My Big American Adventure, Part I: New York and Indianapolis

Tuesday, October 27, 2009, 12:09 AM

So, it’s been a while. As you may be aware, I’ve been on a jaunt across the United States of America to promote THE GHOSTS OF BELFAST, and as of this writing I find myself in the lobby of the Hyatt Regency Tech Center in Denver, Colorado. Outside it’s snowing, and inside there is an entire world of bizarre. But I’ll come back to that...

I landed in New York just less than two weeks ago, and I’ve intended on blogging ever since then, but just haven’t had the opportunity. Nor have I answered many of the emails I’ve received since then. Frankly, every spare moment I’ve had has been spent trying to catch up on some sleep. So, here is a summary of my adventures so far:

New York

I arrived in NYC on Monday 12th of October. This was my third visit to the city in two years, and somehow it felt like I’d never left. My first engagement was a dinner date with none other than the lovely Moonrat. And guess what? We wound up drunk. Though I, unlike a certain someone else, didn’t fall asleep on the subway and end up riding the train into the small hours.

The official launch party for GHOSTS took place at Partners & Crime on Greenwich Avenue on the Tuesday evening. It was a great event with an excellent turnout and enthusiastic audience who asked great questions and bought a decent amount of books. My thanks go to all at Partners & Crime for putting on such a wonderful event, and especially to Kiz for walking me along the avenue to see the famous commemorative tile wall for 9/11.

The next day I called in to see the staff at my agent’s office (Nat Sobel was attending the Frankfurt Book Fair, so alas had to miss the book launch) where I got to meet the people who have helped me so much over the last eighteen months. From there, I journeyed downtown to the Mysterious Bookshop where I signed a pile of books and met the famous Otto Penzler, who is a most charming and knowledgeable gentleman.

Bouchercon and Indianapolis

Stupidly early on Thursday morning, my publicist Justin Hargett and I flew to Indianapolis, stopping off briefly in Cincinnati where we both had Chinese food for breakfast. Upon arrival in Indy (as I believe the locals call it) we headed straight for the Hyatt Regency where the 2009 Bouchercon crime fiction festival was taking place. I had a room overlooking the hotel’s massive central atrium from nineteen floors up.

I didn’t have a great deal of time to enjoy the view, however, as I had to run to an afternoon panel with Ruth Dudley Edwards, moderated by Kathryn Kinneson, on fact and fiction in Irish crime writing. It was a lively debate, well attended despite stiff competition from other panels, with plenty of audience interaction. Of course, Ruth offered a far greater insight into the history and politics of the conflict in Northern Ireland than I ever could, and I learned as much as the attentive audience did.

Then it was off to the bar, which became a recurring theme for the weekend. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that the social scene is the single most important aspect of Bouchercon. I met so many authors that I couldn’t possibly name them all, but just a few were Australian historical mystery writer Gary Corby (who was charming company throughout the event, including at 3:00am on the Sunday morning), Jason Pinter, and Jason Starr (who was very tolerant of my drunken ramblings by the elevator bank). I also met the formidable but friendly Janet Reid, and the ever amiable Peter Rozovsky. Then there was the Soho Press contingent that included James Benn, Cara Black, Leighton Gage, Martin Limon and Peter Lovesey.

(l-r: Peter Lovesey, James Benn, Martin Limon, Justin Hargett, Cara Black, Yours Truly, Leighton Gage)

I have to say I found downtown Indianapolis to be a strange place. It’s a curious mix of old and new. Much of it is made up of hotels, restaurants and a huge shopping mall, all joined up by walkways so that you can explore the area without ever going outdoors. North of there is Monument Circle, which in turn leads to a beautiful war memorial and gardens. Just west of that is a more desolate area that I explored whilst on a fruitless mission to buy Bacon Salt from a nearby supermarket. All of this is within one or two square miles of the convention hotel.

All in all, I had a blast at Bouchercon, and wild horses couldn’t keep me away from next year’s event in San Francisco.

In the next instalment, it’s westward-ho to Scottsdale, Arizona, the northern part of the Sonoran Desert, with fellow Soho authors James Benn and Peter Lovesey.

Labels: , ,

#GhostOfBelfast: The Contest that Took on a Life of its Own

Saturday, October 10, 2009, 10:45 PM

Just a very quick post to say that I am amazed at some of entries to the #GhostsOfBelfast contest. The way some people can paint a picture in those 124 characters is really something to behold.

And I'm not just saying that. Seriously, use this link to search Twitter, and use the "more" button to see all the entries. There is some very, very good writing going on there. I already have some favourites, and to be honest, that shortlist of ten is going to be tough...

Come and have a go if you think you're hard enough.

This time next week, I'll be...

Thursday, October 08, 2009, 9:34 PM Indianapolis, attending Bouchercon 2009, and getting ready to debate Irish fiction and nonfiction with the lovely Ruth Dudley Edwards, whose AFTERMATH is one of the most powerful, disturbing and uplifting books you'll ever read. On the following Saturday, I'll be partaking in some speed dating of the literary kind - I, and bunch of other fresh-faced newbie novelists, will have just a few minutes to impress several tables of discerning crime readers.

After that, there's the cross-country jaunt with fellow Soho authors James R Benn and Peter Lovesey, before heading to Denver CO to see my friend Betsy Dornbusch and her family, and also to attend Mile Hi Con, Colorado's leading sci-fi, fantasy and horror convention, at the Grand Hyatt Tech Center. They're letting me in on a technicality - my book has ghosts in it. I'll be on a few panels, as well as giving a reading, so if you're in attendance, please say hello. You will find me in these places, at these times, pretending I know enough to talk about these topics:

Grand Mesa A, 5:00pm, Friday 23rd - Must Action/Adventure = Dumb/Mindless (Betsy will also be on this panel)

Mesa Verde C, 2:00pm, Saturday 24th - Author reading with Paulo Bacigalupi (with signing immediately after)

Mesa Verde A, 1:00pm, Sunday 25th - Stories, Art Direction & Web Design for Online Magazines (again, Betsy will be on this panel too)

Mesa Verde A, 4:00pm, Sunday 25th - So You Want to be a Writer

So, I'll be a busy boy in Denver CO. I'm also hoping I get to meet the delectable Aerin when I'm there.

Finally, I'll be having a few days' R&R in Chicago before flying home. I've been looking into good places to eat there, and Portillo's looks like the kind of heart-busting grub I like...

I'm also looking forward to coming home to some long overdue renovations to my house, including, finally, after almost three years of procrastination on my part, my kitchen getting finished.

And finally, a new in depth interview with yours truly by Mihir Wanchoo can be found at the Fantasy Book Critic blog - check it out.

Today's the Day: THE GHOSTS OF BELFAST Published in the USA

Thursday, October 01, 2009, 11:00 AM

So, today is October 1st, and by debut novel THE GHOSTS OF BELFAST is officially published in the USA by Soho Crime, the respected independent New York press. I'd like to thank all at Soho, including my editor Laura Hruska, marketing director Ailen Lujo, and publicist Justin Hargett - you've all been a pleasure to work with so far.

Don't forget, there's a chance to win one of five signed copies of THE GHOSTS OF BELFAST in my previous post, as well as one of the very last copies of the limited edition signed and numbered short story collection, THE SIX.

To celebrate the launch of THE GHOSTS OF BELFAST, I'll soon be setting off on a six city US tour:

13th October, 7:00pm: Partners & Crime
44 Greenwich Ave, New York, NY

15th-18th October: Bouchercon 2009
Hyatt Regency, Indianapolis IN (visit for details)

19th October, 7:00pm: Poisened Pen (with Peter Lovesey and James Benn)
4014 N Goldwater Blvd., Suite 101 Scottsdale, AZ 85251

20th October, 6:30pm: Murder by the Book (with Peter Lovesey and James Benn)
2342 Bissonnet St, Houston, TX 77005-1512

21st October, 7:00pm: M is for Mystery (with Peter Lovesey and James Benn)
86 East Third Avenue, San Mateo, CA 94401

23rd-25th October: Mile Hi Con 2009
Hyatt Regency Tech Center, Denver CO (visit for details)

Labels: ,