Monday, October 13, 2008

Chill Me, Thrill Me and The Big Read--Plus a Contest

I've had a dream week for an author.

Chill Me, Thrill Me
On Wednesday, I was part of a panel called "Chill Me, Thrill Me" for the St. Charles City-County Library. The event was organized by Fedora AMIS, and our "Queen of Clues" was Eileen Dreyer. Let me tell you that Eileen is a tough act to follow on any panel because she's "roll in the aisles" hilarious. Eileen is a nurse by training, and she said that one reason she loves writing mysteries is that in her books the bad guys get theirs and the good people live happily ever after. Also on our panel was Wilfred Bereswill, who stopped by a local casino to do a little research beforehand, Eleanor Sullivan, who became a fiction writer after writing textbooks, and Angie Fox, who wrote before the sun came up on a daily basis until she penned a New York Times extended list bestseller which has just gone back for a second printing.

My friend and bookseller Lynn Oris was there from Barnes & Noble, so we went out to eat afterwards. She has such a lively mind, and she knows her books. I learned from Lynn that the practice of allowing booksellers to return unsold books began after WWII when the economy was bad. Bookstores were afraid to take a chance on new authors, so booksellers said let us ship you books and if they don't sell, return them.

The Big Read
On Friday my dear friend Emilie Richards came to town for The Big Read, and we had a perfect dinner at Cafe Napoli outside on the little patio where people-watching was almost as fabulous as the Chicken Napoli we ordered.

On Saturday, I met with Emilie, Tess Gerritsen and Julie Compton for an interview with Claire Applewhite. Claire asked great questions, and once it's done, I'll be sure to link this blog to it. I always enjoy seeing Tess. She has such a scientific mind, and she'd gone to The Big Read early to catch a panel on a topic that interested her.
I had "met" Julie over the 'net, and liked her immediately, so it was great to meet her in the flesh. She's from St. Louis, and set her book Tell No Lies here. I just started reading it and was blown away by her talent. Once in a while, you read a book and think, "Wow, I wish I'd written that." Tell No Lies made me pea-green with jealousy. That girl can WRITE.

And Emilie, well, she's such a dear to me. I told her I wanted to try my hand at quilting again, so she brought me the five books on quilting that were created to go along with her Shenandoah Album series. I'm reading Touching Stars from that series, and everytime I read something by Emilie, I'm struck anew at how deftly she uses internal conflict in her characters to propell the plot.

I moderated The Big Read panel, and boy, was I nervous. I wanted to show Tess, Emilie and Julie in the best light possible--to ask questions that really gave the audience a sense of what fabulous women they are as well as a taste of what they write.

Marketing Your Book

After the panel, Angie Fox and I taught a class called Marketing Your Book. We had worked hard on the outline, and I believe that paid off. Emilie and Julie sat in. They said it was the best, most concrete session on the subject they'd ever heard. High praise from those two experts!

Julie, Emilie and I went to dinner at Trattoria Marcella's on The Hill, the Italian section of St. Louis, and then on to Ted Drewes for custard. (Angie had a babysitter to relieve.)

It's been a charmed few days. To celebrate, I made this Big Read journaling box. Isn't it fun? Email me at and I'll send you the file. Well, creating the journaling box was not nearly as much fun as I've had the past few days!


Introducing Magnificent Mondays! From now on the THIRD Monday of every month will be a Magnificent Monday. Starting NEXT Monday if you are one of the commenters, you can win a prize. In keeping with the season, our prize NEXT Monday, October 20, will be a copy of The Wheels of Darkness, a spooky thriller by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child. Want to enjoy a shiver up your spine? Post a comment next Monday and maybe you'll win! Tell your friends and maybe they'll share!

And check out my personal blog I'll be writing about my year as a debut author PLUS offering cool prizes there as well.


I'll be a guest blogger on The Lipstick Chronicles, Saturday, October 18, 2008, the same day I'll be appearing at the Kingsport (TN) Times Women's Expo.

I figure we all need a laugh, and I think you'll get a chuckle out of my guest post about my husband's ongoing battle with moles.

Check it out at


Terri Thayer said...

Wow, Joanna. BIG weekend. Sounds like fun. Well, deserved fun. You worked hard to have this much fun!


Joanna Campbell Slan said...

You know, Terri, I really did. I do preparation for each event. I practiced my introductions, I practiced (out loud) what I thought I'd say as part of the panels. I spend a couple hours with Angie Fox going over our presentation, outlining it, deciding what to include, then typing our notes up in a coherent handout and printing those on colored paper.

It takes work to look polished, but as you know, it's worth it. You want to maximize your opportunities--and I especially don't want to let any fans down.

pwl said...

It's really not fair. I came to this blog to follow one author that I've recently discovered, and now you're listing more that I have to go find. There just aren't enough hours in the day to do all the reading and crafting that I want/need to do! :)

Joanna Campbell Slan said...

Oh, oh, oh.

We're the devil in book covers!


pwl said...

Well, the other problem is that we ran out of bookshelf space LONG ago. It really doesn't help when two bibliophiles get married. :)

Joanna Campbell Slan said...

Aw, but a bookophile marrying a non-reader would be too sad.

pwl said...

Ah - but could such a match even last?

Joanna Campbell Slan said...

Doubtful. And there'd be no chemistry. I once dated a really gorgeous guy who was duller than an old box of crayons. I just couldn't take it after a while. I had to say, "Hosta la bye-bye, buddy. You're just too dumb for me!"

Betty Hechtman said...

Wow, Joanna, what a weekend. I admire your organization. But then I saw what you did with Forensic U last fall.

Camille Minichino said...

How inspiring, Joanna!
I feel TERRIFIC TUESDAYS coming on.

Joanna Campbell Slan said...

Aw, shucks.

I need organization or I feel out of control, Betty. And all of you have written more books than I, so I'm still early days. You all have much more to balance!

Camille, I'm looking forward to seeing what you do with Terrific Tuesdays. I bet it's going to be great!