Thursday, November 19, 2009

Murder and Mayhem - Jordan Style

James O. Born

I spent this last weekend and lovely Muskego, Wisconsin, at a library event called Murder and Mayhem in Muskego. Penny Halle organizes the event for the library system and does a great job. I had been invited almost a year ago and looked forward to the event even though I knew my flight home on Sunday would conflict with the Dolphins -- Buccaneers game. God bless my DVR.

Anyway, I got a chance to visit a place I'd never been before – Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Not surprisingly, it was about what I expected. It seemed smaller and quieter than Chicago, but still had an interesting very un-Florida vibe. The weather was quite mild, dropping to a low in the 50s, which is not what a redneck from Florida wants to see. I wanted snow. Lots and lots of snow. But I got a good taste for the area and the people.

The real reason for this blog is to talk about a couple people I know who are so important to the mystery writing community that words can't accurately express how I feel. I was met at the airport by Judy Bobalik. Judy was one of the first people I ever met in the world of crime fiction at a Sleuthfest in 2004. She lives a couple hours away from Milwaukee and managed to tote me and C.J. Box around with great skill and a few laughs. Mostly at my expense.

The couple who organize this event for the writers are legends. Jon and Ruth Jordan rock. I'm not sure really need to say anything else. Maybe I'll add their house rocks too. Floor to ceiling books, all signed to them and DVDs of virtually every interesting TV show ever to play on television. I now understand how Crimespree magazine gets published.

Ruth has a unique way of making you feel like you're the most important person in the world when you're with her. I did not want to leave their house, where they held an impromptu group breakfast on Sunday morning, despite the lure of a prerecorded Miami Dolphins football game.

Jon is a pop culture dictionary with everything from one-hit wonder rock stars from the 80s to directors of action TV shows from the 90s stored in his noggin for easy access. Jon is a smart, upbeat, fun guy who people just gravitate toward.

Put these kind of people together with a few crime writers and it is one kick ass weekend. I think the photos pretty much speak for themselves. Except for the one where I'm wearing C.J. Box’s cowboy hat on the back of my head. It is not a fashion statement. Mr. Box’s head is the approximate diameter of the Girl Scout’s head.

As a reader or writer what sort of events do you get to like to attend?


  1. You guys looks like extras from Brokeback Mountain.

  2. James O. Born11/19/2009 6:24 AM

    I thought we looked more like rejects from BBM.

    I auditioned for the film but the producer said Heath Ledger was more "edgy" and were going that direction. I never showed him my edgy side. His loss.


  3. I really enjoy these smaller events, because they are more personal. Malice Domestic is a wonderful event because the people are just so nice-- ditto Bloody Words in Canada.

  4. Agreed. Ruth, Jon, and Judy are awesome! I've been to many wonderful conferences including Book Passage Mystery Writers Conference organized by our very own Jacqueline Winspear and the Surrey International Writers Conference. Both are warm and well run. The California Crime Writers Conference organized by Sisters in Crime/LA and Mystery Writers of America SoCal is also highly recommended.

  5. Ruth and Jon are fabulous. They are part of the family I chose for myself. Jim, you are also part of that family. I loved seeing you and laughing with you.


  6. Yes. Judy and the Jordans rock - absolutely ;-)

    I hope to get to Murder and Mayhem one of these years.

    As to events I like to attend, I'm happy anywhere I can hang out with my pals. It can be a large or small event, for one night or over several days - as long as the people and the vibe are mellow, it's all good.

  7. Glad you'll be safely at home for the fins vs the cats tonight.

    Let's hope it's not a stupor bowl.