Oct 31, 2008

All Saints Day

Is it post Bouchercon Blues? Pre Muskego Mania? Or is it Tuesday…. The end of the first 48 month Presidential Race?

I suspect all of the above are partially responsible for my current mood. So is the damn radio programmer who starts the five o’clock set with HURT, rotating between nine inch nails and Johnny.

And of course there’s the week this has been in the mystery world. A Shitty week to say the least and Evil E would have had harsher words for it while delivering the message with her wicked wit.

1.) There’s nothing to be blue about when it comes to Charmed.
2.) Muskego is well in hand.
3.) The race for the Whitehouse seems to be over. Obama’s spread in the polls is double that of the Bushmeister’s and he’s ahead in key states that were blue last time. While it’s not good news for a lot of people I respect and even a few I love, it’s where I hope we go and I should be calmer by now,
4.) I can find out who that radio programmer is and shove the two discs up where the sun don’t….
5.) The last is harder. We lost two folks this week who cannot and will not be replaced. One was a friend and the other a hero. I urge all to spend time this weekend remembering Mr. Hillerman and Elaine. A moment, a song, a good joke, maybe a toast. And remember them always…. They are a part of mystery now and forever.

So what happened that was great this week.

My boys kicked the High School Musical seniors to the curb! Thank you very much. That’s right, the band from Down Under out sold the Disney brats 3 to 1… even if it was WalMart.

I got Uncle Doug’s Christmas present!

I finally navigated Facebook, a little….

I read the new Jeffrey Deaver and C.J. Box books. C. J. Box creeped me out(it was so good) and Deaver’s Wisconsin thriller was a lot of fun. I have Nick Stone on deck and the time to read him. And I’m delving into a new biography on Champlain. He’s even more fascinating than I remember.

The bad: National League?? Whatever.

The truly weird of the week: so T.V. this week was …. 21 Jump Street….
Strangely fascinating.

but tonight (Halloween) I was having Pizza when a.) Santa flirted with me and b.) four twenty-somethings ran across the parking lot in full 80’s regalia. Head bands , leg warmers… the people I was with laughed.
After three nights of Jump Street I thought I was maybe in Hell,

And then I looked across the table… a new mom… a proud papa… godmother and godfather….
Here with permission the first photos of Jaxson, Penny the librarian’s grandson….

Back to Disney and that whole circle of life thing

Oct 29, 2008

Who is a Panelist?

Ah, so Bouchercon is over but one debate continues on. At the business meeting in Baltimore, a proposed amendment to the rules that a structure be given as to who should be declared an author and who shouldn’t was killed. First, let me say the writing to the amendment itself was well thought out and the subcommittee who did the work did a very good job. Similar wording has worked at a lot of conventions, allowing the organizers and book sellers to plan for the event with a structure they like and a beginning focus.

But Bouchercon is a different animal. It is for and of the fans. Which doesn’t mean it isn’t for the authors, but means it is there to serve their fandom as well. Which means every block of paneling has the responsibility to be entertaining first. Not he!he! entertaining necessarily, but perhaps revealing, or informative. Certainly with panel slots at a premium, each panelist and every moderator has the responsibility to be on the same page as their fellows, showing themselves and their “co-workers” off in the best possible light. And that means that nobody who’s part of the membership should be excluded from the potential panelist pool.

How could exceptions even be made if this were written down? Think about it. In an organization that changes its officers and chairs every year who’s going to watch the watch men. Will the nature of publishing even be the same in a decade? It was a proposal that just isn’t viable for the way Bouchercon is structured.

Should no fans be allowed to participate at a convention that was begun for them? Should the non published mystery experts have to step aside because the author pool is large enough that there is someone to fill all paneling slots? What of reviewers, on-line presences, agents, publishers, and editors? Do they take a back seat? If anything the 2008 experience has told me that this last group of folks, if we put them together correctly should have more of a presence. Authors are paying for their attendance as well, and these panels appeal to their dollar.

2008 had some very good panels and that’s not down to me, but to the two panel chairs Jon and Judy. Between the two of them they have sat in on a couple of hundred panels, and they knew not only what they wanted to see but also, what they didn’t want to see again. The inspired idea of Song Titles allowed the panelists a certain liberty of interpretation and some of your best panels this year were a result of the individual teams presenting ideas that had never been tried before. Or the placement of individuals who’d never been matched up before on the same panel.

There’s a responsibility of the individuals putting on a convention to be able to say, “No, I’m sorry” . It’s not a great feeling, in fact it sucks. Charmed was also fortunate in that we had a great group of book dealers who made a huge effort to get everyone’s books there, big publisher or small.

One of the things this B-Con had going for it aside from a great facility was a large group of people all working towards the same Ideal. "FANS FIRST". In the end if the organizers of a Bouchercon do their best to make everyone feel as important as everyone else there, it’s going to be a great convention. There are aspects of each con that should be structurally consistent from year to year but the panels themselves should be an evolving entity, with different individuals, topics, and always those great surprises from year to year.

Just my two cents….


Oct 28, 2008

Elaine Flinn

A Hell of A Woman

Author, Wit, Dame, Friend....

Oct 26, 2008


The Joker has been around almost as long as Batman and as such there are thousands of pages of stories featuring him. Some of the tales are easy to remember because of the sheer power of the writing. KILLING JOKE is obviously one of them, his part in Dark Knight Returns is also a stand out. In Joker Brian Azzarello has raised the bar. Along with artists Lee Bermejo and Mick Gray Azzarello has told a story that will be remembered for ages to come.
We are seeing the story through the eyes of Jonny Frost, a hood who has decided he needs to work for the Joker. Jonny is there when Joker gets out of Arkham Asylum (found to be sane?!!) and he follows the Joker on wild ride to take back what is his, or at least what he perceives to be his. Encounters with some of Batman’s most famous foes are part of the path, but these are not the villains on the cartoons. Killer Croc is a bad ass gangster from the hood, Penguin is a money man scared of his own shadow. Riddler
Is a punk kid who is the ultimate hustler, and Two Face is a man used to getting his own way with delusions of grandeur. The coolest reworking for me was Harley Quinn who has become a demented sociopath blindly loyal to Joker.
As Joker works his way through the city leaving a trail of chaos in his wake it becomes easy to want to feel sympathetic for Jonny who seems in over his head, but he knows what he wants and it seems to be going out in a blaze of glory will do him just fine, as long as the ride is interesting.
This book looks at the joker in ways I don’t remember seeing him, truly disturbed and yet strangely vulnerable as well. He quite simply doesn’t see what he is doing is wrong, or at least he doesn’t care.
Joker is full of detailed artwork that is simply beautiful and a story that is layered and rich, and marks a new high in Azzarello’s already impressive career.

Joker is available in hardcover October 29th

Oct 22, 2008

Good-bye to a Lovely Lass

The mystery community began for me as an on-line concept. Keep in mind this was 15 years ago. Back in the day where if you really wanted to get to a chat room you began to dial in 30 minutes prior and hoped you not only got on but didn't get kicked off after getting there due to high volume, bad servers , or plain old fashioned technology temperment.

When I began to explore with my new toy I searched "mystery websites" and there it was.

What fun I had exploring , reading lists, mystery gatherings, other mystery links and the guest book. I e-mailed S. J. Rozan for the first time through the guest book, ditto Robert Crais. It was back in the days when there weren't a lot of us out there. Not many even had websites let alone, blogs, myspace, twitter or facebook.

CLUELASS was quite simply a web site with an interactive feel. Over the years it has remained so because of the love Kate has for Mystery. Much cleaner and easier to get to today, it has remained a go to tool for me through out the years and now....
It is disbanding, soon to be just a memory.... and I wanted to invite everyone who's never been to stop by and take a look around.

Thanks Kate, for everything you've done to bring the mystery community together and thanks for welcoming me in those many years ago. You will be missed.


Oct 16, 2008

Home Again Naturally

Dateline 10 16 08

It's Ruth Jordan's second day back at work.

It's Jon Jordan's second day back at work.

It's Jen Jordan's birthday.

It's the day of Birth for Jaxson, born at 10:28 this morning and weighing in at over 9 pounds and 19 inches, it is a cause to celebrate. Proud Papa Timm just phoned and he says nothing compares to this. Christy is resting and doing fab and I have it on good authority that Grandma Penny will not be coming down to earth anytime soon.

so from us to you....

First, Crimespree thanks you for the Special Service award at Bouchercon, everyone reading this, pat yourself on the back, it is, as Jon said, a family shoutout and well, you are family (when, oh when will I stop thinking in Song Titles and Lyrics)

And First in our Hearts

Murder and Mayhem in Muskego

the authors attending? click here

Murder and Mayhem in Muskego is one day/one track of programming.... Authors come from across the country to share their voice and voices with the Muskego Library Patrons and Readers from as far away as California. A different kind of event, it is all inclusive and a rejuvenating experience for readers and writers alike. Cornelia Read , you better get yourself healthy and bring the lame boots.

We'll have a new President, Halloween will be behind us and Thanksgiving still three weeks away, so for 15 dollars, come see this what all the fuss is about. Register by November 3rd and we'll see you there. It's 15 dollars for the Saturday events (and we'll feed you lunch) and this year we will be also welcoming patrons for a Friday Night Meet and Great to raise money for the event, these tickets are 25 dollars...

Come one, come all,
November 8th, 2008


Oct 2, 2008


We're stepping on to a plane in about three hours.
see you in Baltimore!