Monday, August 30, 2010

A Tale of Conferences Past

Conferences About Books!

by Rebecca Cantrell

I love reading. I grew up in a family of readers, but once I entered school I discovered that most of my classmates did not yearn to sneak away and read during recess. They wanted to play soccer or Frisbee or jump rope. I was aghast, but muddled through, convinced that I was the last reader left in the world.


Then I grew up, wrote books, and discovered book conferences. I love them all.

I loved my first Left Coast Crime in Waikoloa, Hawaii (finally a conference in driving distance) where I watched over Kelli Stanley when she was completely agog after she won the Bruce Alexander award.

Then at my second Left Coast Crime in Los Angeles I was literally struck dumb when I won the Bruce Alexander award myself (video evidence exists, but I'm not pointing you toward it). Every year the International Thriller Writers conference is like summer camp, where I meet all the old camper/authors and new ones in New York.

The best thing about conferences? They are full of people who, like me, simply love to read. Everyone read under their covers at night, everyone knows fictional characters that are more influential than real ones, and everyone wants to talk about their favorite books.

I love to sign books and talk to writers and readers until the wee hours. Books, books, books!
It's like coming home.


(See how I dodged another favorite question? I hate to list off favorites, except my favorite color, which is blue)

And, I almost forgot, today a guy I met at a conference, and a really talented writer from this very blog, has a book coming out. And I'm not even going to make you guess who it is. Our very own Graham Brown! His novel, BLACK SUN, is available today.

It's a thriller, of course. Here's what I know. BLACK RAIN, Graham's last book, was a scary page turner, set in the jungle. This one promises to be just as good. Here's the description from his web site...


They gave us the power...

Left us their words...

And asked us the question:

Do You Believe?

2012 is coming.

Forget everything you think you know.

Damn it, Graham, am I going to lose more sleep because I can't put the book down, again? Well, I suppose there are worse things. (actually, losing sleep because I can't put down a great book is one of my favorite things, but don't tell Graham, I might need to use that guilt later).

21 comments:

Anonymous said...

It was truly a pleasure to see you win your well-deserved award!

Michael Wiley said...

These are good words.

Your enthusiasm for conferences would be infectious if I didn't already have the bug myself, Rebecca. Conferences in other fields (unrelated to books) can be torture, but what could be better than rooms full of people should love reading?

Graham Brown said...

I love your description of Thrillerfest as Summer Camp for writers - that is about as perfect a description for it as I can think of.

Sophie Littlefield said...

yay Graham!!!!!!!

hey becky, have you noticed I'm at every conference you attend? Not to say I'm exactly stalking you or whatever, but....

Meredith Cole said...

Congrats Graham! Here's to all of us losing sleep reading your book...

I hope I see all of you at B'con (Hawaii was not, unfortunately, walking distance for me). I just love conferences (but more about that on Saturday).

Rebecca Cantrell said...

Anonymous, thanks! I felt like such a dork afterward and have received no end of ribbing from my family and friends after my husband told them about the video of me speechless. But it was still very, very cool.

Rebecca Cantrell said...

Thanks, Michael! And also it's great to meet other writers. Especially those who stumble into the breakfast room groggy and pull up the 8th chair to our table that is only designed to seat 4. Exactly the conference experience I love.

Rebecca Cantrell said...

CONGRATULATIONS, Graham! Happy Launch Day! Woo-hoo! I hope you have some champagne or ice cream or your celebration food of choice today.

ITW conferences are such fun. Every two steps I'm getting a hug and people are screaming each other's names across a crowded room. It's like high school reunions ought to be but usually aren't.

Rebecca Cantrell said...

Sophie...maybe I'm stalking YOU? :)

Whichever way it is, I'm glad that we keep ending up raising hell in the same places. I'm going to start texting you in every lecture from now on (unless one of us is on the panel, as that breaks even my rules of etiquette).

Rebecca Cantrell said...

Hi, Meredith! You'll be at Bouchercon in San Francisco? Great! I'm looking forward to meeting you in person.

Quick show of hands, who all will be there? Me, Kelli, Sophie, Meredith I know. Who else?

We must have a 7CriminalMinds breakfast/lunch/rowdy bar event. Or all three.

Lois Winston said...

Unfortunately, I won't be at B'con. I'm expecting a houseful of company that weekend in preparation for a family wedding. And I love SF!

Graham Brown said...

Thanks for the shout out Becky - it is much appreciated. BTW -I remember you winning that award. And after seeing so many people pretend to be shocked and surprised about awards it was prety cool to see the real thing. Geniune and honest.

Rebecca Cantrell said...

Lois, what a bummer! Maybe next year or next conference...

Rebecca Cantrell said...

Graham (again), thanks! I viewed the video afterward (thanks, Eric Beetner, you sneak) and felt like such a dork. But I was, 'tis true, an honest one. I stand by my dorkiness.

Shane Gericke said...

I'll be at Bcon starting Wednesday afternoon. Don't want to miss the BEAT party that night!

Nice essay, Rebecca. Your love of reading truly shines through.

And Graham, congrats on another terrific launch. Hope you sell a zillion.

Rebecca Cantrell said...

Hey Shane!

I still haven't bought my plane ticket because I don't know when I'll be heading back. But, here's an invitation to the IDRAKULA launch on October 17, Sunday afternoon after B'con. Would love to see you all there.

I second Graham selling a zillion books. Then the drinks are on him!

TracyK said...

Great post! And congrats Graham!!

Rebecca Cantrell said...

Thanks, Tracy!

And a little bird told me that we have more launch news tomorrow, September 1.

Josh Corin's WHILE GALILEO PREYS releases tomorrow. Yay!

Gabi said...

We have to coordinate schedules so we can do one of these together.

Kelli Stanley said...

OK, Becks, you conveniently left out the part about me watching over YOU when you were completely agog. ;)

One of my FAVORITE conference memories. :)

And yes, let's have a CM get together for anybody who's coming to SF!!

xoxo

Rebecca Cantrell said...

I agree, Gabi!

Kelli: I didn't leave it out. And it's all on tape. :) And THANK YOU!!!