The convention officially kicked off on Thursday with the beginning of the programming, more people coming in and an opening night ceremony. But I forgot to mention about my big surprise that arrived on Wednesday evening. Well, I can't claim it as totally mine, but when Pop Culture Nerd knocked on my hotel room door, I was OVERJOYED. The Craisie brigade would be out in full form!
The first session I attended was the Guest of Honor Panel, which included Colin Cotterill, Charlaine Harris, Val McDermid and Robert Crais, moderated by Oline Cogdill. Before the panel started I got to hang out with Daniel Palmer (DELIRIOUS) and we chatted about a number of things, but he also shared some fun info about his new book, coming out in February - and I'm reading right now. It's a page-turner y'all, so you'll want to check it out next year. Anyway, back to business.
|Don't ask what was going on with my hair this weekend; it's hopeless!|
The "Passengers" panel was lively and thoroughly entertaining. Robert Crais was asked out for a drink by a woman in the audience, Colin Cotterill wanted to know if anyone in the audience was NOT there to see RC. Val McDermid referred to writers as vampires (a la Charlaine Harris) - Val explained that they suck the life out of those around them to put in their stories. The only panelist to answer Oline's question about "sharing something the audience wouldn't know about you" was Val McDermid who said she knits scarves.
Following that panel, I attended the "Timebomb" panel. This time Daniel Palmer was ON the panel instead of watching it. He was joined by the most wonderful Meg Gardiner, JT Ellison, Adrian Magson and debut novelist Simon Toyne. This panel revolved around a lot of the age old thriller questions: "difference between a mystery and a thriller" - that sort of thing. The panelists were wonderful fun; Daniel and Meg bemoaned the horrors of the end of the school day for writers. My friend and librarian, Wendy Bartlett, commented to me later how impressed with Daniel Palmer she was. This is always good news to me because Wendy's the one who brings authors to the Cuyahoga Library System!
The final panel I attended on Thursday was "I Got the Right to Sing the Blues." This was also a very animated panel, but I don't think you could expect less with Mark Billingham, Jonathan Hayes and Roger Ellory all on the podium together. Debut novelist Rochelle Staab also contributed quite a bit to the energy of this panel. The final panelist was Bryan Gilmer and the panel was moderated by Wallace Stroby. Mark Billingham expressed his undying devotion to Phil Collins - that's a joke for anyone who doesn't know how much Billingham dislikes Phil Collins' solo work. And Rochelle Staab talked about meeting John Lennon.
|Mark Billingham and Jonathan Hayes|
|Mark Billingham, Jonathan Hayes, Rochelle Staab|
The official convention day ended on Thursday after the Opening Night Festivities, emceed by Ridley Pearson. Ridley is such a perfect emcee. I can't imagine ever being tired of listening to his wonderful stories. Each of the guests of honor was recognized, the Macavity, Barry and Crimespree Awards were all announced and authors from Harper and William Morrow signed books.
|Ridley Pearson takes the prize for Outstanding Emcee|
|Robert Crais recognized as American Guest of Honor|
Here you can see the Craisie Club gathered. We made Erin Mitchell an honorary member! This picture makes me so happy. What a joy to be with all of these wonderful friends. From the right: Michael, Carolyn, Naomi, Elyse, Lauren and Erin. I wish I had months to spend with them instead of just days.
Some of crime fiction's most powerful women congregating. Better watch out!
|Val McDermid, Laura Lippman and Karin Slaughter|