Saturday, June 25, 2011

A Slew of Wonderful Events

As most of you who read the blog regularly know, I kinda like author events. Oh, alright, alright! I have a bit of an addiction. I admit it. :-)

One of the goals I set for myself was to average one event a month this year - I'm ahead of schedule for this year. Not only do I find them fun and informative, I also find that they add to my reading experience after. On a very rare occasion one has turned me off of an author, but the good experiences far outweigh the bad. I also like to support the authors I read and admire; attending their events is a great way to do that.

Well, June was a busy month for events and I have lots of fun to share with you from those events, starting with Chicago's Printers Row event that was held the first weekend in June.

This was my second year attending Printers Row and I really enjoy the event. Seems to rain at least a little every time, but that's o.k. I was none too happy when they outlawed the taking of pictures during the sessions, but I found a way to get a few pictures anyway.

First, I had the chance to meet Lesley Kagen after her wonderful panel. She is so passionate about writing and that comes through in everything she says. Lesley is one of our xuni authors, which is how I found out about her. Listening to her read from her book resulted in me being very excited to hear she will be reading her own audiobooks. I don't usually get excited about an author reading his/her own audiobooks, but I have a feeling Lesley is going to be the best choice for these!

Later that day, Judy Bobalik and I attended a conversation with Sean Chercover and Marcus Sakey. How much fun! First, I know many of you will be excited to hear that Sean has finished his third book and we'll be hearing more about publication of that soon. But the basis of the story is a revivalist, con-man preacher who begins to spew predictions that are coming true. The root of the idea came to Sean in 1996 when he was having to take numerous pain killers and was also drinking whiskey. - See, you always wondered where authors get their ideas. Now you know!

Marcus also revealed where the seed for THE TWO DEATHS OF DANIEL HAYES came from.  Sean had actually shared a story about Satchel Paige who didn't know his age but was asked at one point by a reporter, so his response was, "How old would ya be if ya didn't know how old ya was?" That question led Marcus to the question, "WHO would ya be if ya didn't know who ya was?"

There was a fun early-release party for Marcus' THE TWO DEATHS OF DANIEL HAYES afterward. I was really excited to be able to celebrate the release of this book with him.

The next day at Printers Row, Judy and I attended a panel with Andrew Gross, Kevin Guilfoile, Keir Graff and Jamie Freveletti.

Andrew talked about his upcoming novel EYES WIDE OPEN. He explained that he typically works around ideas that come from news headlines, but this book deals with two events a bit more personal to him. The first being the death of his nephew from suicide and the other being the time he met Charles Manson when he was 12. The revelation of this meeting elicited quite a startled response from Jamie who was moderating the panel.

The week after Printers Row was just as busy. It started with Craig Johnson's event in Oakmont at Mystery Lovers Bookshop on Tuesday. There was a full house for Craig, which is fitting because he's so entertaining and fun!

Craig spoke about the fact that he does indeed plan story elements well in advance of the actual book he's working on. When he created Virgil in ANOTHER MAN'S MOCCASINS he had intentions of using him with another storyline later (a.k.a. HELL IS EMPTY).

HELL IS EMPTY was challenging for Craig to write in that he was relaying on another book's structure to put his own together, since HELL IS EMPTY ties in allegorically with DANTE'S INFERNO.

Craig also addressed the pilot of LONGMIRE and how much involvement he had in the process. When he saw the auditions for the role of Henry, Lou Diamond Phillips was the only actor who didn't instinctively create contractions out of Henry's speech.

Craig charmed the audience and it was a wonderful evening!

The following night was Michael Koryta's event. Luckily that one was in Westlake, about 20 minutes from my house. And this was an event that was originally scheduled for the CYPRESS HOUSE release but had to be canceled twice because of weather. The weather was cooperative this time around and all went as planned.

Michael shared a few fun tidbits about THE RIDGE, including the fact that his mother use to take Michael and his sister to see lighthouses whenever they traveled. According to Michael, she dragged them to every lighthouse she possibly could. So having the lighthouse in THE RIDGE was a bit of payback to Mom for those excursions.

Michael also gave some advice to anyone visiting a feline rescue like the one in the book. "Don't wear perfume." Micael's publicist wanted to visit the rescue facility that influenced the writing of THE RIDGE, and when she did she wore nice clothes and perfume, which attracted the cats to...well...mark her. Once one cat had left its mark, many more decided they needed to as well. YIKES!

The next book Michael's working on is going back to traditional crime fiction. It may be out as early as 2012 or may be later into 2013.

I had a short break after Michael's event, which gave me time to take my dogs to the vet for their overdue vaccinations and celebrate my mom's birthday and Father's Day. The family was appreciative of that.

This past week brought Karin Slaughter to the Cleveland area. Aside from the nasty woman who sat next me, this was a tremendous event. Karin Slaughter is fun, humorous and energetic. You can see how much she loves what she does. I think that's one of the most amazing things to experience. She takes nothing for granted and is appreciative of every fan and every circumstance that got her to where she is.

This event was held at the North Olmsted library, which is part of the Cuyahoga County library system. Many of you are probably familiar with the work Karin has done on behalf of libraries; many of her events for this tour are taking place in libraries, and I was thrilled that one of those libraries was near me.

Karin talked about the role libraries played in her childhood and her road to publication. She acknowledged the role her father played. His hard work provided her with a life that allowed her to go to the library and read books instead of having to work to support their family. He also taught her how to do more than "be pretty."

I think anyone who has ever had a chance to listen to Karin Slaughter speak knows without any doubt that she is a born story-teller. Her abilities go beyond the written word to the spoken word as well. She's absolutely amazing and I encourage you to see her if you have the chance. I assure you, she's worth going out of your way, driving a longer distance than usual, whatever. It is a fabulous experience.

So that's been my June of author/book events. Who have you all seen recently that you really enjoyed? Did they do anything special or unique that made the experience extra special? I really encourage all of you to check out an author event at a local bookstore or library. Show some support to those folks who provide you with hours and hours of entertainment.

Now for a little down time when I can catch up on the reviews of books I've been reading, plot some fun project ideas, and update this darned blog. Have you been wondering when in the heck I'm going to get on the ball? Holy cow I need to update. Thanks for being patient with me and for coming back to visit regularly.

Happy reading everyone!


Christine June 25, 2011 at 3:55 PM  

Sounds like a fantastic month to me! (Thrilled to hear that Sean's got another book coming out!)

Thanks for sharing your adventures with us, Jen.

Naomi Johnson June 25, 2011 at 4:32 PM  

You're having too much fun. Be careful, Gov. Kasich will pass a law against you!

I have that Satchel Paige quote on a fridge magnet.

Kay June 25, 2011 at 5:33 PM  

That is just amazing! What a fun bunch of events and such fabulous authors. Some I've read and am totally "fangirl" for them, some I'm planning on reading, some...well, I think I had heard of all of them. You keep us very well informed, Jen. Now, sit down and take a rest. Then you can start again and go to more events to share with us!!

Janet Rudolph June 25, 2011 at 5:55 PM  

Oh my, you get around, Jen... Sounds like so much fun!

le0pard13 June 25, 2011 at 10:29 PM  

Some great info and news, Jen. I'm so looking forward to Sean Chercover's new novel. Thanks.

Pop Culture Nerd June 26, 2011 at 6:42 PM  

Thanks for taking the time to post and share your experiences with us, Jen. I get to enjoy the events vicariously from my couch!

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