Wednesday, August 24, 2011

On the Road

Chris Roerden, Sarah Glenn, Heidi Saunders, Karen Pullen, Patricia Winton

This has been a heady week.

Last Thursday morning I stepped onto a plane. Twelve hours later I stepped into a whirlwind. So far, I've driven 1200 miles (almost 2000 kilometers), and I have miles to go before I sleep in my own bed again.

Two days with my fellow Fish Tales authors Karen Pullen, Heidi Saunders and Sarah Glenn were a joy. Writing is a lonely profession, and it's odd to have your work in an anthology because yous share pages with strangers. This is my second one, and I don't think I ever met any of the writers from the first.

We four bonded on several levels: they critiqued the synopsis for my work-in-progress; we taught Heidi how to keep the seat belt from cutting into her neck. Karen hosted us in her remarkable Bed & Breakfast, Rosemary House, in Pittsboro, NC. (I can recommend this without reservations as a splendid holiday destination.) During down time, Sarah, Heidi and I gathered in the common room with our laptops, doing our own work and sharing tips on how to work easier with Twitter or how to avoid creeps on Facebook.

On the way to our first signing at McIntyre's, we were almost in an accident. The driver ahead was distracted and her car began drifting to left. We watched in horror as the car struck a bridge abutment. The collision startled the driver who jerked the wheel to the right, causing her car to strike the other side of the bridge, sending it into a spin. Very scary.

Chris Roerden,who wrote the Fish Tales introduction, joined us for the first reading. At both McIntyre's and Quail Ridge Books in Raleigh, we had audiences of true mystery fans who asked intelligent questions and displayed enthusiasm for the genre. We came away on a high. At Quail Ridge, they asked us to sign our photographs, which they will hang in their bathroom, a gallery with photos of Alexander Call Smith, Madeleine Albright, and other writers of greater or lesser renown. We are honored to be in that company on a bathroom wall.

The following day, Chris, Karen and I joined fifty other writers in Charlotte for a meet and greet and eat event. I got to see old friends, meet face-to-face people I've known via the internet for years, meet writers whose work I've long admired, and make contact with other people who will be at Killer Nashville this weekend.

There are too many names to mention, but I want to single out one: Ellis Vidler. We took an on-line course together a couple of years ago. She was very hard on me, demanding that I be a better writer. Then she became the first follower of ItalianIntrigues—before it was up on the web. I still don't know how she did that. It was nice to see her smiling face in person. And to talk.

I'm off to Killer Nashville on Thursday. I'll report in again as I continue this journey.

Pete Mock, Mystery Guru at McIntyre's


MaxWriter said...

Sounds like a great tour! How fun to share a B&B with other writers. Hope to meet you in the Boston area (or in Rome, perhaps) someday soon, Patricia.


Patricia Winton said...

Edith, you're on, if you come my way or I go yours.

Annette said...

Sounds like a great time, Patricia. Wish I could have been there. And I love the photos in the bathroom thing. At Mystery Lovers Bookshop, they have the bathroom walls painted like a jail cell and all visiting authors sign the wall. It's almost full. I keep joking that by the time I get to sign it, the only space left will the underside of the toilet tank!

Patricia Winton said...

Sorry you couldn't join us. I think the telephone event Kaye George is organizing from San Antonio will be fun, too. I'm going to participate.
Oh,the jail sounds like fun,too.Get them to have a reading for Fish Tales.That's appropriate, then you could sign the toilet. Heidi's photo is in black and white, so they gave a pen with silver ink to sign.

Ellis Vidler said...

Patricia, It was so nice to meet you in person. I'm amazed that you remembered that course. You helped me just as much, believe me. Your critiques made me see so many new things. I'll look for you again next year. Happy times!

Patricia Winton said...

Ellis, I'm glad I helped. I think the sharing and support that we all give each other as writers raises the bar, and that's a good thing. And I still don't know how you came to be a follower of ItalianIntrigues before it was ever up on the web!

Anonymous said...

Love the idea of the picture on the bathroom wall. Sounds like you're in very august company.

Patricia Winton said...

It's an awesome sight. The photos are all about 4x6 inches in plain black frames and are arranged in precise rows and columns. There are so many that they rotate pictures. The photos are so prone to being stolen that each has an alarm strip like those in books that trip an alarm if the cashier doesn't deactivate it.