So I went to the pre-festival party the night before the LA Times festival of books at the Mystery Bookstore. I am not a party guy. Never have been. Just not my scene. I don't know if it's the crowds or the pressure to meet new people but I am just not that good at it. This was a great low-key hang out with friends affair though. Really nice even though I still feel a little like a party crasher at these things.
I really enjoyed seeing people I'd seen/met at Left Coast Crime like Kelli Stanley, Steven Jay Schwartz (picked up his book finally so I could have him sign it) Sophie Littlefield, Brett Battles and some other writers I'd met before like Reed Farell Coleman and Christa Faust. I met some great new people like Jeri Westerson, Naomi Hirahara, Duane Swierczynski and Alafair Burke (is it wrong to say she is stunningly beautiful in person?)
But do I hang out and act cool and make an impression? Not really. I'm not painfully awkward, just a little. I never know what to say and I go into a conversation with someone assuming they'd rather be talking to someone else so I try to keep it short and my fear is I end up coming off as rude because I cut things off. Really I think that is just the way party conversation goes so I should just freakin' relax but I can't help it.
I think I made a big famous author uncomfortable when I talked to him (my wife confirmed this assumption). I answered a polite question from another author with a too-long too-detailed answer that I got into and couldn't get out of. I really wanted to meet Jen Forbus of Jen's book thoughts blog but then it all went awry when she got pulled into a conversation right away and I got pulled the other way. At least I got to say hello.
I need to work on it. I will work on it. I think I fake it pretty well but inside I'm a wreck. This is why I do the things I do. Writing is solitary. I even figured out a way to make collaborative writing solitary by never meeting my co-writer. Film editing is solitary.
Anyway, I had a good time. I love the fact that I get to mingle as a somewhat equal. Our book was right there on the table with all the bigs. I believe in the book so I'm not embarrassed about that part of it. Just the, y'know, me part.
I get a second chance on Sunday during my signing. I'm really excited to pick up some more books by my fellow panelists and get them signed. *sigh* Loser.