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Widening Horizons

Edith here, writing from windy Chicago.

Yes, I’m in the windy city! I flew halfway across the country Friday to attend Murder and Mayhem Chicago, a one day conference put on by Lori Rader-Day and Dana Kaye, supported by Sisters in Crime Chicagoland and the MWA Midwest chapter.

It’s good to head out and meet new readers and writers. I thought I could let midwestern attendees know about my series set two hundred miles to the south in Indiana. And it was a chance to visit with my sister Barbara, a big mystery fan who drove up from central Indiana for the weekend. I got to see Wicked Sherry, too!

Murder and Mayhem was a well-organized conference with about two hundred fans and aspiring or published writers listening to every session. Sherry and I were on a fun panel called “Kinder Gentler Murder,” with other authors who write either cozy mysteries or gentler ones.

But the two highlights were the keynote speakers (neither of whose books I have read, I am chagrined to admit): Sophie Hannah and Scott Turow. These rock stars have sold millions of copies, been translated into many languages, and are ongoing thriving working authors.

So it also broadened my horizons to hear what they had to say. Susanna Calkins interviewed Sophie for her keynote, mostly about how the Christie family offered her the chance to continue Agatha’s Poirot mysteries. Then Patricia Skalka, the president of the Chicagoland Sisters in Crime chapter, interviewed Sophie at the SINC lunch.

Sophie is hugely entertaining and had us all laughing at every turn.

Scott was more subdued but had a lot to share. To hear how these authors got their starts and persisted until they made it was inspiring. They both admitted to not a little luck in their careers. I believe most of the time luck doesn’t hit you unless you are prepared to make good use of it, and both Sophie and Scott were.

Yesterday I widened my horizons in a different direction – all over downtown Chicago! I’d never toured it, so Barbara and I took a two-hour walking tour with a knowledgeable guide. We started at the Chicago Theater, wandered all over the Loop, checked out several amazing ceilings, and ended up at the “Bean” in Millenium Park, the most amazing bean-shaped piece of reflective public art.

Mike, the walking tour guide, with a Picasso sculpture behind. I love the old building reflected in the new one!
See the little red circle in the reflection? That’s me taking my sister’s picture!

We then sat down with a piece of deep-dish pizza before heading out on an architectural boat tour up and down the Chicago River. Various friends had recommended it and I’m glad we didn’t miss the trip, especially since we had another deep-pockets-of-facts tour guide who kept up his patter for an hour. Fabulous!

The rain held off until after we returned to our hotel!

After we’d logged 15,000 steps for the day, Barbara drove back to Indiana. I poured a glass of wine, put my feet up, and set in to write this. Today I plan to hit the American Writers Museum and the Chicago Cultural Center, which has the largest Tiffany glass dome in the world, before I head home.

Picture credit to Daniel X. O’Neil via

All in all, I’ve widened many horizons in four short days. Tomorrow I’ll be ready to send in Nacho Average Murder, my 21st novel, and prepare to launch Charity’s Burden, my 17th. The special giveaway for those US readers who have preordered the book is still open until March 31 – preorder here and enter the contest here!

Readers, which of your horizons have you widened lately?

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