Monday, April 28, 2008


by Gina Sestak

Now that the Earth has traveled once more to the warm side of the Sun (hush, I know that stuff about the hemispheres and axis tilt -- I'm just trying to be poetic) and tiny plants have pushed their soft green heads out of the ground, it's time to -- READ. What? Not garden? Not stroll through blossom-scented meadows seeking newly returned birds? NO. That's not what we here at the stiffs are all about.

Today marks the 13th Annual Festival of Mystery.

That's right. In a Greek Orthodox Church hall in beautiful Oakmont, Pennsylvania, the Mystery Lovers Bookshop will present more than four dozen of our favorite authors, live and in person, signing (and selling) their books. [You understand now why this is a time to read, I trust?] A complete list of authors can be found at the Festival website. Suffice it to say that some of our own local favorites (and working stiffs bloggers) will be among them, as well as writers from all over the country and beyond.

For anyone who hasn't attended the Festival before, getting there is easy. Just follow the Allegheny River away from Downtown Pittsburgh until you get to Oakmont. You'll know you've arrived when you see oak leaves on the street signs. More reliable driving directions can be obtained through mapquest or yahoo: the Church Hall address is 12 Washington Avenue, Oakmont, PA.

The atmosphere is relaxed. Authors sit behind stacks of their work, signing books and chatting with passing fans. It's a chance to see what these folks look like in the flesh, not just in that studio portrait on the book jacket. There is also a program in which the authors get to speak briefly from a stage. The hard part is not buying every book from everyone, although I'm sure Mystery Lovers wouldn't mind at all if you did.

So pick yourselves up, gather up plenty of cash and charge cards, and, if you don't already own one, borrow a vehicle sturdy enough to carry a humungous load of books. I hope to see each and every one of you at the Festival.


Tory said...

Thanks for the reminder, Gina!

I'm afraid I'm going to continue my annual ritual of missing the festival. Each year, I plan to attend. Each year, I miss it for one reason or another.

Maybe next year?

P.S. Is it my imagination, or are the squiggly letters getting harder?

Annette said...

Tory, I know I'm not going to get through on THIS set of letters. They aren't squiggly, they're just all mushed together so you can't tell what they are.

Gina, I'll see you at the Festival. It's the only event worth playing hooky from Citizens' Police Academy for. I have space in my trunk for books and a wad of cash to spend, so look out, here I come.

(Up to attempt number FOUR with the squiggly letters...)

Joyce said...

Nice post, Gina. I'll see you there!

It's not your imagination, Tory. The issue of the letters is one of the major complaints on the blogger message boards. After today, I'll drop them for awhile and see if the spam has stopped.

Gina said...

Yeah, Annette, missing CPA is rough. That's why I decided not to work the Festival this year. I'm going to get to the Festival early, as soon as the doors open, and try to be out of there before six, so I can get to class only a little late.

Wilfred the Author said...

As much as I'd love to be there, my day job is calling.

I find it hilarious to try to match up authors in real life versus their book jacket photos. Same for agents.

I hope all y'all have a great time.

JennieB said...

Wish I could, guys, really, but the nine hour drive would be too much. I'll have friends there, though. Will someone who's going please tell Diana Killian and Sara Rosett hi for me? And I'll see if I can fit it in next year, when I've actually got a book out.

Also, my mentor, the marvelous Hank Phillippi Ryan, won the Agatha this weekend for best first novel, so run out and buy Prime Time, y'all!

(Yes, the letters are more than usually squiggly today. But I think I can almost make them out.)

Annette said...

Jennie, as the resident yogi here, I'm looking forward to meeting and talking to Diana. I bought her book, but haven't had a chance to read it yet. So many books, so little time.

Cathy said...

And now, among your other talents and jobs, you've excelled at advertising today. Great promo for the festival. Alan and I will be coming, so see you there.

Mary Marvella said...

It is a good thing I can't go. I am a sucker for books. I never buy other souveniers on trips. Have fun and enjoy.

Anonymous said...

Hi - thanks so much for the great blog about the Festival. It went well and those of us who volunteered are happy (and ignoring our sore feet and backs).

In addition to seeing great authors, it's also cool to see people from out of town who only come in for the Festival - kind of like a reunion!

Kathy Sweeney