Let the Partying Begin!

After a long winter (okay, this year, it was more like a long NON-winter), spring is upon us and so is party and event season. It started yesterday with Lisa Scottoline's annual visit to Pittsburgh. This year, she was here to promote her latest "emotional thriller" Come Home.

I've long sung Lisa's praises. Back when I was first starting my search for an agent, she was generous enough to insist I send my manuscript to HER agent. I did. He rejected it. But I will love her forever for being so supportive. She also agreed to be the keynote speaker for me at the Pennwriters Conference that I coordinated in 2009. Let's face it, I adore anyone who makes me look good. And that keynote speech still ranks as the best one we've ever had (in my opinion anyway).

Yesterday's visit to Pittsburgh...Oakmont actually...was bittersweet. Lisa's mom is in the hospital forcing her to cancel her book tour, with the exception of this stop. And the main reason she HAD to come to Pittsburgh this year is because it was the last time with Mary Alice and Richard as owners of Mystery Lovers Bookshop.

After owning the venerable little indy book store for 21 years, Mary Alice and Richard have decided to retire. A new owner has been found. WHO this new owner is is still a secret, to be revealed next Monday.

But yesterday was a love fest with more than a few bittersweet moments and tears.

I'm among many writers and readers who are eagerly and anxiously (there's a difference between the two!) waiting to hear who will take over Mystery Lovers. Mary Alice promises she is the complete package. And she'll be introduced at next Monday's Festival of Mystery. (I'll be there, representing Pittsburgh Sisters in Crime and signing copies of Fish Tales: The Guppy Anthology, just in case there's anyone in the area I haven't strong-armed into buying it yet.)

Next on the events list is the Pennwriters 25th Conference, to be held in Lancaster, PA. I'm teaching one of the Thursday pre-con seminars: Crime Fiction Story Structure and Finding Your Character's Voice. It's a pretty interesting workshop, if I do say so myself. And it will be interactive, so if you're coming to it, bring your laptop. We'll be working directly with YOUR story and YOUR characters.

After the seminar, I'll be in party mode. I'm "official photographer" again this year, so you'll see me lugging my trusty Nikon around the conference. And I'm really looking forward to seeing another of my famous friends, Hank Phillippi Ryan, who will present this year's keynote address. I have a sneaking suspicion she's going to be another fabulous keynote speaker.

Crime fiction writers ROCK, you know.


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