Thursday, November 15, 2007

The Miami Book Fair

The year I was promoted to a supervisor in my police job I thought I had traveled all I ever would in one year. I supervised one of the early Internet predator taskforces and visited cities all over the country to meet with other police agencies to develop guidelines for the difficult investigations. I was also sent to a management school, which was one week a month for six months. There were the usual survival and tactical schools in Tallahassee and a National Guard base named Camp Blanding. It was part of the challenge of moving up the ladder and becoming the best supervisor I could be. I knew I’d been to Tallahassee a lot when a clerk at the residence Inn I usually stayed at greeted me by name and knew which room I preferred.

This year’s travel schedule may eclipse the year I spent 70 nights in hotel rooms. I still travel in my day job but not like the year I described above. But now I have book festivals to visit, library talks and a book tour to add to my hotel total. Except for the tour almost all the travel is on weekends and close enough to drive.

In addition to Florida stops I visited festivals or bookstores in South Carolina, Texas, Georgia (twice), Arizona, California, Alabama, New York and Tennessee.

It was this travel hangover that caused me to skip getting a room for the Miami Book Fair this past weekend. Instead, I zipped down the seventy-five miles from my house to the dead center of downtown Miami. It was a long, fun, tiring and ultimately worthwhile day, which I now have to view as more exhausting than just getting a room. But my rationalization that I had not been at my house for a full weekend for the past six weeks, which included a vacation, and that I would be attending the Vero Beach Book festival next week, caused me to become homesick for my own bed. And even though I rumbled into the driveway at two Sunday morning, about eighteen hours after I had departed, it felt good to wake up and not worry about driving any where for an entire day.

This is in no way a complaint or whine, despite how it’s laid out. I am fortunate to be in this position and generally enjoy these events. Since I thought to bring my camera I even have evidence of my adventure in the “Latin Riviera”. Let me take you on a brief tour of the greatest book fair in the United States.

One of the driving forces of the Bookfair is Mitchell Kaplan of Books & Books. Here he is with an elderly patron of the book fair better known as crime writer Tom Corcoran.

My panel was for the Florida Book Award winners. Here we are after the talk at our signing. From left to right is our moderator Dr. Wayne Weigand, Daina Chaviano, me, James Kimbrell, Tony D’Souza and Michael Grunwald.. It was nice to meet such fine writers.

I was on the panel for Escape Clause winning the best novel in popular fiction.

Here I am with Jeffery Toobin, author of the current bestseller on the Supreme Court, The Nine.

This is Christine Kling, Hyacinth and Nick Stone, author of the Thriller Award winning Mr. Clarinet.

And finally my hero, Chris Matthews of Hardball.

It was a good day and I still smile at the thought of it. Even if I didn’t stay overnight in a hotel.
And yes, most of the post is just an excuse to show off my photo with Matthews.
What events to do you like to\travel to attend?


  1. You look faboo, James O. Chris looks like he's lost a little weight. What's up with that?

  2. You are making me very homesick.

  3. Thanks Patty. That's nice.

    Paul, it wasn't the same without you.

    I'll also admit that the photo of Tom Corcoranis from last year but it was the best one of Mitchell that I had.


  4. from Jacqueline

    Gotta tell you, Jim, you are one photogenic writer - as Patty says, "Faboo." And I know how you feel about the travel - you want to do it, you want to go to the stores, meet the folks who buy and read your books, but sometimes the thought of the flight/drive/hotel just makes you shudder. Then you come home, exhausted, and look back - and it was all worth it.

  5. I've been on the road since Monday and am aching for my bed. I can't imagine 70 nights on the road, though I adore hotels. I've had a blast meeting people, but I'm about over this particular trip. Too many firsts.

    The Matthews pic is awesome! Where are the Kinky Friedman snaps???