Saturday, December 31, 2011

Year End Wrap-Up - Part 2

Thursday at breakfast, a woman told me I gave her the best advice she had received in the last year following her husband’s death. I told her she needed to find her passion, something she didn’t share with her husband, but something that was her own. She told me she’s passed that on to others.

One of my passions is Authors @ The Teague. Thanks to the authors, and, quite often, thanks to Barbara Peters at The Poisoned Pen Bookstore in Scottsdale, I get to introduce authors to readers. Authors @ The Teague represents one of the reasons I won the Arizona Library Association’s Outstanding Library Service Award. So, I owe a great deal to the authors, Barbara Peters and her staff, and all of the people who attend the programs. This year, again, more than twenty-five authors appeared for the program. Thank you to all of them. And, it’s a perfect way to end the year, by sharing those authors one more time with all of you. Here’s 2011 Authors @ The Teague – the year in pictures.

We kicked off the year with a local author, and the only nonfiction author we hosted this year, Susan Pohlman. Pohlman’s memoir, Halfway to Each Other, is a thoughtful, poignant look back at the year she and her family spent in Italy, a trip to save a marriage, a family, and to find a lost faith.

Donis Casey’s books are popular with the audience here, so I was lucky to have her appear at Velma Teague this year. I know she did limited appearances for her latest mystery, Crying Blood. But, the fifth book in her Alafair Tucker series set in rural Oklahoma took a turn, allowing Alafair’s husband to take the stage in a story set in the early 1900s. As always, it’s fascinating to hear Donis talk about life in ranch life in Oklahoma, and the history as it relates to her books.

In one week in March, we hosted two panels of Women in Crime. Juliet Blackwell, Deborah Coonts and Sophie Littlefield were on the first panel. Blackwell wrote an art mystery series with her sister, under the name Hailey Lind, before branching out on her own. Now, she writes two paranormal series. One features a witch who runs a vintage clothing store. The other is the Haunted Home Renovation series. Juliet had just launched the first book in that series, If Walls Could Talk, when she appeared at Velma Teague.

Left to right - Deborah Coonts, Juliet Blackwell, Sophie Littlefield

Deborah Coonts’ books, Wanna Get Lucky? and Lucky Stiff, are wonderful mystery capers set in Las Vegas. Kirkus Book Reviews referred to them as “Deliciously raunchy.”

Sophie Littlefield discussed her award-winning mystery books, A Bad Day for Sorry, A Bad Day for Pretty, and A Bad Day for Scandal. Her most recent book at the time of the program was Aftertime, part apocalyptic, with zombies.

Just four days later, we hosted Zoё Sharp, Libby Hellmann and Cara Black for the second Women in Crime panel. Cara Black’s latest book, Murder in Passy, was the eleventh book in her Aimée Leduc series, set in Paris. Fourth Day was Sharp’s eighth book in the Charlie Fox series, featuring the female bodyguard. Set the Night on Fire was Libby Hellmann’s seventh novel. Although she writes two series, this one was a standalone thriller, with one part of the book set in the ‘60s in Chicago, and the other part in the present.
Left to right - Cara Black, Libby Hellmann, Zoe Sharp

When Kathy Cano-Murillo appeared for Authors @ The Teague, she brought out the local audience, people who had gone to school with her, and readers who wanted to know what she said about Glendale in her latest novel, Miss Scarlet's School of Patternless Sewing. Cano-Murillo is a local favorite whose "Crafty Chica" column used to appear in The Arizona Republic.

Left to right - Vicki Delany & R.J. Harlick
We finished out March with Canada Day. R.J. Harlick and Vicki Delany are Canadian residents who write mysteries set there. R.J. (Robin) writes the Meg Harris mysteries, books with a wilderness setting in West Quebec. All four books in the series deal with Meg and the Algonquin First Nation. (The next book, A Green Place for Dying, is due out in February.) Vicki Delany was signing the latest book in her series set in British Columbia, Among the Departed. Those books feature Constable Molly Smith and Sergeant John Winters, Chief of Detectives.

Left to right - Avery Aames, Me, Kate Carlisle
It was so much fun to host authors Avery Aames and Kate Carlisle in May. Kate is the author of the Bibliophile mystery series. Although she discussed all the books, she focused on her latest one, Murder Under Cover. And, Kate was a good sport that day. Avery had just won the Agatha Award for Best First Novel for The Long Quiche Goodbye. Although she was on tour for her second book in the Cheese shop series, Lost and Fondue, I found a way to surprise her and celebrate her award. Her cake said, “Congrats, Avery! The Big Cheese.”

Left to right - Jane Cleland and Rosemary Harris
Jane K. Cleland and Rosemary Harris frequently do book tours together, so they played off each other beautifully for their Authors @ The Teague presentation. Jane’s latest mystery, Deadly Threads, was the sixth book in her Josie Prescott series. Slugfest was the latest book in Rosemary’s Dirty Business series, mysteries that have a gardening theme. Gardening and antiques were perfect subjects for a program held on the Saturday that Glendale held a downtown Mother’s Day celebration.

Left to right - Earlene Fowler and Carolyn Hart
I told people I was a little giddy in May, knowing I was going to host two of the biggest names in the traditional mystery field, Carolyn Hart and Earlene Fowler. But, Earlene Fowler said she felt the same way when Barbara Peters from The Poisoned Pen asked if she “minded” signing with Carolyn Hart. Fowler said the question was, would Carolyn Hart have her?

It proved to be a fascinating morning of mystery history as Hart and Fowler discussed their books and the mystery field. Hart was promoting the twenty-first book in her Death on Demand series, Dead by Midnight, and Fowler discussed her latest Benni Harper mystery, Spider Web.

Arizona was the last stop on Robert Dugoni’s extensive tour for his legal thriller, Murder One. Although Dugoni never thought he’d write a series, his first David Sloane book, The Jury Master, hit the New York Times Bestseller list. Then, his editor wanted more. Murder One was the fourth book in the series.

I introduced William Dietrich as a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist for his coverage of the Exxon Valdez oil spill, but said he was at Velma Teague to discuss his fiction, particularly his latest book, Blood of the Reich. He’s a New York Times bestselling author, and his books have been published in 31 languages. All of his historical thrillers have a grounding in history. For this one, he used the Nazi fascination with Tibet as the kickoff to the story.

Denise Hamilton is an LA native who worked for ten years as a journalist for the LA Times. With that background, it's no surprise that her latest book, Damage Control, seemed to be taken straight from the headlines. When she was writing Damage Control, the John Edwards scandal was in the news because of his affair and his love child. For a while, his campaign said his aide fathered the child. It was a media political scandal. Denise wondered how far someone would go if they could silence someone to keep the scandal from coming out. What if someone on staff could "get rid of the problem?"

Hosting an Authors @ The Teague program with a fantasy author is different than hosting a mystery author. Fantasy authors have SERIOUS fans, who read the books, can quote the books, and can give the author the answers when the author can’t remember what he wrote. I was all set to introduce the author of the series about a Druid who is twenty-one centuries old, but his fans knew about Atticus O'Sullivan. It was a treat to host Kevin Hearne, the author of The Iron Druid Chronicles. This was his first appearance for Authors @ The Teague, but, hopefully, it won’t be his last. Fans of his first three books, Hounded, Hexed, and Hammered, showed up to support him, ask questions, and chime in with comments. I’m sure many will be back when his next book, Tricked, is released in April 2012. And, some of us (smile) have tickets to the release party at Rula Bula in Tempe, where some scenes in the book are set.

Simon Wood is a favorite of many of members of Desert Sleuths, the Arizona Chapter of Sisters in Crime. This time, when he came to Arizona, he appeared for Authors @ The Teague. All of Wood's books have been standalones until now. Did Not Finish is the first in a series. It's set in the racing world. Racing is expensive, and people are willing to compromise. It's a competitive world with rule-bending. Dick Francis took readers into the world of horse racing. This series is an inside point of view of motor sports.

Thirteen members of Desert Sleuths showed up to promote their new anthology, So West, So Wild. SoWest, So Wild shows that the West is still wild. The stories are all set in the Southwest, most in Arizona. It's a diverse collection of crime fiction. I love to host this group, but we had a few technical difficulties this year when we lost the power in the library that morning. Normally, I get a group picture of all of the authors. There are individual pictures on the blog post from Oct. 16. What I do have to represent the program is a picture of the cake I had made to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Sisters in Crime. The colors matched the cover of So West, So Wild.

When Jeri Westerson appears for an author event, she brings cool toys. She appeared for Authors @ The Teague on her Troubled Bones tour. Anyone who wanted to handle her medieval weapons was welcome to try them out. Jeri does a terrific program, fun and informative. Each book in Westerson’s medieval noir series deals with a religious relic or venerated object. Troubled Bones, the latest book, deals with relics at Canterbury Cathedral, the bones of Thomas à Becket. It also introduces Geoffrey Chaucer and his Canterbury Tales’ pilgrims as characters in this Crispin Guest mystery.

Kris Neri finished out 2011 for us, appearing to discuss her latest mystery, Magical Alienation. Kris is the author of the Magical mystery series, and the Tracy Eaton mysteries. She has published over sixty short stories, winning the Derringer Award twice. Neri is also co-owner of The Well Red Coyote bookstore in Sedona. To summarize the book, Kris Neri read from the back cover of Magical Alienation. "A spaceship crash in Roswell...a rumored alien...the mysterious Area 51...a harmonic convergence in Sedona. No connection, right? With its rock stars and shape shifters, gods and haunting militia leaders - Magical Alienation will turn what you think you know upside down."

I can only repeat some of the year end comments from last year. Thank you to all of the authors who made Authors @ The Teague a successful series in 2011. And, thank you to Barbara Peters for her assistance in bringing the authors to Glendale. I love this series, and I hope the authors enjoyed their appearances at Velma Teague.

So, here's my New Year's resolution for 2012. I'm going to try to continue to bring authors to Glendale for Authors @ The Teague.  What can you expect in 2012? Watch the sidebar on the blog for planned appearances. There are already a few programs scheduled, and I'm excited about the programs. At the moment, these authors are scheduled - 

Deborah Crombie - Feb. 9 - 2 p.m.
Beth Aldrich - Feb. 18 - 2 p.m.
Hilary Davidson - Feb. 22 - 2 p.m.
Rhys Bowen, Cara Black and Libby Hellmann - March 12 - 2 p.m.

I'm sure we'll be booking more authors. If you're an author, particularly a mystery author, who will be in the Phoenix area, and want to appear in a small venue, with no promise as to the size of the audience, contact me! I'm at Keep Authors @ The Teague in mind for your 2012 schedule!

And, thank you, again, to all of the authors who appeared for Authors @ The Teague in 2011. You truly are treasures. Authors @ The Teague is one of my passions. Thank you.


Vicki Delany said...

Always a pleasure, Lesa, to get together. I have no plans to visit Arizona this year (yet) but anything can happen. And the Teague is at the top of the list.

Anonymous said...

This was a nice walk back through 2011. I know all those authors had a great time. I was so pleased to be able to attend two of those events. I felt like such a fangirl seeing the 4 authors!

So, I'll be there for Deborah Crombie! So excited! Lesa, my wish is that 2012 holds all kinds of wonderful surprises for you, not the least which should be a great bunch of authors to visit you at your lovely library. Thanks for being such a bright spot in the book world.

Lesa said...

Thank you, so much, Vicki! I appreciate your continued support for Authors @ The Teague. As you said, you never know! If not 2012, maybe 2013. Thank you.

Lesa said...


I'm so glad this worked out that you'll be here for Deborah Crombie at the Teague. Then, I'll get to see you, too. Sorry I'll be in LA during most of your visit, but this will work out.

What a nice wish, a great bunch of authors visiting at Velma Teague. Thank you, Kay. I wish you good health, happiness, and good books in 2012!

Bev Stephans said...

What a stellar group of authors you had for 2011. No wonder you win, and deserve, awards.

I'm looking forward to 2012. I see you have one of my favorites already listed. That would be Deborah Crombie.

Happy New Year to you and the cats.

Lesa said...

Thank you, Bev. Happy New Year to you as well! Have a safe, happy one.

And, I haven't put this anyplace, but I'm hoping to host Louise Penny this year. She was at Velma Teague early in her career. I'm just afraid she might be touring after Bouchercon while I'm still in Ohio. We'll see. Before Bouchercon would be great.

Roni said...

I loved your recap. What a year, Lesa!
It was great fun to have been a part of it.

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