I wrote a book about my book tours, called Amarillo in August, An Author's Life on the Road. It's now totally obsolete, but tonight a little bit of Amarillo comes to Albuquerque.
I used to go to Amarillo and Lubbock every August from 2002-2007. Amarillo was the corporate headquarters of Hastings Corporation which was at one time one of the largest new booksellers in the country. I had one night at a Hastings where I sold 52 books, my largest single day of book sales ever. I had one four days stretch when I sold well over a hundred books.
One of those books was sold to a corporate vice president and we had some email conversations about going on a national tour, before he left for another job. One of the great lost loves in my life moved to Amarillo, but that's another story.
I also did a signing at the Barnes and Noble there. I've said this before about the Barnes and Noble in Amarillo. It is surprisingly cosmopolitan, and can sometimes pass for a store on the Upper West Side of New York or the one on the Santa Monica promenade. The people who would be going to the Santa Fe opera are at the Barnes and Noble in Amarillo. Since it is a few blocks off the freeway, the store also gets the screenwriter types on the way out to LA stop at that Barnes and Noble.
I had some great times on the trip. I ate a smaller version of the 72 ounce steak at the Big Texan. I ran through Palo Duro Canyon. I met noted actor/author Ben Stein (who is actually in a chapter in my book) at West Texas A and M university in Canyon, Texas and gave him a signed copy of Amarillo in August.
Even my bad times were memorable. I won't talk about Tahoka. Also note to self, NEVER NEVER NEVER ask for the New York Times at a Starbucks in Plainview, Texas.
As I got older, I found that my body could no longer chug a few red bulls and drive six hours and then sign books for another four. Gas also went up in price, and less people sold books. Once I had a real legal career, I couldn't take off work as easily as before. And now that I'm married, I don't want to sleep in a Motel Six off the freeway, when I can stay at home with my wife.
Tonight, I will be doing a signing at a Hastings in Albuquerque. I will only be driving a few miles, but it will feel like I am in another world. I will greet strangers and sell a few books. I will pretend I'm in Amarillo for the night.