I just got back from the Southeastern Independent Booksellers' Association (SIBA) meeting and trade show in Mobile, Alabama. It was a great show, as always, and I got to renew acquaintances with old friends and to meet a lot of new people.
On Friday, I gave a presentation to booksellers on marketing mysteries using lists from the library programs I've been doing over the years. We worked on ways to combine mysteries with mainstream titles and on planning tie-in events with outside agencies and businesses.
After the marketing session, I moderated a thriller panel with four great authors, all of whom were new to me. What fun I had reading their books in preparation for the panel. It seems no matter how many books you read, you always miss somebody, and I had missed some good ones! The panelists were F. Paul Wilson, Erica Spindler, Kirk Curnutt, and Darden North. We had a good time, the authors related some great stories, and the folks in attendance asked insightful questions after the author presentations.
Wilson talked about his first book for young adults, Jack: Secret Histories. Repairman Jack adult fans will also grab this book because it tells the story of Jack as a teenager. He inscribed my copy, "Where it all begins."
Spindler's upcoming book, Breakneck, won't hit stores until January, but I can assure you it's a roller coaster ride from beginning to end! It's a totally current thriller dealing with computer hackers, identity theft, and ripping off the wrong person.
Breathing Out the Ghost, as you might expect from a college teacher was our literary thriller for the day. Curnutt explores the effects of a missing child, not only upon his father, but the private detective hired to find the child. Not stopping there, he brings in other people who have suffered the same loss and parallels their stories.
Darden North, MD, writes what he knows: He's a practicing OB-GYN in Mississippi, and his third medical thriller, Fresh Frozen, explores new practices in fertility treatments. Because it's fiction, he takes the scenario a step further to include murder.
We were all glad to see Julia Spencer-Fleming in the audience for our panel. She added some great marketing ideas for the booksellers.
I enjoyed seeing former mystery author, Susan McBride. Susan is now writing great books for the young adult market. Although she's as busy as ever, she still looks totally elegant! Her publisher, Random House, and Lily Pulitzer are sponsoring a great contest in conjunction with The Debs, which is in stores now. Details are in the back of the book and on Susan's website.
At the trade show on Sunday, one of the first familiar faces I saw was Charlaine Harris, who was totally excited about seven--count 'em--seven of her Sookie Stackhouse titles being on the NY Times Bestseller's List. Cathy Pickens was a blur at the elevator, but she took time to chat a moment about life and books.
All in all, it was a great trip. I can't wait for next year's SIBA closer to home in Columbia, South Carolina.
I'm supposed to be retired, but I keep busy as a media escort and editor of inSinC, the Sisters in Crime journal.
I read about 200 mysteries a year and have been reviewing and lecturing about mysteries for nearly 25 years. I enjoy moderating crime fiction panels at panels across the country.
I often host mystery authors and book them into stores, libraries, and other venues in the Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill area.
If you live in the Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill area of North Carolina, you may want to subscribe to "Triangle Mystery" where I operate a list-serv alerting folks to upcoming mystery events and happenings. I post bookstore and library events as well as schedules for authors who are visiting with me. Just scroll down to the bottom of the page and click on the "Join" button.