Specifically the Barnes & Noble in Cary, one of our major suburbs. Apparently Borders doesn't have it out yet, and my small-local-independant bookstores don't have it in yet either--they're holding to a ship date sometime closer to the June 1st thingy. But I went out to hit the art supply store and get lunch, and on a whim, with a very patient Kevin in tow, hit my local B&N.
They didn't have it on the shelf. Not terribly surprised, I was preparing to slink out, but Kevin hauled me up to the information desk and explained the situation to the very nice woman there, while I hid in the corner trying not to make eye contact with anyone. (Ironically, I was standing next to the "Local Author" display of the romance section, which means that two of Deb's books, with "Autographed Copy" stickers on 'em, were staring back at me. Heh.) She called over to the Cary store, (I hid behind Kevin) confirmed that they DID have it in stock, ("I have the author standing right here--she's very sweet, and her friend is insisting he's going to take her over to your store so she can see it on the shelf...") and then shortlisted it for order at her store if I'd come in and sign it when it arrived. Which I agreed to do.
We thanked the very nice woman and made our exit, (or, in my case, nervous retreat.)
"We're, um, going to Cary, aren't we?" I asked meekly.
"Yes, we are," said Kevin, steering me out of the store.
"You really don't have to--"
"I know you, and if I don't come with you, you won't go."
And so we went to Cary, and I spotted the cover from about fifty feet away, on the new releases shelf, at the bottom, and did the dance of infinite squee because--DEAR GOD, it's in Barnes & Noble, and they have those EVERYWHERE which means that it's like all over the country and real physical people who exist in places other than the internet* will actually SEE it, and...um...SQUEEEEEE!
Kevin had to locate the nice woman running the children's section so that I could sign the books, because I had more or less lost the power of speech by that point, and was staring into the middle distance in a vague haze of disbelief. (It looks just like the copies I have in the box in my living room. I didn't expect it to look any different, it's just...I mean...DUDE! See, there I go with the speech again...)
And then on the way home we wound up at Quail Ridge Books, mostly because Kevin was giving directions and I was following in a daze, so it's just as well that he did not say something like "And now, off the side of the overpass," or "Into that bridge abutment" because I suspect I might have followed orders without thinking about it. Except then we were at Quail Ridge, and we went in, and they didn't have it either, and Kevin hauled me up to the information desk AGAIN--
(I can never allow him and Carlota in the same room, or I will wind up on a book tour planned, conceived, and executed while I am staring vaguely out the window trying to figure out if that's a black-capped or Carolina chickadee. I am surrounded by people who are enthusiastic about marketing my work. Thank god. I am HORRIBLE about self-promotion. It seems so terribly immodest...)
--and they had it on order, but not for a few weeks, and took me information if I would come in and sign it, which is apparently something bookstores like, rather than a dreadful nuisance (or perhaps they were just humoring the shaven-skulled gentlemen with all the tattoos and his obviously mentally defective associate, I don't know.)
"You have to understand, people who work in bookstores like books as much as we do."
I mumbled something towards my feet, but I suspect he's probably right.
*Not that I don't love you all, obviously, but YOU KNOW how it is--no one on the internet is entirely 100% real to you until you meet them in person and your hindbrain registers them as a walking human being, not a Turing machine with a username. I think it's just you have to see people move and breathe and hear them talk before your brain files them properly. Evolution has not caught up with the internet yet.