First, the special Canadian edition of Spinetingler is now up. Be sure to check it out – it’s an interesting issue. Lots of reviews, including one of a book by Linda L. Richards. Linda has been dealing with life as an evacuee as forest fires approached her home. She’s been blogging about it, and is back home as of the last time I checked her blog. Fascinating, scary stuff – a real account of life on Galiano Island right now. I’m so thankful to hear her home is still standing.
I’m making the list of people who wanted an ARC of Suspicious Circumstances to review/consider blurbing. Please email me if you’re interested - firstname.lastname@example.org Otherwise, I won’t guarantee you’ll get one.
This guy named K. Robert Einarson has been harassing me to mention his latest flash fiction piece. Of course, it isn’t his take on lassie or Predator but it is definitely a K. Robert Einarson original. Check it out (happy now, evilkev?).
Yeah, yeah, win a signed copy of the new Crimespree with a short story in it by me. Just email me to enter, at email@example.com with the name of the short story in your email. Hint: the name can be found online. At a place where you’ll find out all kinds of info about me. See? Who said I wasn’t helpful?
Oh, and that other contest
Still taking entries for the Spinetingler Cozy Noir contest. All info and examples here. Get off your butts and get writing!
I’ve been afraid to do the official list of names, because I’m sure I’ll forget somebody. But, here goes.
Shortly after arriving, I saw Val McDermid. I’ve met Val a few times before, and it was great to see her. Then I met Ali Karim, and he introduced me to a lot of people. Of course, I saw Mike Stotter, also of Shots, again. But not nearly enough this year! I remember catching up with Margaret Murphy, and being referred to as a ‘young lady’ by Simon Kernick. Well, when you’re as old as he is, I guess that makes me a baby. (How’s the weather at the fire station, Simon?)
Stuart MacBride was a bit snobby, and didn’t even say hello to me. He claimed he was overwhelmed by the group of men surrounding me. Didn’t stop Ian Rankin from coming over when he arrived, though. I mean, I know Stuart isn’t Ian, but still. You’d think he’d work on it more, after all the criticism from the Rabid Rankin Fan Liberation Front. You’ve got to love reviews that say, “This isn’t Ian Rankin.” No shit Sherlock. Name on the front cover should have been the first clue.
But evilkev mentioned Stuart and Ian together in his latest publisher’s letter in the Canadian issue. Did he compare them? You’ll have to read it to find out. I know. Manipulative bitch, I am.
I finally did do what I’d gone to the bar to do- answer Vincent’s text message about whether John Rickards or anyone had arrived. I found Stuart on the patio, with James and John.
Eventually, I met Steve Mosby. It was one of those, “I think I recognize you but I’m not 100%” things. As it was, James said when he saw me talking to Stuart, “Curly hair. It must be Sandra.” How can I remember things like that and not the names of everyone I was talking to in the bar? Context, I guess.
And Simon Kernick had to think about it for a minute. Much to my amusement. “Scary Canadian woman… must be Sandra.” Should have run faster sooner.
All told, I met Adrian Muller, Al Guthrie, Bernie Crossthwaite, Ali Karim, Lizzie from Mystery Women, Zoe Sharp, George Pelecanos, Richard Burke (who I can now blackmail), Shane Maloney, Agent Phil, Suzie Dunlop, Jon Wood (what did I say about blackmail material? Tee hee), Vincent, James, Betty and the BTZ crew, Jayne, Helena, John Rickards, Steve Mosby and his girlfriend, Lynn, Suzi, from Hodder/Headline (one of them. I can’t remember which and haven’t looked it up yet), Martin Edwards, Sheila Quigley, Ann Cleeves, Penny Deacon, Sandy from Ontario, John Connolly, Martina Cole, Colin Campbell…. Matt. Oh boy. I know I’m missing a ton of people and I’m going to feel so bad.
I also reconnected with Margaret Murphy, Natasha Cooper, Val McDermid, Mark Billingham, Stuart MacBride, Simon Kernick, Adrian Magson, Mike Stotter, Chris High and Peter Guttridge.
Oh, and I’m fairly certain someone will come tell me I missed them. I’m sorry already.
Festivals become a blur of faces before long. And I do enjoy the longer chats, the chance to really connect with people. So, some of my personal highlights include lunch with James and Vincent, amongst all our chats, the hour I spent interviewing Simon Kernick, the all-night chat with Chris, Matt and Helena, and the many chats with Steve Mosby and Lynn.
If you start making these lists, you’ll always miss something off of them. Always. And hurt feelings. And I don’t mean to do that.
But I did want to say that I’ve been getting to know some people off the blogs for a long time, and seeing them in person really was wonderful. And it was so easy to talk to them as well, because we were well past starting points. And I had such a fantastic time in Edinburgh before Harrogate.
There were other regrets. That I didn’t get my photo taken with Natasha Cooper. That I didn’t get to talk to Zoe Sharp about an interview. Unfortunately, you have so many conversations, and when people are in groups it doesn’t seem right to ask one for something and leave others thinking, “she’s not interested in me?” Except I am – I simply have to do things one at a time! There were so many people I really wanted to have a conversation with, but you can’t monopolize people’s time.
I don’t know if I’ll be at Harrogate next year. But if I miss it, I’ll be sad. There’s something about the smaller festival experience. Something about everyone mingling together and the positive atmosphere I’ve enjoyed two years in a row at Harrogate.
One thing I did notice this year was the acoustics in the bar. There was a certain tone of voice I just struggled to hear. Any men that were much taller than me were almost impossible, unless sitting down.
Others on the blogs, like James and Vincent have done a far better job of recapping Harrogate and relaying all the intricacies of the weekend. But I had a particularly unique experience. Last year, I attended as a fan and didn’t promote Spinetingler or myself. It never even occurred to me.
This year, I knew there were people who had heard of me. People I’d met off the blogs, people who’d submitted material to Spinetingler. I was returning as someone months away from the release of their own first book, with an established ezine.
Someone with a bit of a smart-mouthed-blogger reputation.
In short, no longer anonymous.
It may seem strange to say it here, but people in my town don’t even know my name. The day of the big fire? I went to see if they needed me to pick up lunch for the guys, and Kevin got the message that Maureen had dropped by. He said, “Who’s Maureen?” Someone said, “Your wife.” He said that wasn’t his wife’s name and dropped it there, and didn’t tell them.
Around here, I’m Mrs. Kevin. Oh, okay, a few people know my first name. But I’m also Mrs. Einarson.
Not exactly the same thing. I have a pretty low profile.
In a way, it’s cool, because people really treat you a certain way, and you really know what they think of you. I like that much better than the feeling I’ve had elsewhere (not Harrogate) that some people are only talking to me because I can do something for them.
All I can say is, I don’t think anything really prepares you for your first conference experience as a debutante author. It’s special and scary at the same time.
I also had the experience of seeing my name in print, being interviewed, for the first time since I moved into crime fiction. And then getting the new issue of Crimespree when I got home, I got to see it in print as interviewer and author of a short story.
It’s been a very surreal few weeks for me.
Can I just say how lucky I am? How truly fortunate, to be surrounded by wonderful, supportive, encouraging people who’ve done so much to help me with my career? From Ian Rankin’s inspiration to start writing, to Val McDermid’s example of how to add a new dimension to what I was doing with my work, to Stuart MacBride giving me a swift kick in the ass and the people at Crimespree believing in my work enough to print it, I feel blessed.
And I’m blessed to be part of Killer Year. The positive team energy and group support is phenomenal.
So, in thinking about Brett and everyone who drops by and those who comment here regularly, I think it’s the people who’ve come along side me in this journey who are beautiful.
I learn so much from all of you.
And Vincent, you are not a fraud. It was all I could do not to double over laughing on the plane when I read some of those scenes you wrote. Simply brilliant. Every bit as good as many books I’ve read, and then some.
We’re all on our journeys. Some of us closer to our goals than others, but you never know how things will change overnight. A year ago, getting a book published was still the dream for me. Now, I’m working on cover design and the final edits for my first novel.
Next year, that could be you. All it takes is believing in yourself, hard work, and a bit of luck. You do the work, and let luck take care of itself, and know I’m always here to cheer you on.
I am going to post a negative review of a book here, along with a readers/reviewers challenge. I was going to do this on DorothyL, but it’s too friggin’ long, for one thing.
Not to mention I’d be roasted alive.
But I’ve been bugged and bugged and bugged to go on the record about a book I don’t like, and why, and at some point next week, I’ll brave it.
And it is my intention to have a very special prize for this challenge. So be sure to check it out.
Today I'm listening to The Blue Nile High