Tag Archives: Michael Connelly

Rockin’ Bouchercon by Christine Husom

I attended my first time ever mystery conference/convention–Bouchercon 2012 in Cleveland, OH–earlier this month. Cleveland is the home of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame museum, and birthplace of DJ Alan Freed who coined the phrase “rock and roll” in the 1950s. Two of the reasons the committee chose “Crime Fiction Rocks,” as the convention slogan.

Named after author Anthony Boucher, the first Bouchercon was held in Santa Monica, CA in 1970. All but four were held in the United States. Two were in Canada and two in England. People travel from around the world to attend this event for many reasons: to take in the panel discussions by a wide range of guests; to be witness to the award presentations; to socialize with authors, agents, publishers, editors, and others who love the mystery genre. Special guests this year included Doris Ann Norris, John Connolly, Les Roberts, Robin Cook, Elizabeth George, and Mary Higgins Clark.

Panel discussions began on Thursday morning, but my schedule didn’t allow me to arrive until that afternoon. Then it was a challenge to pick from the four panels that were running at any given time. I popped into “WHAT AN AUTHOR WILL DO FOR A STORY, Stories of dangerous research for their books” , which made me wonder how brave I really was. In the last time slot I chose, “50 SHADES OF COZY, Pushing the limits: Not your mama’s cozy anymore.” Very entertaining.

Chris Husom and Deb Ledford

I had really looked forward to meeting fellow Second Wind author Deborah Ledford, so it was a treat when we connected before the opening ceremonies that evening. We took the trolley to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Museum for the festivities. The museum is awesome, in architecture and in all the treasured exhibits it holds.  Deb and I posed by one of the giant guitars in front of the museum.

I was honored to be selected as a panel guest, particularly because of the others on the panel. The title was “YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO REMAIN SILENT, Murder and Criminal Justice Systems,” moderated by Jim Doherty. Other panelists were Michelle Gagnon, bestselling thriller author;  Connie Dial, twenty-seven year veteran of the Los Angeles Police Department; Vicki Delany, acclaimed Canadian author; and Amanda Kyle Williams, Shamus Award nominee.

Mary Higgins Clark and Chris Husom

And then after the panel ended, we went into book signing room, and I got to sit next to Mary Higgins Clark! She had lived in Minnesota for a while, about 12 miles from my home, and we chatted for a minute about that. I’ve read most of her books over the years. She’s a natural storyteller and an all around delightful person, and deserved to be recognized as the Lifetime Achievement Guest.

I attended too many informative and entertaining panels to mention, met countless people, and made valuable connections. But rather than writing a chapter length synopsis, I’ll touch on a few of my convention highlights.

~Serving as a table host at a breakfast Friday morning honoring Mary Higgins Clark. Mary is a joy to listen to, and I met many wonderful librarians there.

~Spending time with Deb Ledford and her friend, Roni Olson. It was wonderful sharing meals and conversation, getting to know them better, and exploring the Rock and Roll Museum together.

~Sitting elbow to elbow with famous authors on our panel, and meeting so many others.

~Attending the panel discussions of fellow Twin Cities Sisters in Crime bestselling authors, Erin Hart, Julie Kramer, Jessie Chandler, and Stanley Trollip (the Stanley half of Michael Stanley) whose book, Death of a Mantis, was short listed for the Edgar, Anthony, and Barry Awards.

~Signing books next to Mary Higgins Clark, and two away from legendary Elizabeth George. I wonder why their lines were so much longer than mine?

~Attending a mutual interview between Michael Connelly and Michael Koryta. Honest and compelling.

~Bringing home a large stack of books to read. I don’t have room on any of my bookshelves, so they are temporarily resting on top of a cabinet.

I’d love to be able to attend more mystery conventions, as time, and mostly money, allows. Tell me about your favorite ones. And if you attended, Bouchercon, what were your experiences?

Christine Husom is the author of Murder in Winnebago County, Buried in Wolf Lake, An Altar by the River, and The Noding Field Mystery.

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Sometimes Publicity Just Happens by Coco Ihle

My first mystery novel, SHE HAD TO KNOW, was published last April. Authors are told we have to start publicity for our books well in advance of the publication date. That includes setting up a website, blog (either our own or lining up guest spots and making comments on other blogs), starting a Facebook page, and maybe a Twitter account. We are encouraged to attend conferences and conventions that will be beneficial in networking and sales. Library talks and civic organizational events are also helpful in our quest to become known. Sometimes businesses that connect with our books can be tools for promotion. The more creative we become in getting our names out there, the more chances we have for future sales.

I was an avid reader long before I became a writer, so I had already made many connections by being a fan. For ten years before my novel came out, I attended various mystery conventions and made quite a few author friends who generously offered suggestions and encouragement.

My first mystery writers’ group in Alabama was active in Sisters in Crime. The SinC meetings we had were smaller than the normal big conventions, thus I was able to meet authors in a more intimate setting, which gave me more time to ask them, one on one, about their work and experiences. I can’t say enough about the benefits of smaller writer events for beginners, especially. They help us gain confidence as we learn that authors, famous and not so famous, all go through the same trials and tribulations with which we are struggling. We soon discover that getting published doesn’t just happen magically, but by having a good support system, a willingness to work diligently, persistence in taking all the steps necessary,we do have a chance.

Getting recognition once your book is out can be another challenge. My book is not  considered a mainstream mystery, meaning it doesn’t quite fit into some of the genre subtitles like, cozy or thriller. It is a traditional mystery and has been described as a book with a Gothic feel. That classification has been good, because it’s descriptive, but it also has been somewhat at odds with the kind of material that is usually reviewed. Word-of-mouth has been my greatest aid in getting results for sales for both the trade paperback and e-book, so far. That word-of-mouth has come from readers who liked my book, through the DorothyL Digest, Facebook contacts, my publisher’s blog, my agent’s blog and other bloggers. But trying to get reviews (other than two wonderful blurbs on the back of my book from Vicki Lane and Lillian Stewart Carl), has proved to be elusive.

With that said, imagine my surprise when I got an e-mail from Rosa St. Claire, book reviewer for the Miami Examiner requesting an ARC (advanced reader’s copy) of my book. I can’t remember exactly where she found me, but she was fascinated about my life’s story and wanted to read my writing. I sent my book to her along with some other information she requested. To be truthful, I was so busy, I kind of forgot about it. Then on January 1, 2012, Ms. St. Claire sent me a message to check out my Facebook page. There, in all its glory, was her article about her favorite twelve fiction books of 2011 and a list of nine special recommendations. Some of my favorite authors were on that top 12 list. Reading on, I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw my book listed in the special recommendations. After all, I’m a first-time novelist. Here I was sitting among such greats as Sue Grafton, Tess Gerritsen, Mary Higgins Clark, Carol Higgins Clark, Michael Connelly and Kaye George. (Now I want to read the other authors on these lists, whose work I’m not familiar.) What a thrill it was! Especially, since I was dealing with the sadness of the deaths of three friends and my thirteen-year-old kitty, right after Christmas. How I needed something cheerful. It really helped.

If you would like to see Ms. St. Claire’s list, you may go to:

http://www.examiner.com/books-in-miami/top-12-books-of-2011

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