Indianapolis was a delightful town, though I didn’t see much of it. The cool weather, however, was welcome after the 90 degrees Houston experienced during that time.
I arrived by plane from Houston on Wednesday in time for the SinC Workshop with Donald Maass. What a wealth of information. I scribbled, I scratched, I disappeared into my story and emerged with new ideas, hardly able to wait to get back to my laptop and let my fingers flow my brain. I was ignited, mind filled eratically. Could I possibly remember everything before I flew back home and captured it all in my computer? Well, I’m back now, with so much to do and to catch up with job, family, and other writing commitments. Yes, it is still in my head somewhere, simmering, growing, almost ready for birth.
Thursday, the panels began. So many to choose from, each filled with information I had to have. I had to decide which best fit my writing, my story, my mystery and my characters. This could be hard because so many panels fit perfectly. Men, Women & Murder Through the Ages. Okay, I don’t write historicals, but I wanted to meet Tony Hays, a new member in the Southwest Chapter of MWA. Well worth the hour, and I got his book.
Heroes for our Times sounded like another relevant one. After all, isn’t Niki Alexander a hero to the teenagers she counsels? Murder, Therapy and Social Work. Now that fit Niki. She was a social worker, therapist, counselor. This led to Suddenly I’m Thirsty with Con Lehane, Chris Knopf, J.A. Konrath, Jason Pinter and Tom Schreck. All their characters drank. Niki’s an ex-drinker, so I figured she would fit right in. I couldn’t help but notice that Joe Konrath and Tom Schreck both had bottles of beer in front of them and drank without shame during the panel. They fit right in.
Then there was Adaptation. Novels to Screen and back. I’m also a screenwriter. Did I ever mention that? These guys know what they’re talking about. Sean Chercover has a movie in the works. They made a movie from one of Joe Finder’s books, too. Paul Guyot is a screenwriter working with Sean’s book.
Them came the presentation of the Barry, Macavity, Derringer and Crime Spree Awards. The night ended at the Gameworks in Circle Center Mall. I spend my time there performing in the Talent Show. Pictures will follow.
Friday came early, but I was ready for the panels, especially since some of my favorite authors were on first. More Noir Than You Are featured Christa Faust, Victor Gischler, Charlie Newton and Jeri Westerson. These folks portray a world that’s gritty and real as the cops and the streets make it. What is more natural to follow them than The Dark Side of the Fair Sex with Megan Abbott, Chelsea Cain, Sophie Littlefield and Derek Nikitas. Woman can write noir, too.
A treat was in store following lunch. Michael Connelly interviewed by Michael Koryta.
The afternoon continued with P.J. Parrish, Charlaine Harris and Julie Kramer, among others, talking about How I Met My Protagonist, and finished with a bang with Michelle Gagnon, Linwood Barclay, Andrew Gross, Erica Spindler and Michael Robotham for The Fabled One-Sitting Read. But who can read that fast? These are authors whose characters I like to spend time with and really lose myself in their stories.
The evening ended, for me, with the Rex Stout/Nero Wolfe Banquet. Five courses, each with their own wine, prepared by the chefs Nero Wolfe himself would laud, served by the finest servers, one to each table. But we all had to participate. Some little rhyme or song each table had to come up with and perform for the room. Luckily, our table was blessed by several of the Wolfe pack and P.J. Parrish, who came up with a fitting song and which we performed brillantly.
Saturday we were up early again to meet David Morrell, Laura Benedict, Lee Child and Gayle Lynds for Thrillers! Following them notable authors were none other than Michael Connelly, Sue Grafton, Peter Lovesey, John Lutz and Sara Paretsky celebrating Edgar Allen Poe.
The afternoon continued with Issues, Entertainment or Both? The answers came from Carl Brookins, Cara Black, Mark Coggins, Libby Fischer Hellmann and Mark T. Sullivan. I like to write about issues, sometimes want to chew them up to the point of sounding preachy. But then I stop myself. Have to find the right tone. Speaking of tone, what about Dark Books For Dark Times with Reed Farrel Coleman, Larry Beinhart, J.T. Ellison, Michael Lister and Duane Swiercynski. What more could you ask for?
Answer? Anthony Awards Ceremony. You all know by now who won, right? Later, I was swept up by Sophie Littlefield and her friends for dinner at the Wine Tasting and party at a blues club, where I caught a dance with Joe Konrath. (He probably wouldn’t remember, but I do.)
The Bazaar finished us up on Sunday. Rows and rows of tables filled with free books, and fans lined up through the lobby end to end. A fitting climax to a wonderful four days.