Powell's book launch

Oh, my nerves! I was a minor wreck leading up to this event. Plenty of reasons for it: I'd be standing where so many of my author heroes had stood before; I'd be talking to a very small group of people, probably, which would mean nobody noticed the book launch, or cared; the cough I'd been trying to shake for weeks would render me unable to speak without sputtering; I'd say the wrong things, all the wrong things. Writing the book had taken so many years, and it all seemed to culminate in a single week, with the book's publication on Tuesday, and the Powell's appearance Thursday. What a mess! What was I going to do?

Except it all went really, really well. People were kind enough to tell me that they didn't notice my nerves at all, or that it was the best author event they'd ever been to, or that I was extremely relaxed/funny/at home up there. I was utterly stunned by the turnout. I'd expected a few people to come, maybe twenty or thirty. But people kept wandering in, and the Powell's staff started adding extra rows of chairs. I didn't count heads, but there were people standing in the back and along the sides.

I've had a few truly exceptional days in my life, like my first date with Felicia, or the day we married, or the day Squish arrived. Reading at Powell's doesn't soar anywhere near the heights of those deeply personal memories. But it was one of the greatest moments of my creative life, and I felt nothing but warmth and goodwill and love from everyone who came out to share it with me. 

Now on to some photos!

I'd seen the marquee prior to Thursday night...but only during the daytime. This was the first time I'd seen it lit up. Really remarkable and strange to see one's name like this!

I'd seen the marquee prior to Thursday night...but only during the daytime. This was the first time I'd seen it lit up. Really remarkable and strange to see one's name like this!

Signboard of author events outside the entrance to Powell's.

Signboard of author events outside the entrance to Powell's.

My wife, my parents and I arrived upstairs to a mostly empty room. The familiar podium held a few of my books. 

My wife, my parents and I arrived upstairs to a mostly empty room. The familiar podium held a few of my books. 

More copies of my book than I'd ever seen in one place. 

More copies of my book than I'd ever seen in one place. 

Nearly starting time! The room has mostly filled by now, including extra rows of chairs. So many familiar faces here—and, happily, quite a few unfamiliar ones as well.

Nearly starting time! The room has mostly filled by now, including extra rows of chairs. So many familiar faces here—and, happily, quite a few unfamiliar ones as well.

After a generous introduction, I talked for a little while about how Eleanor came to be, and its long, winding journey from its very first day to this, publication week.

After a generous introduction, I talked for a little while about how Eleanor came to be, and its long, winding journey from its very first day to this, publication week.

Then I read a scene from the book, after which there was a very fun question-and-answer session.

Then I read a scene from the book, after which there was a very fun question-and-answer session.

Jeremiah Reinmiller—who I think is the unofficial great photographer of the local Portland writing scene—always shows up at other authors' events and captures terrific photo and video. Here's a photo he shot of little old me talking to all these lovely people.

Jeremiah Reinmiller—who I think is the unofficial great photographer of the local Portland writing scene—always shows up at other authors' events and captures terrific photo and video. Here's a photo he shot of little old me talking to all these lovely people.

The book signing line drifted back into the stacks. I loved this part, getting to meet and talk to everyone. 

The book signing line drifted back into the stacks. I loved this part, getting to meet and talk to everyone. 

After I'd signed everybody's books, I signed stock for Powell's. (By the way, if you weren't able to be at the event but you want a signed book, contact Powell's! They have a few now.)

After I'd signed everybody's books, I signed stock for Powell's. (By the way, if you weren't able to be at the event but you want a signed book, contact Powell's! They have a few now.)

When it was all over, our family had a quiet post-event dinner at a nearby restaurant. That's my sister, Liz, and her husband, Mat at left; my wife, Felicia, at right; and my parents, Mike and Brenda. 

When it was all over, our family had a quiet post-event dinner at a nearby restaurant. That's my sister, Liz, and her husband, Mat at left; my wife, Felicia, at right; and my parents, Mike and Brenda. 

This particular night really felt earned after such a long journey. I'll never have another first like this one, and I am grateful to everyone at Powell's and every reader and friend and coworker and acquaintance who came out to make the night special. A huge success!