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August Interviews

8/5 Lucy Burdette, The Key Lime Crime

8/12 Maggie Toussaint, All Done With It

8/19 Julie Mulhern, Killer Queen

8/26 Debra Goldstein, Three Treats Too Many

August Guest Bloggers

8/8 Leslie Wheeler

8/15 Jean Rabe

August Interviews

8/22 Kait Carson

8/29 WWK Authors--What We're Reading Now


Congratulations to our two Silver Falchion Finalists Connie Berry and Debra Goldstein!

Paula Gail Benson's "Cosway's Confidence" placed second and Debra Goldstein's "Wabbit's Carat" received Honorable Mention in the Bethlehem Writers Roundtable 2020 short story contest. Congratulations, Paula and Debra!

Susan Van Kirk's Three May Keep A Secret has been republished by Harlequinn's Worldwide Mystery. The WWK interview about the book can be accessed here. We're so glad another publisher picked up this series.

KM Rockwood's "Burning Desire," and Paula Gail Benson's "Living One's Own Truth," have been published in the anthology Heartbreaks & Half-truths. Congratulations to all of the WWK writers.

Please join Margaret S. Hamilton's Kings River Life podcast of her short story "Busted at the Book Sale" here. Congratulations, Margaret!

Look Margaret S. Hamilton's short stories in the new Mid-Century Murder by Darkhouse Books. Margaret's story is titled "4BR/3.5BA Contemporary."

Grace Topping's second novel in Laura Bishop staging series, Staging Wars, was released by Henery Press on April 28th. Look for the interview here from April 29th.

Annette Dashofy's 10th Zoe Chambers mystery, Til Death, will be released on June 16th. Look for the interview here on June 17.


Thursday, October 11, 2012


Laurie R. King, Dana Cameron, Sean Chercover, Ed Lin, Toni L.P. Kelner
This past week I attended Bouchercon 2012, the world's largest and longest running mystery conference. It was started in 1970 and named for Anthony Boucher, a writer and critic. Every year it's in a different city, and this year Cleveland was chosen. Fifteen hundred people registered in advance from five continents, plus on Friday and Saturday 100 additional day passes were offered on a first come basis. Although I've been going to mystery conferences for the past six years, I've never attended anything this large.

Because I live in NE Ohio 50 to 60 miles from the conference site, I drove back and forth. I'd offered a room in my home to Barbara Emrys for the conference so she came and went with me each day.

There were many big name authors like Lee Child, Michael Connelly, Charlaine Harris, Elizabeth George and Sara Paretsky, to name just a few ot of the 118 mystery authors attending. Many authors attending Bouchercon I've seen and met before, but I didn't see them here unless I was able to attend one of their panels. With five panels in each time slot, it was hard to decide which one to attend.

The first panel I attended was late Thursday morning; "CLEVELAND ROCKS AND SO DOES MURDER; What makes this Midwest city so popular for killers?" Les Roberts moderated and the panel included Casey Daniels, Amanda Flower, two of my Cleveland area Sinc sisters, as well as Robin Yocum and John Billheimer. I enjoyed hearing their take on Cleveland and why they used it for their settings.

I attended another panel on true crimes and then worked the hospitality lounge until the panels ended for the day. Since Barbara and I hadn't signed up for the Rock n' Roll Hall of Fame tour, we headed back to my house hoping to miss some of the evening rush hour traffic. We didn't, but it was better than the following evening.

Friday we had to leave much earlier since the panels started earlier. The first panel I went to was "MYSTERY MATURES; Sleuths in the prime of their lives . . . and on social security." Barbara Allen moderated and Dave Whellams, Daniel Friedman, Elizabeth J. Duncan, and Gale Borger were the panelists. It was an amusing panel.

Next I worked at the registration desk for several hours. I enjoyed it even more than the hospitality room. The perk for volunteering was a cool, long, yellow scarf with the words "Crime Scene; Do Not Cross" on both sides of the scarf. I had a lot of people ask me where I got it.

Afterwards I went to "Cozy in Cleveland: A Tastemakers' Luncheon" and free for those invited which included my NEOSINC group, librarians and certain authors. Katherine Clark, who has made an extensive study of the cozy genre, moderated a panel consisting of Cleveland cozy writers Casey Daniels, Shelley Bloomfield and Amanda Flower who informed and entertained us while we ate.

                                                     Amanda Flower and Casey Daniels

I attended two panels in the afternoon. The first was "OUR INSPIRATIONS; What books/plays/films/TV sows/music made us the writers we are today." Laurie R. King, one of my favorite authors, was the moderator, and the panel consisted of S.J. Rozan, Dana Cameron, Sean Chercover, Ed Lin and Toni L.P. Kelner. It was an interesting discussion. Following that one I went to "GIRLS JUST WANT TO HAVE FUN; Who will win the Jungle Red Writers Family Feud?" Hank Phillippi Ryan was the funny and delightful MC while Hallie Ephron put up the questions and highlighted the correct answers. One team had Julia Spencer-Fleming, Lucy Burdette/Roberta Isleib and Deborah Crombie. The other team was Rosemary Harris, Rhys Bowen and Rhys' husband. The whole audience was laughing and shouting out answers throughout. It was hilarious. There were questions pertaining to cozies like; "What weapon is used most often in cozies?" They were rated from one to five. The Jungle Red Writers got their answers from a survey taken on their blog in advance.

Saturday morning the first panel I attended was excellent. ELEMENTARY MY DEAR CLEVELAND;  How Sherlock Holmes is still influencing fiction today" moderated by Leslie S. Klinger with Michael Robertson, Dan Andriacco, Laurie R. King (of course) Daniel Stashower and Sara Paretsky on the panel. Sara insisted she didn't belong on this panel. Her only connection to Sherlock Holmes was a short story she wrote for the anthology Leslie S. Klinger is putting together with each story including Holmes in some way. It was a great panel; funny and yet informative.

 (Laurie R. King not pictured) Daniel Stashower, Michael Robertson, Leslie S. Klinger, Dan       Andriacco, Sara Paretsky

My next panel was "WHAT A CHARACTER; How do authors create their characters; real people or made up?" Don Bruns moderated and panel members were Charlaine Harris, Elizabeth George, Brad Parks, Daniel Palmer and Alison Gaylin. It was an interesting panel with a good discussion. Charlaine is always delightfully funny.

The Guppy luncheon followed in Sans Souci, the hotel restaurant. It was nice to meet so many fellow Guppies, some I'd never met before. I sat between Barb Goffman and Harriette Sackler. I knew them slightly from Malice Domestic, but it was nice to get to know them better. I also got to talk to Gigi Pandian, and had her as well as Susan Boyer and Yves Fey sign their books.

                     Barbara Emrys, Daryl Woods Garber (Avery Ames), Harriette Sackler

A  turkey club sandwich and all the mental stimulation had me tired so I rested in the hotel lounge and read until the next panel which was an interview with Elizabeth George conducted by Deborah Crombie. Elizabeth George is one of my very favorite writers so I thoroughly enjoyed the interview and so did the extremely large crowd that started filling the room far in advance of the interview. Just as enjoyable as the interview was meeting our former co-blogger, Linda Rodriguez and her husband both before and after the interview. It was so nice visiting with her.

Barbara and I didn't stay for the evening's Anthony ceremony nor did we go back on Sunday. The more than two hours round trip didn't seem worth it for only two panels since the conference ended around noon.

It's over now and I enjoyed it while it lasted, but I'm glad to be home in my own quiet world. I got a dozen or so free books in the bag we were given, and I also bought ten more from authors I like or want to try. Since I have yet to finish all the books I bought at Malice, I'll have plenty to read over the winter months. It's one of the reasons I love winter.

Have you ever been to Bouchercon or another conference? What did you like or not like about them?                                    


Jim Jackson said...

I've never been to Boucheron, but I have attended other writers conferences.

My most interesting experience was a small seminar taught by Sara Paretsky as part of the 2004 "Love is Murder" conference in Chicago.

She gave us several words we needed to use in the beginning of a story that we wrote on the spot and then provided critique to each other's work.

Due to seating I was one of the last to read. Others had been pretty polished and as a relative newbie I was a bit intimidated. I don't remember what my fellow participants said about my piece, but I do recall two important things from Sara:

She would like to know more about what my main character was feeling, and something she did not say about anyone else: she thought I had an interesting voice.

The second comment helped me understand that while some people will not like my style, my voice, others will find it interesting, and it is that group I am writing for. The first comment homed in on a weakness with my early writing: too much Dragnet with just the facts and too little emotion.

~ Jim

E. B. Davis said...

Thanks for the report, Gloria. I want one of those scarves too. Tell Casey Daniels that I love her series.

Gloria Alden said...

Jim, I've attended the Love is Murder conference twice and enjoyed it very much. It is smaller and the authors are more accessible.

The advice Sara Paretsky gave you was important. We have to realize that not everyone will like what we write. Not even the hugely popular mystery writers are liked by every mystery reader. Also, that allusive quaity called voice is very important, too. If she said you had it, that's a great compliment.

Gloria Alden said...

E.B. I love that scarf, too. They're available to buy somewhere on the internet, but I have no idea where.

I'll tell Casey when I see her. I got her latest Pepper Martin book - Supernatural Born Killers there, but I haven't had time to start it. She has another new series, too, written under the pen name Kylie Logan. It's about someone who runs a button shop in Chicago. Quite frankly, I didn't think I'd care much for it, but I did although my sister didn't. I still like Pepper Martin best, though.

Warren Bull said...

Great Manhattan Mystery Conclave was my favorite, but it went out of business. It's great to meet people who write and make connections.

Linda Rodriguez said...

Gloria, it was lovely to see you and talk with you again at Bouchercon. I thought it was great but hectic and crowded. I think I prefer the smaller Malice Domestic--both for the panels and the chances to meet and talk with writer friends that are seldom seen except at these conferences.

Barb Goffman said...

It was so lovely to chat with you at lunch, Gloria. And I loved that crime-scene scarf, too. Here's where you can get one (I saw someone from Bcon post about this website the other day):

Gloria Alden said...

Warren, there was another conference - I can't remember the name now - but I always wanted to go to it when I read about it in Writers Digest, but it went out of business. I think it was somewhere in the Midwest.

Gloria Alden said...

Linda, I'm hoping I'll see you at Malice next year, and I'm hoping your next book will be out then, too. Another small conference I've enjoyed was Love is Murder in Chicago in February. I know, a lot of people don't want to go to Chicago in February, but its only minutes by shuttle to the hotel from the airport.

Gloria Alden said...

Barb, thanks for sharing the link. I don't need another one, but I know others would love one. Also, congratulations on getting an anthology of your short stories accepted for publication by Wildside. I'll be sure to pick it up at Malice next year.

Rhonda Lane said...

Thanks for the link for the scarf, Barb. Gloria, thanks for taking us along to Bouchercon. :) Sounds like you had a big and busy weekend. :)

Next month, I'm going to the New England Crime Bake in Dedham, MA, about 2.5 hours away. I also tend to somehow land on or near the planning committee for the Connecticut Fiction Fest, an all-genre conference hosted by the CT Romance Writers Association next year in September. :)

Gloria Alden said...

Rhonda, I went to Crimebake a few years ago, and I really liked it. I'd like to go back again, but I'm trying to limit my writer conferences to no more than two a year. Maybe next year. It's rather hard on my finances and my poor dog, who grieves so when I'm gone more than one day.

Patg said...

I'm a conference person, and like most that I've been to. LCC Portland, Seattle and Santa Fe, and will do Colorado Springs next year. Bouchercon is a whirlwind, but not intimate, so my least favorite. I did love Malice the one time I attended.
SF cons are great too. I've never done World Horror or World Fantasy. Ever heard of a Smoff Con? It's for people who run conventions.

Gloria Alden said...

You'll have to go to Malice next year, Pat. It's where we met for the first and only time. It's about time we got together there again.