Friday, February 09, 2007

Love is Murder

My name is Marcus Sakey, and I'm an addict.

I love writing conferences. Can't get enough of them.

If you've never been to one, I urge you to go, whether you're a writer or a fan. The beautiful thing about conferences is that it doesn't matter. Everybody is welcome, everybody is friendly, and perhaps most importantly, everybody is drinking.

Last weekend was Love is Murder, a great con in Chicago. It's not the biggest, but it'll always hold a special place in my heart. A lot of good memories of the Wyndham O'Hare.


Just this year, for example, there was the opportunity to not only meet, but sit down and share numerous pints with Ken Bruen (shown here with my second wife, Judy Bobalik). And if you stay up late enough, you might get to watch Ken barter his watch for James Lavish's cowboy boots.

Or hang with Jon & Ruth & Jennifer Jordan of Crimespree, the three sweetest people alive, and hear great stories about, well, everyone in the business. Jon is easiest to find -- just follow the trail of abandoned Red Bull cans.

Alison Janssen is not only an editor at Bleak House Books, but also a Roller Derby Girl. That's her in full battle gear. Where else but a conference would you meet someone like that? And if you really want to press your luck, ask her to demonstrate a hit. The girl is all gorgeous five-foot-nothing, and she knocked me on my ass.


Need another reason? Look at these two hotties:


Breaks your heart, doesn't it? Believe me, it's even worse if you've met Tasha Alexander and Laura Caldwell and know how talented and witty they are.

There's a lot of talk about how conferences are good for your career, how you go to pitch an agent or editor, or to spread word of mouth. And that's fine. But for me, it's more than that. This is a chance to hang out with some of the most interesting people in the world. And everyone, everyone is welcome. Is there a better way to spend a weekend than with engaging folks who want to talk about books, writing, and whose turn it is to pick up the next round?

If you love books but have never been to a conference, give one a try. You'll thank me.

And for all you folks who have been to conferences, which are your favorite? Any local faves or forgotten gems? Help me out. I gotta feed my addiction somehow...

10 comments:

Jon The Crime Spree Guy said...

If Ruth and ever stop publishing the magazine, if I ever stop reading mysteries, if I never pick up another book, I'll still go to conventions and conferences.
They are where my second family live and play.
Love is Murder is great.

Magna Cum Murder is great.
Mayhem in the Midlands rocks (I love Omaha!)

ANd I do admit that this year there really was a trail of red bull cans in the hotel, the staff must hate me...

Rob Gregory Browne said...

Sounds like you had a lot of fun and LIM, Marcus. Brett and I were a little jealous that you stole Tasha away from LCC for the weekend, but we had a blast ourselves in Seattle. And I have a feeling we were a lot warmer...

Sal Bartleby said...

Yes, it does sound like you had a lot of fun, Marcus, but I was disappointed at seeing captions like "Look at these two hotties." I don't know who Judy Bobalik is, but does she really enjoy you calling her your second wife? I thought maybe since the Outfit included women, especially feminists like Barb D'Amato or Sara Paretsky, you would be more respectful of women. It makes me sad that you think this is just good fun, but of course you are very young.

spyscribbler said...

That's so awesome. I recently heard someone say that she wouldn't go to another conference because she already had a three-book deal, so there was no point. It made me think, because she's older and wiser than me (in the world of publishing, if not by age) so I sat there a little dumbstruck, wondering what I didn't know that I should know.

Having only been to one, I'm not one to know anything. I only went to a tiny one, and I came home raving to my DH, "You know what the best thing about being a writer is?" (Insert half-attentive grunt.) "I get to hang out with writers the rest of my life!"

I'm glad you had fun!

Marcus Sakey said...

Sal wrote:

"I was disappointed at seeing captions like "Look at these two hotties." I don't know who Judy Bobalik is, but does she really enjoy you calling her your second wife? I thought maybe since the Outfit included women, especially feminists like Barb D'Amato or Sara Paretsky, you would be more respectful of women."

Well, first off, my apologies for any offense, Sal. I think anyone who knows me will tell you I'm pretty respectful of everyone, male and female.

To answer your questions, yes, Judy is well aware that I call her my second wife. She calls me her fourth husband. It's a running gag between us.

Tasha and Laura are also very good friends of mine, and I doubt very much that either of them objected to being called beautiful, talented, and witty.

In my opinion, calling someone beautiful is not sexist or anti-feminist. It's not oppressive, and it's not diminutive. There's a difference between reducing someone to nothing but a sex object and calling a good friend "hot".

I am all for respect and equality in discourse and in life. But I'm also in favor of adjectives, of flavor, and of compliments. I think you can have both -- and I think it's a mistake to confuse the presence of one as an attack on the other.

Judy Bobalik said...

I don't know who Judy Bobalik is, but does she really enjoy you calling her your second wife?

Yes, I do as anyone who knows Marcus would be.

I was going to add more but it was basically all that Marcus said in his response. If you ever get to meet Marcus you too will find he is a charming, witty man and a fabulous writer to boot.

Judy

Tasha Alexander said...

I'm going out on a limb here and speaking for Laura as well as myself: We don't mind (at all) being called beautiful, witty, and talented. In fact, if we could come to an agreement about that happening on a regular basis in a public forum, we just might pay for it. ;)

And, Rob: You guys may have been warmer, but we had more fun. You need to get to Chicago next year.

P.S. Hi Judy!!!

Anthony D'Amato said...

Dear Salvatore, or is it Sally?

My name is Tony D'Amato and my claim to fame is that Barb D'Amato is my first wife.

But you sir, or is it ma'am, or in between perhaps--you call her a "feminist." Why are you being so disrespectful of her? Why do you call her a feminist? What is your evidence that she is a feminist? Or you just generally disrespectful of women? Is this because you are a woman and full of self-hatred? Or is it because you want to be a woman? Why can't you make up your mind? Have you been a dithering negativist since the day your parents named you Sal because your father wanted a daughter and your mother wanted a son? How does it feel to be living a life of ambiguity and compromise? You may be disappointed in photographic captions but I, sir or ma'am, am disappointed in you.

Jon The Crime Spree Guy said...

Well, all kidding aside, I think Marcus is a hottie.

I don't even care if he's smart or talented or witty.

Barbara D'Amato said...

Jon got that Tony was kidding, but to be on the safe side I should say this: Yes, I'm a feminist, and I can tell you Marcus is a really GOOD guy. Really really.