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T-Shirt Gallery, Part 2

Blood Promise
Okay, here's the rest of the t-shirts spotted on the Australian tour. If you don't see yours, it's either because I didn't see it or because the picture didn't turn out. (Or maybe it wasn't photographed at all).

Here we go:

And as for this one...

Well, I don't recommend looking at the back of it unless you're up to date on the VA series. If you are, then click here. You've been warned.

Thanks, everybody!

Australian highlights, part 2

French SB
Okay, as promised, here are the pictures from the Sydney portion of my Australian tour. There's kind of a weird irony that I posted these today--when that horrible dust storm is going on. Looking at the pictures of that storm are unreal, and I hope everyone there is weathering it (so to speak) as best they can.

I flew into a dust-free Sydney on Thursday morning--leaving for the Brisbane airport at a horribly early 4:45am. The reason we had to get there so early was because I was on Kerri-Anne Kennerly's morning TV show. And morning shows require you to be there, well, in the morning.

I got to go to official "hair and makeup," which was a good thing since mine didn't look so fantastic after the crack-of-dawn flight. Still, my styling was nothing compared to the perfection of Kerri-Anne's. And of course, I wore my teal photo/TV/media dress.

Fun fact: in the green room beside the studio, the lead singer from Men at Work was hanging out and strumming a guitar. He was apparently a later guest, and it was crazy since I'd had that "Land Down Under" song in my head all day.

After the show, it was still pretty early in the day. I left to do more promo, and lolcatz struck out on his own to climb a bridge.

This bridge:

They do climbs in groups of ten people (with a leader) where you get wired up to each other and wear space age suits. You have to go over cat walks and ladders, while all that traffic's going on wayyyyy down below. The whole ordeal takes a few hours, and people with height fears sometimes freak out. The pictures are pretty awesome, though, and it allegedly burns 600 calories, so game on.

Meanwhile, as he did, I'm certain I burned 600 calories while signing 400 tour posters in Penguin's Sydney offices:

After that, publicist Felicity and I headed over to my evening signing. There was no reading or Q&A, so there was the chance it could be a quick event. Nope. As we approached the bookstore, we saw a huge line winding from the store's front all the way down the middle of the mall it was in. As we approached, someone asked us, "What is all that for?" Publicist: "Some vampire author, I think." That person wasn't into vampires, but that was okay because I got to meet lots of great readers who were.

We went back to the hotel afterward, where I was happy to learn lolcatz hadn't fallen off the bridge, so all in all, the day was a success.

The next day was my last work day in Sydney and started out with me meeting the winner of the Dolly Roving Reporter Contest. For those who don't remember, this was a contest Penguin Australia did in which people submitted YouTube auditions for the chance to win a trip to Sydney to interview me and go to the After Party.

The winner was the absolutely fabulous Jessie, and for those who missed her video and the new VA hand signs sweeping the nation(s), I recommend you watch it right now.

Jessie came to Sydney with her mom, sister Kait, and Kait's friend Liv. They got to go to an afternoon signing with me and interview the crowd, and then later, Jessie did a solo interview back at the hotel.

I had another signing after that, and then after that came the king of all signings: the VA After Party. It was held in a university hall, which didn't photograph very well when the party was in full swing because darkness and smoke machines tend to ruin pictures. But, here's the room beforehand. The picture can't do it justice.

There was a DJ, Adrian vs. Dimitri debates, and a lot of other fun stuff. I watched it all while signing for the 360 guests at my awesome station here--which doubles as a backdrop for the prom picture lolcatz and I never had.

Everyone dressed up and looked amazing, including Jessie and her crew.

The party was really fantastic and a great way to wrap up the tour. It was followed by the After-After Party with some Penguin folk, including the amazing Felicity. While with them, I learned more crazy Australian facts, like that it's acceptable to have French fries as a communal side dish at a table. Every good capitalist American knows you keep your fries to yourself.

Since it appears all Australians can outdrink us, we left the After-After Party early to get much needed sleep. We woke up early enough the next day to get in a couple hours of the city before heading to the airport and back to the States. We walked around and did some classic Sydney sights, like the Governor's House:

And, of course, everyone's favorite Sydney landmark: the Opera House.

After that, we were off to the airport and 16-hour flight home! But, we all know the ending to that story, and here we are safe and sound. Thanks again for a great tour, everyone. There'll be more t-shirt and art posts to follow.

T-shirt Gallery, part 1

Tim Gunn
Change of plan. I was going to put up the Sydney signing and scenery pictures tonight, but instead I've decided to shake things up and do one of the t-shirt posts instead. This is partially for variety and also because t-shirts require none of my commentary (they speak for themselves!), so they're a little easier to post...and well, tonight's a busy night. I mean, it's House's season premiere.

Also, for those asking about art--don't worry. I haven't forgotten you.

So, without further ado, I give you the first set of tour t-shirts. As you can see, there's a wide range of styles and, um, teams. Sorry if some are hard to read; LJ can only handle a certain size. Enjoy!

And when a shirt can't express your love, sometimes you have to take matters into your own hands:

Thanks, everybody! Tomorrow: Sydney sights.

Australian highlights, part 1

German SB
Well, I've been home for 36 hours now, and let me tell you: it is awesome. I had a great time meeting everyone on the tour, but that's a long time to be away from home. Now, I'm back in a world where I don't have to put on makeup, where I can watch copious amounts of recorded reality TV, and where Splenda is my sweetener of choice. We've more or less adapted back to our home time zone, and tomorrow, I'll be back to work, the gym, and the dishes.

But, in the meantime, I've finally begun sifting through my Australian pictures and come up with a set of 60 that I'll distribute over a few blog posts. Two sets will be signing and event highlights; the other two sets will be the astonishing amount of custom t-shirts that I saw while touring. So, here we go: the first half of my week in a land down under.

My first full day in Melbourne had a lot of interviews. Most were by phone, but some were in the flesh, like this one with talk radio host Richard Stubbs and his daughter Bella--a VA expert.

One paper interview required pictures and an impromptu photo shoot ("Richelle, be ready in 45 minutes"!). No joke: I was told to smile with my eyes--or "smizing" as Tyra is now calling it on ANTM.

Near the end of the day, I went to the offices of Penguin Australia and got to meet all the great staff there. That's also where my fast and furious Twitter Q&A session took place.

Later, I had my first Australian signing, put on by the Knox library system. It was also put on by my first sponsor ever: Wendy's.

Well, not sponsored actually, but they did show up to offer food. Unlike the American Wendy's, this one serves hot dogs and lots of ice cream. Who knew? I didn't get any of the ice cream, but I don't think it mattered since I ended up with a fair amount of sugar of my own.

The next day in Melbourne, I had a giant signing/school event with a few hundred people at this place called Federation Square. I don't have any pictures of it, but it was super fun and rather dazzling to those of raised in American public schools that don't have uniforms. I had about an hour and a half off afterward, so lolcatz and I set off on a quest through Fitzroy Gardens to find an object of myth and legend:

The Fairy Tree. Take note of the birds carrying off fairies.

Apparently, Australia has a bird problem in general because here's a giant bird that landed on someone's roof.

After that quick city stroll, I was off to my next signing, put on by the nice people at Dymock's.

The crowd was lively and had lots of cool questions. Afterward, I had dinner with the winners of a contest that Dymock's had put on for creating a tagline for Spirit Bound. The signing had gone longer than expected, so I was tired and worried that I was a boring conversationalist! Fortunately, they were all fun and talkative and made up for my tiredness. It was awesome meeting everyone.

The next day, I was up bright and early with lolcatz and my publicist Felicity to fly off to Brisbane. I had an outdoor signing right in downtown. It was a gorgeous day to be sitting outside of a bookstore, and many thanks to the great staff at Angus & Robertson for putting it on.

A cancellation then popped up in the schedule. lolcatz and I suddenly found ourselves with a few hours off before the next signing. If you had free time in Australia, what would you go see? I think it's obvious.

Baby koalas! And adult ones, like our friend Bentley. Yup, we went out to Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary in an attempt to see all of Australia's wildlife in 2 hours. We did a pretty good job. We even found a baby kangaroo.

The sanctuary, however, didn't do such a good job of enforcing their "Don't Feed the Turkeys" policy:

No survey of Aussie wildlife would be complete without dingos, and this one seemed especially interested in our ice cream. Any mention of a dingo triggers a gut reaction to make baby jokes...which made me feel really bad until I observed native Australians making jokes like that left and right.

We were then hurried back to the hotel and entertained along the way by a driver who told me I was a "good girl" for having Tim Tams for breakfast but was disappointed I hadn't washed them down with beer.

The evening signing was held at a high school gymnasium, which surprised me at first, but it was really great.

There, I also got to meet Eden, who had been interviewed in a newspaper article about me for her love and expertise of vampire books. She has an amazing collection in her room.

Whew! There you have it. The Melbourne and Brisbane highlights (sans t-shirts) at a glance. Tomorrow I'll post the Sydney set...but not until I've put in some work on Succubus Shadows. And done travel penance at the gym.

Vampire Academy Crop
Thanks, guys.

This post comes to you from the Sydney airport, where lolcatz and I are waiting for our flight back to the U.S. We're here pretty early, which is a good thing. We've learned on this trip that for domestic flights, Australians show up much closer to flight time than us Americans. For one of our Qantas flights, we were at the airport 35 minutes beforehand, which was pretty astonishing (and worrisome) for us--as was only having to show ID once and not take off shoes or coats in security. A very kind country!

And a great country. We've had a really fun time, even though I worked for most of the trip. Fortunately, I have an awesome job. We had a couple hours to explore Melbourne when we arrived (before jet lag put us to bed at 7pm), and in Brisbane, a cancellation let us go to a wildlife sanctuary and see all of Australia's animal kingdom in 2 hours. This morning before our flight, we had another couple hours to walk down to the opera house in Sydney, so we got to see something in every city! Pretty neat. lolcatz also did a few more things while I was at signings because following me around to those gets old after a while. He did a huge circuit of Melbourne and also climbed the Sydney Harbour Bridge, which is kind of terrifying but has awesome views.

Here's what else we've discovered in Australia: the food is pretty fantastic. I had a wonderful time in Ireland, but we were about 50/50 with good food there (no offense, Irish pals). Everything we had here was great, though some of the places we were taken to were a bit beyond our low-brow American comfort zone. (Sorry...I just couldn't handle the whitebait. I don't like my food looking at me). I'm also not sure about the vegemite, though you can see I've been well-supplied. We learned that Australians are a hard-drinking people anytime of the day and that any name, place, or object can get a nickname by adding some odd combination of vowels to the end. Oh, and despite the Outback Steakhouse menu's claim that you order cheese fries by saying "chaze froyze plaze," this is not true--particularly since they're not even called fries here.

So, those are my initial impressions of Australia. Once I'm home and able to write more (and edit my gazillion pictures), I'll do some other posts about the trip--including recaps of the signings. Those, for me, were the best part. The enthusiasm here is still kind of surreal, and I really loved meeting all these readers. Thanks so much! Yesterday was the tour After Party--a 360 person signing at a gorgeous university hall, accompanied by a smoke machine, red-lit bar, and Adrian vs. Dimitri debates. Good times.

Okay, that's about it for this scattered post. Thanks again to everyone who came to my signings, and thanks also to Penguin Australia and Penguin U.S. who are responsible for setting up all the wonderful touring I've been doing for the last 3.5 weeks. (They're also the ones who pick the locations--not me!--so write to them (or your country's publisher) for future trips.). The next time I blog, I'll be back home in Seattle, which I'm really looking forward to. 24 days is a long time to be away from home. I've got lolcatz with me, but I miss the cats, using my cell phone, the gym, sleeping, drip coffee, and that writing thing that's my job.

See you all in the northern hemisphere!

Tour Day 22: Australia Update

Little Dhampir
Just a quick update to let you guys know what's going on since the blog has been kind of quiet (aside from the last post with the awesome koala picture). Some Australian readers have wondered why I haven't been blogging about my adventures here, but the truth is, I'm just too busy. I thought the U.S. leg of my tour was crazy, but man, it's nothing compared to what's going on down under! Aside from the signings, my days have been filled with interviews and other media type stuff. My signings have been running 3-4 hours long (and sometimes, I have more than one signing a day!). It's crazy-busy but also fun crazy-busy.

Anyway, my days have been pretty action-packed with work, and I haven't had any free time to get blogging in, let alone edit the reams of pictures I'm building up from signings and other events around here. When I do, they're going to be awesome! I've met lots of really great people here, and even though it's exhausting (got up at 4am today to fly to Sydney! Yikes!), it's been so amazing seeing what Australia's like and getting to talk to the readers here. Everyone here is really nice, and the food's amazing--though so far, I've dodged vegemite.

Again, I'll post all those pics soon, along with the explanation of how we managed some koala time. I've also got an amazing radio interview to put up here, as soon as I find its direct link. More soon!

Tour Day 19: Catch me today

French SB
...on Twitter.

At 3:45pm Australian EST, I'll be doing a live Q&A on Twitter for 45 minutes. If you're a Twitter user, you'll have to follow PenguinBooksAus to participate. You don't have to be in Australia for it, and I've done a few helpful time zone conversions for you guys.

Here's when it'll be in your area:

Eastern Australia: 3:45pm, September 14
Western Australia: 1:45pm, September 14
U.S. West Coast (Pacific): 10:45pm, September 13
U.S. East Coast (Eastern): 1:45am, September 14
UK: 6:45am, September 14

For the rest of you, you'll have to do your own time zone conversions here.

Hope to see some of you in Twitterland!

The optimistic report I gave you from New York yesterday got severely altered when my flight got delayed and then sat on the JFK runway for over an hour. (Allowing my Xanax to wear off, fyi). If you'll recall, I was meeting lolcatz (who was coming from Seattle) in Los Angeles to catch our flight to Australia, so timing was kind of essential. Our original itinerary gave me 90 minutes to make the connection. After the delay? My flight from New York was scheduled to land in L.A. at 10:30pm instead of 9pm...and my flight to Sydney left at 10:35pm. Yeah. I was pretty disheartened by this and had visions of lolcatz and I flying down-under on separate flights.

It turned out that several other people on my JFK flight had to make the Sydney connection too, so the airline actually held the plane in L.A. for us until we landed and could make it to the next gate. So, thanks to the kindness of United Airlines and the not-kindness of New York weather, I just barely made my flight to Australia. It was hardly the dramatic, romantic airport reunion some had hoped for with lolcatz and me. Mostly, it involved me scurrying on board with the other harried passengers from NYC, frantically trying to stow luggage as the engines revved. lolcatz was remarkably calm, though he'd been nervously watching my flight's late progress on the LAX monitors for a few hours and was just as unsure as me about how the timing would pan out.

He did, however, have other things to distract him while waiting for this Good Year blimp, which he swears scrolled through to say "...Vampire Academy." There's no photographic evidence, though.

Although it was insanely long, the flight to Australia went really well. It was incredibly smooth and had lots of perks, like these space age chair controls, which I never really fully understood. I figured out how to make the back go up and go flat, and that was good enough for me.

We had high hopes of staying awake for a while so that we could sleep our way into Australia's time zone. Alas, we fell asleep about an hour or so after take-off. This managed to put me back in Pacific time after being in Eastern, but I was still seven hours off from what I needed. Like with so many big flights, we got to watch our progress on a screen, and it was pretty crazy watching Antarctica come closer. We could also hook our head-sets up and listen to the air traffic chatter. I'm pretty sure the guy who plays Dr. Chase on House was one of the controllers in Sydney.

From Sydney, we caught a flight to Melbourne. I'm not sure how many times we had to go through security screenings throughout all of this, but I do know that in one day, I was on an hour flight from Boston to New York, a 5.5 hour flight from New York to Los Angeles, a 14 hour flight from Los Angeles to Sydney, and a 1 hour flight from Sydney to Melbourne. With the time change, September 12 ceased to exist for us. We went straight from the 11th to the 13th, and here's what I looked like when we were landing in Melbourne:

Felicity, my publicist from Penguin Australia, retrieved us at the airport and dropped us off at our hotel for much needed showers and clean clothes. Today's the only day I don't have signings because it was designed to be a jet lag recovery day. After we'd cleaned up, we hit the streets of Melbourne to grab lunch and check the place out. It's a pretty cool city and reminds me a lot of big American cities, as opposed to the very "foreign" feel I had in Ireland. I suspect this is because of age and street size. Here's me striking a pose with some local scenery, a bit too tired to muster the full author smile.

After only a few hours on the town, we had to go back to the hotel, nearly ready to fall over. I guess there is something to having a recovery day after all. Ugh. Exhausted! We were so tired and ready to go to bed...right when the U.S. west coast was also going to bed. Go figure. It was only afternoon in Melbourne. So, we're fighting hard now to stay awake until at least 8pm so that we can adapt to the time zone. It's not easy, and I keep hoping that Australian customs reality show will come on and help keep me up. So far, just news and some sport that might be rugby or cricket. Fingers crossed I'm ready to go Aussie style tomorrow because things are going to be BUSY!

Oh, hey! Just in. Autralian Idol is on! Is it as good without Ryan and Paula? Let's see.

SD Icon
Well, last night wrapped up my U.S. book tour. I had a great Barnes and Noble signing over in Burlington (outside of Boston). I haven't heard a great many true Boston accents, so it was fun to hear them when people came and talked to me.

Here's a few highlights. As you can see, we had a great showing of art and t-shirts.

The quotes on those last two shirts are from Christian: "If you weren't so psychotic, you'd be fun to hang around" and Mason: "Really, you're lucky you have someone as suave and brilliant as me paying attention to you." Searching out quotes paid off for the young lady on the right because her study of the books won her a trivia contest. Nice work!

Of course, the true mark of last night's success when was one of my readers was overheard saying, "This was more fun than the Jonas Brothers concert we went to!" I try, guys. I try.

Now, I'm writing to you from JFK airport in blustery New York City. I flew in this morning on a very turbulent flight, which I braved without Xanax. I feel like such a drug addict when I talk about flying, but my fear is just that great, and that flight was pretty scary for me. But, it was also very short, so the Xanax seemed wasted and I also didn't want to go see my publishing peeps semi-sedate. Maybe that would just be keeping up with an author image.

Anyway, I hung out over at Penguin (VA's publishers) and had a great lunch with all the amazing staff there who do so much work for the series. My agent Jim McCarthy also showed up for the fun, and then by pure chance, free ice cream was being given away in the building's lobby by Jacques the chocolate guy (whom I'm told New Yorkers will know). When Jim returned to his office, his building's lobby was giving out New York is the place to be today if you like sweets.

So, this was just a quick three hour visit in New York, with no public events. I'll be flying out soon to Los Angeles, where I'll then catch a 13+ hour flight to Australia and finally get to see just how accurate Outback Steakhouse's menu really is. I'm excited to meet all of the Aussie fans, but I have to confess...I'm more excited right now to see lolcatz after 2.5 weeks away from home. He'll be joining me in L.A. tonight and take the long flight to the southern hemisphere with me. NYC is having some weather-related flight delays, but my fingers are crossed that we'll have a brilliant, on-time romantic reunion in the airport and not long, rebooking conversations with the airline.

Seeing as Australia has the internet, the updates should still be coming in pretty regularly as I move into the international leg of my tour. Thank you so much to all of you who turned out for the American part of it. It's been really great meeting everyone, and I appreciate your support. This has been lots of fun, and I'll be talking to you all soon from Australia!

PLEASE! Mark all spoilers in your comments.

*If you have questions about books, release dates, tour dates, or anything else, please check my website instead of leaving the question in comments or using LJ mail. You're more likely to find an answer!.*

I have red hair and subsist entirely on Kona coffee.

Other crucial information--such as my books, background, and appearances--can be found by clicking the links below.

Please note: I am HOPELESSLY behind in responding to e-mails and LJ comments right now. Be patient as I catch up!



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