What a weekend! June 6 - 8 gone in a blur – thank goodness for digital and phone cameras! Other than sleeping, I do believe just about every minute of the Bloody Words Mystery Conference has been captured. Great memories and fun times. Of course one person can’t possibly cover every aspect of the conference but I can recount what I enjoyed from my perspective.
Pam and I spent time hanging around with authors Gloria Ferris, Kay Kendall, and HOSS Magazine editor, Lorie Lee Steiner. What a blast we had. Started with an enjoyable lunch on Friday . The weather in Toronto couldn’t have been better and it felt wonderful to be more of a tourist than a resident or nine-to-fiver.
Friday lunch with Liz, Gloria, Kay and Pam
The Hyatt Regency on King was our locale for both the convention and our toothbrushes. Pam and I shared a room on the 15th floor. The room itself was – hmmm – shall I say interesting? Recently renovated, the headboard behind two double beds was a massive curved and mirrored focal point. No bed side lights, but overhead lights reminiscent of individual airplane seat lighting provided illumination.
The curved theme moved to the opposite wall, where a large flat screen TV was imbedded into a similar framework. This leaves no room for a traditional dresser of any sort, but a wall mounted until with several receptacles about the size of breadboxes for storage. Not much counter space.
However all that of might have been forgiven had it not been for the bathroom’s natural light source. This was provided via a large (almost floor to ceiling) window pane of opaque glass in the wall between the bathroom and my bed, and also was a panel in the pocket door of the bathroom. A little unnerving, but I guess that’s the trend these days.
Gloria, Lorie, Liz
The beds, however, were superb. I love feather pillows and Friday night promised to provide a deep and relaxing sleep. After the first day’s activities we weren’t ready for bed until nearly 11. Not unexpected for the event. What was unexpected was the fire alarm going off just after midnight!
A piercing alarm would only be interrupted by a very calm voice indicating a “situation” was being investigated on the 12th floor and to please standby. This cycle was repeated several times and then just stopped – with no clarification or all clear. And only when it stopped could you hear the fire trucks! Some souls did make the trek downstairs and out to the street and the rumour later attributed the alarm to some incense burning.
Saturday was a very busy day, lots of panels to attend - sometimes difficult to make a decision which one to sit in on as three panels at a time ran side by side. The international guest speaker was British author MichaelJecks He's a master of medieval murder mysteries - one of his 34 published novels was in my loot bag and I’m looking forward to reading it. Information on CSI – Toronto procedures, police procedures, weapons, etc was available. As was advice from Agents and Editors, and even financial advice on Death, Taxes, and Contracts. A humour panel and panels highlighting the evil that men do, were also featured. All in all a wealth of information provided in a relaxed, informative and more often than not, humourous setting. Just because we like to find ways to kill people doesn’t mean we can’t have fun at the same time.
Friday evening's last event was "Books with Legs" - here Gloria Ferris sports the cover from her latest best seller - Corpse Flower. Authors are such good sports!
Saturday’s evening festivities encouraged attendees to dress as their favourite characters. We had a hippie, a fireman – ironically, femme fatales, and many others. Crime Writers of Canada new President, Vicki Delany, wore a stunning gown highlighting her Klondike Mystery series.
Yes, its a fireman :-)
Our Gang of Five - Pam, Kay, Gloria, Lorie and Liz
aka - Jessica Fletcher, Hippie Chick, Biker Chick, Femme Fatale and Kay Scarpetta
Pam with Vicki Delany
A fun evening all around. Although somewhat bittersweet as it heralded the demise of Bloody Words. Many of us are hoping someone out there will be able to take it on in some form or other. Such a shame to lose this amazing network and showcase of Canadian Crime talent.
Sunday morning provided one last workshop and then it was time to head home. Pam, Gloria and I had been fortunate to have Pam’s husband Peter drive us in on Friday. However he was unable to pick us up on Sunday. No problem we said, Union Station is just a hop skip and a jump away and we’ll grab a GO Train back to Oakville. Oh my. Where’s a transporter beam when you need it!
Union Station is undergoing major renovations and hauling baggage – now much heavier with the addition of a few books – made for a strenuous workout! Still we made our connections and arrived safely in Oakville, where the rain had started. So glad it had held off for the conference.
And now its time for reflection, organizing photos and tax receipts and wondering which new book to read next!
You can check out the Crime Writers of Canada Website for news on winners of the Arthur Ellis Awards, held the evening of June 5. Lots of other interesting news on upcoming books from its members as well. Canadian Crime Writing is alive and flourishing!
And many, many heartfelt thanks to Cheryl Freedman, Caro Soles and all the Bloody gang and its volunteers for countless hours of hard work, organization and good times. Your efforts have been truly appreciated and will provide ongoing memories for a long time.
Our interview with the fun loving Kay Kendall will be coming up later this month and even now Pam is hard at work scheduling other interviews for the coming months.
I'm back to work on Wednesday and am glad I arranged to take today and tomorrow off to recover!
Have a great week - Cheers!