Thursday, January 04, 2007

Hey from Hot-lanta

from James

Brought in 2007 in Atlanta. The last time I spent New Year's Day in Atlanta, I decided to move to Florida. Seriously. I had already taken the Georgia Bar exam, passed, and had a job offer from King & Spalding, which is a not-to-shabby law firm. It was 1983, going on 84. Worst winter Atlanta had ever seeen. Ice everywhere. People stuck on the expressway. Powerlines down. My pipes froze. (I'll let you guess which ones). I've lived in Florida ever since.

This time it was a much more pleasant experience. Here with the family, visiting family. We get to see my wife's aunt and uncle and grandmother. My sister lives here too. Kids get to see their cousins. Turns out my twenty-two-month-old daughter loves to shoot pool. Who knew?

Also had a new book come out this week. When Darkness Falls. Sorry for the choppy sentences, but I'm watching LSU beat Notre Dame as I'm writing this, and the college football overdose for the past week is making me illiterate.

Anyway, it--the book, that is--came out Tuesday, and what a great day I had. First thing I did was take my wife and baby girl to Carabou for hot chocolate. I don't get much hot chocolate in Florida, so when I go north--er, to the South--where it's cold, I guzzle the stuff. Had two. Then my wife, baby daughter, and Tiffany's aunt Gayle (that's my Aunt-in-law, if you're keeping track) started on our hunt for every copy of the New York Times we could get our hands on.

I've never had a full page ad for a book in the Times, and this one was supposed to be a beauty.
We found our first copy at a gas station on Roswell Road. I opened it up, and there it was on the back page of the Arts Section. Amazing. I'd show it to you, but once again, my technological limitations prevent me from uploading the image. Someday I'll join the twenty-first century, but technically I'm on vacation today, so sue me.

Only one copy at the gas station. So we continued down the road. Found another copy at the Citgo station. Two down. I have a big family, you see, and the last time my siblings purchased a newspaper, they chiseled those things in stone. So I needed one to mail to each of them, or they'd never believe I was on a full page in the Times. Found another four copies at Barnes & Noble, and we were done.

Time for lunch. We hit the Buckhead Diner. Love that place. Have you ever had homemade potato chips with Maytag bluecheese drizzled all over them? I don't recommend this as a regular part of your diet, but if you like blowing your New Year's resolution on day 2 of the new year, then Buckhead Diner is the place. It's sort of an Atlanta institution, right across from the famous Bones Steak House on Piedmont (Bones actually made it into my last novel, "Got the Look"). Buckhead Diner is a cool place, and it attracts cool people. In fact, the waiter told us that we had just missed seeing Matthew McConaughey and Brian Seacrest. (No, they weren't together, they just happened to both like meatloaf and mashed potatos). At that point, my Aunt in law reached for the New York Times, ready to tell the waiter "who else" had visited the Diner. I restrained her. If you have to carry around a copy of the Times with your full page ad in hand to convince people you're famous, then let's face it: you're not. But it's still great fun.

After thirteen novels, I still love pub day. And when I stop loving it, I guess I'll know it's time to quit. But can I still have the chips and blue cheese, please?


  1. James, a huge congrats on the publication of When Darkness Falls and the New York Times! I've read great things about the book and look forward to reading it.

    And I LOVE Maytag blue cheese. It's hard to find here, but you can usually get it at Wally's on Westwood Boulevard.

  2. James,

    I saw your ad the other day during my daily trek through the Times and thought, "Damn, the dude has made it." This year, that back page spot has gone to folks like Evanovich, Greg Iles, Coben, Deaver et al. They say advertising doesn't sell books, and maybe it's all just ego stroking for the author. But I think of that ad as your pub sending up a flare signaling a big-ass boat is coming into port so folks better pay attention.


  3. We talked a little bit about whether advertising works when Paul had his morning TV ads for Kill All the Lawyers. I think the consensus was it sure can't hurt! Just heard from my editor that we're in a second printing 2 days into publication, so I'd venture to say that the Times ad had something to do with that. Off to Horseradish Grill now. Another one of my Atlanta favorites. Fried Chicken anyone?

  4. from Jacqueline

    Well congratulations to you! And really big congrats on that ad - terrific! And I know that feeling of tooling around looking for the newspaper or a given magazine on or around pub day - and for some reason, I always find the 'sold out' signs even when I am waiting at the crack of dawn.

    I love your TV-watching-football writing, a very masculine Bridget Jonesey style, if I may say so. Maybe you could do something with it, and invent a new genre: Hick-Lit. (Not that I'm saying you are anything like a hick, but it sounds like something that might take off ....). Or did Dave Barry already nail that one?

    Again, many congrats on the new book - you're an inspiration!

  5. The full page New York Times ad, with all the sizzling quotes about "When Darkness Falls," is a giant statement from the publisher. It tells wholesalers, booksellers & readers that everyone at Harper Collins is 100% behind the book, that the author deserves to be widely read, and they're going to do their damndest to see that it happens. (It will, unless James bogs down eating blue cheese on potato chips).

    So, go get them, James. Have a great tour!

    And for Southern Californians, you can buy Maytag blue cheese at Gelsons, but for salads, the Trader Joe's crumbled blue is just as good at half the price.

    The Deli King

  6. Congratulations, James! I hope this is lucky number 13 and that you have many more pub days making you happy in the future.

    Plus which, second printing after two days... DUDE!!! MORE BLUE CHEESE!!! That is fantastic!