Sunday, February 6, 2011

Love is Murder

I'm sitting at snowy O'Hare, hoping that my flight will be on time, on my way home from three days in very, very, very cold Chicago.
But you know, these midwesterners are tough. I arrived a few hours after O'Hare opened on Thursday and was whisked off to speak at a library that evening. The roads were scary for someone like me who never sees snow. On the interstates one or two lanes were cleared but there were great banks of snow beside the road and one had to spot the exit by the gap in the snowbank. Luckily my driver was a confident local.
We arrived at the library to find snowbanks all around it. The temperature was 6 degrees and dropping. Seriously I thought nobody would come. But we had a sell-out crowd. They turned people away. I was so impressed. I know I wouldn't have ventured out on a night like that. So if you're reading this and you came--thank you, thank you.
Once again it made me realize how much Chicagoites love their libraries.

The conference was at a hotel with spectacular modern artwork. It was a fun small mystery/thriller/romantic suspense con--very friendly, very well run. I had interesting interviews and attended some really good panels. Highlights were the lunch time interview wth Libby Fisher Hellman, who asked some really new,fresh questions, and then winning the Lovey Award for best mystery series at the banquet. What a surprise that was.

After dinner an event I wasn't so sure about--Joe Konrath put on a Stump the Stars panel in which he read out snippets form our books and we were supposed to know which book in came from. If we got it wrong he roasted us. If we got it right he roasted us too. Fun but a little scary.

So now I come to the journey home. I love winning awards. I am honored. BUT do they have to make the awards to look and feel like weapons when I have to go through airport security. This one was about eight inches tall and made of marble. Of course it looked suspicious and I had to take it out of my bag and show the woman that it was an award and it had my name on it!
I didn't add that it could still kill somebody quite nicely, name or no name!!
At least it wasn't as heavy as the tombstones I once won at Bouchercon.

More when I get home, but a big thank you to all at Love is Murder. I had a great time.


  1. Rhys, it was lovely meeting you at that library - I was the (other) one with the English accent. After 14 years I've grown so used to the snow that I'm no longer impressed by the mounds, so it's fun seeing it described through different eyes.

    I agree that we have really great libraries in the Chicago area as a general rule. Some of them are quite amazing from an architectural and historical viewpoint as well - I could take you to a reading room that could be straight out of an English Victorian manor house, among others. Ours happens to be one of the busiest in Illinois, due partly to demographics and partly to the dedication of its staff, who never stop sending out emails and Facebook messages about what's going on.

    I hope you'll come back to Chicago one day, perhaps when the weather's better - although I don't particularly recommend our summers, which are hot, humid, and full of mosquitos. The best time to visit Chicago is the fall.

    A Royal Pain is sitting on my table waiting to be read as soon as I've finished my current book. I'm looking forward to becoming a new fan!

  2. If we stayed in when it was cold and snowy, we'd be inside all Cabin fever drives out to events like that. :)

    Perhaps someone in a future mystery of yours will be killed by getting bashed on the head by an award trophy. :)

  3. I, too, vote for murder by marble award being a plot point. Especially if it comes after your protagonist has cleared security. *grin*