Monday, August 13, 2018

Murder As You Like It

Annamaria on Monday

Independent bookstores are the lifeblood of mid-list writers like me.  They are our best hope for having our work put into the hands of new readers.  They were an endangered species in the USA for at least a decade and a half, but now - like the American bald eagle - independent bookstores are making a comeback.

One of my absolute favorites is the Mechanicsburg Mystery Bookshop in central Pennsylvania.  The proprietor, Deb Beamer is a knowledgeable and ultra-enthusiastic mystery lover and a very savvy business woman.  Every other year she runs a small but, from a writer's point of view, very successful conference.  I have had the privilege and pleasure to be invited twice - the second time this past weekend.

Getting to the event in Mechanicsburg more or less on time on Saturday meant taking a very early train from Penn Station.

Here is what I saw along the way, when I wasn't deeply into polishing up my work-in-progress.

From the train: sunrise over central New Jersey

The skyline of Philadelphia.  Forget the WC Fields jokes.  It's one of the best
small cities in the country.

Summer wildflowers were everywhere along the tracks

And lovely views of the beautiful Pennsylvania farm country.
This convinced me that I want to watch the film, The Witness again.

For reasons never explained the train was delayed for half an hour in Lancaster

The delay meant that I was late for the start of author speed-dating, the first event.  I had to hit the ground running when I arrived.

Photo: Bill Peschel

My panel was called Author Appearance Weirdness, in which we discussed strange and funny things that have happened to us at book signings.  I stuck to ones that would make people laugh.

The crowd at Murder As You Like It is much smaller than at larger conferences and minuscule compared to extravaganzas like Bouchercon, but the fan to author ratio is very favorable and the book buyers very enthusiastic.  The atmosphere is warm and relaxed.

I had seen the sunrise that morning.  The train was passing through almost the exact spot on the way home when New Jersey (my native state) treated me to a lovely sunset.  


  1. Looks like a great trip and fun conference. I hope to visit Mechanicsburg one of these days!

    1. Michael, Maybe we ought to get Deb to do an Africa event for us. She did one for just me when Strange Gods came out. I signed many more books than I did at Bouchercon that year!

    2. Great idea! I bet we could get a few other participants also!

  2. Keep working, keep working, enough of these lollygag distractions, we want PRODUCTION!

    1. EvKa, the train ride was seven hours, at least six of which I was (happily) at work on the WIP. The conference—at least from the time I arrived—lasted 4 1/2 hours. Quite productive I would say. Hooray for trains.

  3. People don't realize how truly beautiful a state Pennsylvania is. And literate too. :)

  4. It is beautiful and under-appreciated. As is my native state. People think New Jersey is what they see from the NJ Turnpike. It’s beauties are unknown, except to those of us who have grown up with them.

  5. Beautiful photos from the train and it sounds like a terrific book event.