Find the Wickeds at Bouchercon

It’s Wicked Wednesday, and five out of the six Wickeds are in (or traveling to) New Orleans for Bouchercon, the biggest mystery convention of the year! (We’re missing Jessie, though.) Accomplices Kim Gray and Sheila Connolly are there, too. bouchercon-meetup-with-place

So where will we be? Other than schmoozing in the bar, that is…

We’ll all be at the Wicked Cozy Meetup we’ve organized on Friday. If you’re in NOLA, please join us! Signings are in the  book room directly following panels, unless otherwise noted. Here are our schedules:

Wednesday:

  • Sisters in Crime SINC into Great Writing Workshop – Barb, Edith, Julie & Sherry

Thursday:

  • 12:30-2:30 Kensington Publishing Librarians and Booksellers Tea –  Barb, Edith, Liz, Sherry
  • 3:30 Barb panel in Mardi Gras ABC, Liz panel in LaGalleries 6
  • 4:30 Sheila panel in Mardi Gras FG

Friday:

  • 12 Cozy Meetup in the Marriott Lobby bar outside the Starbucks entrance
  • 3:30 Edith panel in Mardi Gras ABC

Saturday:

  • 7:30 SinC Breakfast in Riverview Room (pre-registration required)
  • 9 Sherry panel in LaGalleries 1
  • 2-3 Edith, Sheila at Blood on the Bayou anthology signing
  • 3:30 Julie panel in Mardi Gras D
  • 8 Anthony Awards ceremony

Hope to see you there!

 

 

 

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Jane/Sadie/Susannah Goes to Malice!

Our Wicked Cozy Accomplice Susannah Hardy/Sadie Hartwell (also known as Jane Haertel) couldn’t make it to Malice Domestic, so we took her on a stick! She had a really great time and met so many fabulous fans and authors.

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Agatha winner Barb Goffman

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Laura DiSilverio and Jessie

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Nancy Parra/Coco

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Sparkle Abbey and Cathy Ace

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The Wickeds, plus fave commenter Mark Baker

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Elaine Viets, C. Ellett Logan, Alan Orloff, and Becky Hutchison

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Liz, Jacqui York, and Mark Baker

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Joyce Tremel

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With Annette Dashofy

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Terrie Moran, Ellen Byron, and Cheryl Hollon

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Paula Benson and Harriette Sackler

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Fans Nikki Bonani, Risa Rispoli, Dru Ann Love, and Aimee Hix

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Edith and Rhys Bowen

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Helping Kim and Shari Randall stuff goody bags

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She even got to go to the banquet!

Jane helps with the goody bags!

Jane helps with the goody bags!

Readers: did you spot Susannah/Sadie around Malice? Who wants to go on a stick next year?

 

Wicked Wednesday: Malice Edition

NEWS FLASH: Reine Harrington Carter won The Immaculate! Marian will be contacting you, Reine. Congratulations!

The Wickeds did Malice last weekend. Malice Domestic is an annual fan convention in Bethesda, Maryland. We’ve all been several times, but haven’t all been there together for a couple of years. Panels, banquets, dinners, meetings, catching up with friends and laughs, lots of laughs. You’ll  be hearing a lot about the weekend in the next few weeks, but for this Wicked Wednesday, here’s the question. What is your favorite Malice Memory of 2016?

Edith: Can I have three? I got to listen to two of my very favorite authors be interviewed as honorees and later get my picture with each. Katherine Hall Page was the Lifetime Achievement awardee – and she’s one of the reasons I write the kind of mysteries I do. Victoria Thompson was this year’s Guest of Honor – and she also writes about a historical midwife solving crimes. And then the great Margaret Maron moderated Julie’s Best First Novel panel, the panel she has moderated every year – and brought us all to tears with her farewell ending remarks, because she is retiring from the business. Three awesome, talented, productive women. Truly a Malice to remember.

IMG_8871Sherry: I have to share three also. Getting to see people I only see at conferences and catching up with them is first! I’m going to have Leslie Budewitz withdrawals since we’ve been at five conferences together in the last six months. Second, I signed next to the amazing Charlaine Harris — what a thrill and she is lovely! And third, I’m still new enough at this author thing that when someone asks me to sign a book I want to leap up and hug them.

Liz: Every moment at Malice is a fabulous memory. Just being able to be on a panel and sign books that people have bought is a fabulous feeling. Seeing old friends and meeting new ones is the best part of the weekend, and of course enjoying two of the Wickeds being nominated was fabulous! And agree with Edith – Julie’s panel moderated by Margaret Maron was unforgettable.

 

dinner with friends

Pre Malice Dinner: Wickeds, Accomplices, Friends

Jessie: I loved the interviews with both Victoria Thompson and with Hank Phillippi Ryan. It was such a pleasure to hear about their careers and the plans they have for the future.  I also love being surrounded by all the positive energy that always fills the conference.

Barb: Seeing friends, especially the people I only see once a year is a definite. Malice-Go-Round was a blast. I remember what a deer-in-the-headlights I was the first time I did it. Also, so wonderful, the third New Author Breakfast including a Wicked in a row–Liz, then Sherry, then Julie. So cool!

Julie: Being nominated for Best First Novel was wonderful. I can remember the first time I went to Malice, and walked in the hotel alone, seeing groups of friends (authors I knew and admired) sitting together, laughing and talking. I wasn’t jealous as much as I could never imagine sitting on one of those couches, laughing. Yet, here I am, living my dream, seeing friends, meeting new ones.

 

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A Wicked Good Time in Hollywood

Julie: In MA, thinking about the lovely weather back in CA.

The contest winner of the sock contest is Edie Lewis! Please email your address to Sherry at Sherryharrisauthor@gmail.com

IMG_8330Sheila, Jessie, Sherry and I all went to Hollywood for a Sisters in Crime conference: Adapting to Hollywood. There we joined 121 other SinC members from across the country, learning about the business of film and television and what we needed to consider when doing an adaptation of our own work. We also got to pitch to a Hollywood producer. I know I am still thinking about the weekend, and mulling over all that I learned. Today, we’re going to chime in on a highlight of the weekend, a favorite memory, and something we learned.

Alison Sweeney talks about working with Hallmark, being a producer, actor, and author.

Alison Sweeney talks about working with Hallmark, being a producer, actor, and author.

Jessie: First off, I wanted to send out an enormous thank you to all the people involved in organizing this event. What a tremendous amount of work this must have been! I had such a wonderful time. I learned that while the film business and the publishing business tell stories really differently, they are both industries that require a lot of patience and tenacity. Nothing is over until it is over and enthusiasm goes a long, long way. One of the highlights for me was listening to Megan Abbott talk about her journey towards a seat in the writers’ room on a television show. She was funny and sincere and generous. A favorite memory was sitting with G.A. Maillet, Leslie Budewitz, Sheila, Sherry and Julie late into the evening on the hotel patio talking life and business.

Sheila: Talk about intense! We spent two full days listening to an amazing array of speakers, with different areas of expertise in the film/television/I don’t know what industry, telling us what it’s really like behind the scenes and how to break in. A huge thank-you for Sisters in Crime for putting this together.

IMG_8424I took a lot of notes, but they don’t always make sense. The first thing that jumped out at me what a comment made by writer Megan Abbott, the keynote speaker: “people in the business don’t live in the same world as other people.” You could say the same for writers. The question we all wanted answered was, where do these two worlds intersect?

Other messages? You’d better know someone to get your foot in the door. You need an agent, but your agent needs to know a California agent with connections. There is a lot of demand for IP (intellectual property, which I think means something you wrote that isn’t based on something else) because there are so many outlets for new work–but you still have to get it on the right desk or in front of the right eyes or whatever.

And then there’s the stuff we already know: write a good story, and tell it well. Make even your synopsis or screenplay entertaining. Trust yourself, and don’t lose your own voice. Be persistent and enthusiastic. And keep your fingers crossed!

Sherry: What a fabulous weekend! Thank you Sisters-in-Crime and the LA Chapter of SinC for putting on such a great event. I’m guessing getting all the speakers lined up was right up there with herding cats. And when someone didn’t show up you fixed it! To add to what Sheila said, if you don’t have an agent you can hire an entertainment lawyer to pitch your work to producers, etc. But never send anything on your own or unsolicited.

IMG_8389Most of you are probably familiar with the IMDb website which is full of information about movies, actors, and TV shows. But I learned in LA there is also an IMDb Pro which lists contact information for producers and executives. They have a thirty day free trial which I

Nancy Parra aka Nancy Coco, Leslie Budewitz, Jessie, Sheila, and Julie

Nancy Parra aka Nancy Coco, Leslie Budewitz, Jessie, Sheila, and Julie

signed up for because I wanted to email someone I had hoped to speak to but didn’t get a chance. So now you can find me on IMDb (for the next 25 days)! I wrote a quick note thanking him for being there and asked if he like my agent to send my books. (Okay, I’m trying not to check my email every five minutes to see if he’s answered.)

Another thing that really struck me is something that Laura DiSilverio said and was reiterated by the speakers over and over. Your art (book) is your art. Hollywood will change it into their art. They might use one aspect, they might not for legal reasons be able to use the names as they appear in your story, they might cut characters for smaller budget TV movies. Lastly, it is always fun to hang out with fellow authors and we had so much fun!

Julie: I took a screenwriting workshop years ago, and couldn’t

After a day of listening to Hollywood insiders, walking around the City Walk was fun.

After a day of listening walking around the City Walk was fun.

do it. Telling the story through dialogue rather than exposition? I just wasn’t there. But now, one of my takeaways is that I want to try again. The conference was just terrific at explaining in very clear terms that Hollywood is commercial, which is about making money. It doesn’t mean that they don’t care about story, or art (necessarily). It does mean that budgets and potential income matter.

I also thought about how lucky we are as novelists. Though we need people in our production pipeline (editors, publishers, booksellers, librarians, readers, etc.) our imagination is our own movie studio. It is a special skill, but not necessarily transferable.

What a terrific weekend. I learned a lot, and look forward to learning more. The dream is still to have a movie on the Hallmark Channel. I am grateful to Sisters in Crime for helping me realize this will be as big a challenge as getting published.

Any other sibs want to weigh in on what they learned last weekend?

Deep Breath

Keep Calm and Cozy OnI’m finding it tough to keep up with everything these days. Some things are terrible, like the terror attacks across the globe that are doing their job–making us all afraid. Some things are wonderful–finishing and submitting Clock and Dagger, the release of Just Killing Time, co-chairing the New England Crime Bake, StageSource nights, and the impending arrival of my favorite holiday, Thanksgiving. Combined with the rest of life, it is just a lot. Time for a deep breath, and for thinking about what I do. Am I adding to the chaos, or contributing to the peace? How can I tip my life from one to the other?

Being a cozy writer is a balancing act that has similar challenges. We all write murder mysteries. Chaos. But we write cozies, where order is restored, characters drive the story, and readers can take a vacation of sorts. As I plot book #3, I’ve been thinking a lot about this, and writing during this time in our shared history. So I’ve been taking a deep breath, and trying to add more balance to this book–more order, less chaos. More puzzle, less death. More solutions, less uncertainty. By the time I get to edits I may reconsider, but right now I am weary, and need a tonic. Going back to Orchard, and restoring order, is filling that need.

I wanted to share this video with all of you. As writers, empathy for our characters is also a required skill. Being empathetic is exhausting, but needed now more than ever.

Keep calm and cozy on my friends.

Wicked Wednesday–What Did the Wickeds Learn at Bouchercon?

Last week, three of the Wickeds, Julie, Edith and Sherry were at Bouchercon (along with Accomplice Sheila Connolly). Jessie, Liz and Barb had to miss it this year, so we’re dying to know–what did you learn? What surprised you, or informed you? What was the precious nugget you’ve carried home?

Edith: I learned I could make writing about murder in villages pertinent to a panel called MypanelCrime in the Metropolis! Seriously, that was my panel assignment, and we made it work. This year I didn’t get to very many sessions, though, because I was catching up with people, attending meetings (like the Sisters in Crime chapter officers’ meeting), or working in my room, with the occasional nap thrown in, too. And that was fine. It was also delightful to see both Julie and fellow New Englander Michele Dorsey on their first panels as a published author, and to eat some fabulous southern food.

Dinner with friends!

Dinner with friends! L-R starting at the top, Cheryl Hollon (another new author!), Sheila Connolly, Sherry Harris, and Leslie Budewitz, new president of Sister in Crime. Edith joined us shortly after this photo was taken.

Julie: What a whirlwind weekend! I am on the national board of Sisters in Crime, so I had a couple of meetings while I was in Raleigh, and went to the SinC breakfast to see the passing of the presidency. It was a great reminder about the importance of this organization in my life. Thrilling that Writes of Passage won the Anthony and the Macavity. I also participated in a panel EARLY Sunday morning, but Edith, Sheila and Sherry were still there, cheering me on.

Sheila Connolly toasting the Orchard Series with and appletini

Sheila Connolly with an Appletini–what else do you expect from the author of the Orchard series?

The New Authors breakfast required a one minute pitch, but Sherry and I practiced, and got it down. When I got up there, I looked up and saw Edith and Dru Ann both standing along the wall, give me big smiles and thumbs up. I had a little bit of a line at my signing, which was also great. Loved seeing so many writing friends, but also meeting so many readers. It was both humbling and invigorating, and reinforced the fact that I am a very fortunate woman.

Sherry: What I learn over and over at conferences is how generous authors and fans are. It is always a thrill to meet readers who are so excited to meet authors. And it is always so wonderful to run in to so many authors who want to hear about what you are working on and are willing to share their experiences with you.

I never think I’m very good at doing pitches and I ended up doing two — one at Speed Dating and one at the New Authors Breakfast. The Speed Dating one (authors move from table to table full of readers) was three minutes long so I had time to talk about Tagged for Death and The Longest Yard Sale and the New Author event was one minute

Ray Daniel, Julie Hennrikus, and Michele Dorsey holding a photo of the Wickeds who couldn't make it to Bouchercon.

Ray Daniel, Julie Hennrikus, and Michele Dorsey holding a photo of the Wickeds who couldn’t make it to Bouchercon.

so I concentrated on Tagged. I learned I’m better at doing a pitch than I thought I was.

Part of going to conferences like Bouchercon is getting to see writer friends who live far away — whether it’s a quick hi and hug or a long conversation — it’s one of the best things about attending.

Readers: Share a favorite conference (it doesn’t have to be Bouchercon) moment with us!