Saturday, February 17, 2007

Magic City Lives up to Its Name


[What, Charles again already?]

So last week I was down in Birmingham, Alabama for two events. I had never been to that neck of the woods so I was quite eager to put all my stereotypes to the test. The only one that survived was “Southern people are warm and welcoming.” I did pick up a new stereotype, however: “The women in a Sisters in Crime chapter only look like teetotalers.”

The first event was Murder in Magic City, a mini-conference to benefit Homewood Public Library organized by the Southern Sisters in Crime. The co-guests of honor were Thomas H. Cook and Laura Lippman and there were more than a dozen authors in attendance*. Unlike so many other conferences, there was only one panel to see at a time. That meant that everybody was in the room for every panel. No worrying that you were missing something else, now crowds of people hanging out in the common areas. It was a pleasant change and for the first time in a long time I had the chance to really listen to my fellow authors. A great time was had by all. (see previous post about the night’s festivities.)

Sunday we headed to Wetumpka, Alabama, about 2 hours from Birmingham for Murder on the Menu, an event to benefit the Public Library. Local bookstore owner Tammy Lynn helped put this one together and let me tell you I felt like somebody special from the moment I arrived. The people there treated me (and the others) like celebrities and I kept expecting someone to come up and say, “Wait a second, this is just Charles Benoit! Who screwed up and invited him?” Fortunately this didn’t happen, or if it did they were just too polite to do anything about it. If you live anywhere near Wetumpka – and I consider 200 miles ‘near’ – you should mark your calendars now and plan on being there next year. The authors are invited so who knows, someday they may have me back – but that shouldn’t stop you from signing up.

That’s it for that event. In my next blog I’ll be begging for your help in finding good conferences/events to attend this year.

*The authors at Murder in Magic City: Mark Arsenault, Joanna Carl/Eve Sandstrom, Bruce Cook, Troy Cook, Mary Anna Evans, Robert “Fluffy” Fate, Denise Hamilton, Sue Ann Jaffarian, Patricia Smiley, Julia Spencer Fleming, Patricia Sprinkle, Denise Swanson, Patricia Wynn, Heather Webber, Tony Burton, John Floyd, Chris Grabenstein & Carl T. Smith. Oh, and me.

4 comments:

patricia smiley said...

Hey, Charles. It was really fun to meet you at MITMC and MOTM. I've repeated your Chinese pirate story so often and gotten so many laughs that I think I'll make it my own (heh heh).

To next year in Birmingham.

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