Sunday, October 25, 2009

Sunday Salon - PPWebCon 2009

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.

12 comments:

Kay said...

Lesa, I had such fun yesterday at PPWebCon. I was exhausted by the end and, actually, didn't make it all the way to the end. I haven't listened to the event that Laurie King and Nevada Barr did. By about 3:00 my time, I was overexcited, overstimulated and needed a quiet walk outside. :-)

I'm looking forward to going back and listening to various event and looking through my goody bag. I never did make it into the coffee shop and could not sign the guest book. Think that might have something to do with my firewall. That was OK though. There was plenty to keep me occupied.

Hope they do it again. I'd sign up. Nice to talk to you yesterday for a bit!

Lesa said...

Funny, Kay, after I met you, Jen & Kaye, I never ran into any of you again. I didn't make it to the end either, and I want to listen to that event. I did get into the coffee shop a couple times. It was a good place to say hi to others.

It was fun, wasn't it? I'd do it again, too.

Kaye Barley said...

Hi, Lesa! Wasn't that fun?! And good to see you in the Coffee Shop!! I wasn't able to stay till the end either, so was happy to hear that we can revisit some of the events we might have missed. And yes, I'll look forward to the next one also.

Lesa said...

It was fun, Kaye. It was a nice con, since we could drop in and out as we needed to. I can't believe you and Lee Child arrived in the Coffee Shop at the same time. (hmmmmm?) And, where did you both head off to, then. I'd do it again, too.

♥Jen♥ said...

Hey Lesa,

You didn't run into me again because I was having so many technical problems. I initially had to go to my parents' because I couldn't even get to the Poison Pen Web Con site. As soon as it started to load, it crashed my computer...three times. So I went to my parents where I could get on, but then the BlogRadio crashed THEIR computer...several times. I watched Peter May's presentation, Libby Hellmann's panel and then did a number of the pre-recorded things. About 1 I needed to get back to my own house, though. It's a great concept but I wish I could have had some way to test things ahead of time since there wasn't really anyone or anyway to correct my technical problems.

Ironically, my day job is providing online education courses, so I pretty much do this for a living. But I have to say I probably wouldn't sign up next year unless I knew the same things weren't going to happen to me all over again.

Technology...gotta love it!

Lesa said...

I know other people had some technical problems as well. I was lucky enough not to have any problems. I got into everything I wanted to, got into the Coffee Bar, never had a problem, and would do it again next year. And, I'm pleased I can go back and pick up the ones I didn't get to yesterday, and listen in the near future.

Sorry you had so many problems, Jen!

Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

This is terrible to admit, but I was registered and then couldn't go! Life just went absolutely wild. I really love the idea though, and have already gone ahead and registered for next year. I wish I could have listened to the "Avoiding the Cabot Cove Syndrome" one. I think my body count is definitely on the rise in my small town settings!

Elizabeth
Mystery Writing is Murder

Lesa said...

Hi Elizabeth,

If you were registered, you should still be able to access everything. They archived the con, so you should be able to listen or watch everything. I'd at least try to get to that one if I were you.

Pat Browning said...

I was lucky,I guess. No problems,no complaints. Cyberspace is tricky and people were literally logging on from around the world -- and in all those time zones! We could have used 2 or 3 chat rooms.

Lesa, glad we got to say "hi" in the chat room! The only person I kept missing was Kelli Stanley. Her book trailer with its photos of 1940s San Francisco is outstanding.

Pat Browning

Lesa said...

Hi Pat,

I thought I was very lucky, too. I didn't have any problems. I want to take a look at Kelli's book trailer, and I didn't get to hear the last talk. But, I'm on reference desk all day today, and I don't think it would be good to sit here with headphones on. (grin)

Ingrid King said...

This sounds like a wonderful way to attend a conference when you can't actually travel there. I wish I could have participated in this one - it's on my schedule for next year. Thanks for sharing your experience, Lesa.

Lesa said...

You're welcome, Ingrid! I hope you can join us next year!