Starting on Friday morning, it was a non-stop learning fest. Subjects covered just about every aspect of being an author. There were several workshops on writing skills, the business side of writing, and self-publishing. One of my personal favorites was the panel on short stories with Phil Bowie, Kay George, Chris Holm, Robert Mangeot, and Suzanne Berube Rorhus. As many of you may know, I’ve never felt as comfortable writing short stories as I do a full novel. However, after this great panel discussion, I’m more confident than ever that I can conquer this beast.
As has been their annual custom, conference planners asked TBI Special Agent Mike Breedlove to set up another crime scene for participants to work. The person coming closest to solving the case won a registration for the 2014 conference. This was not only fun for conference participants, the staff of the hotel went out on their breaks to try to solve it. Of course, they weren’t eligible for the prize, they just wanted in on the fun. Nevertheless, we have a winner—Lisa Anderson won the distinctive 2013 Dupin Detective Award and will be returning to the conference next year for free.
I personally was honored to serve on a panel of authors including Annamaria Alfieri, Jon Jefferson (one-half of the Jefferson Bass writing team), Marie Moore, and Paul Parsons on the topic of back-story. It was so exciting to have this experience. There was standing room during the session and afterwards so many people stopped me in the hallway to say how much they enjoyed our panel and to ask me more questions. It certainly was a thrill for me to share my knowledge with others and to see new writers who are so anxious to learn.
I want to thank Sisters in Crime for the fantastic party on Friday evening. It was great to meet members from all over the U. S. there and the food was great. I also enjoyed the Mystery Writers of America party on Saturday night before the Guests of Honor and Awards Banquet. Another wonderful way to meet members from other groups, however, I met people from the Midwest MWA who live in other states in our region. I will be taking some of their comments back to our group.
Speaking of the awards banquet, there were several awards given besides the Dupin Detective Award. The SEMWA Magnolia Award is given each year to a member who has given exemplary service to the Southeast Mystery Writers of America. The winner of this award is Mary Saums.
The Claymore Award is given to an author of an unpublished work. They must send in the first fifty pages of their manuscript and if they are lucky, they will make the top ten. This award has given authors the opportunity for notoriety that has provided the opportunity to meet publishers and agents. The winner of the 2013 Claymore Award is Terri Coop for her work Dial 1-Pro-Hac-Vice.
Last, but not least, is the Silver Falchion Award. The Silver Falchion Award is bestowed upon the author of the best book published for the first time in the current or previous conference year. They had so many entries this year that they had to choose a top ten for this award from which participants voted. The winner of the 2013 Silver Falchion Award was, Sara J. Henry for A Cold and Lonely Place.
Congratulations to all of those honored with wins this year.
In addition, I want to give kudos to the booksellers. The Barnes & Noble from Franklin, Tennessee, did a great job. There was also an independent bookstore, Mysteries and More, there who handled some of my books. The owner consented to put a couple of my books in his store. Now I’m in a bookstore in the south!
Overall, this was a fabulous experience for me. It was great to connect with people I've met at other conferences like Molly MacRae, Nancy Nagle, and David Ciambrone. I met so many wonderful people and Nashville itself is a wonderful place to visit. If you ever get a chance to attend this conference, you won’t regret it.
Until next time!