Thursday, November 6, 2008
Murder and Mayhem in Muskego
Tom Schreck, author of TKO
Well, tomorrow morning I’m off to Wisconsin for “Murder and Mayhem in Muskego.” It’s an unbelievably cool two day conference with about 30 authors, a day long conference at the great Muskego library, a cocktail reception the night before and a lot of partying with all the authors and the great people like Penny Halle, queen of all librarians, and Jon and Ruth Jordan, the first family of mystery lovers, who put this thing on. They’re flying us out there and putting us up at the ultra cool Iron Horse Hotel and chauffeuring us around all weekends.
Dennis Lehane, Sean Chercover, Reed Coleman, JA Konrath, Marcus Sakey, Tasha Alexander, Blake Crouch, Michael Black, Chris Grabenstein are just a few of the names there.
That’s the good part.
I’m facilitating the first panel of the day called “Characters Welcome” and I’m on with Simon Wood and Michael Allen Dymmock, both who I haven’t met but I’ve read their stuff and they’re dynamite.
Here’s the bad part.
The problem is the other two panelists; Maleeny and Combes.
Have you met these guys?
Combes has his Phil Riley mysteries that take place in the Caribbean and he’s been compared to John D. MacDonald’s Travis McGee. He gets rave reviews for his books but in person, well…
Then there’s Maleeny.
His Cape Weathers series gets nominated for awards about every half hour. I can never keep track of which ones but I think he’s been up for “The MacAvity,” or maybe it was “The Ippy” no wait, I think it was “The Jaffarian.” It doesn’t matter. In person the guy is intolerable to be around.
Here’s the problem—both of them have the social skills of an orangutan.
You know, I’ve suffered through conversations with both of them at various conferences and they’re duller than a 60 Minutes outtake reel of Andy Rooney plucking his eyebrows.
So, I got 45 minutes to try to get them to say something that’s even marginally interesting.
And as for their books… There’s no basset hounds, no Schlitz, no Polish jokes, no boxing, no obscure social work references—none of the stuff that instantly propels a mystery onto best seller lists.
I mean, what the hell am I going to do?
Maybe I’ll bring the Andy Rooney video just in case.
Posted by Tom Schreck at 7:12 AM