The Story of Pwnage of Powell’s

The Story of Pwnage of Powell's

Life is made of experiences and memories. I don’t remember the release for any of our books, not even the first one. But I will never forget this one.

As some of you know, Peter from Powell’s had mentioned to me that they ordered 50 copies of MAGIC BLEEDS. Someone on Twitter asked me if Powell’s would have enough and I assured them that of course, they would – they had 50 copies.

To me 50 copies is like 1,000 copies in terms of signings – it is a humongous number. I’m used to a couple of people over the course of three hours or so. Honestly, if seven people showed up with our books, I would be thrilled. I knew we could probably get some of Devon and Lili’s fans too, so I wasn’t too worried.

Then the Twitter exploded with preorders. At some point Peter emailed me, a bit shocked. “We’re ordering more copies.”

At that point Gordon told me, “Ilona, I think there might be more than 7 people.”

Heh. Silly man.

As the signing drew closer, we started getting worried emails. “We might not have enough time to chat with you at signing.”

Okay, honestly, the thing starts at 7:00 pm, it ends at 10:00 pm. Three hours. That is totally plenty of time for seven people.

Our friend Reece flew in from California. I told her about the emails and she said, “You should do a coffee.”

And I said, “Nobody will come.”

And she said, “You are a crazy person.”

So we decided to do a coffee. Reece is very difficult to argue with. She looks at you and says, “No!”

So we arrived to the coffee at Starbucks. It was rainy and we sat in side, then outside, then inside again… And suddenly people started to show up. And then we had ten people. That was three more than I thought would come to the signing.

OMG. Doesn’t compute.

Meljean Brook

More people came. Some left. Some returned. Finally Meljean Brook walked through the door and I hugged her and told her, “People are here!”

She said, “I know.”

We drank more coffee. At some point Gordon left to fetch the kids and then they were back with T-shirts and foreign editions of the books to give away.

We all headed down to the signing.

Powells sits kind of at the end of a long hallways within the mall, and as we were walking, I realized the store was full.

It looked kind of like that:


Rows and rows of seats and people standing in the back.

Oh boy.

We took our seats next to Devon Monk and Lili Saintcrow, who were both as gracious and nice as they could be.

Devon Monk
Lili Saintcrow

We all agreed to skip the reading in favor of  doing an hour of Q&A.  The event was photographed by Kid 1 and Kid 2. Here is a video one of them took – against Powell’s policy. It’s mostly me yakking, but the main thing is the stealthy blond ninja who keeps moving through it. Watch it, you’ll see what I mean.

In case you’re wondering why she exercised her stealth powers – Gordon was very sick and she was bringing him cough drops.

Also, I need to lose weight and wave my arms less, lol.

And once the Q&A ended, Powell’s guys jumped up and started announcing, “Tickets xxx through xx10, please come to the table.”  You know how when you board the plane, they announce over the intercom, “Now boarding zones one through two” ?  It was kind of like that.

We started to sign, trying to give everyone a bit of personal attention, while the Powell’s employees gave away the T-shirts and totes Devon brought with terrifying efficiency.  I looked up and it was all gone.  It was awesome.

We signed and we signed and we signed.  We were both sick and Gordon’s voice was giving out, and then Russ, Devon’s husband, came up to the table and asked if we would like some hot tea.  And we said that we’d kill for hot tea.  He brought us hot tea!  That hot tea is the only reason we made it through the signing.  We totally owe Russ a huge drink.

One of Gordon’s friends brought beer.  Dina James brought me yarn and dog treats for the monster dogs.  People brought stack and stacks of books, and my hand started hurting.

Finally the line was done.  It was past ten.  Suddenly Peter and his colleague brought out a shelf on wheels full with more books.  The signed preorders arrived.  Eighty four books.

Eighty four.  You broke all expectations and records.

It was past eleven when we left.

More pictures are here:

It was totally an incredible experience.  Thank you so much, guys.


  1. Ellaanabeth says

    I absolutely LOVED attending your signing! Very few of my fave authors live on the west coast, even less live up in the little northwestern corner of the US. You guys totally made my day when you moved up this way, and THEN you held a book signing!!!! So I loved being able to attend the signing one of my top three fave authors- bonus? TWO MORE of my fave authors! XD

    I loved the Q & A, you guys were very rockin up there answering questions and so obviously being yourselves. It was wonderful.

    And while the signing part of the evening took forever, it was totally worth it. Maybe next time I’ll bring more than one book to get signed lol.

    And like several other people who’ve commented here, I also, was reading MB while waiting, and I got about a third of the way through it, and then I finished it when I got home…at about three in the morning, lol.

    You guys totally rock. If you have another book signing, I promise to bring five more people for you. ^_^


  2. Tracy G says

    Congratulations! You both deserve that and more for entertaining us all with your genius!

  3. Salsta says

    I’m not surprised you surpassed those expectations either. In fact you surpassed them with my group of book loving friends alone and I’m in Australia (they’re from the US though). I enjoyed it vicariously and I’m glad you had a good time of it.

    You’d better get used to the attention, I reckon it’ll only get stronger.

  4. Salsta says

    I’m not surprised you surpassed those expectations either. In fact you surpassed them with my group of book loving friends alone and I’m in Australia (they’re from the US though). I enjoyed it vicariously and I’m glad you had a good time of it.

    You’d better get used to the attention, I reckon it’ll only get stronger.

  5. Finrael says

    Fantastic book. I have spread the love by getting my sisters, mom, and friends hooked on the series. So great, thank you for writing such a great series.

  6. jupiter says

    I’m glad you had a good time at the book signing…
    I’m still reading it , but I love it so far.

    Are you considering a trip to Florida???

  7. BlueMtn says

    So happy you had a successful signing – with more than 7 people! I Love it that you blew the doors off of Powells!! AWESOMENESS!!! Totally!

    ::clasps hands to heart:: one of those signed books is mine – – ALL MINE — to add to my keeper shelf!

    Hope you are starting to feel better, my coughing is starting to trickle down to a dull roar too.


  8. readerdiane says

    I loved hearing you at Powells. It is so interesting to see how much of an author’s real voice comes across in their writing. I could hear you in Kate’s voice and actions. My best example was when you answered the question about formula writing. You said you just sit down and write & write. I am sure that is how Kate feels about her job-you just do it.

  9. Spot says

    I really wish I could’ve been there. Your kids are awesome for filming 😀
    It makes me happy you were so successful!! Pffft, even I knew there would be more than seven people.
    Now you just have to come to my local Chapters…

  10. Vinity says

    Congrats!! So happy the signing was a big ol blow out!! You guys deserve it. 😀 Can’t wait to see the numbers for the true release week 😀

  11. Shartyrant says

    This made my night. I only am jealous I didn’t get to attend, but the vid made up for it! Thanks for posting it and for writing the books (and other goodies). They have helped me unwind from a very trying week of college hell and work chaos. I am so happy about this signing and the bestseller list!

  12. says

    LOL! Saw my pic and winced. At least I was rocking the nerdy glasses. Your kidlets did it better than me. heh.

    Had way too much fun. Thank you for being so gracious and funny. I’m sorry you were sick though. That sucks. :(


  13. says

    I wish I could have been there too! Looks like you guys had so much fun!!!
    Is Lord Panda feeling better now?

    Reece was saying “no!” when her pic was snapped, wasn’t she? I have only one or two where she let me take the pic and she is holding a tiny baby Owen in both of them. ::snookies and loves the wedschilde::

  14. Emily says

    Wheee!!! I am so glad it went well!!! It would have been a heckuva trip to get up there for me, but maybe next time you do this I’ll bite the bullet and go, it sounds fantastic!!!

  15. Kully May says

    So glad you guys had a great time even though you were’nt feeling too good! I wish I could’ve been there…im still holding out hopes that you guys head over to the UK in the near future!! :)

  16. Biki says

    OMG.. I totally wish I had been there! :(

    that’s it, it’s a goal for the next release party 😀

  17. dawn says

    Congratulations and get well soon! I LOVE the book. Read it all the way through that same night. I’ve never attended a signing, maybe I’ll try…

  18. Sheila says

    See…that should tell you how popular you are. Next step: household name.
    I loved “Magic Bleeds”; and will re-read it tonight.

    I had a spam e-mail in my inbox today from………..wait for it……………………Roland.
    Guess who I thought of! Not a very common name. It could have been THAT Roland.
    Ya never know.

  19. kaikes says

    I wanted to go to that SO BAD! I was telling my BFF that i wanted to move to Portland and he was like, “why would you want to do that?” and i was like “blagjsdl!! Signing!! Author!! Meeting!!” That was just about as coherent as I was. If i lived anywhere on the west coast, there would have been one more person there. I’m so glad there was such a wonderful turnout. It increases the chances that you’ll do it again and I’ll be there next time!

  20. electricpeppers says

    I’m glad things are going well for you guys! You deserve it. In between my job (six day week this week. ARGH) I managed to gobble up Magic Bleeds in three evenings. Just finished it, and thought it was fantastic! I laughed out loud a lot. Now I miss the book and will promptly re-read the series. Again. 😀

  21. Bryanna says

    Oh man i totally wish I could have been there! Hopefully one day you do a signing in Houston Texas! Quite a few Urban fantasy authors (Charlaine Harris, Jim Butcher, and Patricia Briggs) have come to Murder By the Book down here! One day! *fingers crossed*

  22. says

    It was fantastic meeting you and your husband Gordon at the signing! I had no idea you were both sick when I got to hang out at coffee. Good luck on your next projects and I look forward to being at your next signing.