Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Spring and Summer Events

I've sort of fallen behind in my event recaps. I've collected some fun video and pictures, so I think it's time to give you a run down on where all I've been this spring and summer.

Following Left Coast Crime, I made a drive up to Ann Arbor to see Brad Parks at Aunt Agatha's Bookshop. He talked about concealed carry permits, struggling to make things up and how his daughter christens a new book. In addition, he performed for the crowd both of his famous....er, notorious...serenades:

And his reading was also quite entertaining!

In May, I took a trip to Columbus to see Carla Buckley. She was appearing at The McConnell Art Center, a beautiful facility, prior to the Ohioana Book Festival. Carla spoke about both her debut novel, The Things That Keep Us Here and this year's highly successful follow-up, Invisible.

Nice backdrop for Carla, right?

Carla shared how she decided on the ideas for each book and how the subjects terrified her personally. There were several aspiring authors present, so she answered questions about her writing process and schedule. She discovered a great problem when she had a guest and was trying to write...it simply didn't work; she felt obligated to tend to her guest. So she started going to the library, which turned out to work very well for Carla. She's since moved out of Ohio, so I hope she's found a great replacement library near her new home!

Also in May I met Tim Green. I didn't have to travel far for this event. If you're a regular blog reader you'll remember me talking about the Young Author's Program that takes place in Lorain County each year. I've helped with the author the past two years and again this year. You may know Tim from his adult legal thrillers (although it's been several years since he published one of those) or from his time on the football field, but Tim was coming to talk to the Lorain County young'uns because he also writes sports stories for young readers.

During an open house, Tim signed books for his young fans!

Tim's enthusiasm with the kids was electric. He was all over the stage, animated and energetic. He told them stories about how hard he had to work to be a professional football player, how hard he had to work to be a writer and a lawyer. But in the end, he emphasized that all of that takes a back seat to how people treat each other.

Tim started his presentation in a jacket.

The kids laughed at his antics, ewwwww'd at his story of vomiting and wanted to know when he would write a soccer book. It was a highly successful Young Author's Conference.

By the end of his presentation, though, the jacket was gone...too hot!

June brought about my first trip to Nashville, TN, to visit friend and blog reader, Chris. We visited the Nashville Zoo (my favorite thing to see when visiting a new city) and a new-to-me mystery bookstore, Mysteries and More.

We drove into downtown Nashville where I almost got us in an accident when I squealed out loud because I saw Tootsies Lounge, which I had just recently encountered in Whistling Past the Graveyard (yes, I get a little goofy when I see landmarks from my books). We didn't go in; seeing it from the outside was sufficient for me.


But the great highlight was attending Craig Johnson's signing and meeting Rhonda, another friend and blog reader, in person for the first time. Here we are altogether. We didn't have near enough time to hang out together, but it was still a highlight of my year to be with these two special friends.

Books bring people together!

I did, however, manage to call Chris by ANOTHER friend's name and was thereafter the butt of all the jokes...from Craig, too. I don't even know who my friends are!

But in all seriousness, Craig's event was very enjoyable. I heard some old stories but some new ones as well. It was heartwarming to hear how the entire cast of Longmire showed up for his Santa Fe event. Robert Taylor had to film that day, but in the midst of the event the audience got all excited...through the windows behind Craig, Taylor had pulled up in the truck from the show and was waving to everyone.

Craig explained that he knew Robert Taylor was the right for the role of Walt
because he was the only one who removed his hat during the audition!

Craig also admitted his wife informed him that he falls in love with each of his female characters. He acknowledged that she was right! All the women in Walt's life serve as a pride of lionesses, each responsible for her part in Walt's upkeep.

July involved a trip to Washington D.C. Last time I visited the Crime and Punishment Museum and this time it was the International Spy Museum. The museum was fascinating, but I have vowed never to visit D.C. during a holiday again. Oh my goodness the people. [Begin public service announcement] And please folks, if you have children under the age of say 4, they don't understand the museum and they don't want to be in those crowds anymore than anyone else. However, they ARE more likely to throw a temper tantrum in the crowd. Please reconsider taking them, for your sanity and the sanity of all those around you. [End of public service announcement]

The museum was full of fun facts and displays, all the cool gadgets and paraphernalia--like a "dog doo transmitter" (honest to God). It was also rather interesting to learn that the Bond car from Goldfinger inspired intelligence agencies to incorporate similar features into their high security vehicles. There were displays about hot air balloons, homing pigeons, Pinterton (his logo inspired the term Private Eye), female spies and The Red Orchestra. I was fascinated with The Red Orchestra because they were a Russian spy ring that used codes based on obscure works of fiction. Smarties!!

And of course the special event at the museum was the James Bond Villains exhibit. I'm not a big Bond junkie, but I did find it fascinating that Ian Fleming described Bond as a compound of all the secret agents and commando types he had met during the war. And that he chose the name James Bond from the author of the 1947 Field Guide of Birds of the West Indies because he thought it was the dullest name he'd ever heard.

Sorry no pictures from the museum because I followed the rules that said, "no photography in the museum." Evidently I could have taken my camera as there were quite a few others there snapping away. Ah well.

And finally, this month I was able to see Hank Phillippi Ryan here in Cleveland. She was here for a library/Sisters in Crime event that kicked off with an interview of Hank.

It's a small world: Hank's interviewer was my instructor for
American Lit in a summer course I took one year!

She spoke about how her first idea for a book came from a spam email that she received at the age of 55. And as she began to develop Charlotte McNally, Hank gave her protagonist the same concerns she was facing: a woman married to her job, successful but worried about what happens when "the camera didn't love her anymore."

With The Other Woman, Hank's most recent, and incredibly successful, novel came from an idea Hank had that just seemed too big for Charlie. And it came from a line Hank read in PEOPLE Magazine, "You can choose your sins, you can't choose your consequences." However, she assured the audience that there will be more in the Charlotte McNally series.

Since the event was sponsored by the Sisters in Crime of NE Ohio, there were plenty of aspiring writers in the audience, so questions about her process ran rampant during the Q&A session. Hank imparted this little nugget for everyone: "There's no secret way to writing. There's only the way that works for you."

Yes, it has been quite a busy and wonderful summer. And of course I'm still super excited because the grand finale is coming next month with Gregg Hurwitz's visit to the Strongsville Library. I'm very hyped to share with you about his new book, but that will come later. And of course I'll share with you about the event, for everyone who's too far away to join us. PLUS, I'm going to have a extra special surprise from the event. Stay tuned! Remember if you're planning to attend the event, you need to register. It is free but they need to know how many people will be there.

Hope you enjoyed the pictures and tidbits from my summer of events. Have a super Tuesday and happy reading!


Christine July 23, 2013 at 10:40 AM  

Your visit was my favorite birthday gift! And getting to (finally!) meet Rhonda in person and hanging with you guys at Craig's event? The cherry on top! You and Nestlé are always welcome in Nashville. xo

And the year's only half over! Thanks for taking us along on your adventures. I always look forward to your tweets from the events. Don't think I didn't check the calandar to see if I could swing going to Gregg's event with you. *sigh* No go, unfortunately, so I'll just have to attend vicariously through you. :)

Love and hugs from not-Lauren! ;)

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