Murder and Mayhem in Muskego

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(with writers Ann Voss Peterson and Julia Spencer-Fleming)

This past weekend, I had a lovely time at the Muskego Library’s Murder and Mayhem program.  Not only did I share the bill with fabulous writers, I also got the chance to party with them as well!  (For more images, and a complete list of the guest authors, check out Jon Jordan’s website at 

The most interesting things I heard, though, didn’t get said during the official program.  Rather, it was what I heard during the informal huddles over drinks and chili at Jon and Ruth’s house, while we all sat around getting slightly tipsy.  In the comfort of each other’s company, we admitted to all the fears and anxieties we have about our careers, the publishing business, and about who we really are, once you get past our public personas.

I’ll be the first to admit that I’m an introvert who finds hanging out in crowds exhausting.  I love being shut away alone in my office, and a book tour leaves me feeling like my soul’s been sucked out.  But imagine my surprise when the maniacally effervescent JA Konrath admitted that, during his 600-bookstore driving tour, he too was desperate for some time by himself.  But he was traveling on a budget, staying in the homes of friends and acquaintances, so he spent almost every waking moment feeling the need to perform his schtick.  It was emotionally and physically draining for him.  We other authors, hearing this, somberly nodded in agreement.  We don’t know how he came out of it sane.  (At least, we think he’s sane.)

David Morrell offered his own fascinating insight into the psychology of writers.  “Why do we choose to write what we do?” he asks.  And he believes that the answer lies in the childhood traumas we’ve experienced.  A child who was abandoned by his parents will find that as an adult, he can’t stop writing about that theme of abandonment.  The child who was an outcast will later write about heroes who are outsiders.  I think he’s absolutely right.  I see it in my own writing, and I suspect that almost every writer, when he thinks hard about it, will probably find something in his own past to explain his chosen genre. 

Over barbecued ribs and tequila shots the second night, we whined about Hollywood, gossiped about bad books, and came to the unanimous conclusion that Blake Crouch looks like James Spader.  I think I may have said (or done) a few blackmail-worthy things. 

I just hope the photographic evidence doesn’t rear its ugly head.

13 replies
  1. Charissa
    Charissa says:

    Crowds. *shudder* just had the most horrible shopping trip ever. I hate Christmas shoppers. Why do they start so early?

    Anyway, that has almost nothing to do with your post. (I just saw the word crowds.)

    It sounds as though you had fun.. But I hope no photos turn up *crosses fingers* I know what it’s like!

  2. Cumulus
    Cumulus says:

    When my daughter was young, in elementary school, she cried and grabbed onto my pant leg begging me not to go on the road. I missed out on a lot of her experiences by not being at home and that is a big regret.

  3. Jon Jordan
    Jon Jordan says:


    You did nothing worthy of blackmail. I’ve seen some things in my day and you behaved just fine.

    I’d also like to say you are welcome back to our city, our event, and our home any time. It was an honor to have you here as a part of this event.

  4. J.W.
    J.W. says:

    It is true what u say. Ur past does show up in ur writing. Atleast mine tends to. I think it’s our way of dealing with the events. I just feel bad for my female characters….constantly being hurt by men…..either raped or beaten…..or stalked…or murdered. And for what?…so I can deal with the fact that I was malested when I was five……or that I have an ex who always knows who I’ve been with. *Sighs* yes I think it’s a constant demon that my characters have to deal with….b/c I can’t let the events go.

    And I think we have all done some things that are blackmail worthy after drinking. lol…I know I have.


  5. JanetK
    JanetK says:

    Okay, there I was, catching up on Tess Gerritsen’s blog, when I read the title of today’s post: “Murder and Mayhem in Muskego.”

    Muskegon?! Tess was in Muskegon? That’s only a three hour drive from my house! Geez, I wish I’d known, I would have…

    Oh, wait. Muskego, Wisconsin. NOT Muskegon, Michigan. Much different.

  6. Tess
    Tess says:

    if someone had to get the worm, better you than me! I’m wracking my brain trying to remember which movie star we had you pegged for, but I can’t remember his name! (among other things.)

  7. Blake Crouch
    Blake Crouch says:

    sakey was starsky!!!! i’m sure marcus is cool if I yell that every time I see him…that was some rotgut tequilla…just got some after-shivers thinking about it.

  8. NewMexicanAnn
    NewMexicanAnn says:

    Hey, Jon! Tess behaved herself? Really? So we don’t have to send her to obedience school? Hehehehehehe!

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