City of Dragons Tour – The Great Northwest!

So for the first leg of the tour, we flew to Seattle the morning after the M is for Mystery launch party, and relished being in my home state at Seattle’s finest bookstore, Seattle Mystery Bookshop, with the wonderful and awesome Fran and JB! I met some folks, signed books, hung out with the gang, blogged, listened to the soundtrack for City of Dragons and had lunch with a friend in Seattle’s oldest bar. Stayed at the Sleep Inn in SeaTac (and wished I actually could), but it was another early morning and a drive to Portland the next day.

Along the beautiful I-5, we stopped in Olympia to thank Linda Dewberry of Whodunit Books for nominating City of Dragons for the IndieNext list! We also enjoyed a great lunch next door at Olympia’s finest sandwich shop.

And I’ve gotta say … as a native Washingtonian, I’m very proud of my state’s hospitality. All along I-5, you come upon rest stops with highway signs advertising “free coffee.” Charities get donations of coffees, cookies (sometimes cupcakes and donuts) and offer them to travelers, who then donate cash. It’s a wonderful system. 🙂

In Portland, we stayed at an Arts and Crafts guest house in the Hawthorne District, close to Murder by the Book. I love this store! Informative, friendly, wonderful, they–like Seattle Mystery Bookshop–are a must on any northwest tour.

Before the signing, we caught dinner at a cool restaurant called Belly Timber that also had the advantage of being directly across the street (and it was raining–hard!). Tried some lovely fried chickpeas as an appetizer, and now I’m addicted. Seriously, if you’re ever there, try ’em–they’re even better than popcorn!

Dear, dear friend and brilliant writer Bill Cameron joined us at dinner and showed us how to cross a rainy and dark Portland street like a native. We had a good turnout for the Murder by the Book event, including the wonderful Theresa Bergen, ITW member and writer, who wrote a great recap for Reading Local. I got the chance to pass around ephemera and answer a lot of interesting questions and do a little reading. And of course–had a lot of fun!!

The next morning, we left for Seattle, eating lunch at a seafood cafe along the way (halibut tacos–yum!). We made good time–stopping for our prerequisite I-5 coffee–and squeezed in fifteen minutes of childhood thrills before heading to the rent car center and airport. 🙂

I was born in Tacoma and lived there until I was seven, and have very fond memories of Brown and Haley–makers of the famous Almond Roca. And my mom used to take me to the factory outlet store … which is still there!

The building is adorable, and we found out that it was originally built for the 1962 Seattle World’s Fair, then transported to the factory when the fair ended. So my love of World’s Fairs really did start early … in person at Expo ’67 and home in Tacoma with Brown and Haley!

The next leg of the tour takes me down to Los Angeles and points south … to Mysteries to Die For, Book ‘Em Mysteries, The Mystery Bookstore, Mysterious Galaxy and Poisoned Pen! I’ll be blogging from the road. As always — thanks for reading!