Friday, February 01, 2008

Love is Murder - Chicago Style

Gotta love Chicago -- they know how to welcome a gal. Lots of snow. It was pretty. It tied up traffic to the extent that some friends driving down from Wisconsin required 4 hours to get to the hotel. They live 60 miles away. We had a grand dinner, b.s.'d and then they headed home late last night. By then the traffic was gone and the roads were being cleared. Chicago knows how to handle a bit of snow (somewhere over 6" the last I heard).

My hotel overlooks a parking lot near a big Target store. Last night there were six or seven snowplows working on the lot closest to the hotel. For a time, they got into one big circle and just went round and round like Indians circling the settlers' wagon train. Looked like fun.

The flight cancellations, etc. have caused some guest arrival delays here at Love is Murder (a mystery conference). Hopefully everyone gets in eventually. It looks to be a grand weekend. I'll do updates as time permits.

FRIDAY -- Today went well. I attended a Master Class by author Lee Child that was more Q&A than class. Then I had lunch with Barbara Vey of Publishers Weekly's Beyond Her Book Blog. We met at Moonlight & Magnolias last year and have been emailing off and on ever since. Her blog featured a blurb about Sojourn just about a week ago and so we talked about the series, about what other authors are writing and such. It was a couple hours' worth of interesting conversation, which was good as the service was rather slow in the restaurant and it took a long time to get the food and the check.

In the evening I reconnected with Robert Walker & his lovely wife, Miranda. Rob writes historical mysteries set in 1893 Chicago during the time of the Columbian Exposition. I also met Stacey Klemstein (we're doing a panel together tomorrow) and Kelle Z. Riley. Lots of new faces.

I have three panels tomorrow and a signing, plus the SINGLE MALT SCOTCH TASTING. Yeah, I've got my priorities right. And now to get a few more lines on the book before bed....

Saturday -- Three panels, one book signing, banquet and the single malt scotch tasting. All the panels went very well. Even managed to catch a wee nap this afternoon in between all the stuff going on. Barry Eisler (and others) conducted a martial arts, personal safety one-hour workshop that was very educational. After the banquet (and the piper) we tasted 6 Scottish single malts (Glenkinchie 12 y/o, Singleton, Dalwhinnie, Oban, Talisker and Lagavulin. The first three were a little light for my taste. I drink Oban already. I quite enjoyed the Talisker and found the Lagavulin to be a milder version of Laphroaig. Learned a lot. Now I just have to make to Scotland and do a distillery tour (or three). Tomorrow starts early(9 a.m. panel!) so I'm off to bed once I get the luggage packed. Met lots of new folks and that's what counts.

Sunday -- the final panel of the con started at 9 a.m. Before that we had breakfast while J.A. Konrath interviewed Tess Gerritsen on stage. Tess does great anecdotes. The panel allowed me one last opportunity to chat with Rebecca Kohles who writes unique books blending the supernatural and all things equestrian. Into a thriller. She's had good success with her first two books and is moving steadily toward that day she receives a contract from a traditional publisher. I'm wishing her all sorts of good luck and fat contracts.

Once at the airport, I popped into the Delta Crown Room (nice one), set up my computer and got another ninety-minutes of work done on Madman's Dance. I usually wouldn't spend $$ for such "luxury" but being out of the ebb and flow of humanity allows me to get words on page. I'm traveling a LOT this year so the membership will prove worth it over the long run. Unfortunately, I remember when TWA's club was $150 year. That might explain why they're no longer in business.

Home without a hassle, nice dinner (courtesy of the spouse who is thrilled I can take over cat fawning duties) and I spiraled into bed by 8:15. Totally knackered (as the Brits would say). Tomorrow is the day I'll officially start fretting about the next book. The deadline loometh. Those icy fingers of doubt are starting to flex. Well, nothing that dramatic. It's just going to be a day filled with lots of work.


steve said...


Many thanks for your inscription and autograph. Steve G. had a great time. He was impressed with you.

Tess Gerritsen was one of the people who blogged for Patry Francis--the author of "The Liar's Diary," who was struck with a very aggressive form of cancer. She's recovering after two surgeries, but was in no position to go on a book tour. About 400 bloggers, including Tess and yours truly, promoted her book on our blogs Jan. 29.

I'll have to look into Robert Walker. I've been fascinated with the Columbian Exposition long before I read "Devil in the White City."

I'm surprised you made it in. It was a pretty horrendous snowstorm that hit the Midwest. Now we're gettin thunderstorms. Tomorrow it's back to snow.

Jana Oliver said...

Every time I saw Steve G. he had this big grin on his face. I was happy it turned out to be a good event for him.

Rob Walker's books take you into the seamier side of Chicago. I became intrigued by that time period when I listened to an audio version of the book you mentioned. I suspect my Time Rovers might go there someday.

I wasn't worried once I landed in Chicago. They know how to deal with snow (unlike some towns I might mention). I figured as long as the hotel didn't run out of food and single malt scotch, we were good to go.