ticket and weather were not. :/

    It sounds like a lovely time, in the Tattered Cover that is.

    How do you kill watch batteries? I'm intrigued. :D

  6. We're no stranger to 16th Street. That's where most of Slim takes place. And I love that Tattered Cover. We've been to many a good book signing there (and the bar next to it, the Wynkoop, is awesome). Kirk Farber even had a signing there. It was a lot of fun.

    Also, it seems you have some crappy luck, because of all the times I've parked downtown my meter's run up more than a few times, and I've never gotten a ticket. Yeesh.

  7. I don't even know who that is.

    But I do have a funny story about parking tickets that I should tell some day.

  8. I'm glad you got back safe with the snow and all. Ugh about the ticket, though!

    Beyond that, it sounds like you had a great time. :)

  9. What an adventure! I think I would have turned back when the snow got that bad!

  10. Glad you came up to the 'real' part of CO! Denver is terrible for parking. I get tickets regularly. If you don't pay, they give you a nice Denver Boot on your car. But they won't find you in the Springs! Kim Harrison sounds amazing. Sorry you had a hard time getting there.

  11. That's a great pic of you gorgeous gals, I love it! It's such a thrill meeting your fave writer(s), ain't it??? (How much more thrilling will book signings be when *we're* doing the signing, huh, huh, huh???) :-D

  12. Marcy, this was my first of this nature. Pretty fun! Readings at Cons tend to be longer, and I have a hard time with them, but this was well done.

    Alex, if the snow had started sooner than halfway, I may not have been so determined! Not sure, though.

    Carrie, those are the things that happen to me, too! So you escaped that particular curse? I even tried a kinetic watch and it never stopped running, but was absolutely never on time, ha! I've met Kelley Armstrong, and she was awesome. Nice and supportive, willing to answer questions.

    Sherry, brave...or stupid?

    Shaharizan, I have an issue with electricity. I can blow up light bulbs, too. It's sort of like super duper static electricity. My grandfather had a heart condition related to electrical pulses, so it may be something like that.

    ABftS, gawwwww! I just got the biggest prick of a meter maid, apparently. Maybe if I didn't have such a bad attitude about going to Denver it would go better? Self-fulfilling prophecy? Phlbbbbbt.

    Andrew, funny is good; you should definitely tell that one. Kim Harrison writes Urban Fantasy.

    Cherie, I did! I'm even venturing up to Denver for an MWA workshop on Valentine's. We'll see how that goes.

    Susan, at that point is was possibly damned if you do, damned if you don't. I've had a snowstorm move right along with me as I headed south, and there's a place that is notoriously bad in the snow (Monument Hill) that wasn't worth driving through in rush hour.

    Julie, haha, real!? It spanked me. Have you gotten the boot? Glad they can't track me down here, but I'll be a good citizen and pay my ticket. Shit, I should see when that's due by!

    Mina, sooooooooooooooooo much more thrilling! That's all I could imagine while I was sitting in there. So cool!

  13. Never been to a signing. It seems you had quite a lot of adventures. It's nice to be able to do something you want and at return to have a story to tell about your experience - astory others are interested in too.

  14. Shannon I am waiting impatiently to attend one of YOUR book signing event :).

  15. Shannon - well, my phone and computer and tablet batteries last forever, but I'm not sure about watches, since I seem to lose them all within a month. :P I think it's a funny phenomenon, though - irritating as it might be for those who have it. :)

  16. I am glad you had a great time, despite the ticket! I had never heard of Kim Harrison, but it sounds like she has been working on that series for some time.

    I hope to be able to go to a signing, at some point. I think I would be too nervous meeting someone I admired, though.

  17. I love the Tattered Cover. It used to be in an old house with old stairs and three floors. Then a great space in Cherry Creek North, but the rent became too high and it moved to LoDo in Denver. I have been to a few book signings; at one for Judy Collins and she even sang for us! They can be fun and interesting.

  18. Elena, that's nice of you to say. Now, whether everyone else is actually interested or not...

    Petronela, oh, I wait for the day!

    Becca, ha, it was!

    Carrie, I'm amused by it when something I need is not malfunctioning! It's definitely an interesting problem to have. Thus, I call it my SuperVillain power.

    Jak, I'm still nervous when I meet authors I like. I wish I could get past that fan girl attitude. I don't have it for actors, but I sure do for writers that I respect.

    Loverofwords, oh, how fun to attend a signing by her! I would have loved to have seen the Tattered Cover in its older iterations.