Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Please welcome my guest Liz Zelvin, Mystery Author - Morgan Mandel


DEATH WILL HELP YOU LEAVE HIM, October 2009
DEATH WILL GET YOU SOBER, David nominee for Best Mystery
Novel of 2008
http://www.elizabethzelvin.com/

What I’m taking on the road to Bouchercon
Elizabeth Zelvin, 2007 Agatha nominee

I’m a veteran traveler and experienced packer, and I started making lists in my head at least a month in advance for what I’d need to take to Bouchercon, where I appeared on a panel, celebrated the publication of my new book, Death Will Help You Leave Him, at a special event with fellow authors Louise Penny and Jeri Westerson, offered items at the live and silent auctions, participated in the author talent show, and rendezvoused with groups of people I don’t ordinarily see face to face, including Sisters in Crime Guppies and my fellow authors of the brand-new crime anthology The Gift of Murder, to benefit Toys for Tots. I did not say I’m a light packer.

Only once have I ever succeeded in toting only carry-on luggage: this summer on my visit to Chicago for the American Library Association’s annual meeting. And that was a close call, since I brought 300 first-chapter chapbooks of Death Will Help You Leave Himand two hundred bookmarks with me and carried home a goodie packet (including a ceramic mug that had to be packed carefully) from a panel at the Niles Library and a couple of ARCs from the box my publisher’s library marketing director brought out as a surprise. I only made it because I left home my running shoes. Since I arrived on Friday and flew out again on Saturday, I knew I wouldn’t have a chance to use either. (When I saw people running along Lake Shore Drive and swimming laps in the lake on Saturday morning, I wished I had.)

I drove from New York to Indianapolis instead of flying because I had so much stuff to bring. Since the actual publication date of Death Will Help You Leave Him was October 13, Bouchercon Eve, I kicked off my book tour driving back through Ohio and Pennsylvania when the convention ended. I actually started loading the car this past May at Malice Domestic, when my blog sister Sandy Parshall transferred a large basket, cellophane, and ribbon for our Poe’s Deadly Daughters auction item from her trunk to mine.

So here’s some of what went on the road with me, Miz Scarlett, my 2004 Toyota Corolla, and Sadie, my even-tempered and reliable GPS:

The proverbial box of books: copies of Death Will Help You Leave Him. I needed it. At my first post-tour book tour stop, they hadn't received the books. The forty people the friend I was staying with didn't show up either, so it all balanced out. I signed book plates, my friend ordered a lot of copies, and all was well. I needed them again at Foul Play in Westerville, where they sold out all their copies in the book room at Bouchercon and couldn't order additional books in time.

Copies of the first book, Death Will Get You Sober. I experienced one of those precious author "firsts" at Bouchercon when someone approached me at the signing table with both of my books in hand.

Promotional materials, which I'm sowing broadcast like Johnny Appleseed: chapbooks, bookmarks, and posters.

My Martin Backpacker guitar. I performed not only at the author talent show, but also at the Three Deadly Dames event with Louise Penny and Jeri Westerson. We had advertised "conversation and more" in the program book. I thought of getting magnets to give out, but free drinks and a mini set of my own songs (with harmonica backup by new author J. Saunders Elmore) went over much better.

The basket for Poe’s Deadly Daughters, along with signed copies of my blog sisters’ books and copies of EQMM with my story in it and other Poe-related goodies, like the bottle of Poe’s Raven Hot Sauce that I bought at the Stately Raven in Ohio on my 2008 tour. Also an LZcybershrink T-shirt, a yellow New York taxi (no, not lifesize), a giant tea cozy hand quilted by Sharon Wildwind, and a big tin of Virginia peanut brittle contributed by Sandy Parshall.

Running shoes and the clothes to go with them.
MP3 player. I didn't run during the four days of Bouchercon (no time and lousy weather), so I exercised by dancing to music in my hotel room at 4:30 or 5 every morning.
Netbook computer, to keep up with email. So far, none of my online clients has had a crisis and needed a session, but you never know.
Digital camera, for those photos of me with other authors that my publicist says are essential for my website.I got a rare sighting of Sara Paretsky and a photo op with Liza Cody, among others.

Flash drive, so I have all my files—you never know what you’ll need.
A bag of electronics: power cord for netbook, charger for cell phone, battery charger for camera and MP3 player, USB multi-port to plug a lot of stuff in at once, connector cord to recharge Sadie or download photos onto the netbook. Note for next time: bring two-to-three-prong connector plug.

Bathing suit. I inherited the swimming gene from my lawyer mother, whose motto was, “Bring a suit!” Wrap and flipflops and earplugs and goggles.

Food in insulated bag with ice pack. I found more fruit and vegetables than I expected to west of the Hudson, but you never know. My bags of baby carrots sre better traveled than some folks I know.

Pills. The vitamins. The supplements. The pills I take to keep from getting a migraine. The pills I take to make a migraine go away. The little bottles of resveratrol that are going to make me live forever. (Those need to be refrigerated too.)

My knitting. For unexpected waits along the way and insomniac moments.

What’s that you say? Change of underwear? Electric toothbrush? Yes, all that and more, but it’ll only be a fraction of the whole. Oh, and did I mention to stack of books I'm taking back to New York for a friend who flew home from Bouchercon?

What about you? Do you take any of these things to conferences? Did you go to Bouchercon? Please share with Liz and the rest of us.

17 comments:

Morgan Mandel said...

Welcome to Acme Authors Link, Liz.
Maybe you can tell us - Did you use everything you packed?
I always overpack. (g)

Morgan Mandel
http://morganmandel.blogspot.com
http://www.morganmandel.com

jenny milchman said...

I love this list and insider's tips from the road, Liz! I wasn't lucky enough to get to go to Bouchercon, but I will keep your post on hand for if I do reach that point!

PS: The cover of your book is a gem...

Tony Burton said...

Liz,

You performed on your Martin guitar at Killer Nashville, too, I believe!

Thanks for dropping by Acme Authors, and for revealing your packing secerts.

Tony Burton

Helen Ginger said...

It's a good thing you drove! Wow. You were totin' a full load.

It does sound like you had fun, though. Just reading your post made me smile.

Helen
Straight From Hel

Willow said...

Whew! I'm exhausted just reading about the packing! Sounds like a fun trip for you, though :>)

Deb Larson said...

You must be a past Girl Scout living their model: Be Prepared!
Sounds like a great trip!
Thanks for visiting at Acme.
DL Larson

Rob Walker said...

Man, Liz, wish you could pack my bags for me...and why didn't your swing by WV and pick me up on your way to BCon anyway? Sounds like everyone had a great time of it. And hey, thanks a mill for droppin by here and givin of your time for Acme. Spread the word; we've got a great rotating blog here! Great team.

Jane Kennedy Sutton said...

I didn't attend but it sounds like a fun event. I hate toting things around so I tend to underpack - and usually regret it!

Kim Smith said...

Wonderful insider views here, Liz. thanks for sharing!

Elizabeth Zelvin said...

Thanks, everybody. I AM having fun! So far, I've used everything but the bathing suit and the knitting--no idle moments. ;) This morning I achieved the ultimate in portability (except for an iPhone, which I don't have): I had to walk my cell phone with the wireless guy on the line and my little netbook from my room around to the front desk of my motel so they could talk directly (the wireless guy couldn't get the front desk on the phone) about why I couldn't get online. The wireless guy didn't know I had the cell phone on speaker, so he said "I haven't shared with her" that the account was inactive. Hmm, wonder if they paid their bill? It eventually fixed itself, so that's how come I'm able to write this. If you go on tour, you'd better be prepared to multi-task--and tolerate frustration!

julielomoe said...

Liz, this post is absolutely overwhelming. What will you do next year when Bouchercon is in San Francisco? I just got a scathingly brilliant idea - maybe we New Yorkers should charter a cross-country bus. Not your everyday 44-seater, but a discounted band tour bus. I could bring my Yamaha keyboard.

I could recount endless travel nightmares - including the Malice conference where they kept telling me my books hadn't arrived and they were actually in the hotel all along. But come to think of it, you've just given me the idea for my next blog post!

This fall I'm doing virtual tours. First, I'm moderating two panels at the Poisoned Pen Web Con this Saturday. It's only $25, and you can still register by going to www.ppwebcon.com. Visit my blog for more details. Then I'm doing my first Blog Book Tour from November 9th through November 20th. I've just finished lining up my 10 hosts. Truly a breeze compared to hitting the road for real, and I'm saving thousands of dollars I don't have anyway.

Oh, and congrats on the new book! I loved the first one, which I bought at my local B&N.

Julie Lomoe's Musings Mysterioso
http://julielomoe.wordpress.com

Maggie Toussaint said...

Nice packing list, Liz. I have the same troubles with migraines. Getting all conferenced up always seems to trigger a few of those nasties.

Sorry I didn't make it to Bcon this year. I hope to get back on the con tour next year. Congrats on your latest release.

Lisa Haselton said...

I'm exhausted after reading that post! lol I like to drive to destinations just so I don't have to worry about how much to bring. :) Great stuff, Liz. Looking forward to chatting with you at Writer's Chatroom on 11/1.

Elizabeth Zelvin said...

Thanks, everyone. When I get back from my tour, at some point I'll blog on what people say when you do a "meet & greet" signing at one of the chain bookstores. ;)

Elizabeth Zelvin said...

Thanks, everyone. When I get back from my tour, at some point I'll blog on what people say when you do a "meet & greet" signing at one of the chain bookstores. ;)

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