Wednesday, April 28, 2010

MBS Pre-FOB Bash

I'm back after another wonderful Festival of Books out in Los Angeles. Last year was very special because it was my first year attending. This year is very special because it was the year I met in person my wonderful friend Pop Culture Nerd! Michael, Christine, Elyse and I wreaked some havoc on the festival this year, and I'm excited to share some memories with you.

Today I'm going to be highlighting "THE" LATFoB pre-party, The Mystery Bookstore's party. Everyone who's anyone attends this party, so I'm still not sure why they let me come, but shhhh don't rat me out.

Last year the party was magical for me because I met everyone for the first time. This year I met a lot of other folks for the first time, but I also met up with some great friends and it was more like a reunion. If you're a regular here at the blog, you may remember that last year I met Michael from Lazy Thoughts from a Boomer for the first time at the MBS Bash. We met up again this year, joined by Christine and Elyse, a.k.a. Pop Culture Nerd. "Kids in a candy store" doesn't begin to describe the four of us at Mystery Bookstore on Friday night! Crime fiction fans surrounded by other crime fiction fans and crime fiction writers? Literally wall to wall! No caffeine or other drugs necessary, it's all a natural high. And while I don't get to physically see Michael, Christine and Elyse on regular basis, I feel as though I've known them all my life. To be able to share things like the festival and this party with them, that's really a great treasure. And we also shared all the pictures. Not only did we trade off on what we took, but most of the time we were doing the "snapping" for each other. So, all of these posts are a group effort!

What other treasures were in the MBS chest this year? Well, the dashing Reed Farrel Coleman! It is so fun to talk to Reed. He IS the natural-born storyteller. He would tire of "telling" far sooner than I would tire of "listening." This is my new Facebook profile picture by the way! Love it!

Brett Battles. You simply aren't going to meet a nicer person. I know I've said this before, but he is a true gentleman in addition to a talented writer. I so enjoy talking with him about everything from families to books to the knucklehead mistakes I make with my iTouch! Brett also formally introduced me to Robert Dugoni, who I've spoken with online but met in person this year for the first time.

My wonderful friend Alafair Burke, who I was certain would be sick of seeing me by this event. But she wasn't and I was excited to introduce her to Michael, Christine and Elyse, as well as my sister. I was in true geeky-fangirl heaven to be chatting with Alafair AND Karin Slaughter!

A party is just not a party without Sophie Littlefield or Kelli Stanley! And I have to admit that I certainly blush any time Gregg Hurwitz calls me "Jen-Jen." Gregg is a genuinely wonderful person and lordy what a talented writer.

I didn't get to talk to them Friday as much as I would have liked, but Juliet Blackwell and Cara Black were also in attendance. I introduced myself to both Mary Higgins Clark and Carol Higgins Clark. And the wonderful T. Jefferson Parker signed his 6-word memoir in the scrapbook!

So wouldn't that be absolutely amazing if those were the only people I met up with? Let's talk a little about who I met for the first time!

Be still my heart, y'all, I finally met Andrew Gross! We were ships passing in the night at Bouchercon, and missing him was my great B'Con disappointment. But I finally caught up with him at the MBS party. And no jokes about the fact that he had to bend down a little so we could both actually be IN the picture at the same time!

Reed gave me my formal introduction to Duane Swierczynski, who I just think is absolutely adorable, but don't tell him I said so. That's not very good for the crime fiction/noir rep, is it? But in all seriousness, a kindred spirit. We talked about how we're not so great in social settings, but around other crime fiction folks, it all just comes naturally. Duane's already lined up for some future face time here on the blog, so it was wonderful to meet him in person this weekend.

Some Facebook author friends I met on Friday: Tim Maleeny, David Corbett and Eric Beetner. And I also chatted briefly with Lisa Lutz.

Some more online friends I met up with at the party were Clair Lamb and Holly West. For someone who's always had problems feeling comfortable in social settings, meeting these ladies was like seeing old friends again. This whole community is special, and the fact that they let me come along for the ride, well that's just a million kinds of amazing in my book.

But the special nods really need to go to the staff at The Mystery Bookstore. The first person to greet me back to the store was Linda. I received the most welcoming hug from Bobby. And Emily, who's always so patient with me on my online orders, knew who I was when I checked out. Pam, the owner, asked to look at my scrapbook and we talked all about it for awhile. Personalization like that doesn't exist much in these days of big box stores and online purchasing. And when you couple that personalization with this amazing party that they throw? They are invaluable to this whole community. And I know I've mentioned this before, but you can always access their website from my blog. If you scroll down to the bottom of the page, their logo links to their site. If you have questions, they have answers. If you need books, they can get them. And they do it all because they love crime fiction. That's all of our common bond. We love this genre and the folks connected to it.

This is the place to be before the L.A. Times Festival of Books. If you have the chance to attend, don't pass it up. This IS an event you would regret missing!

I'll have more about the festival in upcoming posts. But in the mean time, check out PCN's fun post about her Festival Highlights, her post that includes a photo montage of the weekend, Michael's post about the pre-Party and his recap of the weekend. Geez...I'm the pokey poster around here! Happy Reading!


bermudaonion April 28, 2010 at 8:34 AM  

Wow, that looks like a fabulous weekend and a fabulous party!

Anonymous April 28, 2010 at 11:04 AM  

Jen, you are famous!! Everyone in the mystery world knows about you now and it sounds like they enjoyed meeting you as much as you enjoyed meeting them. I can't believe you met the great Mary Higgins Clark and also her daughter. I'm a longtime reader of both. And Karin Slaughter! I love her books! I tell everyone about them.

You looked really cute and your joy at being there just shines out! :-)

Sara J. Henry April 28, 2010 at 11:17 AM  

Fun post and it was great to meet you, Jen!

Christine April 28, 2010 at 11:39 AM  

I never would have known about the magic that is the LATFoB weekend if it hadn't been for you. Thank you! On top of that, I have the privilege of calling you my friend! My beautiful, brilliant and creative friend. I look forward to getting together again in October!

Linda, Bobby and the whole Mystery Bookstore crew were awesome!

Susan C Shea April 28, 2010 at 1:28 PM  

I'm kicking myself that I didn't go! You obviously had such a great time and your post made me feel (almost) like I'd been there too. Fun!

le0pard13 April 28, 2010 at 1:41 PM  

Great post, and evening, Jen. I consider myself especially lucky to call you, Christine, and Elyse my friends. Getting all together with the great folks at The Mystery Bookstore made it all the more special at that fabulous Pre-FoB party. All of the authors and fans that showed up brought it to another level, indeed. The past weekend went all too quickly. Thanks for this.

Eric Beetner April 28, 2010 at 3:04 PM  

It was so great to meet you Jen. I was right there geeking out with you. I feel so lucky to have The Mystery Bookstore as my local haunt and you are right, the staff there is so above and beyond. They make me feel like a real author.
I'll also second your take on Brett and Duane. The nicest guys.

darbyscloset April 28, 2010 at 10:52 PM  

Jen, Wow! What a blast your weekend sounds like!!! And that pic of you and Andrew.....wooza!!! I'd like to have that as my facebook post! ;-*
And I can't believe you are "shy", for look at all of these pic's of you and the guys!!!!
I was reading your post holding my breath for if you had met Michael Connelly or John Sanford, I would of had to jump thru my computer screen!!!!
Thanks for sharing!!
darbyscloset at yahoo dot com

Jen Forbus April 29, 2010 at 6:28 AM  

All your wonderful comments have me on the verge of tears, guys!

Kay, you are such a sweetheart! Thank you.

Sara, it was great to meet you, too. Look forward to seeing you again soon.

Chris, you're definitely making me cry, girl! Thanks for being such a wonderful friend. Here's to October...if not sooner. Michael...that's ditto for you! You start making your S.F. plans right now...we can't do B'Con without you.

Eric! What are you talking about "real" author? There's no question about it because quite frankly...I don't let anyone but real authors sign my poster! ;) Looking forward to next time, but see you on the Interwebs in the meantime.

Darby...look for the next posts girl...but don't you harm that computer! ;-)

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