Sunday, November 21, 2010

It's Show Time! - On Mystery Conferences

ROSEMARY: The New England Crimebake is arguably the last mystery con of the season. I'm sure somewhere mystery writers are getting together and talking, drinking, sharing info and experience, but most would agree that Cbake ends a very long season of possible events a mystery writer/reader can attend. (Our year is almost as long as the tennis season.) Add that to the library and general book events - and flower shows if you're me - and we could be somewhere every weekend if we didn't have families, lives, jobs and, oh yes, the need to write during all of this activity.

There are still a few shows I haven't attended, either because of bad timing or the unhappy reality that I can't be in two places at once. Magna Cum Murder and Mayhem in the Midlands are two I hope to attend one day. I love the ALA conferences and in six weeks Hank and I will be in San Diego with T. Jefferson Parker, Sue Ann Jaffarian, Naomi Hirahara, Harley Jane Kozak and others at ALA's second official Mystery Day which I'm proud to say I'm helping them coordinate. San Diego, January 8, for all you librarians out there. That leaves time for Thanksgiving, three mystery group holiday parties, and a quick cup of eggnog before I hit the road again on January 7.

I haven't filled in my entire schedule for next year yet (slacker!) but there are always some shows I hope to get to, or remember fondly. I missed the Virginia Festival of the Book last year, so I'll be going back to Charlottesville in March. Haven't been to Love is Murder, Sleuthfest, Murder in the Magic City or Left Coast Crime in a few years since my publisher changed the pub. dates on my books, and that's generally my homestretch writing time. I miss them, too.

Leaving Crimebake out of the mix because so many of the Jungle Red women are involved, do you have any favorites? Which shows are you looking forward to next year?


  1. I love Malice Domestic, and not just because I had a fabulous time as toastmaster last year but because those are MY people. It's not dominated by the noir guys like Bouchercon and we cozier writers are made to feel that we are appreciated for once.
    The other con I go to every year is Left Coast Crime--because I live on the West Coast, obviously, but also because it is in different and interesting places--including Alaska and Hawaii. This year it will be in Santa Fe--how fabulous is that?
    Also it's just about the right size--usually about 500 or so.
    I have enjoyed the smaller cons--I'm the featured speaker at Love is Murder this upcoming February--including Mayhem and Murder in the Magic City. Let's face it, any get together of mystery fans and writers is always a great experience.

  2. I'll have a book out next year so I'm that'll be my excuse for going to mystery conferences. Looking forward to Thrillerfest. Maybe Bouchercon. Ive always wanted to go to Magna cum Murder. And Deadly Ink has our own Hank as it's Guest of Honor next year!

  3. There really ARE a lot of great mystery conferences--I'd like to try them all, eventually. This year, I'll be at the Virginia Festival of the Book (Glad you're coming back, Ro!) and Malice Domestic (Rhys, maybe we'll be on a panel together again!). And I'm looking forward to Bouchercon. ThrillerFest was fun last year, but I have a family reunion scheduled that weekend. Heck, they probably won't even know I was missing. Hope to see you all, out and about on the circuit!

  4. Hi, ladies,
    I've just started following your blog and some other mystery writers' blogs. My career has been in children's books thus far, and most of my connections are there. Now that I've finished my first mystery novel, I'm starting to immerse myself in a whole new world. Ack! What conference(s) would you suggest for a newbie mystery writer, with workshops on writing and marketing, and agents and editors present? Not looking for fan fests. Thanks!

  5. Hey Toby! Crime Bake is a must-do, especially if you're from around New England. Malice Domestic is the be-all and end-all for traditional mysteries, and I'd never miss it. (Alan, see you there!)

    Bouchercon--huge and amazing. Thrillerfest--hip and fantastic.

    LCC? Hope I can go..Virginia Festival..oh, I fear I missed siging up. Rats.

    Mayhem and Murder in Muskego--top of my list. And Magna Cum Murder--please invite me!

    Magic City is one of my best memories. Wonderful, beginning to end.

    And the South Carolina Writers Workshop. Fantastic.

    Deadly Ink--can't believe I'm GOH. And I hear this year is going to be the best yet. I'm planning some big surprises.

    Oh, you can't go wrong. There's something wonderful about each one.

  6. Oh Boy, it makes me tired to think about all the conferences I wish I was attending! Toby, I certainly second Crimebake. There are master classes on writing and promoting on Friday and excellent access to agents who hang out with us all weekend. I've heard that the Backspace writers conference is good for agents. And Sleuthfest is good for writing--and for getting away from bad weather in the winter!

    I love Malice too, and even Bouchercon, which is completely overwhelming. I've also had very good experiences at left Coast Crime--attended the one in Tucson before I was published and later Pasadena. I've always wanted to go to Magna and Mayhem and Love is Murder--though Chicago in February scares me!

  7. Toby, I'd recommend Sleuthfest in Florida in March for someone who wants tips on the genre. It's for writers essentially not fans and has plenty of agents and editors present.

  8. Thank you -- Hank, Roberta, and Rhys. I've begun checking out the websites, and Crimebake looks very good and doable. So does Sleuthfest (and it wouldn't be too painful to go to South Florida in March, either).

    I look forward to chatting with you more about your blog. Great posts, by the way!

    Thanks again for the warm welcome. :)