Launch Day Business

Posted: March 22nd, 2011 under Kings of the North, the writing life.
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After hanging about reading posts and comments and tweets and email about arrivals for longer than I meant to (Daylight Savings Time–for weeks I can’t use light to judge time of day, and my old computer refuses to stay on the right time even when I reset it…it will flip over in April sometime), I didn’t have time to zip in and out of the city.  Instead, I called bookstores and planned a two-day set of shelf-stock signings.    Things did not go as planned right from the get-go, but I did manage to hit bookstores in three towns,  though the one copy of Kings in one store was bought twenty minutes before I got there.

It was a difficult trip, as the wind was blowing in strong gusts and shaking the car the whole time and the cities were distant enough that I spent a lot of time holding the car in the lane with considerably more force than it ordinarily needed.   The hind wheels of tractor-trailers were constantly veering into the next lane as the wind pushed on those high sides.  However…though few books got signed, arrangements were begun to go back when a) books had arrived, b) books were unpacked and the Community Relations Manager said it was OK to let me sign them,  c) books were ordered and arrived.

Tomorrow, the city, where calls revealed that although the Borders stores there aren’t *entirely* closed, no one answers the phone.    I signed books at the big one before Christmas, and I’m betting that they weren’t sent any of the new book, so I’m not trying again (lack of time…and their announcement on the phone before they say “stay on the line for a sales person” and then don’t answer, is that they’re down to selling the furniture.)    I have three stock signings set up (two B&N and one independent) and will try for a fourth, but I also have a huge Bach rehearsal in the evening and have to spend *some* time practicing.

I came back from the “tour” about 4:30 to find Bombadil the tractor in the driveway.    Bombadil is no longer in the driveway, but tucked away  in the north horse lot.  If it’s not blowing a gale tomorrow morning early, I may get a little shredding done before leaving for the city.   No use fighting morning rush hour.  Except of course that Daylight Savings Time means it won’t be light enough to mow at the right clock time to get it done…though I may anyway.  We’re having cool mornings with some humidity in the air–much safer to use potentially spark-generating machinery then.

Thank you all for the arrival notices and the kind words.     I’m now putting on headphones to spend an hour or more working on the Bach stuff.   Tomorrow I may not manage a post–depends on when I get away and get back after rehearsal (usually between 10:30 and midnight.)


  • Comment by Kip Colegrove — March 22, 2011 @ 9:56 pm


    Bombadil…now *that’s* a name for a tractor.

    Walked out of the rainy night into the local Borders–and there they were, glimmering on the shelf. One of them now resides (faced out) on my dresser, soon to be open in joyful hands.

    Thank you. The laborer is worthy not only of wages but all reasonable and effective forms of encouragement.

  • Comment by elizabeth — March 22, 2011 @ 10:00 pm


    Thank you, Kip. I’ve now done a solid hour+ on the Bach (with a lot more to come)and think maybe bed at 11 is a smart prep for what tomorrow promises (visiting stores, music practice, and then the big sectional rehearsal.)

  • Comment by Naomi — March 23, 2011 @ 3:27 am


    Dear Elizabeth,
    Just finished second rereading, started on Oath again and will do a thirdsoon, what a terrific book! I have an urge to clip the Lady round the ear’ole though!The stores should all put out the red carpet for you…

  • Comment by Eir de Scania — March 23, 2011 @ 5:46 am


    Re: the Lady – you and me both, Naomi. I’d like to pat Arvid on the shoulder and say “There, there” as well. Guess neither would be prudent, though. 😉

  • Comment by Katrina — March 23, 2011 @ 4:01 pm


    Since I’m now lacking a physical store that I’m willing to buy books from, I ordered my copy from Borders. They mailed it yesterday and I picked it up from the post office on my way home today. For all of my aggravations with their store, I have to admit that their shipping was efficient. I’m trying to exercise restraint and finish the book I’m in the middle of before starting this one.

    Thanks for the legend posts. I enjoyed reading them.

  • Comment by Merewen — March 23, 2011 @ 4:28 pm


    I was wondering about the difference in page count between the hard cover and the Nook e-book. Would they be identical in word count if the hardcover is 490-some pages and the e-book is 452? I would have thought the hardcover, with more space, would have the lower page count if the wordcounts are the same. I’m just curious. Does anyone else with another e-book format have a lower page count?

  • Comment by Linda — March 23, 2011 @ 6:38 pm


    Well, your choice of background notes has become clear … thank you for both Kings of the North and the extras … Will begin a second reading tonight with a slower pace and more time spent smelling the roses so to speak (several rose bushes finally emerged from the snow drifts today, a good sign I thought).

  • Comment by Skyehaven — March 23, 2011 @ 7:02 pm


    Finished it for the first time tonight. My first thought was “No, don’t stop now!”

    Okay, that was my second thought too. Excellently told story. Can’t wait for Crisis!

  • Comment by Keenan — March 23, 2011 @ 7:54 pm


    Is it just me or are the covers for the U.K. editions cooler than the U.S. releases? Back to the main topic, I can’t wait to get to reading this.

  • Comment by Molly — March 23, 2011 @ 8:24 pm


    I finished it this afternoon, having shamefully neglected my children all day. 😉 Well worth it. A lot of times, when books are written from varying viewpoints, I find myself wishing to hear more from one character or another, and sometimes rushing through to make it to the story I’m the most interested in. In these books, I just love them all. You have all my thanks!

  • Comment by Amanda — March 23, 2011 @ 10:33 pm


    Was able to finish it up today.

    I agree with Skyehaven, it ended too quickly.

    I will give it a rereading sometime in the next few days since I sped read to find out what would happen.

    But my first assessment is: Bravo!

  • Comment by Kaye — March 23, 2011 @ 10:56 pm


    Just got an email from saying that my pre-ordered copy of “Kings” was shipped Monday, Mar. 21. I should have it in my hands in Edinburg, TX by the 28th. But I am not a fast reader of fiction that I enjoy, so it will take me a couple of weeks to finish it. I like to “be there.”

  • Comment by Richard — March 24, 2011 @ 8:13 am


    Wow! My copy, posted from Amazon UK last Saturday by “snail mail”, arrived yesterday lunchtime (Wed), was started in the afternoon, then finished by reading through the night from bedtime to breakfasttime: more refreshing than sleep. I trust it is not spoilerish to say actuality far surpassed the guesses I’d made from elizabeth’s hints and teasers in these blogs.

    No howling gales here in Britain, but warm spring sunshine, feeling like late April.

  • Comment by Bernardette — March 24, 2011 @ 11:52 am


    Apologies if I broke website protocol with anything in my last post. I’m reading it and it doesn’t seem too spoilerish but I am SO sorry if it actually is…

  • Comment by elizabeth — March 24, 2011 @ 12:50 pm


    Bernadette: I’m sorry, but I had to remove your previous post at it was indeed too spoilerish. (And my previous comment to that effect did not post properly, not sure why.) Since quite a few people who read here will not be able to read the book for days yet, this is a spoiler-free zone. There’s no way to “hide” spoilers in a comment from view once someone clicks on “comments” because all the comments come up, and someone could see something they don’t want to see until they’ve read the book. As a courtesy to those who haven’t read it, comments with spoilers will be deleted.

    I will start a Spoiler topic soon, and all comments to that topic–and that topic only–may contain spoilers. Since comments are hidden, those who don’t want spoilers can simply click on comments for that topic.

  • Comment by elizabeth — March 24, 2011 @ 12:51 pm


    Keenan, I’m not about to comment on which cover is cooler than the other. (You want me to annoy an editor? An art director? No way!) I like them both, for different reasons.

  • Comment by elizabeth — March 24, 2011 @ 12:54 pm


    Molly, that’s always the problem with multi-viewpoint books. I’ve been known to skip through reading one viewpoint at a time, in other peoples’ books. I’m glad you were OK with the multi-viewpoints and that I picked the right moments to switch from one to another. (It’s tricky…some of it can be analyzed, but some of it’s a gut feeling thing. And readers have a wide range of tolerance/intolerance for the transitions, so I’m sure it’s not perfect for everyone.)

  • Comment by genko — March 24, 2011 @ 2:03 pm


    The bookstore I’ve pre-ordered through tells me via e-mail that the book will be in tomorrow. I have several work-related errands to run, for which I have to rent a car, and will put picking up the book into the trip — it’s on the way, after all. It’s just as well I don’t have it yet, because I don’t have any time to read it anyway. Maybe not until Saturday night or Sunday late afternoon, but then I intend to devour it once, and then go back and reread immediately, like I did Oath.

  • Comment by Mike D — March 24, 2011 @ 2:48 pm


    Since Elizabeth asked for bookstore reports, I hope this is a good place to put them.

    Waterstones, Walton-on-Thames has one copy on shelf of Kings of the North (and one of Deed and Oath of Fealty).

    Mike D

  • Comment by Bernardette — March 24, 2011 @ 6:16 pm


    No worries! I’m sorry that I posted it, I’ll be much more careful for a while yet 🙂

  • Comment by elizabeth — March 24, 2011 @ 6:24 pm


    Bernadette, SpoilerSpace is now available–no waiting on that one. Check back.

  • Comment by Kathy_S — March 25, 2011 @ 4:54 pm


    My preordered copy has arrived, hurrah!

    So nice to have something positive on the day a disappearing wallet left me a nonperson until such time as cards & ID can be replaced….

  • Comment by elizabeth — March 25, 2011 @ 10:12 pm


    Kathy–glad the book came, but a disappearing wallet…oh, YUCK! I’m so sorry!

  • Comment by Ragan — March 26, 2011 @ 2:09 am


    I read the original Paks series many years ago. I’ve bought dozens of copies for friends, who’ve then turned around and sent to their friends…..and I can’t tell you how excited I am you’re bringing this story ’round. Such wonderful storytelling, beautiful writing, just wonderful. Thank you, Elizabeth, for bringing these people into our lives. You are a goddess among women. 🙂

  • Comment by elizabeth — March 26, 2011 @ 8:31 am


    Oh, thank you, Ragan, for being a supporter/enabler! I’m convinced that good readers make good writers better, so I’m grateful to all the good readers over the years.

  • Comment by Terri — April 3, 2011 @ 9:00 pm


    Is there a place where you announce book signing schedules? I don’t live so far way and I’d love to meet you someday !! I’ve been reading the Paks books through pretty much every year for the last 13 years or so. It’s strange and delightful to be with my favorite characters, to me long-time companions, and not know what the next page will bring. Thank you so much for returning to extend their stories !!

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