Monday, November 11, 2019

A Brush with Greatness by Jenn McKinlay

Firstly, Happy Veterans Day! To all those who've served, we thank you for your service and your sacrifice.






JENN McKINLAY: The only Malice Domestic conference I've ever been to was in 2012. It's very difficult to get to Bethesda from Phoenix - two flights and a train - but on that particular year, Elizabeth Peters, aka Barbara Mertz, was going to be there and I knew if I was ever going to meet my childhood idol, this was it. 


Elizabeth Peters, aka Barbara Mertz
There were several events, all of which were standing room only crowds. Ms. Mertz was everything I thought she'd be and more - smart, funny, kind, and with a wicked twinkle in her eye. I was thrilled just to be in the same room with her. When she left, being assisted by an escort, she walked right by my table. 
This was my moment! I sprang out of my seat and accosted her -- as one does -- and she didn't rear back in horror but instead smiled at me as I stood there incapable of saying a word. Me. Without speech. Inconceivable! 


Finally, I choked out a "thank you" and she looked at me, opened her arms for a hug and said, "No, thank you."
At which I cried all over her, like a big dope.
 So that was my moment with the author without whose work I likely  
never would have become a writer.

So, how about you, Reds? What was your brush with author greatness?


RHYS BOWENI’m always rather embarrassed when a fan comes up to me and does the whole fangirl thing. I’ve had one woman rush away and burst into tears (am I that scary?).  But then one day at a conference I found myself sitting at the signing table next to Tony Hillerman. And I’m screaming to myself “I’m sitting next to Tony Hillerman!” And I turn to him and gush “I love your books!”  I wish I could have told him that I only started writing mysteries because of him, but I could hardly get out those four words. So we all have our fangirl moments.

HALLIE EPHRON: The most ‘in awe’ I’ve ever been was when I ended up seated beside Jane Smiley at an event in Steinbeck country in California. I’d just read MOO and A THOUSAND ACRES and been blown away. All I remember is she was very nice and SERIOUSLY tall. Also at the table was Karen Joy Fowler, assuming I'm not mixing up my events. I’d read her amazing mystery novel, Wit’s End. I wanted to slow down time.
Jane Smiley

JENN: Tall girls rule, just sayin'


Lucy with Ann Cleeves 
LUCY BURDETTEI have fawned over too many people to mention, I am definitely fan girl material. Maybe the first time was Diane Mott Davidson and was she at Malice? I remember that she signed the book I bought to both my sister and to me. The first Bouchercon I ever attended, where I knew absolutely no one and was totally petrified and deeply unpublished, I had a lovely chat with Stephen White. Do you remember his series about a psychologist detective in Boulder Colorado? Love that character! And Michael Connelly more than once... You know what also was very cool was having Margaret Maron moderate the best first novel panel at malice domestic. Remember that Julia?? She was wonderful.  

JENN: I just got this pic of Lucy with Ann Cleeves from the new England Crime Bake this weekend. She really is a fangirl!

JULIA SPENCER-FLEMING: Lucy, meeting Margaret Maron at the Malice Domestic where you and I were Best First nominees was my fangirl moment. She was one of my writing idols, and one of two authors whose work seriously influenced my own when I was starting out (the other being Archer Mayor.) It was SUCH a thrill having her moderate the panel we were on, but I'm not sure I even spoke to her privately, then. I didn't want to pester the great woman.

Then, that evening, I was sitting in the bar (as one does) and she came by, squeezed my shoulder, and said, "I really loved your book." I can't recall what I said - probably something like "A buh bub a bubba uh." When we went up to our hotel room that evening, I told Ross, "Don't touch that shoulder. That's Margaret Maron's shoulder." 

Photo from stacybuckeye.com
I got a chance to make it up in a more eloquent way, however, in 2012, when I was invited to contribute to Books To Die For – The World’s Greatest Mystery Writers on the World’s Greatest Mystery Novels. I wrote an appreciation of Bootlegger's Daughter. I still haven't nerved myself to ask her to sign it, though.




Hank with Sue Grafton
HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN: Yikes, I just got back from Bouchercon, when I interviewed James Patterson. And I have to say, he was adorable. Charming, funny, brash, and generous--and a real troublemaker---in a good way. Everyone adored him. I've interviewed Dan Brown, also terrific, engaging and quite brilliant. But in my writer/reader heart? Once I was signing next to Jane Langton. I almost could not breathe, she made such a difference in my life with her A Diamond in the Window. But the best of the best may have been at Crimebake in..2009? When I felt a tap on my shoulder, turned around, and there was SUE GRAFTON holding Prime Time--and asking for MY autograph! Can you even imagine? I was so lucky that someone got a photo of that moment--and here it is. It still makes me smile.  

DEBORAH CROMBIE:  At what I think must have been my very first Malice, my then-editor introduced me to Reginald Hill (She edited the US versions of his books.) All I could manage to squeak out was, "I love your books, Mr. Hill," and I'm sure I must have sounded like a complete dope. But he is still one of the writers I most admire, and I'm glad I had the opportunity to meet him.

And then there was P.D. James, who I had the honor to share a program with at St. Hilda's mystery conference in Oxford. I acquitted myself a bit better, but she was so sharp and witty and I was undoubtedly the gauche American.  She was also, however, unfailingly gracious and didn't make me feel too big an idiot. What an icon she was.



(Jenn, I was also a huge fan of Barbara Mertz in all her guises, and I LOVE that photo of her.)

JENN: Hank I was a huge fan of Jane Langton as a kid and A Diamond in the Window was FANTASTIC!

So, what about you, Readers, what are your crazy fan moments?






112 comments:

  1. No crazy fan moments . . . I did get to meet Ray Bradbury at a book signing when we lived in California. It as definitely a breathtaking moment for this science fiction fan . . . . And now, my bucket wish list is to meet all of the Jungle Red ladies in person . . . .

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    1. We’d love to meet you, too, Joan! Maybe we need a Reds retreat or a cruise!

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  2. My ultimate fan girl moment as a reader involves one of the Reds! Knowing how much I love Louise Penny's books a close friend got us tickets for her presentation and book signing at Book Passage in Corte Madera. I proceeded to look up the event online and the author who would be there to introduce Louise was her good friend Rhys Bowen! I couldn't believe it and called my friend Joan, telling her how exciting this was as I am a huge fan of her books as well. Fast forward to the day and as we are browsing in the bookstore before the event I hear a rather cultured voice asking at the counter if Louise Penny has arrived yet. The counter person looked rather perplexed and had no idea apparently who that was. Since we had seen Louise arrive, I promptly and enthusiastically spoke up to the back of the inquiring woman's head "Oh yes, Louise has arrived, isn't it wonderful"?? At that, she turned around and I responded with "OMG Joan this is, oh my, hello". I was face to face with Rhys Bowen unexpectedly and acting like an idiot. Apparently this must happen to her more than occasionally since she proceeded to thank me very nicely for letting her know and walked away as if she hadn't just encountered a total moron.

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    1. I was chatting with a woman at Crime Bake this weekend, and we were talking about our favorite cons, and hers was was Malice, because, as she said, "The authors are just right there and so nice! I was waiting for coffee, and you know who was standing next to me? Rhys Bowen! And she just chatted with me, like you would with anybody!" I told her yes, I had always heard Rhys was lovely. :-)

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  3. Usually, I manage to come across as not too much of an idiot. But inside I'm going a little crazy. One of those moments for me was this summer when I got to meet J. Michael Stracynski. He's the creator of my favorite TV show of all time - Babylon 5, which was doing story arcs on TV before that was a thing. He has written an autobiography, and I went to a signing down in West Hollywood. I don't think I made an idiot out of myself when I was talking to him when he was signing my book. I also didn't accost him when I spotted him at the back of the store before the event, which hopefully was also in my favor.

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    1. Ha! I felt like that when I met Dennis Lehane. I kept saying (not out loud) “Keep it cool, Jenn, just be chill.” Like you, I think I managed to keep my dignity. Barely.

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    2. Mark, I would definitely fangirl ALL over JMS.

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  4. I love this topic! Sue Grafton is one of the reasons I write what I do, even though my protags are not PIs. I didn't have even one book out when she was Guest of Honor at Crime Bake and I think I was mostly dumbstruck, but she was so gracious and signed my book. This weekend it was a huge thrill be co-chair of the conference with Ann Cleeves as our also gracious, do-everything, be-everywhere GOH - and yesterday I got to drive her to the airport! I almost wished we would have gotten stuck in traffic so we could chat longer, just the two of us.

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  5. I think it is simply awesome to get to meet any of the authors whose books I love. I think the opportunity to tell them how much their books mean to me (and get the books signed). Over the last few years, I've had the chance to meet so many fabulous authors and to get the chance to talk to them and turn out to have a kind of entry level friendship with them has been quite amazing to me. Hank, Edith, Jon, Ingrid and so many more have been so kind to me and I'm always appreciative of that.

    As for Mark's love of J. Michael Straczynski, I concur with the idea of Babylon 5 being one of my favorite TV shows. He was fantastic to meet back in 2005 at the Wizard World Philadelphia. Later down the road, he was writing a comic series called Sidekick. I wrote a letter of comment after the first issue. He responded by saying something I wrote in the letter was the "Best turn of phrase I've heard this week. Knock it off. You're showing me up here".

    One of the best responses to something I've written ever. And I've got the comic issue that it was printed in so I've got my proof. :D There's a couple of pictures on my Facebook page of my meeting JMS at that convention in 2005.

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    1. That’s brilliant, Jay! I love the letter. I’d probably frame it.

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    2. Jenn, the letter was printed on the letters page of the comic so I can't exactly tear it out because it would ruin the comic. But I do have it safely bagged and boarded with a note included that my letter was printed in it so it doesn't get thrown away.

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  6. When I was in seminary in the late '70s, one of my work-study jobs was to drive VIPs to the airport, which was 2 hours away. I got to drive Madeleine L'Engle! She was so gracious and down to earth, and gave me advice - not about writing, but about making my way through life in general and the very male-dominated world of the seminary at that time. I was totally gob-smacked!

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  7. Toni Morrison at the DC book festival. Tongue-tied.

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  8. Wow, I've had more than one of those moments, which include meeting all the Reds, especially that first time with Deb in McKinney, and then coming home, going to her website, and finding my picture there! (Just looked. It's still there. Complete with big glasses of wine. Were we young or what?)

    My first ever conference was Left Coast Crime four years ago. In the midst of my fangirling, I left my bag with my wallet and kindle in a panel room. Yes I found it, but not before I had a melt down. So I decided to skip the next panel, go to the lobby, and chill. As I was walking across this space, Ann Cleeves appeared walking toward me. I blubbered "YOU'RE ANN CLEEVES!" And she said "You're Ann from Facebook." This was a high point of my life. We sat and talked for half an hour, and I fell completely and totally in love. Or maybe I was already there?

    Now I wish I were at Crime Bake to cheer on Hallie and Lucy Roberta and Julia and Hank. Bouchercon was so big that I don't think I saw any Red long enough. Maybe I'll go to Malice in the spring, much easier trip. And I hear there will be a very special guest of honor!

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    1. OMG, Ann. What a moment that would have been. Wow!

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    2. Have just checked out the Malice 2020 website to discover the GOH. Oh yes, Ann: very special, indeed!! Too bad I’m so far away....

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    3. Ann, I'm planning to go to Malice this year again, after having to miss it (and Bouchercon) this year. I hope you go--we could have some fun together!

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    4. That is so lovely, Ann. I’m delighted you got your things back but also time with Ann Cleve’s - way better than a panel!

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    5. If you come to Malice, Ann, you have to let me buy you a big glass of wine...

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  9. Coming to JRW each day is my fangirl moment--all of these gracious, kind, smart and funny authors willing to talk to the mere mortals who read their books! And I can do it in my jammies, even better!

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  10. Toronto Bouchercon. Checking into the hotel. My friend Miriam was managing the details at the desk, so I was looking around and who should be at next desk? Why, Hallie Ephron and Lucy Burdette!! I sidled up and mumbled something about being a reader and fan — and they both hugged me! So gracious of them and so welcoming. Then, Miriam and I got into the elevator and who should get in with us? Louise Penny!! She was very tall (I’m only 5’2”) and totally lovely — shook our hands and thanked us for being readers.

    My first (and so far only) Bouchercon was utterly fabulous, as it would have been with those experiences to start it off! I wonder what will happen when I make it to my second?

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    1. Amanda, Toronto was my first too. My second was this year in Dallas . I was not sure it could compare but it did and more. A fabulous experience.

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    2. For as big as it is Bouchercon always recharges my batteries.

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    3. Danielle: Next time I'm at Bouchercon (who knows when that will be??), I'm going to somehow create a gathering spot for all the Reds commenters so that we can meet each other face-to-face. It would be so great, I think! I love this blog community...

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    4. Amanda, we were saying that we ought to have some sort of get-together within Bouchercon for the Reds community.

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    5. I keep saying this but I've heard no preliminary plans for it happen but someone needs to put together Jungle Red Con!

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  11. A few years ago Neil Gaiman was at MythCon (an academic conference about Tolkien and the Inklings). I so afraid I would fangirl squeal and gush about how much I loved his books that I couldn't even talk to the man. I admired him from a distance. Looking back, I wish I had talked to him.

    Julia and Rhys, I've talked both of you several times and without going into fangirl mode. Maybe because I feel I know you from this blog?

    Two of my regrets in life are that I never met Ray Bradbury or Barbera Mertz.

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    1. Neil Gaiman has the added intimidation factor of being devastatingly gorgeous!

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    2. I would have LOVED to have attended that academic conference!

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    3. I met Neil Gaiman at a book signing (his last tour) and his pen ran out of ink so we had to talk while they (his handlers) fixed it (old style fountain pen thing). I felt so fortunate to have that spot in line. He was lovely!

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    4. Debs, here's the link to the The Mythopoeic Society (http://www.mythsoc.org/). It's a "non-profit organization devoted to the study of mythopoeic literature, particularly the works of members of the informal Oxford literary circle known as the “Inklings.”

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  12. Oh my goodness! The Reds are fangirls of so many of my favorite authors -- Margart Maron, Elizabeth Peters/Barbara Mertz, Reginald Hill, Ann Cleeves, PD James!!! (As well as the Reds, of course.) I am sure I would be struck dumb in any of their/your presences.

    I have always loved Jane Langton, as well, and she is the author I had the pleasure of meeting. She came to speak at my children's lit class in college. She was dynamic, fun, and so encouraging of new writers. She signed a copy of The Diamond in the Window, a favorite of mine. I later came to really enjoy her Homer Kelly mysteries.

    It's funny because one of my favorite authors, Jane Langton, and probably my favorite singer/songwriter/environmentalist, Don Henley, both have ties to Concord, MA.

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    1. I so agree! A Diamond in the Window changed my life, and I still think about it, all the time.

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    2. Me, too! A Diamond in the Window is one of my favorite books of all time!

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  13. I'm a little overwhelmed by what everyone does. I must confess that until recently, thank you Julia, I was unaware of all the mystery coms. I had hoped to be at CrimeBake but granny needs come first. Lots of cooking instead. But my fan girl moment took place in the crypt of St. Paul's Chapel at Columbia University, where I met Susan Cooper. My friend, Platt and I literally spluttered with joy, embarrassment, goofiness as we were, and are such such fans of her children's series, 'The Dark is Rising'. Susan was very gracious and I have met her since with rather more composure as our worlds cross through Jack Langstaff and the Revels. By the time I met Julia at the Cathedral I was able to behave in a rather more rational manner. But looking at the authors above who you admire, I realize I need to get reading more, more. The quote below was in my gratefulness.org email today and it seemed to fit the topic.

    "That old saying about opportunity only knocking once is as archaic as the flat-earth theory and as patently untrue. Opportunity knocks all the time — and it rings your doorbell, calls you up, and sends you e-mails." VICTORIA MORAN

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    1. Susan Cooper!!! Celia, I would have been swooning!

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    2. I love those books by Susan Cooper!

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    3. That quote is pitch perfect - thank you for sharing it!

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  14. What wonderful wonderful anecdotes! I never met any of my favorite authors in person but years ago I would write letters to them. Only a very few ever replied but you can bet I cherish those letters!
    Otherwise, I agree completely with FChurch's remarks above; I feel like I am real life friends with all of the Reds. I have a very rich fantasy life!

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    1. We are friends, truly! The Reds spent much of Bouchercon talking about how precious this community is to us.

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  15. When my now-35-year old daughter was in about fifth grade, she was a HUGE fan of the Babysitters Club books. The author, Ann M Martin, came to Cincinnati, and Robin begged me to take her to get a book signed. We got there so late that we were the very last in line, and by the time we got to Ann, Robin was a quivering mess and couldn't speak a word, just gaped at her with filling eyes. Ann was very kind, and spent an extra minute or so, at the end of what had to be a long day, chatting with my starstruck kid.

    My first mystery con was the Indianapolis Bouchercon, where I had already arranged, via the TLC blog, to meet both Alex Sokoloff and Hank Ryan! Alex was the very first person I saw, and she waved me to a chair next to hers for a chat. Later, Rosemary Harris was with Hank, and we bonded instantly. Do you remember, Hank? I had no time to get nervy, because you and Alex and Rosemary were all so gracious.

    Weirdly, even though I'm not really a special fan, the person I was most intimidated by was Mary Higgins Clark. No idea why.

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    1. I totally get that! Mary Higgins Clark intimidated me, too, but then she was such a kick. I really enjoyed her.

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  16. These are so much fun to read! And oh, yes, Mary Higgins Clark! Terrified— Although she turned out to be absolutely hilarious…

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  17. I left out two of my biggies--James Herriott, who I met twice in the days when he signed books on Wednesday afternoons from his veterinary surgery in Thirsk. And Dick Francis, who I met a couple of times when he was signing books in the Dallas area. So gracious!! Those signed James Herriott and Dick Francis books are among my treasures!

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    1. Wow Debs, Dick Francis, wow. I never met him but I do have all his books plus two English editions which my daughters boyfriend got for me when he worked at a London Bookshop. I have paper backs of the first ten or twelve, and hard copy of the others.

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    2. I am green with envy over James Herriot!

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  18. I did manage to meet/accost a few authors at Dallas Bouchercon. I was more verbal with some than others and no one called security so that was a good thing. Ann, thanks for introducing me to Catriona. She’s a hoot! I kept running into Sulari Gentill whose historical mysteries I really like. Poor woman. It was a pleasure to get to say hello to all the Reds except Julia. Sorry I never tracked her down.

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    1. It was wonderful to meet you, Pat!

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    2. We'll have a coffee together at the next Bouchercon, Pat!

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    3. It was wonderful to meet you, Pat!

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  19. Years ago, Sue Grafton had an on-line forum for her fans. I almost fell out of my chair when she personally responded to one of my questions about writer's block. She always told us if we ever came to one of her signings to introduce ourselves as members of her forum. When I finally met her in 2004 during the R is for Ricochet tour I went up to her and said, "Hi Sue, I'm a member of your fan forum." To my surprise, she patted her cheek and said, "Give me a kiss!" She was warm, funny and wonderful, and I still have her writing advice tucked away in my desk to this day.

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    1. That’s lovely! I met her at Long Beach and she was so welcoming and friendly. She is sorely missed in the writing community.

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    2. Sue's sister lived in my community (she may still, I have no idea), and 35 years ago Sue started coming to our local library for author's talks. I never got to meet her, though, sadly.

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  20. Well Platt, probably my most articulate friend along with Julia, was speechless. I had that feeling that I was strumming my lower lip while trying to speak, not pretty.

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  21. Deborah Harkness and Sharon Kay Penman. I fawned over Penman at a book signing. I bought 2 books, one for my mother and one for me and I told her how I picked up a book of my mother’s on William the Conqueror when I was about 11 years old and that began my love of English (British) history. She wrote a nice note in my mother’s book. I completely went shy when I met Deborah Harkness for the second time at a book signing. She asked me whether she knew me from somewhere and I said No, although I follow her on Facebook and comment often. What can I say, I stalk authorsđŸ˜‰

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    1. Isn't Deb Harkness terrific? I am a huge fan and she is also a friend. I watched her sign books and chat with readers for almost three hours at a Dallas signing last summer--I've never seen an author work so hard or be so generous with her time.

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  22. I went to a Robert Crais book signing a few years back. He was as funny and personable as you would expect. (and handsome)

    It was a few months after his LSU Tigers were beaten by Alabama in the National Championship game. As he's signing my book I asked if he watched the game. I hit a nerve! He looks up and just…started... First he asked if I was also an LSU fan (which I'm not, but a fan of another team Alabama regularly throttles.) He said - Yes, I watched. That was terrible…I don't like Nick Saban, etc, etc, etc on that topic. Then he goes
    back to signing the book before looking up again and saying - and what was the LSU coach thinking!? Was he drunk? Why didn't he do xyz and blah blah blah…?!? Shook his head and finished signing my book (with a reference to our
    conversation and the dreaded Nick Saban!) Our own little special moment there in black and white! :) Swoon........

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    1. I love it!!!! LSU beat Alabama this year - bet he’s happy now!

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    2. I'm doing a happy dance too! My beloved f-i-l was a Tiger alum and fan. And I can't stand Nick Saban either.

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    3. So I probably shouldn't say that I love Alabama football and think that while Saban may be a total SOB, he's a fantastic coach.

      I mean, I'm bummed about the loss this weekend, but at least it wasn't in the title game or anything. That's an LSU thing. :D

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  23. Oh, Jenn! I had the very same fan girl kinda moment with the very same lovely, lovely woman. Margaret Maron (who I am honored and tickled and always pleased to call my friend) introduced me to Barbara Michaels/Elizabeth Peters/Barbara Mertz and I too burst into tears. She kissed me on both cheeks, took my hand and walked to the auditorium door with me chatting away. Do I remember one word she said? No. But I will ALWAYS remember her graciousness, her sweet face and kind smile. What I do remember is Joe Maron being so concerned about me a little later when he saw me crying, not knowing why.

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    1. You’re my people, Kaye. I honestly don’t think I’d be a writer without Crocodile on the Sandbank.

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  24. Wonderful stories! Across the pond, it is known as Armistice Day. I remember my first Malice Domestic conference in 2016 and it was wonderful. I met many authors. I thought I saw the actress from the Gilmore Girls who played Lorelai and it turned out to be Ellen Byron, author of Cajun Country mysteries. They do look alike. I met Ellie Alexander and discovered her books at Malice. I met Hank at Malice. I often see Rhys at local book events and it was wonderful to see Rhys again at Malice. I met almost all of the Jungle Reds at Bouchercon in Toronto.

    So many wonderful stories! I once was speechless when I met Dick Francis a long time ago at a book event. I remember meeting Alexander McCall Smith at a big book event and it was overwhelming! He was gracious. Just love his novels.

    Diana

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    1. I’d keel over if I met Alexander McCall Smith! Love his books so very much.

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    2. Jenn, he is amazing. I love his books too.

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    3. I agree. I would keel over meeting Alexander McCall Smith. Another of my favorites that would turn me into a swooning fangirl!

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    4. Mary, we all have our fangirl moments.

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  25. My first fan girl moments were with Louise Penny at her annual prelaunchs, she is so gracious.
    I won't forget my first Bouchercon where Hank got up from her signing table to hug me when I introduced myself, where I volunteered in a signing for Debs and Hallie who were so kind and friendly.
    At this Bouchercon, I had the great chance to speak to every Red. Unfortunately I forgot to say to some of them how much
    I love their books. It is easier to go and speak to the members of this community of which I feel being a part but
    I didn't have the guts to speak to Elizabeth George .
    As an aside let me add: my return companion was Debs's A Bittter Feast: fantastic!
    And Friday, I received my Bouchercon box of books and chose to read Jenn's Books Can Be Deceiving . I don't regret my choice and intend to read Due Or Die when I've gone through my box of treasures.

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    1. Danielle, I devoured A Bitter Feast (see what I did there? LOL). I’m thrilled you picked my library mystery. Thank you. XOXO

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    2. Elizabeth George was completely lovely

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    3. Danielle, it was lovely to see you! And I'm so glad you liked the book!

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  26. OMG Hank, I loooooved "A Diamond in the Window." My sixth-grade teacher read aloud to the class after we came in from lunch recess and that was one of the books that I remember (and have re-read!) these many years ago. Another was "A Wrinkle in Time." Thank you, Mrs. Mimier of Maple Grove School!

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  27. I wish I’d met P D James ... and a big one for me was meeting Robert B Parker. Though he pretty much stayed in his own bubble. My parents were in the movie business so I ‘met’ some great actors - Ray Bolger, Fred Astaire... but I was too young to be properly impressed.

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    1. I think never getting the chance to meet Robert B. Parker would be the answer I would give if this topic was about those you wish you'd been able to meet. I love the Spenser novels and though he and I would disagree about the TV show, it would've be great to thank him for books like "The Catskill Eagle" and others.

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  28. I would have liked to meet him. He is one of the authors who brought me to read mystery novels

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  29. I had been reading a new (to me) wonderful series and I was attending Bouchercon years ago when the woman who wrote the books (the real actual woman!) came into the hospitality suite and I made a noise that was half bark and half squeak. I was in the presence of Deborah Crombie. I'm hoping she doesn't remember that moment. And I think she's forgiven me if she hasn't forgotten. And I still feel the same way about the books --Marjorie of Connecticut

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    1. Marjorie, too funny. I do remember meeting you but I'm sure you didn't bark or squeak! So happy to be friends now!

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  30. Crazy fangirl moments? Pull up a chair. It's going to be a long talk. Hahaha! I have learned not to squeal loudly when meeting a favorite author (I do hope Laurie King's ears have recovered), so I'm slightly more dignified in my encounters these days. It doesn't count that I stared up at Ian Rankin like a love-sick cow when I met him last year. I didn't squeal. Meeting Elly Griffiths/Domenica De Rosa at my first Bouchercon was the beginning of a beautiful relationship, and I might have squealed just a bit. Truth be told, I probably still squeal when we get together. I remember talking to Debs at that first Bouchercon for a few minutes and recognizing that she must think I had difficulty with the English language. Debs, you were talking about getting back home for Katie's wedding.

    My first Bouchercon in 2013 in Albany was full of magical moments, and one of the best was meeting the Reds right before their panel. I did gush, but it was my first Bouchercon and I was already in love with all of you Reds. The most embarrassing part about it was that I mispronounced Rhys' name. She didn't correct me, but someone did (in a nice, polite way), and was so just thrilled to the gills with that meeting. I blubbered a bit when I met Lyndsay Faye at that Bouchercon, too.

    Last year in St. Pete, there were some fabulous fan moments, like meeting Martin Edwards and walking around shops with him (pinch me, pinch me hard), seeing the Reds win a group award and taking their picture because I now know them all (dream come true), spending time with my darling Elly Griffiths and meeting her friend and amazing author Lesley Thomson (if you haven't met Lesley, she is off the charts funny and wonderful and will be in Sacramento next year), the already mentioned cow-eyed encounter with Ian Rankin, and meeting the amazing Wendall Thomas (if you want to smile, get in Wendall's orbit). Meeting Anne Cleeland for the first time and having dinner with her was another dream-come-true. The initial meeting with Catriona McPherson was special, too, as I was in love with her books, her Scottishness, and her humor. Then, there was my wow moments with Terry Shames, Edith Maxwell, Lori Rader-Day, Kristi Belcamino, Jim Ziskin, Louise Penny … OK, I really could go on for quite a while about all my favorite authors I've had the honor to meet, so I'll stop. Every author I meet is a fangirl moment.



    I will say that before Bouchercons and becoming ensconced in this wonderful mystery/crime community, I met some fantastic authors who brought out the fangirl in me. Those include Diana Gabaldon, Tess Gerritsen, Sue Grafton, Jamie Ford, Neil Gaiman,

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  31. Oops, I didn't finish that last sentence. I was going to add Carl Hiaasen and Joyce Carol Oates.

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    1. I met Carl Hiaasen once - so smart, so funny! Definitely a brush with greatness!

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  32. https://www.facebook.com/tequilaandcookies/ My sister-in-law is one of my favorite authors. She made me read poetry again.

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  33. Haven't had a chance to meet any of my favorite mystery writers. My fangirl encounter was with Anne McCaffrey, who wrote mostly science fiction (Dragonriders of Pern is my favorite series by her). I wrote her a fan letter back in 1977, and she actually responded! Then, in 1979, another friend of mine who struck up a correspondence with Anne told me she was going to visit Hawaii and expressed a desire to meet up with us. We made arrangements for lunch at a nice little Chinese restaurant within walking distance of my apartment where my husband and I were living, and we all decided they would come up to my apartment and then we'd walk the 3 blocks to the restaurant (parking in Honolulu is always crazy). My friend had told Anne that she called me her "book pusher" (I had worked in a bookstore and made lots of recommendations to her). So my friend and Anne came to the apartment, and Anne saw one wall with our archery rack, then a double-sided bookshelf (8 ft long and 6 ft high) packed with books, and she said "You really are a book pusher!" Fast-forward to 2001 - I had since become a librarian, moved to Indiana, and was attending the 2001 American Library Association Annual Conference in San Francisco, where Anne, who had won the Margaret Alexander Edwards Award for lifetime achievement in young adult literature, would speak at a luncheon in her honor. After the luncheon, there was a receiving line with Anne and her daughter Gigi (who now writes Dragonriders of Pern stories), and when it was my turn, I said we had met in Hawaii in 1979 in my apartment. Her eyes lit up when I mentioned the books and archery rack and she said she remembered all the books. She was such a lovely woman.

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    1. "book pusher" - LOL - I love it!!! How cool that you were in touch with Anne M and then met her multiple times!

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  34. I think my fangirl moment was last weekend, meeting Ann Cleeves at Crime Bake. And she was so lovely with us starry-eyed folks! While getting her latest book signed, I thanked her for her Master Class and said I had learned to much about thinking about setting--she said she hoped no one was disappointed and that she met their expectations. As if she might not! Goodness! And as Edith mentioned above, she truly was everywhere this past weekend and open to speaking to just everyone who approached. Fangirl, over here.
    -Melanie

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    1. sorry, that's "SO much about thinking about setting"

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    2. She is such a lovely woman. I met her in Phx in 2016.

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  35. Okay, okay. Gotta chime in twice here: PEN event in Toronto, some years back. I was a volunteer, on coat rack detail. I saw a oldish (really??) woman standing around needing her coat racked. So I went right up to her and offered to take her coat. She thanked me and surrendered it to me. Oh, sh*t. Margaret Atwood. (she was NOT old and frail, but hey, perhaps it was a rough day or something.)

    2017 at Bouchercon, in Toronto. I'm running the silent and noisy auctions. I'm all set to start taking in the donations as the Mystery Writers are arriving from all over the globe. Someone says to me, "Susan.... Louise Penny is looking for you." What??? WHAT?? LOUISE PENNY IS LOOKING FOR ME???? OMG. Yup, she just wanted to make sure we had everything from her we needed for her generous auction donation.

    PS: Tonight Louise is back in Toronto appearing with Anne Cleeves. Sadly, the tickets went in 1.2 seconds and that's why I'm here at home instead of in the audience.

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  36. I've been lucky. Between my magazine writing and TV career, I've met a lot of famous people. But I fangirled inside when I met Lillian Hellman. I was 21 and I had just graduated college. I was an aspiring actress at the time and I cut my teeth on scenes from "The Little Foxes" and "Children's Hour." I was working as a receptionist in Lord & Taylor's Personal Shopping department when one of the shopper escorted Ms. Hellman into the room. I almost passed out.

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  37. I wasn't able to comment yesterday.

    My fangirl moment was Bouchercon 2012. My friend Annette introduced me to Mary Higgins Clark, who has been a writing idol of mine since...forever. Like others, I shook her hand and all I could squeak out was, "I love your books." She was so kind, asked me what I wrote. I told her just short stories for the time being. And she said that's where she started so keep writing them and someday the novel would come. After she left, I turned to Annette and said, "I'm never washing this hand again!"

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    1. She is amazing! I saw her speak in 1990 and never forgot it.

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  38. My fangirl moment just happened at Bouchercon 2019. After waiting in line to ask Hank Phillippi Ryan to sign my brand new copy of The Murder List, it was finally my turn. After all the hoopla surrounding her that week (awards, interviews, and megastar attention), she was completely gracious and greeted me with a warm hug. What a thrill!

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  39. My fangirl moment also just happened at Bouchercon 2019. The very first encounter was with none other than the fabulous Jenn McKinlay - Wednesday night in the bar. She was gracious, hysterically funny, and just a blast to hang out with! And my encounters with my writing idols were just getting started. There was Annette Dashofy, Liz Milliron, Margaret Mizushima, Wendy Tyson, Susan Boyer, Charlaine Harris, Becki Willis, William Kent Krueger, Hank Phillippi Ryan, and Julia Spencer-Fleming. I told Julia that I have to time my reading of her books - because once I start one, I read it to the exclusion of all else except eating (and I read while I eat), sleeping, and feeding my fur kids! Her books are so addictive they never last me more than 48 hours, usually less than 24. The whole weekend was a mystery bookaholic's dream-come-true. All those mentioned here were very gracious and most posed for pictures with me. When I asked for a picture with Hank, she was so enthusiastic - she stood up and hopped right on to the table to get closer for our picture. Hank, you asked me to send it to you, and I promise I will. Many thanks to you all, especially the Jungle Red Writers and their friends. The Who Wants To Be A Mysteryaire session was by far the most lively and entertaining session I attended.

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