Archive for October, 2012

Here are the promised pix we took when Jamie Freveletti came to call on Lisle Library and the Murder Among Friends mystery discussion group.

First, we set the stage (YS generously lent us their Junior High area for this event!)

YS Junior High area set for Jamie
One of the ways we let people know about Jamie’s visit is on the library’s main monitor.

Jamie's sign at Lisle LibraryJamie's visit announced on the library' s main monitor

Putting the author cake together was particularly fun! See if you can find the traveler’s palm picture on the cake. (Jamie used this is the story to provide water to Emma & Sumner.
Jamie Freveletti's cake

Close-up on Jamie's cake
Jamie with her author cake Jamie really liked it; she almost seemed reluctant to cut it!

Our Brain Snacks friend Sue brought copies of Jamie's books to purchase & have Jamie sign

And MAF’s good friend Sue was on hand from Brain Snacks to offer copies of Jamie’s books for sale so people could go home with a personalized copy.

Luisa helping Jamie to demonstrate aikido self defense

Group member questions about Jamie’s knowledge of aikido, led to an impromptu demonstration where Jamie was ably assisted by our own Luisa B. !

At the end of the meeting, Patti presented Jamie with our token of thanks: chocolate truffles from Traviata topped with Murder Among Friends lovely toe tag.

Patti from Lisle Library with Jamie Freveletti Chocolates with our MAF toe tab

Thanks again to Jamie Freveletti for making this a wonderful evening!

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We had a lively group discussion on Running from the Devil, topped by a terrific time talking with its author, Jamie Freveletti! Members enjoyed not only the fast-paced and complex events of the story, we all came away as big fans of Emma Caldridge. Her background, particularly as an ultra-marathon runner, fascinated folks, and contributed greatly toward making the things she accomplishes fully believable. Many of us were unfamiliar with the setting (Patti volunteered she’d had no idea just how close Caribbean islands like Aruba are to Colombia.)

We asked Jamie about her research for this, and the plant knowledge she needed that was specific to Colombia. She credited Angela Swafford, the person in her acknowledgement and who is Colombian, for sharing key pieces of information that made the setting come to life and verified the existence of plants etc. that were needed for the plot. Jamie will actually be seeing Angela soon and mentioned that she’s been wonderful about helping Jamie with research.

Jamie has also been to Colombia and loved the area and people she met, but found the constant presence of armed soldiers and the casual acceptance of the fact anyone could be kidnapped and held for ransom to be heartbreaking. (She mentioned that natives keep a pair of sneakers in their car trunks in case they are kidnapped, so they’ll have comfortable shoes to where while they are waiting to be ransomed.) If you want to go to both Cartagena and Bogotá safely, you need to fly from one to the other, even though they are only a couple of hours away from each other. (Fun Fact: She has also been to Cartagena, and seen the fort they really filmed for the movie Romancing the Stone!)

As for her other research – we asked about both about ultra-marathons and how she believably portrays the alphabet soup of governmental agencies and players with an insider’s knowledge. While she admitted that a few of the agencies only exist in her imagination or are twists on real agency names, she keeps a chart of the real agencies at hand so she know how they relate to each other. As for the ultra-marathon running – it turns out this really does exist, and Jamie’s husband has done this (!) A situation that came up during one of these events was actually part of the genesis of creating Emma. Her story about the poor runners racing through an unexpected snow storm in Colorado showed how tough and determined the real ultra-marathoners can be. This ability to hyper-focus and create mind games to help endure the physical conditions involved in running such lengthy races,  blended well with Emma’s focus on science and logistics, and how strong her survival instincts would be.

When asked about what drew her to thrillers and what the nudge was to take on writing a novel, Jamie told us about how much she’s loved reading Dick Francis and Alistair MacLean, and how her mom got her hooked on the classic suspense movies like North by Northwest. She took a creative writing class in Chicago, and wrote her first book, which didn’t sell when she happened to mention to an agent at a Love is Murder dinner that she had an idea for a story where the heroine survives a plane crash in Bogotá, and the agent’s eyes lit up. That’s when she knew she had her story – and Running with the Devil (first called Bogotá) was born.

Somehow 😉 the romantic relationships in the story came up and Jamie verified that there is indeed a torch for Major Carol Stromeyer being held by the devastatingly handsome Edward Banner. Jamie grinned when we told her how much Joan liked the Major’s offer to type a memo giving credit for thwarting a major terrorist arms purchase when Margate whines about costs to repair the pipeline. She also verified that Boris and Natasha are indeed her tribute to Fractured Fairytales. To the delight of participants, she’s indicated that Boris (and Miguel as well) may be showing up in future stories.

One member mentioned how this story reminded her of Robert Ludlum’s Bourne books – which naturally led us to ask Jamie how the Covert One story she’s just published through the Robert Ludlum estate , Robert Ludlum’s The Janus Reprisal, came to be. She was actually approached through her agent by contacts from the estate, and after submitting her opening chapter and a two page summary, they hired her to do the story. They had been interested in her right from the publication of our discussion book, and started talking to her after she’d won the International Thriller Award for it. Quite the coup for a debut thriller writer! Jamie loved the break from her own characters and the chance to play in another author’s world. She really liked the characters they gave her to work with as well.

We could well have talked with Jamie through the night, but stopped in time to get some of her books (thanks to Sue Peterson from Brain Snacks) which Jamie generously signed for us. We sent her home with some of Traviata’s delicious truffles (with our MAF toe tag on the box!) and our sincere thanks for a great evening.

Pictures from this meeting will be coming up soon. Don’t miss the ones with Jamie and our gracious volunteer Luisa, showing some aikido moves that Jamie — who teaches aikido — demonstrated for us!  Special thanks to YS and YS patrons for allowing Murder Among Friends to use their Junior High space for this meeting with Jamie. There’ll be a separate post when Jamie’s “Author Docket” is up on the blog too.

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Tonight’s the night — and Jamie will be joining us at 7:30! So get your questions ready, and take advantage of the books available for purchase if you’d like to have Jamie sign them for you. Maybe we can get hints about Emma’s latest adventure: Dead Asleep, which will be out at the end of this month!

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Patti's Bouchercon 2012 photo album Here are Patti’s pix from the 2012 Bouchercon in Cleveland. As you’ll see, from the opening reception at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, to the announcement of the Anthony award winners at the finale, there was a lot of fun to be had! (Click on the picture to see it larger.)

Close up on the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame logo

Close up on the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame


Rock & Roll Hall of Fame - Opening Reception

Rock & Roll Hall of Fame – Night of the Opening Reception


Opening Award Presentations

Opening Award Presentations included the Macavity, awarded by Mystery Readers International, the Barry, awarded by Deadly Pleasures magazine, the Dilys awarded by the Independent Mystery Booksellers Association.

Barry award winner Taylor Stevens

Congratulations to Best First Novel Barry award winner Taylor Stevens for her fabulous novel, The Informationist ; with special thanks for letting us get a close-up picture of her with her award!

Bouchercon 2012 Panel: "I am Woman Hear Me Roar"

Hands down one of the most fun panels I attended, where the discussion was ll about strong female protagonists who kick ass — so naturally our friend Zoe Sharp (far left) was on it! The other panelists (continuing left to right) were Taylor Stevens, Meg Gardiner, Jennifer. McAndrews, and Sara J. Henry. Their excellent moderator, Nora McFarland can be seen moving to the podium.

Old Friends, New Friends Panel with Parnell and his book

At the Old Friends, New Friends panel with authors of more than one series, Parnell Hall slyly found a way past the don’t-show-your-book panel restriction — then went on to self promote it!

Anthony Awards Presentation, Saray J Henry - Best First Novel
Not the greatest picture, but I had to show Sara J. Henry receiving her Best First Novel Anthony award for her splendid novel, Learning to Swim.

Bouchercon 2012 Anthon Awards Presentaton - July Hyzy, Best Paperback Original

Here is Murder Among Friends favorite, July Hyzy — especially excited to win the Anthony for Best Paperback Original, because it was the first Bouchercon her husband has been able to come to! (Toastmaster John Connolly & Fan Guest of Honor Dorris Ann Norris are in the background)

Bouchercon 2012 Anthony Presentation to Dana Cameron, Best Short Story

Dana Cameron shared heartfelt thanks in receiving the Anthony Award for her Best Short Story, Disarming published in EQMM June’11, p.24.


Anthony Award Presentation - Louise Penny - Best Novel

Louise Penny‘s assistant delivered a humorous and graceful acceptance speech for the author’s Best Novel Anthony for A Trick of the Light. The author, most appropriately, was home celebrating (Canadian) Thanksgiving!

Bouchercon 2012 Anthony Presenation - Charlaine Harris for Best Critial Non-Fiction

Rounding out her many (deserved) awards for fiction, here Charlaine Harris receives the Best Critical Non-Fiction Work award for The Sookie Stackhouse Companion.


Quick shot of Charlaine Harris & Dana Cameron with their Anthony statues.

Wrapping up these Anthony Awards pics, is this quick, chance shot of Charlaine Harris & Dana Cameron with their Anthony Award Statues. (There’s a small blow-up of the statue in the picture, sorry it’s so blurry!)


Bouchercon Chair, Marjory Mogg, and Toasmaster John Connolly Conclude Awards Presentation

Bouchercon Chair, Marjory Mogg, and Toasmaster John Connolly,  concluded the Anthony Awards presentation and invited everyone to the “Meet The Authors” reception generously hosted by Kensington.

Our Awards tab has been updated to show the nominees and winners for the Anthonys, the Macavitiys, and (new to our list) the . Go to the tab, or click –> Mystery Awards Tab link

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Murder Among Friends News FlashHere’s our first recap of what happened at this year’s Bouchercon — announcement of the winners of the con’s Anthony Awards! The winning novels and their categories are listed below — and — you can click on the News Flash! logo to go to all the nominated works for this year’s Bouchercon , as well as our links to the nominated authors on our Awards page.

2012 Anthony Award Winners

A Trick of the Light—Louise Penny [Minotaur]

Learning to Swim—Sara J. Henry [Crown]

Buffalo West Wing—Julie Hyzy [Berkley Prime Crime/Tekno]
(Yeah Julie!  Congrats from your friends at Murder Among Friends!)

“Disarming”—Dana Cameron, EQMM June’11, p.24

The Sookie Stackhouse Companion—Charlaine Harris, ed. [Ace]


*Pictures & more on Bouchercon 2012 to come!

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