Thursday, April 22, 2010

Knoxville, Montgomery & Nashville

It's Thursday and I'm just now getting over the brutal weekend marathon of books, breakdowns, and new experiences.

Here's how the story goes:
I was scheduled to do a signing last Thursday in Knoxville, TN at Barnes & Noble for their educator's week. No biggie right? I was going to run to Knoxville and come home that night. Easy right? Wrong. My van broke down 52 miles outside of Knoxville. Transmission fluid was everywhere. Bad sign. I was lucky enough to pull off at a truck rest stop but the car really wouldn't move at all. So there I sat, baking in the sun while I waited on Triple A. When they arrived, I rode with the tow driver to a transmission shop in Knoxville where it was discovered that the old van would need some serious work and would be stuck there for the next several days.
Here she is...down for the count.

So, I'm an hour late for the teacher's reception but I'm determined to get to the bookstore to sell some books. The manager of B&N was AWESOME. (Yes that needs to be in caps) She got someone from the store to come down and pick me up. Now mind you that I'm drenched in sweat and I had to change clothes at the transmission shop. So there I am coming out of the bathroom with spat-covered combat boots, a vest and goggles... Also note that I had to get all of the books, accessories and table stuff out of the van in case I wasn't coming directly back. This was a total of nine loads of things everywhere I went from here on.

So I get to Barnes & Noble and yep... I missed the reception. I don't think another teacher showed up. I did get to sign with "Angels In The Shadows" Author Lisa Grace and she was super nice and we did get some new customers in so that was nice. I'll tell ya, I was already exhausted just from the heat and stress.

So from the store I got a cab to a random hotel (remember the 9 loads per move factor)and I settled in where I watched the first two Star Wars Family Guy on TV. The next morning Enterprise Rentals "picked me up" an hour late but they were pretty cool about everything as well. I got the rental car, bolted back to the transmission shop and cleaned the rest of the car out as I thought I really might junk the whole thing.

Directly after that I drove back to Nashville where I collected my overnight things, more books and got right back in the car for a 4.5 hour drive to Montgomery AL. Arriving in Montgomery was pretty neat. I forgot I'd been there before. I actually played at a skatepark (which I passed and recognized) back in the Fall With Me days. I did get in town in time to catch the Predators win against the Blackhawks on TV at the bar.
Sorry, I've always loved the rocket next to the highway when you get in Alabama. Had to snap a pic.

The next morning it was time to vend at the Alabama Book Fest. As all book fests go, this was awesome! May I take the time to mention that everyone you pass in Montgomery actually says "Good Morning" and they mean it. Sometimes it's the little things that count. I digress. With the help of promo queen Ashley, the book fest was a great success and once again I was reminded that the best people in the world are eager readers. I have to mention I met a young budding artist, Blake Mors who is really quite amazing. She's seventeen and way ahead of the curve on fantasy art. I was so jazzed about her work that I actually took pictures of some of her sketches. Enjoy! (Ok, I'll admit up front that Blake's last name is not just Mors. I have it all written down but in the mess of switching 3 cars I've left her information in a box. I promise I'll get you her full last name shortly.)
Blake #1

Blake #2

Ashley and I at the booth.

Oh, want some more southern hospitality? So I have this debilitating headache after being outside all day right? I get to the hotel and I feel like I'm going to die. Of course I'm fresh out of any meds so I go down to the lobby to ask if they have anything for sale... They don't and I have to walk... Well, this guy who's just staying at the hotel runs up gives the bell man his room number and the location of some Ibuprofen so he can go up and get it for me... Yeah. Just a regular guy gives his room number and permission to get meds out of his bag for me... How cool is that? Feeling much better I ended the night with some beers at the local microbrewery. Oh, one more thing, this is the second time this has happened but I got a picture of a dirigible flying over the fest! Yeah, that was my scout ship looking out for me.

Sunday rolls around and I have to get back to Nashville. Yep another event. This one is put on by the local goth night people but this night was a special event "Divergence II The Steampunk Ball". I met Brad at Blackstone brewery for a pint before the show and off we went. This was a great time! I sat next to author Sara Harvey and we spent the night hanging out and watching people dance to familiar steampunk songs. Here's a pic of good friend Clover and me that night.

So I have a week off. Can you believe it? Well I say off but really I'm going back to Knoxville to drag the van back. Sounds like fun eh? For everyone in and near Atlanta my next signing is at Anachrocon in ATL April 30 - May 2. If you're close come say hi. I actually have my own panel exclusively for Thomas Riley on Friday the 30th.

If you don't have your copy yet:
Signed Copies


  1. That sounded like quite the eventful weekend! I see that you're going back for your van... were they able to fix it, or are you towing it back?

  2. The transmission place was kind enough to let it sit there. It has not been fixed as it's not really worth the price. So yep, I'm towing it back tomorrow.

  3. Great post, thanks for filling us in on your adventures. Hope your car troubles get worked out soon. Take care and be safe on the upcoming travels!

  4. True commitment. All authors should take note of the determination Nick has to making the most out of EVERY situation.

    Nick's very happy publisher...

  5. Nick, First rule, don't travel in a ford minivan, they are very prone for bad transmissions. Both of my neighbors are on their 3rd transmission-owning the very same van you have in the picture. They are both the original owner.

    As far as your efforts, I truly admire you. I wish I had the spirit to travel that much, but mostly, the time to do so.


  6. You are a brave, resourcefull and hearty soul to endure all of tat in one weekend. No wonder the dirigible showed up to encourage you to hang in there.
    Wow! You prove authors are even better than actors with "the show must go on!"