Thursday, May 7, 2009

Of baggage, books, editors, and agents

I sat down to write this evening's blog, glanced over towards the living room, and despaired. There sat my suitcase, still waiting to be unpacked from my Malice Domestic trip. And I got home late Sunday night.


I decided I'd open 'er up, pull out the books I brought home with me, and say a word or two about some of them before moving on to the conference's "Editors and Agents" panel.

Okay, books first. For those who haven't attended mystery cons such as Malice, one of the major joys is receiving the "bag o' books" that seems to be requisite perk of attending. (?Is this a common practice for conferences of other genres? Romance readers: Do you get a big bag of freebie books at romance conferences?) In any case, after receiving the bag, I hurried up to my hotel room and sorted through the books within (feeling like a small child at Christmas). Four days later, I lugged them home along with the few that I had bought (very few, as I'm on a budget these days) from the conference booksellers. In no particular order, here are a few of the volumes that make the cross-country trek in the belly of JetBlue:
  • Deadlier than the Pen by Kathy Lynn Emerson, #1 in the Diana Spaulding series —Oh boy! Big score here! I've read #2 and #3 in this historical mystery series, but not this one. Can't wait to dive in.
  • Generation Loss by Elizabeth Hand—A complete unknown, but it was in the bag, and I was intrigued by this Publishers Weekly blurb on the back: "Hand explores the narrow boundary between artistic genius and madness in this gritty, proundly unsettling literary thriller...."
  • Wobble to Death by Peter Lovesey—Another freebie from the bag. I was won over by the Author's Note at the start, which says, "... Six day 'Go As You Please Contests'—or 'Wobbles'—were instituted by Sir John Astley in March 1878, and became very popular on both sides of the Atlantic in the eighties. An Englishman, George Littlewood, set the record of 623-3/4 miles in New York in 1888, in spite of his foot being burned during the race, when his alcohol bath caught fire..." Wow! How can I resist???
  • Still Life by Louise Penny—I bought this paperback. Louise Penny is one of those "genuine" authors who is a pleasure to talk with and listen to. I haven't read anything by her yet, so was resolved to buy the first in her series and give it a shot.
  • The Sex Club by L.J. Sellers—There was a stack of these on the giveaway table with the invitation to "take one." I've heard some buzz about this book (and a friend recommended it), so I grabbed a copy.
  • Night Kill by Ann Littlewood—Ann L. is a fellow Poisoned Pen Press author. We had a grea time chatting at the conference. I bought Night Kill and got Ann to sign it. :-)
  • In the Shadow of Gotham by Stefanie Pintoff—Bought this as a result of the Malice-Go-Round mentioned in my previous post. It's an historical set in 1904 New York and is compared to early Caleb Carr (think: The Alienist). Stefanie was one of those "genuine" low-key people. That, along with the subject matter, convinced me to plunk down my hard-earned change on a hardback by an "unknown."
  • The Cat, the Quilt, and the Corpse by Leann Sweeney—Boy, does the cover look cozy, never mind the references to cats and quilts! Still, it was "in the bag," and I know Leann is an accomplished writer, so why not?
... And I'll stop there!

Now, for those of you who patiently persevered through this post to find out about the "editors and agents" panel, I'm going to pull a fast one and point you to a great post by Sandra Parshall on Poe's Deadly Daughters right here. She says it all, and very well, so go read it. In fact, I'm going to go Twitter about her post right now! :-)


L.J. Sellers said...

It looks like my novel is in good company. I hope you enjoy it.

Anonymous said...

That's quite a list!

Galen Kindley--Author said...

Now, curious minds want to know. Just when, between travel, writing, blogging, promoting and the 100 other things you do, are you gonna get the chance to read those very fine books? (Grin)

If I can blog a bit, write a tiny bit, do chores, and spend family time, I’m already into a 26 hour day. The closest I come to reading anymore is listening to audio books while I exercise.

Still, if anyone can pull it off, I’ll wager you can. Nice post…as usual.

Best Regards, Galen

Karen Walker said...

this is a wonderful post. Love the reading list, although I have a stack of books on my table already. And since started this class, I haven't read a word other than blogs. I usually read one or two books a week.


Elle Parker said...

OH wow....would I ever love to get a haul of books like that. Especially mysteries.

I do hear tell that the romance conventions are just the same, but sadly, I have not been to either kind.

Elle Parker

Sandra Parshall said...

Thanks for the plug, Ann! The agents panel was great, and I'm glad the Malice Domestic organizers found a spot on the program for a panel catering to writers.

N A Sharpe said...

That conference sounds phenomenal! Color me jealous. Have a wonderful time reading. Please don't forget to blog about them!

NA Sharpe

Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

"Still Life" is really good. I'll have to check out some of the others on your list. Thanks for the report!


Ann Parker said...

Hello L.J.: I read the opening pages and I'm hooked! :-)
Hello Marvin: Yep, and that's not all...
Hiya Galen: Well, it's not easy. I read on planes, but I'm not traveling as much as I used to (sigh). One of the ironies of becoming a writer--I got into this biz because of my love of words and stories. Now, I have so little time to read.
Karen: One or two books a week? That's great!! When do you read them?
Hi Elle: Yep, it's like Christmas-in-a-bag. :-)
Hi Sandra: You're welcome! It's a great post!
Howdy N.A.: Will do. But I'm a s-l-o-w reader these days...
Elizabeth: Thanks for the recommendation! I'll push it up the stack.

Enid Wilson said...

wow, so there are so many freebies from conference? cool! I am looking forward to my first then.

In Quest of Theta Magic

Karen Brees said...

I love this post. I can't wait to dive into the stack of books piling up by my reading chair. However, the pile continues to grow and I can't seem to settle in until 9 o'clock, when my eyelids are already beginning to droop.

Maybe after the pub gig for this book is done I can get back to some sort of normal schedule.

Ann Parker said...

Hi Karen,
Hate to say this, but I don't think life ever gets back to "normal" once one crosses over into being a published author ... ;-)

Julie Lomoe said...

Excellent post - I love the way you inserted links. In fact, I'm going to try out the one to Sandra Parshall right now. I'm dying to know about the agents and editors panel.