Carl and I hit the road around eight Sunday morning. That
meant I missed all of Sunday’s sessions, including the ones about arrrrr
pirates and writing sex scenes. (The latter session was affiliated with the
late-night reading of sex scenes.) But Creatures ‘n Crooks bookstore in
Richmond, VA closes by 5 p.m. on Sundays, and I really wanted to meet Lelia
Taylor, and those wacky tollbooths on the Garden State Parkway plus
who-knew-how-much-traffic in Washington D.C. stood between me and my goal, so
Good thing we built in the extra time. A navigational error
plus near gridlock on the south side of D.C. cost us an hour of travel time.
(The south side of I-495 was under construction. Last time I drove through D.C.,
four years ago, that same portion of I-495 was under construction. Is that road
ever going to be fixed? Never mind, silly question.)
Creatures ‘n Crooks is the bookseller for the annual
Virginia Festival of the Book. The store is tucked back in the corner of the
Cary Court Park & Shop, in a revitalized section of downtown Richmond heavy
on bistros, bagel shops, and latte nooks. A twenty-something artsy crowd
strolls the sidewalks. I arrived at Creatures ‘n Crooks around 4:45 p.m, just
under the wire.
Lelia, every bit as gracious and accommodating as Lanny
Parks and Kathy Harig, chatted with me for about an hour while the shop’s cat
mascot snoozed on a chair nearby. Lelia stocks mystery, science fiction,
fantasy, and horror novels. Most of her customers are of the speculative
fiction persuasion. Her mystery customers aren’t book collectors, and they
aren’t gung-ho to meet authors. They often bypass a signing to come in on their
own time and purchase the featured book –- although a couple of reading groups
meet at the store to discuss mysteries and have enjoyed author visits. Got a
mystery set in the Northern theater of the Revolutionary War or Civil War? It
probably won’t sell well at Creatures ‘n Crooks. Lelia highly recommended
Bouchercon 2008 for me, especially since I anticipate the release of Camp
Follower (book 3 of my series) around that time.
I arrived home in Raleigh around 9 p.m. Sunday night. Our
three dogs had alarmed our neighbor caregivers by staging a hunger strike and
reverting to semi-feral lifestyles due to a combination of stress over our
absence and 95-degree days without AC or fans. It’s nice to be missed by
tail-wagging pooches, but sheesh. I’m happy to report that they’re all fine
now. Be it ever so humble.
Thanks to Lelia Taylor for her time.
Excellent conference! If you attended any of the sessions I missed, I’d enjoy
hearing about them.