Put 700 miles on the odometer driving to LA and back this weekend. Naomi promised that the LA Times Festival of Books would be worth the trip or I could hit her in the head. She's not getting a concussion from me. It was fun and exhausting.
Friday night was the authors and fans party at the Mystery Bookstore in Westwood. I saw plenty of the former and very few of the latter in there, but it's always fun catching up.
Saturday and Sunday mornings I signed at the Sisters in Crime LA booth. Great to see Sue Ann and company. There were a mess of authors signing there, but Susan Beery kept things running smoothly. I asked passersby if they liked mysteries and with a positive response, went into sell mode. Managed to offload 27 of the 31 copies on hand to the unsuspecting. Women from 30 to 70 were the best demographic by far. Signed next to the estimable Robert Levinson Sunday. Bought his Ask A Dead Man and think I promised to go to ThrillerFest this summer in NYC.
Saturday afternoon I signed in the Mystery Bookstore booth along with George Pelecanos, who let everyone know he was from the East Coast by wearing a sport coat, and Stuart Woods. I have a feeling they signed a few more books than I did, although I kept pretty busy. Sat next to Larry Karp. When we weren't chatting, I'd get the passersby to stop and he'd give them an earnest and compelling pitch for his newly published The Ragtime Kid.
No time to eat lunch myself on Sunday, but I did watch my witty and charming pal Jennifer Colt take care of a hot dog. Then off to the Book'em booth where I sat alongside S.F. Chronicle bestselling author Cara Black. We had a ball! She's a salesperson after my own heart. We'd entice attendees to come over. I'd tell them how good her books are, and she'd do the same for Dot Dead (which she'd blurbed). We sold out the stock on hand in about half an hour.
I wasn't the only one drifting down south from the Bay Area. Simon Wood, Cornelia Read, Clare Langley-Hawthorne, Mark Coggins, and the aforementioned Cara Black, all made the trip, too, but were wimps and flew. For me, the drive there and back whizzed by thanks to my #2 who loaded up my iPod. On the way down I listened to short stories by Raymond Chandler, Sue Grafton, George Pelecanos, Dick Lochte, and Michael Connelly off the Mean Streets USA collection. On the way home I got into Connelly's new Echo Park.
I never remember to take pictures. You can see the few I took below. Click here to see what Mark Coggins and his monster camera captured.
The party at the Mystery Bookstore
Clare Langley-Hawthorne and I