The alarm woke me at 6 this morning, giving me time to get civilized before I made the short walk to the convention hotel. I found my way to the Grand Ballroom and checked in for Author Speed Dating. In the words of the organizers, here’s how it works:
Each author gets a chance to pitch their book(s) to 20 tables of up to 8 readers to a table. Authors are put in groups of 2 and move from table to table every 4 minutes — so if you and I were paired I would talk for 2 minutes and then you would talk for 2 minutes. We’d pass out bookmarks or other stuff. And then at the 4 minute mark we’d travel to the next table!
My partner in this exercise was New Englander Dale Phillips, who managed to beat the traffic into town a few minutes before things got rolling at 8. The combination of adrenaline and coffee had placed him somewhere between “ebullient” and “auctioneer on meth”, so I suggested he go first as we made our way around the room. As one of us would talk , the other would make sure that the attendees got promo material, in the form of trifold brochures from Dale and a flyer (designed by my friend Justin) for me. We developed a rhythm pretty quickly — I think by the time we were finished, Dale and I could have done each other’s spiels. I noticed a lot of folks taking notes as we talked — I told them they were considerably more awake than my usual 8 a.m. audiences.
After that, I spread my remaining flyers around, leaving some at the door of the book room and others at a table with lots of other promo material. From there I made my way to a panel on golden age crime writers. My acquaintances Peter Rozovsky and Sarah Weinman were on the panel, and the discussion was lively, and put me onto some “new” older writers.
I said hello to Peter and Sarah, and then made my way into Toronto’s underground city and hit a noodle place for some spicy beef. After that, I caught a panel featuring the nominees for the Anthony Award for Best Paperback Original, which included Facebook friends Patricia Nase Abbott and Eric Beetner (who also did the cover for the original release of Broken Glass Waltzes).
The last panel I saw on the day was a presentation on a new book: Anatomy of Innocence. The book is a series of case studies of people who were wrongfully convicted of a variety of heinous crimes. It was fascinating to see the writers on the panel talk about how their faith in the system was shaken — or their lack of faith confirmed. If the book is as affecting as the panel was, it will be well worth your time.
And those were today’s highlights — more to come.