Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Oakmont's Festival of Mystery

By Annette Dashofy

Monday, the mystery world came to Oakmont, PA.

Every year, Mystery Lovers Bookshop plays host to fifty or so authors for the Festival of Mystery. I’m not sure how many of these I’ve volunteered at, but it’s been a few. The event is always a ton of fun and thoroughly exhausting for everyone involved.

My role each year is author escort. Since I live in the vicinity of the airport, I pick up anyone staying in one of the airport hotels and drive them to and from the Festival. This year, I only had one author for the inbound trip: Aileen Baron.

I loved hearing her tales of misadventures during her travels.

First stop was the Oakmont Library for the tea. It’s a chance for authors and librarians to mix and mingle and schmooze a bit. It’s also an opportunity to clown around a little.

Nancy Martin catches some antics on film. (Okay, so who uses film anymore? But it doesn’t sound the same to say “on digital.”)

Pittsburgh ladies of mystery Kathryn Miller Haines, Kathleen George, and Heather Terrell strike a pose.

And Heather chats up Richard Goldman of Mystery Lovers Bookshop.

Next, we headed a few blocks away to the Greek Orthodox Church for the Festival. While I wasn’t a “scheduled author,” I did get sign copies of Fish Tales: the Guppy Anthology along with my fellow Fish Talers Beth Groundwater…

…and Daryl Wood Gerber AKA Avery Aames, who came to the Festival with laryngitis and fresh from winning the Agatha Award for Best First Novel.

Also in attendance was another Agatha winner, the radiant Mary Jane Maffini.

And the wonderful Cara Black.

A lot of Working Stiffs and friends were in attendance. Joyce Tremel (darn it, we didn’t get a group photo AGAIN), Paula Matter, Martha Reed, Tamara Girardi, Laurie Kassim, Alan Orloff, Kathy Sweeney… I know I’m forgetting someone and should be tarred and feathered for my lousy memory. Karen Maslowski (who looks EXACTLY like her Facebook photo!) made the long trek to attend.

The Fish Tales display was set up on the bar, so I hung out there all afternoon. In other words, I was easy to find. MaryAlice Meli and Candace Banks, two of my critique buddies, showed up and asked me to sign their copies.

So did my dear friend Marianne Skiba (who has known me longer than just about anybody, knows all my dark secrets, and still likes me!).

Afterwards, we all headed back to the book store for the annual pizza party. We were looking a little frayed around the edges by then, so I have no photos.

The drive back to the airport area was “cozy.” Besides Aileen, Rosemary Harris, Vicki Doudera, and Laura DiSilverio joined me for the ride. I borrowed my mom’s car because the backseat has a smidgeon more room than my Saturn Ion’s does. But it was still tight. Good thing we all get along!

It was a wonderful day. My first author event as a semi-official author. Thanks to Mary Alice and Richard of Mystery Lovers for another Festival to remember.

And here’s a closing shot of the Fish Tale gals.


PatREmick said...

Thanks for a great report and photos! Hope to get there myself one of these days.

Kathy Sweeney said...

It was so wonderful to see you signing books after all these years of helping out at the Festival as a volunteer!

If any of you reading this have never been to a Festival of Mystery, you should make it a priority for 2012. It's a blast!

Annette said...

I hope you can make it, too, Pat. It's a wonderful festival for readers and writers alike.

Kathy, yes, I've decided I like signing books. Now I want the whole enchilada...the novel with my name on the FRONT cover. I guess I'm just never satisfied. ;-)

Joyce said...

It was a great day. Loads of fun!

My problem is I want to buy EVERYONE'S books. I had to settle for only a few. I need to hit the lottery.

Jenna said...

I really should schedule myself for this event one year... Sounds like a great time was had by all!

Joyce said...

Jenna, 1940s guest room. Just sayin'.

Annette said...

I know what you mean, Joyce. I feel guilty buying a book from one person and not the one next to them. And I'm easily suckered into buying a book from someone with a really good pitch.

It was really bad this year because I forgot to take my mad money, but I did have my mad credit card. Dangerous.

Jenna, you MUST come. And there you have an offer of free lodging. Can't beat it!

Karen in Ohio said...

Annette, it was SO good to finally meet you; you look better than your Facebook photo!

The Festival was really a blast, but I can't believe I missed out on meeting Joyce! I now officially have so many books to read that I may never finish them. Something to work towards!

Heh, my word verification is "mille", which means "thousand" in Italian. A message there? Maybe.

Annette said...

Oh, Karen, you are now officially my favorite person.

I probably should think of updating my photo now that my hair is longer.

C.L. Phillips said...

I love the pictures! Great post.

Laurie said...

Great post, Annette! It was such a great time! I enjoyed seeing everyone and meeting new people.

Also, wonderful photos, Annette!

Karen, I enjoyed seeing you again (we first met waiting in line to buy Jenny/Bente's books at a Columbus conference). I think that I kind of surprised you when you first arrived at the Mystery Lovers Festival, and you weren't quite yet oriented, and I reintroduced myself to you, and I also introduced you to Joyce at the same time. It was a bit confusing and hard to hear. So, you actually did meet Joyce and vice verse! :-)


Karen in Ohio said...

Oh, rats, Laurie! I looked for you again later, and couldn't find you anywhere. I'm so sorry we missed spending more time together.

And yes, I was completely overwhelmed and dazzled by the number of wonderful authors and books all in one room.

Next time?

Patg said...

Rats, every year I hear about this festival and regret not going to Malice and it. And me a lapsed PA girl. Great report and photos, Annette.

Laurie said...

Karen, definitely next time! I had to leave a bit early and would also have liked the chance to talk more with you.:-)

P.S. To chime in with Annette's comment about your FB photo, I think you look a lot like Diane Keaton.

Cheryl Elaine Williams said...

Sounds like a fantastic day and it was great that you got to sign your anthology, too!

Working Stiffs said...

Great report, Annette!

Joyce, I know what you mean. Every year I plan on spending a limited amount, but. . . I ended up buying 18 books!