conference, sponsored by New England Sisters in Crime and the New England chapter of Mystery Writers of America, and held in Dedham, MA, practically in my backyard.
I've been to every single Crime Bake, 15 and counting. The first was one day, held in a college lecture hall with maybe 100 attendees. The first Guest of Honor was the late great Jeremiah Healy and the Jungle Red Writers hadn't been invented.
This year we packed a suburban Hilton with about 300 attendees for three days. As usual, the conference sold out in a few weeks. Guest of Honor was William Kent Krueger. Hank and Lucy and I represented the Reds. Conference chairs were Sharon Daynard and Ray Daniel.
Highlight for me was Kent's Saturday keynote. He talked about being miserable at his day job and yearning to be a writer -- correction, not just any writer, yearning to be Ernest Hemingway. It wasn't until he gave up on that goal and settled for being his own writer that he found success. And what a formidable success it's been.
It was a message for all of us aspiring writers: Don't reach for someone else's stars, reach for your own.
Here's me and Kent in our plaids and caps. Lucy a reindeer and Hank a moose (Bullwinkle -- Jonathan, Hank's husband, came as Rocky.)
Of course we signed books. Hank signed a gazillion of her hot-off-the-presses SAY NO MORE.
My favorite thing is when someone brings me a copy of my mystery writing book to sign, and it looks like this:
Biggest challenge: The Wheel of Why. The nefarious Julie Hennrikus devised a diabolical challenge. Hank and I were on TEAM THRILLER. Competing against TEAM POLICE PROCEDURAL and TEAM COZY. Given two character names (Fred and Ginger), four clues (lizard, umbrella, and two I've conveniently forgotten), and a motive (lust), in three minutes we had to come up with a thriller plot.
Can I just say that for a challenge like that, you want Hank on your team. She had me at: "Fred and Ginger... not their real names..."
Join us next year, but register early or you'll be shut out!
Who else was there? Share your highlights.
And what are your favorite events to hang out with readers and writers?