Get a Clue! Mystery Authors Crombie, Hallinan, & Koenig @ Texas Book Festival

Mystery authors Deborah Crombie, Timothy Hallinan, and Minerva Koenig will appear on the panel Get a Clue at the Texas Book Festival on Saturday, October 25, at 1:30 to 2:30 p.m., in Capitol Extension Room E2.014.

*****

Deborah Crombie is the New York Times best-selling author of the Detective Superintendent Duncan Kincaid/Sergeant IMG_3556Gemma James novels. A SHARE IN DEATH, her first novel,  received Agatha and Macavity nominations for Best First Novel of 1993. She has won two Macavity awards for Best Novel and her books have been nominated for a number of other awards. Her fifth novel, DREAMING OF THE BONES, was named a New York Times Notable Book for 1997, was short-listed by Mystery Writers of America for the 1997 Edgar Award for Best Novel, won the Macavity award for Best Novel, and was voted by the Independent Mystery Booksellers Association as one of the hundred best mysteries of the century. The most recent book in the Kincaid / James series, TO DWELL IN DARKNESS, was published by William Morrow in September 2014.

A native of Dallas, Crombie has lived in both Scotland and England, and visits England, where are novels are set, several times a year.

Critical acclaim for Deborah Crombie’s novels

Crombie has laid claim to the literary territory of moody psychological suspense owned by P. D. James and Barbara Vine. – Washington Post

Deborah Crombie is an American mystery novelist who writes so vividly about England, she might have been born within the sound of Bow Bells. (She) gets better with each book…lyrical, biting and evocative. Cleveland Plain Dealer

*****

Timothy Hallinan has written eighteen critically acclaimed novels. He’s been nominated for the Edgar, Macavity, and Lefty, IMG_3552among others, and is currently a Shamus nominee for his book LITTLE ELVISES.  He writes two series, one set in Bangkok, where he lives half-time, and the other in Los Angeles, where he lives the rest of the time. The Bangkok books feature an American travel writer named Poke Rafferty, who has married a Thai woman and adopted a Thai daughter, a street child, right off the sidewalk. The books are as much about family as they are about crime. The seventh Rafferty novel, FOR THE DEAD, comes out November 4, and William Kent Krueger described it as . . .”not only a fast-paced, compelling tale, but also, on every level, a fine literary read.”  His Junior Bender series, about a San Fernando Valley burglar, who works as a private eye for crooks, has just been bought by Iddie Izzard as an NBC television series. The fourth and most recent to be published is HERBIE’S GAME. [Thanks to Timothy Hallinan for writing this copy, which appears here unaltered.]

Critical acclaim for Timothy Hallinan’s novels

“Bender’s quick wit and smart mouth make him a book companion on this oddball adventure.” ~ New York Times Book Review

“A modern-day successor to Raymond Chandler.” ~ Los Angeles Daily News

*****

Minerva Koenig is the author of NINE DAYS, published by Minotaur in September of this year. The main character, Julia IMG_3548Kalas, is described as “short, round, and pushing forty, but … a damned good criminal. For seventeen years she renovated historic California buildings as a laundry front for her husband’s illegal arms business. Then the Aryan Brotherhood made her a widow, and witness protection shipped her off to the tiny town of Azula, Texas. Also known as the Middle of Nowhere.” With a local law enforcement officer as watchdog.

Julia has no intention of lying low, but she also doesn’t intend to raise her profile so high that half of Texas—good guys, bad guys, and who-knows-what-kind-of-guys—are either chasing, or being chased, by her. One thing is sure–Julia won’t be pushed around by any of them.

Scott Montgomery, crime fiction coordinator at BookPeople Book Store, says, “NINE DAYS introduces us to a fresh-hardboiled voice. Koenig embraces the genre, yet doesn’t completely play by its rules. I can’t wait to see what other conventions she breaks.”

Joy Tipping of the Dallas Morning news hails Julia Kalas as a successor to Sue Grafton’s Kinsey Milhone, saying, “Let us praise the literary gods, then, that a worthy successor has arrived with Austin author Minerva Koenig and her debut novel, the funny, scary and devilishly twisty NINE DAYS.”

A long-time resident of Texas, Minerva is a licensed architect who runs a one-woman practice in Austin. Among her other interests are sewing, playing chess, and fighting the patriarchy.

Critical acclaim for Minerva Koenig’s novels

“Small-town Texas is vividly brought to life in this atmospheric and entertaining debut that also introduces a memorable and unusual protagonist.” ~ Library Journal

*****

Information about Deborah Crombie and Minerva Koenig was drawn from their websites.

Get a Clue ~ Saturday, October 25, 2014 ~ 1:30 – 2:30 p.m. ~ Capitol Extension Room E2.014

 I will be moderator of the panel.

Paradise in Texas: 2014 Texas Book Festival

Elmer Kelton at the 2007 Texas Book Festival, ...
Elmer Kelton at the 2007 Texas Book Festival, Austin, Texas, United States. (Photo credit: Wikipedia) by Larry D. Moore is licensed under  CC-BY-SA-3.0

One of the High Points of my life: Sitting in the first row of the Chamber of the Texas House of Representatives, with author Elmer Kelton at the speaker’s table right in front of me, and Liz Carpenter right behind me, and listening to Mr. Kelton talk about his writing career and respond to a question from the audience about why he couldn’t write good female characters.

Mr. Kelton said he’d heard that criticism, and he guessed it had merit, although he thought he’d done a pretty good job with Eve in The Good Old Boys, because she was really the moral compass of the book. He was sorry he hadn’t done better writing women, but at the age of seventy-plus, he didn’t know what he could do about it.*

It just doesn’t get any better than that.

English: at the 2011 Texas Book Festival, Aust...
English: “Sarah Bird at the 2011 Texas Book Festival, Austin, Texas, United States.” (Photo credit: Wikipedia) is licensed by Larry D. Moore under  CC BY 3.0

But the folks at the Texas Book Festival Organization keep trying.

The 2014 Texas Book Festival takes place this weekend, October 24 and 25, at the Texas Capitol in Austin.

More than 275 authors will appear at the Capitol and at other venues around town to speak about, read, discuss, and sign their books. For an alphabetical list of authors, or to search by genre or keyword, click here.

Nationally renowned authors coming to this year’s Festival include Martin Amis, Joyce Carol Oates, Walter Mosley, Norman Lear, Lidia Bastianich, Ziggy Marley, James Ellroy, Katherine Applegate, Nicholas D. Kristof, John Dean, Valerie Plame Wilson, and Héctor Tobar.

 Headlining authors also include Charles Blow, Emily St. John Mandel, Michael Ruhlman, Douglas Brinkley, Richard Linklater, Francisco Goldman, Meg Wolitzer, Jacqueline Woodson, and Sarah Bird.

 The physically fit can bike with authors on Sunday morning from 8:00 to 9:00, when H. W. Brands, Stephen Harrigan, Lawrence Wright, and Rob Spillman will lead a tour of downtown Austin.

H. W. Brands at the 2008 Texas Book Festival, ...
“H. W. Brands at the 2008 Texas Book Festival, Austin, Texas, United States.” (Photo credit: Wikipedia) is licensed by Larry D. Moore, under CC-BY-SA-3.0

 

This event is not an author reading; it is an hour-long mini-tour that allow [sic] a group of readers to engage with authors in real-life conversations on a more personal level.

 (Here, I must digress: The summer I was fourteen, my friend and I biked from Fentress to Staples and back, wearing bathing suits [why bathing suits I can’t remember, unless we thought all-encompassing sunburn would add to the fun] and chattering all the way. The idea, X years later, that I could engage in a real-life conversation with anyone while riding a bike anywhere–well, it is to laugh.)

Joyce Carol Oates by Shawn, CC BY-NC 2.0
Joyce Carol Oates” by Shawn is licensed under  CC BY-NC 2.0

There will also be a Literary Mayhem (a literary pub crawl), food everywhere you look, music, activities for children and families, and a raft of other book-centered activities all over the Capitol grounds, and, if it’s anything like last year’s festival, stretching down Congress Avenue.

And there will be exhibitors from the American Society of Civil Engineers to Zonk Books and plenty in between. Translation: BOOKS FOR SALE!

And, saving the best for last–

Saturday afternoon, mystery novelists Deborah Crombie, Timothy Hallinan, and Minerva Koenig will discuss the craft of mystery writing before an audience in the Capitol Extension.

More on that tomorrow. . .

###

 *Mr. Kelton did, indeed, do a beautiful job with Eve. She was perfect. If you’ve not read The Good Old Boys, do yourself a favor and read it. Then see the movie. Not the other way around.

NaNoWriMo, MRI, TBF, and WLT

I’ve spent the past week writing and rewriting a post about attending the Texas Book Festival. No matter how many times I revised it, it sounded dull and complaining. Actually, it sounded worse than complaining, but if I use the word I have in mind, I would be crossing a line drawn in the sand years ago by both my grandmother and Emily Post, a Rubicon of sorts, and then who knows what might happen to my personal lexicon. It’s a slippery slope.

Suffice it to say the day was HOT and we got the last space in the parking garage, on the eighth level, and then found the elevator out of order. On the plus side, I visited with Sisters in Crime members Russ Hall and Sylvia Dickey Smith and got an autographed copy of Sylvia’s latest novel, A War of Her Own. On the minus side, Russ and Sylvia thought it was just as HOT as I did. They’d been inside that tent for two days as opposed to my two minutes. After taking a couple of pictures, I suggested that David get the car and pick me up. He did. He reported he climbed fourteen flights of eight steps each. I thanked him and turned the AC up to gale force. We ended at the Magnolia, where David got his omelet.

It still sounds like complaining.

Never mind.

I’ve signed up to participate in NaNoWriMo–National Novel Writing Month–which begins November 1. The goal is to write a 50,000-word novel by midnight on November 30. Write-ins are planned all over the Austin area at coffee shops, bookstores, and libraries. The Writers’ League of Texas will hold a lock-down (or maybe a lock-in) one night from 7:00 p.m. to 7:00 a.m. I’ll go to write-ins but not the lock-down. I get claustrophobic thinking about being locked down, even metaphorically. It sounds too much like getting an MRI. It also sounds a lot like graduate school. Been there, done that.

Modified Rapture! I just checked the WLT Facebook page to find the date of the lock-down and instead found the sentence I wrote last Sunday at the TBF. On my way out, I picked up a prompt at the Writers’ League table, sat on the curb and wrote the rest of the sentence, then tossed it into the fishbowl. And voila! There it appears, among the Top 10. It’s #8. The honor is not on a par with publication of a book, of course, but it’ll do quite nicely for the time being.

To prepare for November 1, I’m reading  No Plot? No Problem: A Low-Stress, High Velocity Guide to Writing a Novel, by Chris Baty, founder of NaNoWriMo. He offers many valuable suggestions for surviving the month. One, however, should be excised before the book goes into another printing, namely the section headed “Eating Your Way to 50,000 Words,” which includes the sentence, “Allowing yourself loads of restaurant meals, sugary treats, and exotic beverages is the best way to keep your spirits high during the exhausting mental acrobatic routines you’ll be pulling off next month as you write.”

Restaurant meals and exotic beverages might work, but if I want to keep my spirits high, I’ll stay away from sugar. Last week is proof. Again. After a period of abstinence from white stuff, I ate a slice of bread, and in five days I was tripping down the primrose path arm-in-arm with a jar of red plum jam. It was not coincidence that the day after my rendezvous with said jam jar, I decided I should make a bonfire of all my pages, destroy my files, and give up writing altogether.

Lacking the energy to do all that, I took the pledge one more time, ate meat and green stuff, and the next day was back at the laptop.

My advice to anyone trying to do anything in thirty days: stay off the sugar and most of its relatives.

I have decades of experience in this area. With every paper I wrote in grad school, I put on five pounds and then spent several weeks taking it off. Sometimes losing it took longer. I carried Lord Tennyson around for months.

To Mr. Baty’s credit, the photo on the back cover of his book suggests that he’s never had a problem with sugar. If he were told of its poisonous properties, he might add a footnote saying readers should consult their medical professionals before eating their way to 50,000 words.

It’s after 2:00 a.m., and I swore Saturday morning that I would be in bed before midnight. I need to end this post but can’t figure out how to do that. Possibly because the post has no point. Probably because it’s after 2:00 a.m.

So I shall simply declare this is the end.

THE END

 

Texas Book Festival

 

Enjoying a good book at the 2009 Texas Book Fe...
Image via Wikipedia

 

I just told David that if he would accompany me through the author and book tents at the Texas Book Festival, I would treat him to breakfast at the restaurant of his choice.

Who could resist such an offer? Not my husband.

This is not surprising, since it’s after 2:00 p.m. and so far all he’s had today is coffee.

We spent yesterday morning at 15 Minutes of Fame, writing, and most of the afternoon at Austin Java with three other Famers, talking about writing, graduate school, surgery, a blue cheese hamburger, and whatever else came along. When all was said and done, mostly said, time for visiting TBF had flown.

In the past, we’ve had good times there. We’ve heard Ted Koppel, Scott Turow, Lucian K. Truscott, and John R. Erickson, author of the Hank the Cowdog (Head of Ranch Security) series.

One year I sat on the floor of the House Chamber and listened to Elmer Kelton. While I was waiting for the program to start–I’d gotten there extra early to get a seat down front–Liz Carpenter came in and sat right behind me. I was too shy to turn around and say hello, of course, even though I knew Ms. Carpenter would be pleased if I did. She wasn’t shy at all.

Another year in the House Chamber, I heard Horton Foote. His soft voice and slow drawl–true Southern, unmixed with Texas twang–was music, just like his words on the page.

I won’t get to hear Kelton or Foote, or anyone quite like them, again. Or Liz Carpenter either.

So I’m grateful that the TBF allowed me to see them up close, to feel that for just a moment, they knew I was there, thanking them for the pleasure their books and plays and mere existence had given me over the years.

Now we’re one our way to walk through the tents, visit with some writers we know, buy a few books, help support TBF’s grant program for public libraries, and celebrate the printed word.

Then on to an omelet at the restaurant of David’s choice.