Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Bouchercon Auction V

Bouchercon 2008 is just a few weeks away. Beth, Cindy and I have been busy preparing for the Bouchercon auctions. I think there is great reason for you to be excited.

In case you don’t know the names of the two charities receiving this year’s auction proceeds, they are The Enoch Pratt Free Library and Viva House. You can read an excerpt of Laura Lippman’s experiences at Viva House here.

I’ve mentioned a few items available in the auctions in prior posts, and if you don’t mind, I’ll mention a few additional items just to whet your appetites. I hope you’ll find these of interest and really help our charities out when it’s time to bid.

Characters are everywhere in crime fiction, and if you bid well, they just might have your name attached. Could Laurie R. King’s Mary Russell be conferring with you on a case? Could Thomas H. Cook put your name through some heart-wrenching drama? Brutality (not to exclude intelligent and thought-provoking) is a word often used in describing David Corbett’s work and you might just find he has brutalized you by a crime boss or street thug. Donna Andrews (do you want to be a bird?), J.T. Ellison, Marion Moore Hill, Michael Bowen, Robert Ellis, M.J. Rose, Charlaine Harris, Libby Fischer Hellmann, J.A Konrath, Gayle Lynds (imagine it’s pitch-black night and you’re leaping from a moving train), Toni L.P. Kelner, Richard Stevenson, Jane Cleland and Zöe Sharp all can set you down for mystery eternity. Sandra Parshall will give you animal naming rights (have you ever wanted to name a poodle, Spike?). Get your name down and buy a copy of the book for all your relatives. It will make next year’s birthday or holiday shopping so much easier.

But, you might ask, “what else is available in the auction?” Your name is John Smith or Mary Jones and it just doesn’t seem that exciting to have it set out as a character. How about books signed by your favorite authors?

Ken Bruen has provided three impossible-to-find firsts, one of which is The Guards in Russian. Bill Fitzhugh is offering a copy of Slim and Howdy signed, not only by Bill, but by Brooke and Dunn too. Kathy Lynn Emerson, Trey R. Barker, James Scott Bell, James R. Benn, Declan Burke, Reed Farrell Coleman, Robert Fate, Julia Spencer-Fleming, Barbara Graham, Sophie Hannah, Julie Kramer, Lisa Lutz, Rick Mofina, Priscilla Royal, Marcus Sakey, Stanley Trollip, Caroline Todd, and Caroline Wall have provided a great array of books for your bidding pleasure.

There are also some items that you can’t read, but will create memories, laughs, or continuous hours of pleasure. John Harvey has offered to spend some time with a winning bidder over a drink or a coffee. Manuscript critiques are available for those hoping to test their creative fiction skills. You might get a great deal bidding on a special Indy 500 basket, including entry to next year’s Bouchercon in Indianapolis.

When you’re ready to participate in the auction, we’ve added a couple of nice touches that should make your auction experience a little easier. For the silent auction, we have a banner that will ensure you locate the auction table and have time to check out all of the items available for bid. For the live auction, in addition to wonderful auctioneers and great items to bid on, you will have your very own colorful Bidder’s Paddle to make sure that Donna and Chris can see you when you raise the bid one more time. Pretty neat, huh?

We are going to have fun in Baltimore!

Monday, September 01, 2008

Bouchercon Auction IV, Eva Cassidy and Vacation

Bouchercon Auction: Beth Fedyn, Cindy Tambourine and I continue to prepare for the Bouchercon auction and wow are we getting cooperation from the author community.

In the last couple days we received some wonderful Bouchercon auction donations. Jeri Westerson contributed a medieval history basket, Rosemary Harris contributed a gardening basket and N. M. Kelby contributed a Florida basket. All are filled with signed books, hats, gardening tools, specialty drinks and more great stuff. I think you’ll be delighted bidding on these outstanding auction items.

Jonathan Santlofer has not only donated a character name, but a character sketch. So if you want your mug set down in mystery fiction for all time, keep your ears open for Jonathan’s item to be open for bids. Wallace Stroby has donated a “Greetings from Asbury Park” basket that will include a Rock and Roll guide to NJ, and oh yes, some great books too. If you like television along with your mysteries, Hank Phillipa Ryan has a great basket for you. Her “Are You Ready for Prime Time” basket includes signed copies of her Charlotte McNally books and items from Law & Order, SVU, CSI and West Wing. Do these folks have imagination or what? Save your money and get ready to bid.

Music: A new Eva Cassidy CD, “Somewhere”, has been released. Eva has been dead for 12 years, but because of a large cache of recorded performances, live and studio, her parents have been able to produce an eighth album of previously unreleased songs. Cassidy’s popularity continues to grow as more and more people are introduced to her original songs and new arrangements of popular songs. If you haven’t heard this artist before, start with “Songbird” the 1998 posthumous release that gained a huge listening audience in the UK and slowly found its ways back to the States.

Vacation: I hadn’t really said much about our vacation stops so here goes.

We hit a couple mystery bookstores: Big Sleep Books in St. Louis, MO and I Love a Mystery in Mission, KS. We bought a few books, because we can’t help it, and because Helen Simpson at Big Sleep and everyone at ILAM were so darned helpful. Our buys included Lie Down with the Devil by Linda Barnes, the latest in the Carlotta Carlyle series, Billy Boyle by James R. Benn, Winter of the Wolf Moon by Steve Hamilton, and Shooting Gallery by Hailey Lind. Of course there were more, but…

The highlights of the trip were the Kansas Cosmosphere and Space Center in Hutchinson, KS and the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City, OK.

The Cosmosphere is associated with the Smithsonian Museum and includes an IMAX theater, a planetarium, a flown SR-71 spy plane, a full-scale Space Shuttle and much more. Walking through the museum you can follow the course of the space race as the Soviet Union and USA competed to outdo each other. A special gallery following the German inventions of the V-1 and V-2 rockets is intense and unsettling, but phenomenally well-done. There are great exhibits to interest kids and adults alike.

The National Cowboy Museum is absolutely the most striking museum I have ever visited. Interiors are done with marble and rich woods. Large-than-life marble sculptures welcome visitors down various hallways. Life-size sculptures of John Wayne, Ronald Reagan, Bill Linderman, Abraham Lincoln and various rodeo and western performers are scattered throughout the museum. The Art wing includes paintings and sculptures

from the greatest western artists including Frederic Remington, Charles M. Russell, James Reynolds, Howard Terpning, Bill Owen and Duane Bryers. Western TV and movie performers, wild-west show performers, rodeo performers all receive their due. Exhibits showing examples of western life from cattle drives to military dress and weaponry to a typical western town cover all aspects and people of the western past. This museum is a hidden jewel that many more than the 200,000 annual visitors it receives should visit.

There is a lot to see in the United States and years ago when I set the goal to visit all fifty states, I didn't realize how much fun it would be. Attending Bouchercons is just one way to start building up your list of states and fun places to visit. How many states have you visited and what are some of the fun things you've seen?