Well, sort of. Yesterday was the annual Festival of Mystery hosted by the Mystery Lover's Book Shop in Oakmont, PA. Over forty authors packed into one hall to showcase books, rub elbows, and have mini-interviews.
Confession: I've lived in the Oakmont area since 1996 and have never attended the Festival. So when I parked, I was a little amazed at the crowd. I didn't plan well enough to help with the setup (okay, I originally didn't think I'd make it at all, but sudden unemployment at least allowed me to attend), but I did get to sit at our table for our Sisters in Crime chapter - and I even sold a book! I felt a little awkward browsing the author tables, since my book-buying budget has disappeared, but all the authors I met were super-friendly.
The best part of the evening had to be the pizza after-party at Mystery Lovers. Since I'd volunteered to drive a couple authors out to the airport I skipped the wine and champagne, but I did chug a Coke, nosh on a couple slices of pizza and have some great conversation. I also picked up a slew of book marks (because that's what authors use to promote books, you know), some recommendations, and a lot of encouragement for my own writing efforts. I really wish I'd know that Alice Loweecy was from Western New York when I talked to her - we could have compared notes! (I grew up in Buffalo.)
The two ladies I drove, Beth Groundwater and Vicki Doudera were lovely people and we chatted the entire trip to their hotel (they had accidentally booked at the Holiday Inn near Pitt - and since Vicki had a 5am flight that was absolutely NOT going to work). They were cheerful and gracious when an unexpected detour prompted the nickel tour of a couple of Pittsburgh neighborhoods - Lawrenceville, the Strip, the Cultural District, and Downtown. They even forgave me for almost driving over the lawn at the Holiday Inn (I blame bad lighting on the part of the hotel grounds).
All in all, it was a great time. Beth encouraged me to join the Guppies chapter of Sisters in Crime and both extracted promises from me to keep them posted on my writing. It's only May 1, 2012 and I'm already looking forward to next year's Festival!