Tuesday, March 1, 2011

CAMEX Book & Author Event

Sorry for my little hiatus there. I have lots to catch up on, great books to talk about and I'm working on some big projects for the blog, so bear with me if I am sporadic in my posts for awhile; I'm plugging away, I promise. But first let's talk about this past weekend when I was in Houston.

First and foremost, I got to visit Murder By the Book! I'm always so excited when I have the chance to visit new bookstores, but the folks at MBtB make you feel like family when you walk through the doors. I'd attribute it to Craig Johnson being with me, but they're like that with everyone. The staff there is beyond awesome.

Craig gave me a hard time because of my slew of purchases, but hey, I don't get to visit often. I'm going to make it a worthwhile visit by golly! Anyway, here's a look at part of my loot.

I also got three books. One is Gerard O'Donovan's THE PRIEST, which McKenna and I were talking about a little. Very much looking forward to that one. But anyway, if you're ever in the Houston area, make the effort to get to Murder by the Book! Fun, fun store.

For those who don't know, I was in Houston for work. I work for the National Association of College Stores - is this where I should say none of my opinions here on the blog reflect the organization's? Anyway, each year we hold a trade show. The location varies year to year, but part of each show is an education segment - which is my department at NACS - and a Book and Author event. The nice folks in charge of the Book and Author let me tag along even though I typically go all fan girl. You can see my obnoxiousness from last year here.

This year I had extra reason to be the obnoxious fan girl. We hosted Craig Johnson, Lisa Lutz and David Hayward. Can you say, "walking on Cloud 9?" Yep, that was me!

For their presentation during the event, Lisa and David, who co-wrote HEADS YOU LOSE coming out in April, each acted as though they were the other, taking subtle shots at one another - much like the concept of their book. Lisa explained that HEADS YOU LOSE was written in alternating chapters. She finished the first chapter and sent it to David. He had to write the second chapter but couldn't undo anything Lisa had written in the first. Then it went back to Lisa and she couldn't undo anything David wrote in Chapter 2. And so on. Oh, and I forgot to mention. Lisa and David use to date. The book is fascinating and the writers were a huge hit.

Both Lisa and David are smart and funny, creative and very personable. I met Lisa briefly last year at the Mystery Bookstore's pre-FOB party, but this was the first time we were able to talk at length. I discovered that we share some mutual dislikes, as well as likes.

This was the first time I met David, who by the way is NOT David Hayward the astrologer. He's more on the soft-spoken side, but don't let that fool you. He's got a quick wit. I told him he would have to meet everyone at Bouchercon, so each of you who is attending is tasked with introducing yourself. If you feel you need an introduction, let me know. I'll be happy to facilitate.

Sarah Vowell also spoke at the Book and Author event; however, she flew in and out on the day of the event, so I didn't have a chance to talk to her outside her presentation. She spoke about her new book, UNFAMILIAR FISHES, a non-fiction work about 19th century Hawaii.

Craig Johnson wrapped up the event and, as usual, had the audience in stitches. I had several people talk to me afterward and say how much they enjoyed his presentation. He opened with a joke, saying his friend Marcus Red Thunder, the basis for Henry Standing Bear, told him he knew spring was coming because he saw a Crow Indian carrying a space heater into a pawn shop. When Craig told Marcus he didn't think a white man could get away with telling a joke like that, Marcus said it wasn't a joke. And off we went on a wonderful Craig Johnson story ride.

If you've never had a chance to see Craig in person and hear him speak in person, I can't recommend it enough. Many of you have told me that you've read and loved his books after hearing me gush here about them. Now imagine experiencing that in person. Check out his tour schedule and see if he'll be near you. It's an event worth experiencing, I promise.

One of the special perks of this weekend was having Craig share with us the audition DVD for the man who was chosen to play Walt in the upcoming pilot for LONGMIRE, the TV show that will be based on the Walt Longmire books. He had the DVD with him, so I brought my laptop down after dinner and Lisa, David, Craig, Scott Montgomery and I all took at look at Robert Taylor as Walt Longmire.

Who should not be confused with THIS Robert Taylor:

The live Robert Taylor is a good actor and has a great voice for the part. I just have to get use to a younger, skinnier Walt Longmire.

There's always a sweet sorrow at the end of something like this. I don't regret the opportunity to experience it, but I leave with a bit of an ache. The mystery community is like family and parting is hard. I hang on to my thoughts of the next time I'll get to meet up with everyone. If I am not able to see them beforehand on tour stop, David and Lisa will both be at Bouchercon. Craig I know will be out my way for his book tour. So until next time, thank you all for a super special couple of days.


Naomi Johnson March 1, 2011 at 9:05 PM  

Thanks for the heads-up, Jen. I have June 8 reserved on my calendar.

Beth F March 2, 2011 at 7:55 AM  

Wowowowowowow What an awesome time you had.

Jen Forbus March 2, 2011 at 6:05 PM  

Candace, it really was a great time. The authors were super wonderful.

Naomi, I can't wait for Craig to be out this way again. I never tire of hearing his great stories!

Lesa March 3, 2011 at 7:46 AM  

Enjoyed the write-up, Jen, as always. Thank you. Craig's going to be in Tucson for the Festival of Books, and I'll be able to see him on one panel there. But, he's also going to be at Left Coast Crime, so I should be able to get a second chance. Looking forward to it!

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