Wicked Wednesday–Thankful for the New England Crime Bake

Biscuits and Slashed Browns

Thankful for Our Readers Giveaway:  For a chance to win an advance copy of Edith/Maddie’s Biscuits and Slashed Browns, leave a comment below.

The 2017 New England Crime Bake was last weekend. As New England based authors, all the Wickeds have written about how grateful we are to the Crime Bake for what it’s added to our careers and our lives.

Wickeds, tell us a story about something that happened at Crime Bake this year that taught you something about craft, the writing community or yourself! Photos are a bonus.

Edith: I went to a great master class on Research given by author and professor of criminal justice, Frankie Bailey. I picked up some excellent tips on new sources I hadn’t thought of.

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I also held a Sisters in Crime New England board meeting over breakfast, and am so grateful for these authors from six states who make our chapter the best one around. SINC National president Kendel Lynn joined us, too, and offered perspectives on what the umbrella organization is up to.

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I had so many other stellar moments, including hanging out with the Wickeds, visiting with friends like Ramona DeFelice Long, Kim Gray, and Dru Ann love, drinks with some of the Guppies, a Seascape reunion photo, and being asked to sit at the “head” table at the banquet along with Guest of Honor Lisa Gardner. Here she is holding one of the centerpiece vases of paper flowers, all made by hand by Crime Bake co-chair Sharon Daynard!

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Barb: I took an excellent master class, too, A Map in the Wilderness, Unsticking Your Plot with Cinematic Structure with Ray Daniel. I did three manuscript reviews for unpublished authors–the best manuscripts I’ve ever seen while doing this. For two of them, I was worried I wouldn’t have anything to say.

From left: Kim Gray, Karen Cleveland, Edith Maxwell, Liz Mugavero, one of our revered instructors, Hallie Ephron, Sherry Harris, Dianne Herlihy, Barbara Ross, Ramona DeFelice Long

A group of us who had all attended Seascape in ’09 had a mini-reunion.

The banquet was a lot of fun. Great food!

I moderated a panel called Conflict! Conflict! Conflict! (Fortunately, nobody got hurt.) And I taught a Sunday class called, “Four Lies People Will Tell You about Marketing Your Novel.” The best part of Crime Bake is always the people. It’s like old home week.

From Left: Barbara Ross, Paula Munier, Hank Phillippi Ryan, Karen E. Olsen

Jessie: I learned the most from a stellar presentation by our own Barb Ross on Marketing. It was just like Barb to take a topic that is routinely overwhelming and typically dry and to turn it into a comprehensive, accessible and very funny seminar. I was so grateful for her expertise and her willingness to share it. Thanks, Barb!

Sherry: Ditto, what Jessie said. It was a wonderful class. I learned a lot at the master class on suspense by Lisa Gardner. I love all of those little moments of grabbing some time with an old friend and making new friends. It was also fun to discover one of my daughter’s high school friends was working at the hotel.

Liz: Triple ditto! I thought Barb’s presentation was fabulous and there were many terrific points that everyone could take away. She’s great at breaking things down into pieces that everyone can understand. And overall, it was a great conference. This is always my favorite mystery con and this year didn’t disappoint!

Julie: I moderated two panels, both with EXCELLENT panelists which made my job easier. I was on the committee, so I have a slightly different perspective, but my favorite moments were solo acts by three fabulous women. Lisa Gardner, the GoH, gave a wonderful pep talk at lunch about why it is so great being a writer. Susan Reynolds did a Friday night talk about firing up your writer’s brain (she wrote a book on the topic) that I started taking notes during (which tells me how great it is). And Barb’s talk on Sunday really was wonderful. We all know how wonderful she is, but she really blew me away.

Readers: Tell us about a particular experience at a meeting or conference, or simply say hello.Save

Wicked Wednesday: Fall Preview

A Wicked CozyFall PreviewJulie here. In my theater life, we had the Greater Boston Theater Expo yesterday, which was a preview of the coming season. Since we have three (three!!) Wicked releases this month, I thought it might be fun to catch up with what all of the Wickeds are up to this fall.

Liz: It’s all about the writing this fall! I’m wrapping up book two in the Cat Cafe Mysteries now–which is tentatively titled Purrder, She Wrote (cute title, right??) and then I’ll be on to Murder, She Meowed, the 7th book in the Pawsitively Organic series. And a couple other projects I’ll be working on simultaneously… I guess I better get used to not sleeping, right? And in between all that, I’ll be celebrating the release of Purring Around the Christmas Tree, book six in the Pawsitively series, out in late September!

Edith: I’m finishing Country Store mystery #5, Death Over Easy, polishing Quaker Midwife #4, possibly titled Seeking Unity, and starting Cozy Capers Book Group Mystery #2! But I’m also traveling to Toronto for almost a week in October like most of the other Wickeds for the big Bouchercon mystery convention, where among other activities I’ll hear if Delivering the Truth wins a Macavity Award.

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I’m looking forward to seeing almost all the Wickeds in one spot at the Lawrence Library on October 21, and am on a MWA panel at the Boston Book Festival on October 28. I’ll be moderating a panel at Crime Bake, and doing a couple of library gigs here and there, too. Most exciting for me personally will be providing labor support as my goddaughter gives birth to her first baby sometime in the next month. Squee!

Barb: The mass market paperback of Eggnog Murder comes out October 31. I’m working on another holiday novella for a new collection with Leslie Meier and Lee Hollis for 2018, as well as the seventh Maine Clambake Mystery, Steamed Open. Along with three other Wickeds, I’m headed to Bouchercon in October. I’m looking forward presenting an expert session, “Four Lies People Will Tell You about Marketing Your Novel,” at the New England Crime Bake in November. On the personal front, we’re moving to our new condo in Portland, Maine on September 21. Can’t wait!

Sherry: Time is flying by! I am writing book seven with a working title of Let’s Fake A Deal — I’m not sure it will make it to the shelf with that title. I’m waiting for the copy edits for I Know What You Bid Last Summer which come out on February 28th. I’m really looking forward to going to Bouchercon in Toronto. I’ve never been there and am going to go up a couple of days early to do some sightseeing with my husband. And shortly after is Crime Bake. It always feels like I’m home when I land in Boston.

Jessie: Wow! What a busy bunch! Right now I am finishing up the second book in my new Beryl and Edwina series. On September 19 the second Change of Fortune mystery, Whispers of Warning releases. I have a second launch date on Halloween for the first Beryl and Edwina mystery, Murder in an English Village. I’ll be heading to conference in Florida in October too as well as speaking on a panel at the NH Library Association conference and to the NH Romance Writers group. And, of course, I’ll be at Crime Bake in November with the rest of the Wickeds!

Julie: What a busy group we are! There area a couple of Wicked library events coming up this fall (stay tuned!). I will be at Bouchercon and Crime Bake as well. Additionally, I am expected edits on the second Theater Cop mystery, and have a December 1 deadline on another series I will be announcing later.

Friends, stay tuned for more information about events that gather more that one Wicked at a time–we will let you know! In the meantime, let us know what is coming up for you and yours this fall!

Wicked Wednesday: Wicked Goals for 2017

Wickeds, any big goals for the year? Any big happenings? Any “maybe this is the year” dreams?

Edith: Nope. As far as I know there are no family weddings coming up (although possibly stay tuned for news on that front…), no dream vacation scheduled, no grandbabies due. I have three books releasing this spring, and I do look forward to the year’s conferences: Malice in April, Bouchercon in October, Crime Bake in November. My only personal big happening is going under the knife for a new knee eight days from today. I think that’s enough!

Liz: My biggest happening is selling my house and moving. Although I’m staying in img_1804Connecticut for now, I’m looking forward to living in a more urban area. Mostly looking forward to NOT being a homeowner…

Barb: I have no idea what is going on this year. I have no book contract after March. I’m not co-editing the Level Best Books series anymore. There are a number of things brewing in my personal life that could lead to big changes, not all of them good. When I managed a lot of people, I generally found that planners are not good reactors, and reactors are not good planners. The people in our support organization thrived on coming into work without having an inkling of what the day would bring. The programmers hated a change made to the schedule six months down the road. I am a planner, so I keep telling myself the uncertainty is good for me. Roll with it, I tell myself. So far, myself doesn’t seem convinced.

Julie: I’m really trying to get into a yoga practice. So far I’ve started a Beachbody 21 day yoga retreat twice. Best of intentions, but it isn’t working out too well so far. Healthier is a definite goal over all. Two books to write, so that includes trying a standing desk.

Sherry: Barb, I love your planner/reactor thought. I’m a reactor. That said, I’m looking forward to A Good Day To Buy coming out in April, a couple of visits to Boston with the Wickeds, Malice, and Bouchercon in Toronto — I’ve only been to Canada once and that was in 5th grade. And I’m going to write a Hallmark movie and sell it — right?! If I say it enough times maybe it will happen.

Jessie: Like Barb, I’m a planner. At the beginning of every year I sit down and write out a few goals. This year mine include at least one international trip, mastering the art of dictating my writing and taking on a more active role in a volunteer organization. I also have two books set to release in the fall.

Readers, same questions for you. Any big goals for the year? Any big happenings?Any “maybe this is the year” dreams?

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In The Middle

By Sherry — another rainy day in Northern Virginia

Marci Konecny is the winner of the Sarah Winston books! Thanks to all of you who stopped by! I used Random.org to draw the winner.

Usually no one wants to be in the middle, but I am and here is why I’m so happy to be.

Tagged for Death mech.inddThe second anniversary of the release of Tagged For Death was last Friday, December 2nd (look for the celebratory giveaway at the bottom of the post). And this anniversary made me reflect on where I’ve been, where am, and where I’m going. I started thinking about all of the people who helped me along the way – too many to list here but I do want to mention some pivotal moments.

My first writers conference run by the Cambria Writers Workshop was in Monterey, California where I received gentle criticism and lots of encouragement.

I also attended the now defunct Seaside Writers Conference run by the faculty of the Florida International University’s creative writing department. I learned so much about structure and passion for writing. Plus I met some wonderful local writers.

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You meet the nicest people at Malice. Here I’m with Dru Ann Love, Aimee Hix, Shari Randall, and Kathryn O’Sullivan

Malice Domestic in Bethesda, Maryland was life changing in so many ways. (I gave them a shout out in the acknowledgements of Tagged For Death.) I also made a lot of friends there and met Julie Hennrikus who told me about the New England Chapter of Sisters in Crime and Crime Bake and of course became my dear, dear friend.

When I joined the New England Chapter of Sisters in Crimes Hallie Ephron, Roberta Isleib (aka Lucy Burdette), and Hank Phillippi Ryan were the head honchos of the chapter. They are all amazingly generous to me and so many other writers.

Crime Bake gave me a chance to meet authors, agents (lots of rejections), and pre-published friends.

seascapeSeacape run by Hallie Ephron, Roberta Isleib, and S.W. Hubbard (the year I attended). Never has so much learning and opportunity been packed into less than forty-eight hours. But even more important were the friendships that were formed. I met Edith Maxwell, Liz Mugavero, Barbara Ross, and Kim Gray that weekend – Wicked Cozy Authors wasn’t even a twinkle in our eye then. I also met Ramona DeFelice Long, and Christine Hillman who is from Australia – both are amazing women and writers.

Then of course there’s Barbara Ross who thought of me when agent John Talbot asked her if she knew anyone who could write a series about garage sales.

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Photo by Meg Manion Silliker

And there are my dear Wickeds. What would I do without all of you?!

When I moved back to Virginia I joined the Chesapeake Chapter of Sisters in Crime and found another group of people who encourage and support me in so many ways.

I’m also very grateful to so many friends, readers, bloggers, and reviewers who are with me on this journey.

So with all this talk of the past why did I title the post “In The Middle”? I realized I get to help other writers now. It is so much fun! And I have had such gracious examples of how to do that from people who have helped me in the past and continue to help me now.

There are so many ways to help other writers. Sometimes it’s reading a manuscript and making suggestions. Or it’s saying to someone my agent is looking for someone to write a series. It could be an introduction, just an encouraging word, writing a blurb for someone, or telling people to join Sisters in Crime.

A few weeks ago I did a panel on getting published with Maya Corrigan and Kathryn O’Sullivan at the Barnes and Noble in Fairfax, VA. We had a small but enthusiastic crowd. We ended up talking to a man for quite a while after the panel and encouraged him to join Sisters in Crime.

Photo by Eleanor Carwood Jones who took the selfie!

Photo by Eleanor Carwood Jones who took the selfie!

Last weekend was the Chesapeake Chapter Mystery Extravaganza where chapter members who’ve published a book or short story during the year get a couple of minutes to talk about their work. While I was up at the podium talking I spotted someone in the crowd and thought that guy looks familiar. I started racking my brain to figure out why (I think I kept talking while that was going on).

Then I realized it was the man from the Barnes and Noble panel. I had a chance to speak with him after the event was over. His eyes lit up and he said he’d written eight chapters since the panel. That he’d put off grading papers (he’s a high school psychology teacher) and doing things around the house to write. Seeing his enthusiasm warmed my heart.

Being in the middle is a wonderful place to be.

threebooksReaders: Who have you given a hand up to?

I’m giving away a set of all three Sarah Winston Garage Sale Mysteries to one reader. Leave a comment for a chance to win.

 

 

 

The Detective’s Daughter – Adventures in Book Publishing.

by Kim in Dedham, Massachusetts enjoying Crime Bake.

windwardcoverToday is my day for the giveaway! Leave a comment by midnight to be entered to win an autographed copy of Windward: Best New England Crime Stories.

Well, it’s finally happened. This weekend we launched our first anthology as the new editors of Level Best Books. Windward has been a labor of love and I am proud to be a part of the team along with Harriette Sackler, Shawn Reilly Simmons, and Verena Rose.

It was a year ago this weekend that Level Best Books was passed from one Wicked Cozy editor (Barbara Ross) to another (that would be me!). I had spent the last five autumns coming to New England for the fabulous Crime Bake conference and have many of the anthologies that the previous Level Best Books editors had published. I was happy to pick up the torch and carry on the tradition of this wonderful New England anthology.

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P. Jo Anne Burgh, winner of the 2016 Al Blanchard Award

The submissions came rolling in from January 1st. – May 31st. at a high rate of speed. All in all there were 225 stories to read. In the end thirty- three stories were selected that included the Al Blanchard Award winner.

I am happy to announce we will be publishing additional anthologies with Busted: Arresting Stories from the Beat to be released in April 2017.

It has been an exciting weekend for all involved and I would like to thank the Crime Bake committee for their warm welcome and assistance, the talented authors who submitted their stories and most of all Barbara Ross who gave me one pep talk after another and filled me with the encouragement I needed to see this project through.

We are winding up another spectacular conference weekend. There were plenty of laughs, lots of dancing and, most of all, a strong writers community to support and cheer for each other.

Join us next year, won’t you?

Do you enjoy reading and/or writing short stories? Which story has been the most memorable?

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Crime Bake! Where To Find Us

 

Jessie: Today is my day for a giveaway! The winner is invited to chose any one of my books: Drizzled with Death, Maple Mayhem, A Sticky Situation or my latest, Whispers Beyond the Veil. Leave a comment by midnight to be entered in the contest!

The New England Crime Bake is a wonderful writers conference put on by the New England Chapter of Sisters in Crime and Mystery Writers of America in Dedham, MA and we will all be there! Here’s where you can find us:

Edith: I’m the Volunteer Wrangler, so I’ll be buzzing around everywhere making sure my awesome volunteers don’t need anything. I’m excited to be on the “Researching and Writing the Historical Mystery” panel, Saturday, November 12 • 10:10am – 11:00am, with Jessie and others. You’ll certainly find me on the dance floor at the banquet. And I’ll be helping out at the Sisters in Crime New England table from time to time, as well.

Liz: I’ll be buzzing around all weekend too – and my panel is also on Saturday, November 12 at 10:10 – 11 a.m. on “The Challenges of Writing Multiple Series,” moderated by our good friend Lucy Burdette. Looking forward to it!

Barb: I’ll be around all weekend, too. It will be weird not taking my turn manning the Level Best Books sales table. Kim Gray and the new team of editors will be doing that. I’m especially looking forward to welcoming the debut authors at Death, Desserts, and Debutants on Friday evening at 9:00 p.m, and to moderating, “Creating Your Town,” with William Kent Krueger, Sheila Connolly, Leslie Meier, and Marian McMahon Stanley at 3:10 on Saturday.

Sherry:  Since I no longer live in New England, I can’t be on a panel. However, I will be attending lots of panels — I always learn so much. Plus, I’ll be attending the banquet and perhaps I’ll make an appearance or two at the bar! It’s always a great time!

Jessie: As Edith pointed out above, I’ll be on a historical mysteries panel on Saturday morning with her as well as Ang Pompano, Emily Arsenault and Toby Ball. I’ll also be appearign on a panel on Saturday at 1:45pm call Traveling in Packs with Lisa Haselton, Kate Flora, Kevin Flynn, William Kent Krueger and Hank Phillippi Ryan.

Julie: I’m leading a Saturday session called “Reading Like a Writer”. We’re going to discuss The Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie. On Sunday I am MCing the “Wheel of Why”. Sort of a game show about plots. Will report back.

 

New England Crime Bake Time!

By Julie, enjoying fall in Somerville.

thankful-for-our-readers-giveaway-3Today is my day to do a giveaway! Reader’s choice–either Just Killing Time or Clock and Dagger! Comment to enter.

I missed the first New England Crime Bake, but have been to every one since. The first one I went to was the debut of the Level Best Book’s anthology. My friend Regina ran around, getting everyone’s signature on their story. “This is a goal for us,” she said to me. “To be in this book.” Two years later Regina passed away, but I think of her at every Crime Bake, and know thrilled she’d be to collect signatures on the latest Level Best anthology. I thought of her every time I signed my story in the three anthologies I was in. (My story, “Her Wish”, was inspired by Regina.)

This is part of what Crime Bake means to me. Partly a wonderful conference with fellow writers, where I learn and get inspired. But mostly it is a reunion with dear friends. Part inspiration, part therapy session, part gossip fest. The Wickeds are all together physically, which is a rare treat and my favorite part of the weekend.

What else am I looking forward to this year?

  • William Kent Krueger is the Guest of Honor. I’ve seen him on a couple of panels this past year, and know how lucky we are.
  • Learning about branding. We have a Friday night keynote about it, and a Sunday session on using podcasting to create a brand.
  • Celebrating the debut novelists. We started this last year–during “Death and Desserts” everyone with a debut novel gets a ribbon and congratulations.So great to cheer on folks who had their dream come true–I was one of them last year!
  • Spending time with Donna Andrews repping MWA and Diane Vallere repping Sisters in Crime.

We’ll report back on how the weekend went. Follow the hashtag #CrimeBake, and we’ll post this weekend.

Readers: Do you have a favorite annual conference or gathering, small or large, that you attend and look forward to all year? Writers, what’s your favorite meeting of the fans-and-fellow-authors tribe?