Back Row: Greg Stone, Peter W.J. Hayes, Dennis Royer, Lissa Marie Redmond, Con Lehan
Middle Row: Liz Milliron, Sandy Nork, Annette Dashofy, Matty Dalrymple, Dick Belsky, Tj O'Connor
Front Row: Bill Peschel, Karen Shughart, Nicole Asselin, Sarah Ickes, John DeDakis
Wow! How to start talking about my FIRST time being an author on a panel? When it comes to author events, I am so used to selling other people's books that it takes me a minute to process that I am now talking about my books. So...after a lot of practicing in the shower, on the road, and boring my dogs with no end in sight, I faced my nerves and had a great time!
If you have never been to an author conference, then here is a little description of how it goes. Author panels are scheduled throughout the day, along with a section dedicated for Author Round-About (more on that later). Each panel has a determined theme to the topic that the authors can all talk about in their respective series.
As you can see in the above photo, my panel consisted of five authors, one moderator, and we had author Bill Peschel as the event's Emcee. Our panel's title was "Why Research is Important" and it fit in well with three of us dabbing in historical references within our story lines. Author Matty Dalrymple asked the questions and had each one of us answer the question. While we did fall a little behind in our timing, going a little over what was marked, the readers seemed to enjoy what we were discussing and I know that us authors did.
Being as someone who normally does things in the background, like the unseen crew, it was a certainly a different pace when everyone can see you and what you are doing. So I tried not to talk so much with my hands, and made sure to have my water bottle present! (And it also features a sticker of one of my book covers). The author pictured beside me, in the photo on the left, is cozy mystery author Nicole Asselin. She writes a baseball themed series and you can find out more information at her website.
After my panel was done, it was time for the Author Round-About, or also known as "Author Speed-dating." Each author was given five minutes to talk to the readers sitting at numbered tables. Whenever the time was up, the authors would move on to the next table and repeat this action until everyone was given a break. Many of the readers told us that it was their favorite part of the event as it was a more one-on-one experience that the panels do not offer, despite the fact that the panels were also really good.
As you can see here, I am talking to one of the tables and introducing them to the world of my main character, Murial Robertson. Luckily, the Author Round-About was divided into two parts so our voices could have a little break (and my throat really liked that). Don't get me wrong, it was a pleasure to sit down and chat with the attending readers, but after awhile, anyone needs a drink and a rest! When the second part was completed, it was time for lunch and then on to the remaining two panels.
As you can see in the above image, the moderator for my panel also got to be on a panel of her own, and I thought that was very thoughtful. The title for the second panel was "Cops, Crimes, and Blurred Lines." Moderator, and author, Dennis Royer had some very interesting questions for his fellow authors and it was nice to be working behind the scenes again for me as I watched from the back.
The third, and final, panel for the day was all built upon "Country vs. City Crimes." On the far left of the above image, Tj O'Connor is talking about his latest political thriller while fellow panelists John DeDakis and Annette Dashofy look on. John writes stories that come from his long time experience in the world of news and Annette, another Pennsylvania resident like myself, has a couple different series. To find out more about their respective series, click on their names to be taken to their websites.
Overall, the day went extremely smooth and we could not have been happier with how it turned out. Just take a glance over a small snapshot of the books that were available for everyone to buy!
Thank you to the Mechanicsburg Mystery Bookshop for putting this wonderful event on and to everyone who came out!
And a special thanks to Barb Fellencer for taking this images of the event so that I could share this experience with all of you reading over this post! See ya next time.