Like Keith Richards, only younger and prettier and with a beard*

For I am ROCK AND ROLL! Well, I ordered room service, which is as close to rock and roll as I get. I've never ordered room service before -- that's what naughty people. It's the eating equivalent of raiding the minibar, but I did it anyway. Twice: Bwahahaha!

I managed to talk myself into this dreadful breach of bearded etiquette by the following clear and manly logic:

  1. I've got three hours in the hotel before I go off for my event.
  2. I have not eaten since the Pirate's Booty in New York last night.
  3. I might faint away during my event at Once Upon A Crime, and nobody wants to see a swooning, bearded crime write-ist.**
  4. I can go down to the restaurant and order food, an sit and wait to be served, for my order to be cooked, for the dancing girls to be washed, etc. or I can order from room service and sit on my bum in my room writing till it gets here.
  5. St. Martin's would probably quite like me to finish this book before we're all drawing our old-age pensions.

So when you look at it logically, there really was no choice. *ahem*

They had 'Fire Wings' on the menus and not wanting to buck a wining streak I ordered them. And something on the side (they were out of Dancing Girls, so I had to settle for soup). Half an hour later I was faced with the toughest, nastiest wings I'd eaten since Chicago O'Hare airport. But the soup was bloody lovely! If I'd know how good it was I would have just ordered two bowls of that. Hell, I'd've got them to fill the bathtub -- fresh corn and crayfish bisque. Mmmm...

After that it was a slightly rushed taxi ride to the wasp-infested Uncle Edgars, where the people are really nice and had already killed about two million of the little stinging bastards by the time I got there. Everyone who works in the shop has been stung at least twice. They're going to have one last try with the Patented Dangerous Agent Orange Anti-Wasp Spray and then get the exterminators in.

From there it was a last-minute dash across town to Once Upon A Crime, because my Taxi driver -- the one I'd asked to wait outside Unky Edgars with the engine running in case I had to do a runner from the killer wasps -- swore blind it was going to take us 15 / 20 minutes to get there. It took 5.

If you've never been to Once Upon A Crime, it's a wonderful bookshop and Pat and Gary are really nice people. Generous to a fault. The fault in question this time being me. The crowd was select and enthusiastic and all listened politely to the bearded half-wit ramblings up the front of the room. And nobody threw anything, so I count that as a result. And one lady looked like she was about to pee herself with the old laughing. Thought whether it was 'with' or 'at' is debatable. Ah yes, Stuart MacBride: not a dry seat in the house.

And then Pat and Gary gave me a slug of John Connelly's whisky***, got me to sign some stock and took me out to a wee place for a lovely dinner and chat.

Next up Madison and the terrifying spectre of me behind the wheel of an American car, on the wrong side of the road, in a city I've never seen before, with no bloody clue where I'm going! How much fun does that sound?

* Plus he's much, much richer than I am, so not much like Keith Richards after all...
** OK, so the chances of me fainting away from hunger are a damn sight slimmer than I am after 10 days in Iowa. I've got enough excess fat on me to last the winter. In fact, at the rate I'm going, I could hibernate till 2009.
*** A bottle of 12 year old Macalan: yes, he may be Irish, but his whisky is Scottish.