As Jackie mentioned in her Friday blog, I was on the faculty of the Book Passage Mystery Writers Conference in Corte Madera, California this past weekend. About 100 students attended, so it was an intimate gathering that allowed me to chat with students about their works-in-progress. The talent of the attendees was impressive. The faculty members weren't exactly slackers, either. Here are some of them chilling out on the bookstore patio.
Some of the other attending authors were David Corbett (Blood of Paradise), Craig Johnson (Cold Dish), Laurie R. King (The Language of Bees), John Lescroart (A Plague of Secrets), Doug Lyle (Forensics and Fiction), Katherine Neville (The Eight, The Fire), Gillian Roberts (All's Well that Ends), and Martin Cruz Smith (Gorky Park and Stalin's Ghost). Check out the entire line-up of talent.
There were many wonderful things about the trip. First and foremost, the mirror in my motel bedroom made me look really really thin.
Also, if I had a hankering for a bit of conversation I could always find a writer teetering on a bar stool at Izzy's, which was within staggering distance of the bookstore. I spent some quality time with my friend Louise Ure. Louise and I were Mysterious Press authors and have been friends since our first books. She and I presented a class Sunday morning on "setting." She was a dream to work with. Here she is at Izzy's with two other faculty members.
It was wonderful to hang out with the conference coordinator, our very own Jacqueline Winspear who made us all feel welcome and much more special than we really are. Cornelia was there, too, so I asked someone to snap a photo of the three Naked Women together again.
Traveling can be challenging. You can't get a sandwich and a bottle of water at any airport in the country for less than twenty bucks. There's no free food on airplanes anymore except an impenetrable microscopic packet containing approximately three pretzels. They charge you $15.00 per checked bag. They encourage frequent flyers to cut in front of you in the security line. With all that you'd think I'd stay home for a while but no. I'm leaving this Wednesday for a blue water sailing trip off the coast of New England. James Grippando will post next Monday, and I'll check in to let you know if I've had to don my foulies.
And lastly, I wrote a short story called "The Offer" that's included in Two of the Deadliest, an anthology edited by Elizabeth George. The book is due out tomorrow and includes some terrific stories by well-known authors, including Elizabeth George, Nancy Pichard, Elizabeth Engstrom, Marcia Muller, Laura Lippman, and Susan Wiggs. It also introduces stories by members of my former writing group, my pals Patricia Fogarty, Barbara Fryer, Peggy Hesketh, and Z. Kelley. Congrats, guys! Here's the British cover.
How are you spending your summer vacation?