Denver, CO: 1,576 miles
Luckily, the two grazing elk I saw along Interstate 25 last night - fleetingly, they flitted by at about 82 miles per hour - didn't leap out in front of my car. It might have been a mercy killing though. Of them, not me. It's hunting season in south Colorado and I couldn't find a motel room in Raton, New Mexico or Trinidad, CO. All the rooms were filled with people looking to bag their quota of elk. I passed by a lot of bars while looking for a room and there were platoons of hunters spilling in and out of them. I wonder how many elk are dispatched mercifully with one swift, fatal shot?

Monday night at Poisoned Pen went well. Now, you gotta realize, by "well," I mean well enough for me at this point. Which is to say that there were a dozen, maybe a baker's dozen of, people who showed up and seemed to enjoy the show and who bought books. And the store had sold even more books before I got there. They sold almost all the books they ordered. Barbara Peters, who runs Poisoned Pen, asked smart questions, and gave me an introduction that made it clear she'd read the book and found it interesting. Fun was had, by me.

The thing is, I like hanging out in bookstores talking with people about books and the issues they bring up. And other writers often show up and then I get to hang out and talk shop with them - which is great, since this writing biz is pretty solitary except when you're out on the road. So I like being out on the road. And at this point, I know a lot of the people at the stores and some of the people who come out to see me, and it's like visiting old pals.

Which is why I didn't mind too much today when there were five people at Murder By the Book in Denver - two of them friends and three of them the women who work there, who I've seen three years in a row now and who feel like friends as well. So it was like sitting around with five friends, showing them my pictures of Cambodia and talking with them about stuff that I'm interested in. Once again, I had fun. Although I would feel better if I could attract a large horde of customers to the shop for them. I guess part of the point of all this is that eventually I hope to do just that.

Earlier in the day I drove to Boulder and signed some books at High Crimes, the mystery bookstore there. Once again, nothing tangible or obvious came of it. But I enjoyed dropping in on the store for a visit and sooner or later, between me and the store we'll sell some books.

So, I guess this is my job, and as jobs go it's a good one. It's what I've always wanted to do. But it's more of an investment really. It doesn't pay worth shit so far.

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