Tag: Bouchercon

Bouchercon

Toy Lady

Over the next few days the Bouchercon Mystery Convention will be taking place in St. Petersburg, Florida. More than 1,500 mystery writers and fans will be attending. Karin Slaughter will be the guest of honor. It will be a fabulous time, but I had to bow out this year because I will be having a different sort of fabulous time. I will be sorting toys for my church Attic Sale.  I am the chairperson of the Toy Department, which is not an honor I actually had to fight for. But it’s an honor nonetheless. That means that I spend hours sorting through black trash bags and trying to figure out what that thing is that looks like a bean ball and how much can charge for it? The miraculous part about this whole exercise is that we raise a huge sum of money. The Attic Sale as a whole raises about $50,000 and my little department raises about $2,000. (You can only charge so much for a used Barbie car.) Every penny that we raise we donate. We give to local organizations that help kids in our community, to groups who help prisoners trying to get acclimated after they get out of jail, […]

Read More

Authors and Books and Readers, Oh My

 Crime conference season is still in full swing. Thrillerfest takes place in New York City in a couple of weeks. (Yes, I’ll be there!) Bouchercon happens in Florida in September. Dozens of other events are scheduled worldwide between now and November. I counted 17 on Sisters in Crime’s upcoming events calendar. Libraries also kick off their summer reading programs this time of year. They host author events in conjunction with their efforts to encourage people to get out and read. This Saturday, June 30, from 1-3pm, I’ll be at the Dixon Public Library in Dixon, IL as part of their Summer Author Series. Author events and conferences have several things in common—authors, books, and readers. Beyond that, they’re as different as, well, authors, books, and readers. Some feature moderated panels. Several authors answer questions they may or may not have received in advance. Some feature interviews. Someone, usually an author, interviews the featured guest author in front of an audience. Authors read from their works at some events and give prepared speeches at others. Sometimes an author hosts a table. Readers may spend the entire event seated with the table’s host or they may move from table to table and meet […]

Read More

The Power of Positive Flying

 A day after returning from Bouchercon, I sit shoehorned into an economy seat for a four-and-a-half hour flight to the West Coast to make a site visit to one of our stations. I had fifteen hours to unpack, try to salvage waterlogged books and journals from the aftermath of the apparent flood that invaded my basement while I enjoyed Toronto, repack, eat (miniature Swiss chocolate bars, a Naked protein shake, and a Starbucks latte), catch up on some blogs (a Femmes Fatales post and two posts for my Lone Star Lit blog tour), nap, shower, dress, and catch a taxi back to the airport I’d just left. The shrieking (full-on, Banshee-worthy wails punctuated by sobs akin to chainsaws. Think of the fits thrown by Mary in the Secret Garden. Think of someone being tortured by Klingons.) temper tantrums of two of my coach-mates have turned the possibility of sleep on the plane into a hope as forlorn as Miss Havisham’s wedding dress. So what to do in the face of hours of cramped elbows, sore knees, a weird numbness in my pinky, and an onslaught of relentless screaming?Focus on the positive. I picked up a magazine called “Live Happy” (seriously, […]

Read More

Bite-sized Bouchercon

 I started this post a few days ago. Now I’m sitting in Toronto Pearson International Airport waiting to board my flight back to the U.S. I’m manning the International Thriller Writers’ table at my first Bouchercon, feeling…overwhelmed. This conference is huge. I ran into Hank Phillipi Ryan in the elevator and joked there were more people in the hotel than there were on the streets. 1700 registrants. Wow. 1700 authors, editors, agents, bloggers, reviewers, readers, all gathered to celebrate mystery. Double wow. No danger of not finding enough to do. The opposite. Activities run non-stop from 7:30 am until 11 pm, or later. Hard decisions must be made to choose what to do without overdoing it and making yourself crazy. Try to do everything and, in addition to discovering you’d need to clone yourself to be in multiple places at the same time, you’ll collapse from exhaustion. Here are a few suggestions, based on what worked for me. If you’re on a panel, it’s easy. Start with that. Block out your time slot so you don’t inadvertently schedule yourself to be someplace else while you’re supposed to be on the dias. Dont forget, a 30 minute booksigning follows your panel. Next, find your […]

Read More

Miss Demeanors in Toronto! Come find us.

 Five of the Miss Demeanors, along with Paula Munier, better known as the glue that binds them together, swarm the city for the weekend. While you will certainly find them in the bar or roaming the halls to see friends, visit panels and chat with readers, there are times when you can count on finding them! Thursday kicks off with Michele Dorsey and Tracee de Hahn on competing panels (wander from one to the other and they promise not to object as the door opens and shuts): Michele’s panel is in Sheraton A at 4 pm. She joins fellow beach lovers Ryan Aldred, Baron R. Birtcher, David Burnsworth, Mike Martin and moderator Kay Kendall talking about “Coastal Crimes: How does living on the Water’s edge drive crime?” Meanwhile at 4 pm in Sheraton C, you are invited to “Read the World: Discover mysterious characters travelling through multiple counties.” Tracee de Hahn will sell you on the merits of a vacation in Switzerland, or at least a good read about that country, joined by panelists Cathy Ace, Annamaria Alfieri, Barry Lancet, Chris Pave and moderator Puja Guha, chatting about their respective destinations. Michele and Tracee will sign books immediately following their panels in Osgoode. 7:30 am […]

Read More

Conferences–Worth it?

 I am writing this blog when I should be booking a ticket to Nashville. I’ve already signed up for Killer Nashville, you see, and–though I’ve paid my conference fee and for my hotel–I have yet to book a flight. I will. I’m hemming and hawing about airline prices and not yet wanting to part with the money in my savings account.  Conferences can empty wallet. I’ve yet to attend one that didn’t ultimately set me back a grand with all the travel expenses and registration fees–not to mention the cost of promotional swag. So, a natural question is, are they worth it?  I think conferences help build an author’s brand and enable writers to connect with other novelists, both of which can sell books. Though I think anyone that believes he or she will go to a conference and see a resulting spike in his or her Amazon ranking will be ultimately disappointed. Conferences are largely attended by other writers. And, though writers buy and read lots of books, they are there to sell their own work–not to spend a bunch of money on their friends’ novels. What’s more important, though, is that writers talk about other writers and, ultimately, will read and promote authors whom they […]

Read More

Fan conferences

 Readers who haven’t heard about fan conferences are missing something. They are – to my mind – a unique opportunity for writers and readers to mix. And honestly, aren’t all writers also readers, so it’s a perfect storm. More seriously, for those choosing which conferences to attend, writers have a to remember that these conferences aren’t about craft. Panels tend to focus on the experience of reading – what’s it like to set a book in a hot climate or why do you write such scary books. If you want a seminar on plot or constructing believable characters pick another type of conference. That said, fan conferences are a chance for writers to have down time with their fellow scribes and network among colleagues. If you are a beginning writer then you can take advantage of the (often) more relaxed atmosphere and get to know some of your favorite authors and make connections that may help your career down the road (when you need that blurb for your first novel). For fans who have no intention of writing these conferences are a vacation. I’ve met mother-daughter traveling teams, groups from book clubs who want to take their reading interest to a new level, […]

Read More

Should you go to a conference?

 I sold my first novel, The Fiction Class, to an editor I met at the NY Pitch Conference. A few years later,  I met my fabulous agent, Paula Munier,  at the NY Pitch Conference. She sold my Maggie Dove mystery series to an editor I had met at the NY Pitch Conference. So it would be fair to say, I’m in the pro-conference camp. (I should add that I now work at the NY Pitch Conference.)  Last year, with my new mystery series debuting, I thought it  important to get out and meet people in the mystery-writing community, and so I went to three new (to me) conferences: Malice Domestic, which is geared toward cozies, Bouchercon, which is huge and was in New Orleans, and Writers’ Police Academy, which was in Wisconsin and gave me lots of hands-on experience. The conferences were thrilling, exhausting and educational and I’m still going through my notes. So, I asked my fellow Miss Demeanors what they felt about conferences and this is what they said:  Count me among the big fans, too. I attend a lot of conferences for both my day job and my writing career and learned early on that you get out of them what […]

Read More

Bouchercon Goals

Bouchercon, the largest gathering of mystery and thriller writers in the United States, can be an overwhelming experience. Every hour, there are panels filled with successful, interesting and respected writers. There’s the bar where most folks hang out until the wee hours of the morning. There are lunches with publishers, meetings with editors, and drinks with agents. What do you go to? How to spend the time? Obviously, any meeting with a writer’s agent or publisher is a must. After that, I prioritize lunches and dinners with fellow authors, ideally ones that either write similar stories (domestic suspense, for me), have experiences with similar people (same publisher or editor, for example) or have advanced from where I am and can offer sage advice.  As much as Bouchercon is a place to promote my work, it’s also a place to get out of the writing cocoon and meet people who can relate to the process of crafting a novel, working with a publisher, and promoting a book. These people have invaluable insights into the business. They can let me know whether my experience with a publisher is par for the course, exceptional, or worse than anticipated by relating their own experiences. They can provide insight into what I may have to […]

Read More

Swag or No Swag

 The thriller and mystery writer community’s biggest annual bash starts tomorrow in New Orleans. In the midst of packing for my 7a.m. flight today I made a big decision: NO SWAG. At last year’s Bouchercon, I brought a suitcase full of free giveaways to promote my first novel, Dark Turns. Bookmarks. Stress balls with my blue-hued book cover on them. Folders with a sticker advertising my personal Web site. Three boxes of business cards. I was cheap by comparison to some of the swag-laden authors that I encountered. Some writers splurged on custom printed pens. I saw t-shirts with pithy quotes from novels. A few scribes that I knew splurged on custom canvas bags with their book covers emblazoned on the front.  Aside from the bags and perhaps pens, I’m pretty sure most of the giveaway items ended up in the garbage. People fly to these conferences with carry-ons to avoid checked bag fees. The last thing most authors want after shelling out a bunch of cash for airfare and hotels–not to mention drinks at the bar–is to pay more to bring home additional luggage. It’s enough that authors tend to end conferences with a bunch of books that must be shoved into their bags or shipped home.  This year, I am bringing […]

Read More

Recent Posts

Fatality in F
  • February 21, 2019
The More You Know…
  • February 20, 2019
Fool Me Once…
  • February 18, 2019
First pages.
  • February 13, 2019
First lines.
  • February 12, 2019
Lots of counting in writing
  • February 11, 2019
How Do You Even Brand?
  • February 8, 2019

Search By Tags