As author Vicki Delany said, history was made on Saturday, Oct. 24 when Poisoned Pen Press presented the first mystery virtual conference. For just $25, anyone had the chance to talk with authors such as Lee Child in the "coffee shop," listen to live panels, and ask questions, and discuss mystery and crime writing with authors from France to Alaska.
The morning was kicked off when Robert Rosenwald, owner of Poisoned Pen Press, officially opened PPWebCon by live video from Scottsdale, Arizona, as people logged in from North Carolina, Texas, Alaska, California, Arizona, all over the country. Immediately following Rosenwald's welcome, visitors could watch and listen to Peter May in France, discussing "Behind the Scenes with the Beijing Homicide Squad." May's videos of ordinary people in China were much more impressive than most scenes of China. Just as intriguing was the book trailer for his forthcoming book, Virtually Dead, set in the virtual world of Second Life.
Participants could move from May's discussion to a live video with Lea Wait from Maine, where she discussed "The Traditional Mystery: How to Avoid the Dreaded Cabot Cove Syndrome." After listening to that for a while, it was time to drop into the coffee shop, where I ran into Internet friends Kaye Barley, Kay Stewart and Jen Forbus. And, it was a pleasant surprise to have Lee Child drop in for a few minutes before his live interview.
For ten hours, participants could move from live events, where we could listen to, and question authors, to "on demand" recordings, where we could watch book trailers, listen to eighty interviews of authors, done by Barbara Peters from the Poisoned Pen Bookstore. She did one live interview with Dana Stabenow from Alaska, to give us a taste of the in-depth discussions. Some of the live events were broadcasts via BlogTalkRadio, giving us the chance to listen to authors who were all over the world.
No, we didn't get to actually meet authors as at an actual convention. But, participants are lucky enough to have access to all of the interviews and panels for the next year, so if there are any we missed, we can go back and catch them. And, we received a goody bag filled with downloadable short stories and excerpts to read from authors such as Clea Simon, Ann Parker and Frederick Ramsay. There was music with Jeff Cohen performing, "It's Just a Mystery," a tongue-in-cheek song for aspiring mystery authors. And, it was an honor to be mentioned in Pat Browning's essay, "Blogging 101," with her reference to Lesa's Book Critiques. We even received a $20 gift certificate to the Poisoned Pen.
Author panels, interviews, time in the coffee shop, book trailers. In a tight economy, PPWebCon 2009 offered mystery lovers ten hours of fun, discussion and debate, and we didn't even have to leave home.