First things first: I’ve begun an open-ended giveaway of a free copy of one of my books every time I send out an edition of my email newsletter Bartography Express. Details are in the orange box on my home page.

Speaking of filling a mailbox with good stuff, big big cardboard boxes arrived left and right at Rancho Barton this week. Shark Vs. Train posters. Shark Vs. Train its own self — my author copies. A fresh shipment of the daylight-fluorescent pens I use to sign The Day-Glo Brothers. Postcards, business cards, and bookmarks featuring both books.

About those bookmarks…

I took 11-year-old S to Austin’s BookPeople yesterday morning to pick up his long-hungered-for copy of R. L. LaFevers’ brand-new Theodosia and the Eyes of Horus. Being a self-promotional kind of guy, I took along a handful of bookmarks to drop off at the the BookKids desk. Otherwise, though, it was just a father-son outing, with me dressed nattily in what I planned to wear later while stirring up seven tons of pollen mowing the yard.

In the parking lot on our way into the store, though, we overheard a mom talking to her three young children about a book about a shark and a train. S and I smiled at each other, amused by the coincidence. I introduced myself to the woman, gave her three bookmarks, and we went on our way.

Just inside the store, we saw a sign advertising the April 3 storytime at 11:30 a.m.

I looked at my watch.

It was 11:27.

And we began to figure out what the BookKids staff upstairs confirmed a few moments later: The woman in the parking lot was talking about Shark Vs. Train because it was being featured at storytime right then — a fact she had obviously known, and which I most certainly had not.

And I could tell by the expressions on the staff members that they weren’t expecting to see me during Shark Vs. Train storytime any more than I was intending to be seen right then.

I felt a combination of giddiness and mortification. Part of me felt like Tom Sawyer at his own funeral, about to get to listen in on proceedings never meant for my ears. And part of me felt like I’d walked over my own grave, accidentally passing through a place I’d have avoided (or at least dressed better for) had I but known.

So, what did we do? We dropped off the bookmarks, picked up the book we’d come to get, and laughed about it all the way home. Just the two of us — well, and Theodosia Throckmorton.