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!

22 Thoughts

  1. I always come away from conferences exhausted and energized at the same time–it’s the Conference Paradox, LOL! Wish I could have been there, but I’ll see you all at Crime Bake. Julie, I hope you reveled in your first conference as a published author!

  2. I’m always amazed that writers are supposed to be shy, solitary creatures, and then they go to conferences and spend days talking to total strangers. And some of those conversations are so interesting, although you seldom have time to follow up. I’m still puzzling about the guy I met at the bar, who turns out to be from England–but he’s a cop in Austin TX. I’d love to hear how that happened. And that’s just one example!

    1. I met a woman from my hometown during Speed Dating and hoped to talk to her more. But alas Bouchercon is so big I never saw her again. And as Julie said, it was great seeing you!

  3. Sherry, you were great at Author Speed Dating. And Julie, I got your book in my swag bag, but I had to ship it home before I could get it signed. Looking forward to it. I did my very first panel at this Boucheron, and amazingly didn’t make a fool of myself, so that has to go on my highlight reel. As for the shy/introverted thing: I had this argument with Reavis Wortham. Yes, I can talk up a storm, but oh my was the solitude of my hotel room wonderful by the end of the day!

      1. Hey, even those somewhat-extroverted of us need that solitude several times during the day. I was so pleased to meet a fellow Sprint Club member in person, at last.

  4. I learned that I should make more time to be with my fellow writers. Why is it that I never found time to have that lunch/coffee/drink with Edith Maxwell, Julie Hennrikus, Sherry Harris, etc. until I landed in Raleigh? Lesson learned! The comfort and camaraderie found in Raleigh is in my own backyard. I won’t be a dumb-ass Dorothy anymore.

  5. I’ve only made it to three conferences, two Left Coast Crimes (when it was in LA) and Bouchercon last year, when it was in Long Beach. Are you getting a picture of how far I’ve traveled to attend?

    It was a result of the second Left Coast Crime that I appeared as a character in books by Kris Neri and Sue Ann Jaffarian. I loved that. At the first Left Coast Crime, I got a thrill when Jerrilyn Farmer spotted my name tag and said, “Now there’s a name I know.” Hadn’t really met her yet, but she recognized me from my reviews at Amazon, a first for me since I was very new to reviewing at that point.

    One of the many highlights of Bouchercon last year was a chance to talk to Karen MacInerney. I’d been reading her Gray Whale Inn mysteries (set in Maine!) since the first one came out. I brought them all to get signed, but her panel was on Thursday, and I couldn’t make it to the conference until Friday. But we arranged to meet up, and we just sat and chatted for a little while, which was lots of fun. And near the end, Donna Andrews sat down and joined us. I’ve got to say, this reader was thrilled. Another was talking to author Diane Vallere and discovering she is as much of a Trixie Belden fanatic as I am.

  6. My very first National Storyteller Network conference, I was trudging across the Brown University campus in Providence, looking at the workshop schedule, trying to decide which one. I ran into a friend who said her next workshop would be “Nap” . . . and taught me the importance of pacing and rest. I immediately scheduled one of those in my own room.
    When I helped organize the conference in St. Louis, a very good friend grabbed me one afternoon and said, “Come sit with me and talk.” I thought she had an issue to discuss, but no, the wise woman had simply decided I needed to pause and recharge, and that we needed a chance to visit.
    At my most recent NSN conference in L.A. I had been invited to tell “Sheherazade” at the big evening concert, and I made sure I paced myself to be alert and energetic for my performance. Adrenaline helps to keep going and going, and by the end of a conference, I am always plumb worn out, happy, with brain buzzing with ideas.

  7. I’m sorry I wasn’t able to come; it sounds like a great time with lots of people I’m eager to meet in person. But, alas, I’m out here on the West Coast, so I had to skip it. Thanks for the report—I’m looking forward to Bouchercon 2016 already!

  8. Bouchercon 2018 will be in St. Petersburg, Florida. I can day-hop to that one! Can hardly wait! There aren’t as many conferences in Florida as there used to be, but over the years I’ve had some memorable experiences. Met Mary Higgins Clark in the ladies room at a Suncoast Writers event. Did we talk about writing? Nope. Discussed the pros and cons of “having our colors done.” I was a presenter(Y.A.) at another one and Mickey Friedman (Venetian mask, A Temporary Ghost, Magic Mirror) needed a ride from her beachfront hotel to the USF campus each day of the conference. I drove, and learned in that short week that I wanted to write mysteries too.. Up in Gainesville,(Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings Conference) Carolyn Haines shared, over lunch, tricks about writing the regional mystery. I’m thinking seriously about going to my first Malice Domestic. Are the Wickeds going to be there? How does the book signing part work? Do you sign at your publishers booth? (Kensington) Or do you have your own space?

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