Wednesday, September 07, 2016

Countdown to Bouchercon--ONE WEEK

In one week from right now, I'll be at the airport, making my way through the security line.

I haven't started packing yet, although I've been giving it a lot of thought. Yesterday I got my hair touched up and my nails done, so I'll look more like an author and less like someone who sits at a computer all day in her pajamas, with her hair in a ponytail.

Umm... Okay. No comment.

Anyhow, I'm looking back at last year's Bouchercon at Raleigh, NC, and realize, I have very few photos. My critique buddy, Mary Sutton, who was also there, posted a look back yesterday on her blog, and she didn't have much photographic evidence either.

However, here is a photo of our panel, which was moderated by the phenomenal Janet Reid (not pictured--ever.) I feel short.

 And here is me in the bar with a chocolate martini (see my post about Bouchercon in Cleveland to read about my love of chocolate martinis).

There was ONE moments NOT captured on film that will remain forever engraved in my memory: My frequent travel buddy Martha Reed's expression as she attempted to eat okra. It was classic. With a cloth napkin covering the lower half of her face, her eyes said it all. Hint: if you ever run into her, you should NOT ask if she wants okra with her meal.

Besides the okra though, the food was incredible. And inexpensive! Maybe that's why we took so few photos. We were always in one of the restaurants stuffing our faces!

Which may also be the case next week in New Orleans. But I'll try to at least take pictures. Especially if Martha attempts okra again.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Countdown to Bouchercon--Two Weeks

My first two Bouchercons were easy road trips as well as being pre-publication. My third one was 2014 in Long Beach. I had two books out and therefore could rationalize the plane tickets. I'd never been to the west coast, never seen the Pacific Ocean, and we're talking southern California in NOVEMBER, so to say I was excited was an understatement.

Leaving (cold Pittsburgh) on a jet plane...the sunrise over the clouds.

Long Beach and palm trees and 70 degree weather.

Henery Press was well represented...

...although we played hooky a bit, having some murderous fun while we were at it.

Book sightings!

I did head inside to watch a few panels.

And in spite of major jet lag, I made it to the Henery Press gathering prior to the evening festivities.

The next day, the Pittsburgh contingent (Martha Reed, Susan Thibadeau, and me) went for a walk down the street... the beach! And the Pacific Ocean!

One last look at the conference hotel before heading home. Back to reality. Back to winter. 

Monday, August 29, 2016

End of an Era

My very first post when I started this blog was about the maiden voyage of our "new" camper. That was back in 2006. After a few years of road trips, we settled it on a "permanent" site in a campground in Confluence. Hubby would go fly fishing. I would write. It was my writing cave away from home. That was 2009.

A few years ago, we moved from our "permanent" site to another spot and then another. Same campground. Different neighborhood. Alas, the new neighborhood was a bit more crowded and noisy than the one up on the hill. But it was still an escape from the obligations back home. And it was still my secondary writing cave.

Times change. My back doesn't tolerate the camper's bed as well as it used to. "Obligations" back home have changed, too. Now I sit there, two hours away, waiting for the phone to ring with news that I need to rush to the ER for my mom.

Yeah, it's not the relaxing escape it once was.

So we've decided Camp Dash has run its course. Our little home on wheels is for sale.

Anyone looking for an 18 foot 1989 Terry Resort camper? Have we got a deal for you!

I'll cry when we spend our last night in it. I'll cry when I sign over the registration.

It's been a good run.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Countdown to Bouchercon--Three Weeks

The second Bouchercon I attended was 2012 in Cleveland, an easy drive for those of us here in the Pittsburgh area. Let me just say, although I have grown up with the bitter football rivalry between the Browns and the Steelers, I discovered I LOVE Cleveland. It's a beautiful city.

It helped that I had excellent hotel room karma that trip. Somehow I ended up on one of the concierge floors (I had to swipe my room key in the elevator to access that level. You can bet I was on the receiving end of some raised eyebrows as convention goers wondered who I was!) While my friends had views of other buildings, I had a view of the lake!

And the room itself was HUGE. We could have held a dance in there!

Since my room mate was 8 1/2 months pregnant, she didn't stay the entire time, so my room became the designated "crash" space for when my Pittsburgh buddies needed to put their feet up a while.

We took several nice strolls outside...

...especially once we discovered The Chocolate Bar a few blocks away. Reese's Cup Chocolate Martini. Oh. My. God. I had a picture of  me enjoying one of those entirely too much, but it seems to have been lost. Heh.

Anyway, here's a picture of some of the Pittsburgh contingent at the Sisters in Crime Breakfast. My very pregnant roomie Jennifer Little Fleck, me, and Martha Reed.

Incoming Sisters in Crime president Hank Phillippi Ryan takes over the reins from outgoing president Frankie Bailey.

There was singing.

And there were panels. This one was moderated by Pittsburgh friend, the Fab Nancy Martin.

More Pittsburgh pals--Laurie Stephens, who was at that time the owner of Mystery Lovers Bookshop, Martha, my current critique buddy Mary Sutton (to whom I lent my'll have to ask one of us to tell you that story), and me.

The incomparable Mary Higgins Clark was the Guest of Honor.

I had the good luck to share the elevator with her on the final day. She was so gracious and I was such a fan girl. So was Mary Sutton. Another story you'll have to ask us about when you see us.

It was yet another fabulously fun Bouchercon. And only three more weeks until the next one!

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Countdown to Bouchercon--Four Weeks

As I posted last week, I'm sharing memories of Bouchercons past each Wednesday leading up to this years convention in New Orleans.

The first Bcon I attended was in Baltimore in 2008. I traveled and roomed with my friend Joyce Tremel. At the time, both of us were aspiring authors, working on projects we hoped to see in print. (Happily, we're now both published!)

In looking back, one happy (at the time) memory now brings tears. Joyce and I met (for the first time face-to-face) our fellow Working Stiffs blogger, Wilfred Bereswill, who has since passed away. He was a sweet, funny man. I'm glad we had the opportunity to spend some time with him.

We also got to hang out with friends we usually only see online, like Michelle Gagnon and Lee Lofland...

as well as friends from back home like Paula Matter and Rebecca Drake.

Joyce and I took a walk to the beautiful Inner Harbor...

and attended some great panels.

We had some great meals with great friends, and spent a LOT of time in the bar.

Before heading home, we said farewell to our "new" friend Hank Phillippi Ryan (looking fabulous as always while Joyce and I had dressed down for the drive back to Pittsburgh). I had no idea at the time how many lifelong friends (like Hank!) I'd made that weekend.

And I can't wait to make a bunch more in New Orleans!

Monday, August 15, 2016

Hot Weather Wimp

The intention was to share tales of our Sisters in Crime writing retreat here today. However, I can't. Not really. You see, I gave up after less than 24 hours and came home.

I've survived floods and blizzards, but was done in by heat and humidity. You see, the mountain lodge where we gathered Friday has no air conditioning. Combine that with it being the hottest weekend of the year and my history of heat exhaustion... Well, it just wasn't pretty. 

What was pretty was the house and its surroundings. 

And there was lots of food. 

LOTS of food. 

Anyhow, I bailed out first thing Saturday morning after a very rough Friday night. I'm happy to report I hear everyone else had a grand time. I look forward to hearing their tales, since I don't have any of my own.