At the conference, I chatted with Julie Kramer, F. Paul Wilson, Blake Crouch, Joe Konrath, Shane Gericke, Reed Farrell Coleman, and Jeff Abbott. I got to pat Christa Faust's Boston terrier, Butch (above taking a well-earned nap). What a sweetie!
I also met Dan Judsen, Kat Richardson, and Brian Wiprud, which whom I'd had an email correspondence and whose sense of humor I enjoyed. Kat had a wonderful idea. She said that once a week we should pick up the phone or email an author we know that we admire and tell that person what a great job he/she is doing. You see, we authors work in such solitude and we're only as good as our last book, so we could use a lot of encouragement. I think that's a grand idea!
Best of all, I was re-united with my sister panelists from last year: Denise Swanson, Shirley Damsgaard, Deb Baker and Julie Hyzy. We were interviewed by the dashing Tom Schreck. What a great discussion we had! Tom asked us why we write, and all of us said we write for the enjoyment of other people. Okay, and yeah, it's addictive and this is what we all enjoy. But Tom noted that the male authors when asked the same question at an earlier panel said they all write for themselves.
I guess that's not so surprising, but it is telling. We women authors all feel this tremendous responsibility to our readers. And it shows in how we talk to fans and how we think about what we write. Although our group had the 1 p.m. panel slot, which is notable for sending attendees off to the Land of Nod since their tummies are full from lunch, we spoke to a very attentive packed house. Our group was so entertaining that one woman soaked a tissue from crying because she was laughing so hard. The crowd was totally engrossed in our quips, jokes and observations. We rocked!
And we couldn't have been nearly so funny or interesting without Tom, who is a wonderful sport.
At the party at Chez Jordan (the home of the fabulous Jon and Ruth Jordan of CrimeSpree Magazine), I got to talking with my friend Judy Bobalik about houses. Judy told me that when she went house-hunting, she knew immediately when she found the house she wanted. It had character.
This week, I'm moving to a house we just bought on Jupiter Island in Florida. It's off the road, so you can't see it. It's white and older and it just has loads of character. The minute I walked into the house, I knew it was meant to be mine. From the top floor study, I'll be able to sit and look at the ocean.
A few photos from the house are below. The first is a picture of the beach, natch. I'm going to try to post more pictures as time goes on. I hope to volunteer to help save sea turtles that nest on the beach. My family will all be at the house for Thanksgiving. The second photo shows my adorable grand-nephew Skyler enjoying the sand as my son Michael and his cousin Lexie (Skyler's mom) keep a careful eye on the toddler.
I'm curious: When you look for a place to live, what is it you look for? Do you like a modern home with all the conveniences? Or like me, do you prefer a house rich in character? I think of all the storms this house has survived, and it reminds me of the women in my family: tough and tested.
How about you? If you were buying your dream house, what would you look for? What sold you on the place where you live?