Monday, August 5, 2019

Deadly Ink 2019

Annamaria on Monday

Held in summertime, this is one of my favorite gatherings of my clan.  This year was a particular lovely one, because of the friends who attended and the new folks I met.  The location looked like a castle, which felt quite appropriate for a woman whose legal name is King.

It's just an hour's drive from home for me, a pleasure on a sunny weekend.

I have a special affection for this year's Guest of Honor.  Wendy Corsi Staub and I have many things in common - not the least of which is our shared Sicilian heritage.  Wendy is a New-York-Times-Best-Selling author of ninety (YES 90!) books.  Considering that she is young enough to be my daughter, I find that enormously impressive.  Wendy is super successful but also warm and generous, always ready to give a boost to other writers striving to plow through the rocky fields of publishing.

Her energy and high spirits set the tone for the weekend.

Wendy gave a charming speech, encouraging to aspiring writers.
It included the story of her fourth-grade teacher, who praised
Wendy's first essay, now framed and treasured as the first
moment when she knew she wanted to be a writer.

As usual the panel discussions at this relatively small gathering offered a level of discourse at least as high as and often much more interesting than one finds at the bigger conferences.  All the while also creating a lot a laughs.

The Location Panel
Panel on Creating suspense
Photo montage: Tony Costaine

At the banquet on Saturday evening, the "David" was awarded to the book of the year, as selected by the attendees.  This year it went to journalist and crime writer par excellence R.G. Belsky for his "Yesterday's News." 

Dick regaled us with stories about his journalistic adventures, most notable his encounter with a not-quite-at-the-moment-fully-sober Mick Jagger, who mistook him for Keith Richards and also Dick's reporting of the story which ran under the most famous of all headlines: Headless Body in Topless Bar.

Nikki Bonnani, a stalwart and essential contributor among the conference's volunteers was our Fan Guest of Honor.

There were other diversions too.

The view from my window made me wonder how I could have
left home without my swimsuit. 
As often happens at this conference, there was an Indian wedding at the same hotel. (Central New Jersey has a very large Indian population.)  These affairs are extremely elegant and elaborate and fascinate me.  Scores of gorgeous people in spend attire, grooms arriving on horses, drumming and dancing in the parking lot under plumes of colored smoke and this at the end:

Much as I was tempted by their beautyI thought it
 rude to take photos of the wedding guests, but
I could not resist this one, taken out the window.
Our last panel is always one where four writers, with kibitzing from the audience, devise the plot, on the spot, of a crime novel.  This year the tale was set - no surprise- during an Indian wedding.  The plot included an arranged marriage, the heist of the cash and jewelry given as gifts, (take note, Zoe) a horse spooked by drum beats, and collusion among the groom, his best man, the bride, and the groom's real love interest.  The title:

Groomless Bride at Giftless Wedding

If you want to see a beautiful New Jersey sunrise and likely (like me) sign more books than you do at Bouchercon, consider joining my NY-area tribe at this delightful conference one summer.  


  1. I can't help it, I'm a product of my times: your photo of the wedding party in the back of the convertible instantly brought a flash memory to mind of JFK in Dallas. Some images are just burned too deeply into our circuits. Sigh.

  2. At same thing happened to me, EvKa, at a 4th of July parade last year. But not this time. I think maybe because President Kennedy was in a black car or more recent vintage-Like 61 or 62. No expert I, but I think the white one I saw over the weekend was a 1955 model. Perhaps some car buff in the audience can tell us for sure.

  3. Great post, Annamaria, and what looks like a wonderful event. I wasn't sure if I was supposed to take note of the heist or the horse, lol.

    And that convertible is the kind of vehicle that would have to carry a sign saying 'Vehiculo Longo' anywhere in Europe!