Dropped off daughter #2 for her matinee performance in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. (Saw it last night. The show was enjoyable and Helena was great!) Then stopped by Bob & Bob in downtown Palo Alto and signed their stock. (I dropped off a Dot Dead there last week and Ellen Bob liked it enough to put an order in and stack the copies on the front table.) Then off to M Is for Mystery in downtown San Mateo for a reading and signing. What Carnegie Hall is to the proverbial violinist, M Is for Mystery is to me. I've gone there to see and hear favorites like Walter Mosley, Peter Abrahams, Robert Eversz, and others. Now it was my turn. The crowd was friendly -- no surprise since I knew a lot of those present. The presence of Mandy MacCalla, whom I had not seen since senior year at Palo Alto High, proved that old school ties don't break; she dragged along her two sisters and mom. Jill Soley, a work colleague, rolled in with six-week old Ryan and Cameron of unstated age. Maisy brought Tony who's a programmer here in the Valley and who laughed at all my jokes. Ben, the talented novelist and screenwriter whom I know from writing classes, was showing up at a read-and-sign for a second time to pick up copies for his mom and dad. S.F. State business professor Sally Baack was gracious enough to come for support and perhaps in hopes to glean some insights into Silicon Valley life. My family minus the thespian showed up just 15 minutes late. And I met people, too. Ed Kaufman, the redoubtable proprietor of the bookstore, let me ramble on for a while. The crowd applauded politely. Ed figures he's sold 80+ copies of Dot Dead already. I essentially spent any royalties on the spot; the five Raffels who were there rang up north of a C-note on the cash register. Surrounded by friends, old and new, and books, old and new -- what a pleasant way to while away a Sunday afternoon.