Anne Perry, Janet Evanovich, the Claymore Awards, the Silver Falchion Awards and the Dupin Detective Award…whew! Am I tired, but it was well worth it!!
On Augutst 17-21 I attended the 2016 Killer Nashville mystery writer’s conference in Nashville, Tennessee. This was my second time going and if anything, I enjoyed it even more this year. I took the trip with fellow SiCCO members Kandy Williams aka Mercedes King, Carolyn Melvin and Connie Berry. We drove down on Wednesday so we would be sure to be on time for our workshop Thursday afternoon. After the long trip, made even longer by rain, construction and accidents, we finally reached our hotel and decided to go to dinner at a local Italian restaurant, Mineo’s. When we finished feasting on truly delicious handmade Italian dishes, we joined in a trivia contest and Team Sisters In Crime took second place, and a $25 gift card, which we donated to our shuttle driver Joe for recommending the restaurant to us.
Thursday afternoon we were scheduled to attend the workshop, A Novel Process, taught by one of the preeminent writers of historical fiction, Ms. Anne Perry. As if getting to spend three hours with one of most prolific and award-winning writers of mysteries wasn’t enough of a treat, I learned a lot at the same time. In the first half, Perry covered outlining, why it’s important and what it will do for your writing. In the second she talked about rewriting and how to do it correctly and what to fix when you do it (more on this in a later blog post).
Friday was filled with a variety of expert panels including How To Build Your Network at Killer Nashville, How To Catch An Agent’s Eye, Inside the Deviant Mind and Creating Tension in Your Story, just to name a few. Friday night we were on our own for dinner so the four of us met up with some other Ohio writers, Ray Wenck and Andrew Welsh-Huggins, and went to dinner at a restaurant featuring southern food with flare, Tupelo Honey. If you’re ever in the Nashville area, I recommend it. They have a few other locations across the south, so you can look for them on their website tupelohoneycafe.com, to see if they have one near where you’ll be.
Saturday, the day I’d been waiting months for, finally arrived…Janet Evanovich was going to be there. I’m a huge fan and have read all her books (except for her new one Curious Minds, but it’s on my to-do list). I spent the morning working on my submission for the Dupin Detective Award, which is given to the person who figures out the mock crime scene. Around noon my day really began with lunch with Janet and Clay Stafford, then a book signing with Janet (where I gave her a book bag I made her!), then I attended a panel discussion, Writing a Series vs. Writing a Stand-Alone (with Janet Evanovich), and finally the afternoon break-out session, How I Write: Secrets of a Successful Author, with, you guessed it – Janet Evanovich! Who says you can have too much of a good thing? And no, I wasn’t stalking her…much.
Saturday night was the awards banquet. Some of the highlights of the evening for us were; SiCCO’s very own Kandy Williams was one of the ten finalists for the Claymore Award for her novel Junkyard Lounge, I won the Dupin Detective Award for solving the mock crime scene and Columbus novelist, one of our dinner companions and new SiCCO member, John Hegenberger, won the Silver Falchion for best Comedy for his novel Spyfall.
Sunday we attended a few more panels and then packed up the car for the long drive back to Ohio. We were tired, we were inspired and we were determined to come home and get back to our own writing. For myself, I can’t wait to see what my third trip to Killer Nashville brings; winning the Dupin Detective Award comes with a free registration for the next year, so 2017 will see me back at Killer Nashville, hopefully with my own novel completed!