Tuesday, February 23, 2010

A Felonious February Weekend

As you all know, I traveled to Milwaukee again this past weekend to attend Felonious February at the Muskego Library. This is the same library where I attended the annual Murder & Mayhem in Muskego back in November. This time, however, I was scheduled to interview one of my favorite writers, Alafair Burke. I videotaped the interview, and I'll be sharing that with you a little later. But for today, I have a recap and some pictures to share. No matter how great my pictures could have come out, they wouldn't be able to capture how wonderful this weekend was. It was laid back and easy going. I loved it.

First up in the photo array is my buddy Logan. He graciously allowed us to visit his home:

I met up with Judy Bobalik in Indiana, and she and I drove up to Milwaukee to pick up Alafair at the airport. Then we made our way to Jon and Ruth Jordan's lair where we were joined by Tom Schreck who had come in from Albany. The six of us dined that evening at the Harley Davidson Museum Restaurant. It was a relaxing evening full of great company and conversation. Tom ordered a beer, and the waiter also brought him a sample of all the microbrews available.

He lined them up in a rainbow of darkest to lightest as he explained each one for Tom.

Our waiter was great fun and took all our silliness in stride, relishing it almost as much as we did.

When we returned to Castle Crimespree, Jon introduced Tom and I to Dr. Horrible. Jon, Ruth and Judy were all hands when it came to Dr. Horrible. All in all, a wonderful time with wonderful friends.

Saturday we didn't have to be to the library until 1, so the six of us met at the Iron Horse Hotel for lunch before heading over. It was more time to just share stories and enjoy each other's company. And you couldn't ask for better company than this.

Libby Hellman, Joe Konrath, Jamie Freveletti, and David Heinzmann drove in from Chicago. And Brian Azzarello also came in for the event.

Libby, Jamie and David started off the afternoon with a panel representing The Outfit Collective bloggers. They discussed their works and writing styles, among other topics before taking questions from the audience.

The Outfit panel was followed by a one-on-one discussion with Tom Schreck and Joe Konrath. These two kept the audience laughing as they discussed their short story they wrote together, Tom's similarities to his protagonist Duffy, and Joe's distinct differences from his character Jack Daniels.

They also hit on topics such as e-books and the benefits of sharing materials through e-book format, free .pdf documents, and other samplings that can attract new readers to their print books.

Tom and Joe were followed by an interview of Brian Azzarello who discussed different elements of the graphic novel. Brian is a veteran graphic novelist and spoke about the process involved in writing a graphic novel; the relationships between the writer, the artist, and the colorist; and, what I found most interesting, his experience working with an artist who didn't even live in the United States. Brian worked on 100 BULLETS for ten years with a artist from Argentina who he didn't meet for years after starting to work with him. They didn't speak the same language, they didn't live in the same country, but they made the relationship work flawlessly.

Then it was show time for Alafair and I. We wrapped up the afternoon of Felonious February, and I couldn't believe how quickly our 50 minutes went by. I won't share too much of the content with you since you'll get to see the video soon, but I can tell you I had far more questions than we had time for. The general response I heard afterward indicated that the questions we did cover left everyone knowing something about Alafair that they didn't know before. She made the whole process relaxing and fun. I am so honored to have been able to interview her live. Alafair is a fascinating, wonderful person.

Looking back over the photos, though, I made some crazy faces. I need to practice reading interview questions in front of a mirror, I think - holy cow! This picture is one that's semi-close to normal. ;)

After everyone finished signing books and collecting their belongings, we headed out to dinner. A nice way to wrap up the day with everyone. Here are a couple pictures from dinner at Slims. The first is Tom Schreck with Jaxson. Jaxson is Penny's grandson, and Penny is the Muskego librarian who coordinates Murder and Mayhem and this year also Felonious February. And then a picture of Alafair and I.

It was difficult saying good-bye. While I was happy to come home to my critters on Sunday, I was starting to miss everyone almost instantly. I look forward to the next opportunity to get together with my "family."


Alafair Burke February 23, 2010 at 7:16 AM  

Thanks for making it Fabulous, Felonious February (groan). And you do NOT make funny faces!

Christine February 23, 2010 at 8:05 AM  

Sounds like a fantastic weekend. You can't beat good food, friends and fiction writers! ;-) (Love the photos.)

Thanks for a great recap, Jen! Excited to see/hear your interview with Alafair.

Kaye Barley February 23, 2010 at 8:20 AM  

Jen - this sounds like THE most perfect weekend! Can't wait to see your interview with Alafair!

Jamie Freveletti February 23, 2010 at 8:55 AM  

That photo of Tom Schreck with the baby is priceless. (He had successfully unlocked my phone and was at the "Add New Contact" page when you snapped that photo!)
Had a great weekend, thanks for making it special.

Naomi Johnson February 23, 2010 at 1:34 PM  

My envy of you grows every time you start your car engine. Is that why my word verification today is "imatura"?

le0pard13 February 23, 2010 at 2:41 PM  

This sounded like so much fun, Jen. I'm glad it all went well (maybe not for Tom and travails he posted about earlier). This is great and I'm looking forward to that interview. Thanks much.

Pop Culture Nerd February 24, 2010 at 10:10 PM  

No wonder you're having withdrawal symptoms. Your weekend looks and sounds like the best kind of crack!

Thanks for the recap, Jen. Looking forward to seeing the video, in which I'm sure your face will look positively serene.

MysterLynch March 3, 2010 at 10:57 PM  

Must have been a blast. I am so sorry I missed it.

Jen Forbus March 4, 2010 at 7:57 AM  

We missed you, Jeremy...wish you could have been there. Hope you're feeling better.

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