Saturday, November 14, 2015

Memories of Crime Bake

LUCY BURDETTE: I always mean to do a better job of documenting the New England Crime Bake mystery conference, but it goes by so fast...I get home and my pictures are skimpy and I'm exhausted! But still, I wanted to mark the occasion with a few moments and high points.

First, I always enjoy the extra time riding up and back to the conference (in Dedham, MA) with my writers group pals, Angelo Pompano and Chris Falcone. We've been reading each others' stuff for at least 15 years. I can't wait to see their wonderful books in print.

Hallie, Lucy, and Hank

Next, I love seeing any Jungle Reds who are there--in this case Hank and Hallie, who always contribute so much to the conversations.

Ray Saleme, Elizabeth George, Hallie Ephron
Elizabeth George was a fabulous guest of honor--gracious, talented and game for anything. I love hearing how other people write, what they know and don't know when they plunge into a story.

Lucy, Julianne, Lisa
Speaking of community, the conference has become a huge community for New England writers and readers. On Friday night, 22 debut authors were honored. Isn't that an amazing number? Here's a picture of one of them, Julie Hennrikus aka Julianne Holmes, who also happened to be a co-chair this year. I'm reading her book now--JUST KILLING TIME--and it's wonderful! On the Wicked Cozy "stick" is one of our back bloggers, Mark Baker.

This was also the date for the launch of the Level Best Books anthology, RED DAWN. (I mentioned a few weeks ago that my new Key West story "Last Mango in Paradise" made it into this edition.) It's a blast to autograph the books in a big line with all the other writers. (Thanks to Susan Oleksiw for the photo.)

Two Miss Marples and one Poirot with the Queen
And Saturday night, the costume banquet is always a ball! This year with an English pub theme, we came dressed as our favorite English characters or writers. And then we ate dinner and danced and fell into bed exhausted! The DJ was heard saying this is the strangest group he's ever worked for--we come in costume, eat, dance like madpeople for an hour and then totter hard, party hard!

There's too much more to mention like a critique I did whose authors went on to have 5 agents ask to see the book! And a wonderful discussion about the writers' life with Peter Abrahams, Kate Flora, and Gerry Boyle. 

If you attended the conference, what was your favorite moment? If you didn't, how about a memory from another writers conference? (And ps, next year's guest of honor will be the fabulous William Kent Krueger--not to be missed!)


  1. Sounds like this was a wonderful conference. Thanks for sharing memories and pictures!

  2. My favorite memory? Getting to be there on a stick this year!!!! I really have had fun with seeing the pictures, and was thrilled to pop up here as well.

  3. We Wickeds had a lot of fun showing Mark the scene! I love the dancing, as some of you know, and was very impressed that Elizabeth George has the same daily page count goal as I do. ;^) Always a delight to see the Reds in person, too. Thanks for the highlights, Roberta.

  4. Mark, I saw you on a stick! Edith, you were the life of the party!
    I thought this was one of the best Crime Bakes ever. Elizabeth George was terrific and generous and so smart. It's a huge job to organize, my hat off to the committee. The banquet was a highlight for me, and so happy to see shrimp cocktail and shepherd's pie (British theme) instead of chicken. But the real highlight is getting to reconnect with so many other lovers of crime fiction and finding out who broke through and has a book coming out. LOTS of success stories this year.

  5. Lucy, it was so wonderful to see the two Miss Marples and one Poirot at Crime Bake, along with Reds Hallie and Hank. And I got to sit next to Elizabeth George, one of my favorite authors, at the banquet!

    I am still exhausted and digging out--mailing out books for Level Best, updating the Crime Bake website, trying to find room on my shelves for the books I bought. But is was so worth it.

  6. Lucy, it’s hard to pick one highlight. Of course meeting Elizabeth George, who is so friendly, was one of them. The seminars, panels, agents, Sisters in Crime Breakfast, and hanging out with old and new friends are all right up there too. Of course the banquet was a riot when Poirot lost his Marples aka you and Chris Falcone. And just watching Hallie’s expert moves on the dance floor was worth the price of admission. My most embarrassing moment: as I started the panel on suspense with Gayle Lynds, David Handler, Chris Knopf, and Chris Holm, writers that I really respect, I found the tech had cut off my microphone. I looked out at the audience and there was Hank sitting against the back wall channeling encouragement. Talk about community!

  7. My first Crime Bake and it was wonderful. Not sure if I was allowed to come since I am not from New England--but from Kentucky. I was welcomed with open arms. Every one is so generous and helpful!!
    Debi Huff

  8. Crime Bake sounds like great fun! I wish I could go to all of these great conferences. I keep wanting to get to Malice in the spring, but it seems that Bouchercon always wins out. One of these years though.

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  10. I think you had a great time there. you have given a a wonderful discussion about the writers' life. I am a professional writer in Admission essay writing service. I love hearing how other people write, what they know follow it.