2011: A Year Like No Other

The List

  1. Book I most enjoyed rolling around in bed with: Christa Faust’s CHOKE HOLD
  2. Best use of amnesia in the 21st Century: THE TWO DEATH’S OF DANIEL HAYES by Marcus Sakey.
  3. Favorite Burger: Stacked (Milwaukee)
  4. Conversation generating cover: GETTING OFF by Lawrence Block
  5. Best Social Media Campaign: Alafair Burke with Duffer for LONG GONE
  6. Heart-Wrenching Thriller: Gregg Hurwitz YOU’RE NEXT.
  7. Hello Again, My Friend Award: Matt Scudder & Lawrence Block A DROP OF THE HARD STUFF
  8. Why Rules Sometimes Suck : A TRICK OF THE DARK by Val McDermid
  9. Straight to E, a Good Idea : WITNESS TO DEATH, David White, BONE BLIND Abigail Padgette
  10. Holy F*#k, is there nothing he can’t do?: Ian Rankin Malcolm Fox series, THE COMPLAINTS & THE IMPOSSIBLE DEAD
  11. Watch out for: Hilary Davidson, Simon Toyne, Marcia Clark, Brad Parks, Todd Ritter, Sara Henry
  12. Favorite new food: Sweetart’s Laffy Taffy
  13. Book with a bullet: Jeffrey Deaver , Carte Blanche.
  14. Remarkable Run: Michael Koryta SO COLD THE RIVER, CYPRESS HOUSE, THE RIDGE
  15. Favorite toy: Twitter
  16. Outstanding!! : Megan Abbott, Reed F. Coleman, John Connolly
  17. Book to Movie: LINCOLN LAWYER Michael Connelly et al
  18. New To Me Joy : Sara Blaedel CALL ME PRINCESS
  19. Wow!!: THE MOST DANGEROUS THING Laura Lippman
  20. My favorite book of the year: Gut wrenching plot, long time hero, great writer, everything aligns , Harlan Coben, LIVE WIRE…

January was family and friends, the beginnings of Bouchercon madness and some truly outstanding Media.
There was Dr. Who and Luther on the TV, Larry Block, Karin Slaughter and Joe Finder on the headboard.

How’s this for one weekend in January? Jen Forbus for a house guest, Lunch with Bob Crais, two bookstores and the Packers head for the SuperBowl!! I also received an early copy of Marcus Sakey’s THE TWO DEATHS OF DANIEL HAYES. No winter blues here.

February, that month where you snuggle up and catch up on your reading? Finally sat down to Steve Mosby, Sean Black, and I met Charles Hardee, Duane Swierczynski’s character. We also finalized plans for a trip to New York, met Dally, attended Love is Murder (spending time with lots of folks we love). There was quality time with Jill Thompson and Brian Azzarello. I recall visiting with Dana Kaye and Judy Bobalik & getting to know Joe Finder just a little bit better. Mentos and Diet Coke with Tasha Alexander, Andrew Grant and Ben Leroy. Oh and the Packers? They won that Super Bowl!! The first book from Mulholland Press came out and Minotaur rocked my reading with books from Brad Parks and Julia Spencer Fleming.

March? A signing for THE COMPLAINTS followed by a quiet dinner with favorite writer ever Ian Rankin and Hubby (there may have been too much wine). The next morning begat the madness of C2E2. I love the folks at D.C. and got a chance to go totally fan girl over Gail Simone, briefly talk to Bill Willingham and catch up with John Cunningham & Pam Mullen who I’d love to be able to chat with on a weekly basis. Spending that day with work friends Joe and Ricky only added to the surreal. And there was the one book….

April… April was outstanding. I spent time crushing on Lisa Lutz. Drove to Libby Hellman’s for the shower of friend Alison Dasho. Spent Easter with the Family and flew to New York for Edgar week. Edgar itself was magic this year. Watching Augie, Pat and Gary receive Ravens teared me up. Being able to thank Sara Paretsky on the night she became a Grand Master? Watching Steve Hamilton win Best Novel and meeting his wife? Sitting with Jeff Deaver until they closed the bar? There were two moments that are amongst my very best moments of the year that week. On Tuesday I was introduced to a very lovely young lady who shall remain nameless. On Edgar Night itself amidst all the talk of “the future of publishing” ….. Being able to congratulate Ben Leroy and David Hale Smith at the same time for great news will be cherished forever. Ben assured a future for Tyrus Books and David joined Inkwell Management. It’s gratifying when two people you respect that much step it up just when folks are saying it cannot be done. These two men love books more than I do. That’s saying a lot.

May?? That glorious month of May. I ran outside for the first time. Swam a half mile. Rode the bike and stretched a lot. But the highlight of May (and June too)? Margery Flax of MWA right here, in Milwaukee.

I’m not blasé about Reed Farrel Coleman but spending time with Margery outside of “Event Mode” was priceless to me. I began reading Fall titles. Val McDermid’s TRICK OF THE DARK and Mark Billingham’s BLOODLINES really stood out.

June saw me busy. Not however, as busy as our hosts for Printer’s Row. Tasha and Andrew paneled, wrote, packed and entertained a revolving set of guests just before flying to Europe (forty minutes before they had to be at the airport just before). I saw Sean Chercouver in discussion with Marcus Sakey, spent time with too many friends to mention, thanked Barb D’Amato for getting a book out, blew off meeting Pete Hamill to give Bill Jung a hug, dashed through raindrops to see Julie Hyze, met Joelle Charbonneau’s Mom, chatted with Karen Syed and went to the Lego Store. I also had the opportunity to spend time with Andy Gross who’s EYES WIDE OPEN was about to launch. Bliss with homemade popovers. MWA University came to Wisconsin. My bedroom became purple. My Aunt and Uncle were here for a visit. And Bouchercon loomed.

July involved Jon being in St. Louis, me stepping up the work outs and Bouchercon panels. Judy Bobalik and I were in nightly conversation. There was no time for books and T.V. was mainly Law and Order reruns. The laundry piled up, food came processed (but healthy), and I began anticipating the return of Hard Case Crime. There was brief respite at the ball park (Go Brewers)

August was so good. Due to the overwhelming responsibilities of Bouchercon in Hubby’s lap, we did not have a booth at this year’s Chicago Comic Con. But we went. The opening of the Eduardo Rizzo exhibit at Challenger’s was spectacular. Time with Gregg Hurwitz? Wonderful. Dana Kaye continues to amaze me. Jen Forbus was there too. She reacted to her first comic convention much like I reacted to my own. It really is a bit overwhelming for a novice. Priceless is walking the floor with Jill Thompson on a Sunday.

The next weekend had us flying into Baltimore. I’ve written of this week before so I’m going to be concise. Spending time with my friend Laura and her family in a city I’d come to love was beyond the beyond. It was so brilliant the earth moved, literally. I spent some time with Kathy Harig and I met Jackie from the hardboiled board!! I speak often of the relationship between a book and its reader and no book will ever come close to how conjoined I feel towards THE MOST DANGEROUS THING. I had time only to read the first part of the book before our trip (for once, Jon was stealing off of my TBR pile), walked through the book’s setting with the book’s author on pub date, came home and finished the book. It was a transnational experience of Lippman’s finest work.

Home and 6 days until Ayo Onatade arrived….

September… well there was Bouchercon and there was Bouchercon and oh yeah, Bouchercon. 2000 fellow Crime Fiction family members and not enough time spent with any one of them. Having Ayo on a daily basis was so great. Meeting Kristie Long has to be one of the highlights of my year. Sharing Bryan VanMeter and Jo Schmidt with Val McDermid is acceptable (she’s probably the only one I’d be willing to do this for).

Here, I’m going to say a few words about how important the camaraderie and enthusiasm of 2011’s Bouchercon was to me. This Bouchercon was the dream of two men; my husband and the late David Thompson. Judy Bobalik and I were to have only peripheral involvement. McKenna Jordan had stepped back from her initial role to concentrate on Murder by the Book, one of the finest Indy bookstore’s in the country. One year out half of the core was no longer with us. The loss, in most cases, could not have been overcome. Jon Jordan stepped to the Captain’s wheel to honor his friend. The volunteers and attendees who had known David or known of David arrived in St. Louis willing to do anything and everything to make this one special. Everyone who knows Jon knew how important having a most excellent Bouchercon was to him. I know in my heart how happy David would have been to see it. I know as fact that the few, who knew him not at all, left St. Louis with a portion of the love for the genre that he had 24/7/365. If all of us who attended remember to spread the love of books whenever we can, we will continue to honor who David was and who Jon is. Book love can and will go on forever. Jon Jordan threw a hell of a Bouchercon with David Thompson by his side all the way through.

October was our anniversary and the Brewers made it to the World Series. The build up to Muskego was in high swing and I had time to read again, thank you! THE IMPOSSIBLE DEAD by Rankin was my first post Bouchercon book, but I read Jim Fusilli and S.J. Rozan. I perused vintage MacDonald. I read TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD. We powered through a hundred hours of TV, mourning what THE EVENT could have been long after most of our friends. And, least I forget, there was the “New 52” from D.C. I now have 8 Marvel titles on my pull list too. Saw the Green Lantern and was underwhelmed. The X-Men movie was enjoyed. I flat out loved Captain America. Life carried me to Muskego. Did I mention the second Duane Swierczynki novel featuring Charlie Hardee came out?

November/December. Went to the Todd Ritter signing at Mystery One Books the first weekend of the month and then… Muskego. I adore this one day book event and all the authors and attendees who’ve made it so special these many years. Mainly, I just love the two ladies who dreamed of the event. Penny and Jane of the Muskego Library are a special kind of people. The rest of the staff at the Muskego Library are terrific and THE FRIENDS OF THE LIBRARY, phenomenal. There’s a joy in watching the audience and participants co-mingle like nowhere else I go throughout the year. There’s a love for reading that goes beyond the boundaries of comfort zone and everyone who’s ever attended, I thank you. We caught up on our “Brit TV”. I really enjoyed the Tom Thorn adaptations. A Lot. Steve Hamilton again, winning another award for THE LOCK ARTIST. How cool is that?

We’ve been off canvas doing the holidays but Crimespree arrived on people’s doorsteps, we’ve been reading a lot and re-watching all of our Christmas Classics on TV. 2012 is going to be a very good year. I know; I’ve been reading