I was allowed to sleep in just a little bit on this cold October morning before I hit the panels again.
First up was "The CSI Effect" with Moderator Jon McGoran, Jonathan Greene (who produces CSI SVU), J.I. Baker, and Lisa Black, author and forensic scientist. Marcia Clark was supposed to be on it but she was a no-show.
The topic affects us all, not just authors, but everyone, because the aforementioned "CSI Effect" is the public's perception that there is always forensic evidence to be had. Not so, say the panelists, Not all cases have fingerprints or mountains of DNA. In fact, they mentioned what is now called the 50 Shades of Grey effect, that because of that book, a jury, who should have convicted a cut and dried sex offender case, couldn't believe that the woman didn't want rough sex.
The panelists also noted that the public is used to having the trial wrap up quickly. Black mentioned that TV glosses over the details whereas a book has more time to dabble in them, get the details right. They also discussed how their characters deal with death so nonchalantly. I know that as for me, I can't watch surgery. There's something about pink, warm skin and running blood. But I can watch an autopsy--at least some parts--because the body isn't alive, no running blood, no beating heart, less ick factor.
When asked by an audience member if there were certain errors in books and TV of a forensic nature that drove the authors nuts, Black replied that her red button issue is the computer screen flashing "Match" for fingerprints. It's more accurate to say it's "consistant" with the evidence. A computer can pull up possible "consistancies" but human beings have to decide whether it's a match or not. "Match" more accurately applies to ballistics or DNA evidence. A fascinating panel.
Next was "History Repeats Itself: Actual Historical Figures in Fiction" with moderator Craig McDonald, Roberta Rogow (she writes a series with Lewis Carroll and Arthur Conan Doyle), Michael McMenamin and his son, Patrick (they feature Winston Churchill, Hitler, and other World War II personages).
McDonald made a good point, one I tend to follow: voids in a historical figures' biography open the door for our own fiction. If they aren't recorded as doing "A" then I can have them doing "B" sort of thing.
And then it was off to an outside event in Hudson, OH at the Learned Owl Bookstore with authors Elizabeth Hand, Yrsa Sigurdardottir, Julia Spencer-Fleming, and me.
Number one, it is the absolute prettiest drive down there over the Cuyahoga River, alongside miles of wooded hills with every fall color you can imagine on a cold, crisp day of sunshine and picturesque clouds. The village of Hudson is ridiculously pretty and picture-perfect. And the Learned Owl is just what you'd expect; cute, cozy, and with the friendliest most helpful staff!
We had the best time, and, as authors will, we got a bit silly. Julia started it! She egged me on to write the next Big Thing: Scandanavian Cozies, as Jani Veestersen. We came up with the first title: Screamshaw. Then she started in on Scandanavian erotica, and I suggested 50 Shades of Herring. And it went downhill from there.
A bit of Main Street.
A bit more of Main Street.
The silver foxes, me and Julia Spencer-Fleming. We had waaay too good a time there. And yes, we sold books.
Tomorrow, first thing at 9 am is my panel, "Murder Most Ancient" with Peg Herring, Albert Bell, Sharan Newman, and Marilyn Todd. Come on down! We're giving away books! I'm leaving pretty much after the signing and I'll report on it later that evening when I return to California.