A week from now I'll be on the road to Chicago to the Love is Murder conference. It will probably be the second day of my drive – since I just can't seem to make myself drive more than 6 or 7 hours in one stretch. Also weather will play into my travel plans. Snow and ice will move the start of my journey up a day.
For the past week I've been sorting through my promo items and figuring out clothes for the trip. I always pack too much and then I have to cart it all into the hotel with me. I found the Rosemont Hotel (where the conference was held the last few years) very warm even if the outside temps were subzero. My wool suit jackets were uncomfortable, but this year the conference has moved to a different hotel. Maybe I can wear the wool. Decisions … Decisions.
This week's blogs on the Stiletto Gang have been about procrastination in one form or another. I'm good at procrastination too. I've got a half-dozen things I need to get done before I leave and instead I'm watching NetFlix movies. (The last season of Foyle's War is now available).
Back to procrastination - when I really don't want to do something I make a list about all the things I need to do. Somehow making the list makes me feel less guilty for not actually doing anything. I'm a good list maker. The first thing on my current list is to make a list for things I need to pack for Love is Murder.
I'm lucky enough to be on a Saturday panel about team writing. So on my to-do list I need to add "be sure and pack materials for the panel": a copy of each of my books for display, as well as bookmarks and any give-away items I'm going to pass out to the panel audience. Usually three panels are running at any one time at Love is Murder, so you never know how large a crowd you'll have – depends on the competition. For instance if John Grisham was appearing on a panel next door at the same time – even I would have a hard time listening to me!
I love mystery panels. Before (during and after) I was an author I was a reader. A big reader. I still get a thrill listening to some of my favorite authors speak – put Charlaine Harris and Nancy Pickard on the same panel and I'll be in the front row every time. They're fabulous writers, but also lots of fun to listen to. I met a new author, Rosemary Harris, last year at the conference. She's a lovely person and I'm looking forward to seeing her again. She's sponsoring a hospitality room this year to promote her new book, The Big Dirt Nap. Sounds like a gritty mystery, doesn't it? I'm joking. Last year Rosemary gave me a pack of Daisy seeds as a promotion for her debut book, Pushing Up Daisies. Do you think this year she'll … Just kidding, Rosemary. Anyway, I'll be picking up a copy of her new book while I'm there.
That's the other wonderful thing about attending conferences – besides meeting authors, you can find their latest books. Love is Murder has a book room and booksellers set up their wares on tables. Since I'm driving, I don't have to worry about weighing down my suitcases with too many books and getting penalized by the airlines. Last year I came home with all of Charlaine Harris's vampire series and her psychic series. I also purchased books by Luisa Buehler, Craig Johnson, and Margaret Maron.
Did I mention that Evelyn David will have two new books at Love Is Murder this year? We have a short story, Riley Come Home, in the Echelon anthology, Missing. We also are giving conference attendees an opportunity to purchase an advance copy of Murder Takes the Cake, the sequel to Murder Off the Books. Murder Takes the Cake's official publication date is May 2009, but Echelon did a special printing just for Love Is Murder.
If you're at the conference, hunt me down and I'll sign a copy for you. I've also got some plastic "wedding ducks" to give away to buyers of the first twenty copies of Murder Takes the Cake. Hey, wedding ducks, that's not something you see everyday!
Note to self: Add gaggle of ducks to list of things to pack.
More next week from the road!