Tag Archive for: conferences


It’s my turn again and I have nothing. So I’m going to ramble a bit about nothing.

It occurred to me the other day that I’ve been to twice as many conferences this year than ever before. January I was in Honolulu, Hawaii with Left Coast Crime – had a blast and able to cross this trip off my bucket list. April saw me stateside in Bethesda, Maryland for the annual Malice Domestic Convention. This convention will always be in my heart as it’s the first reader/fan convention I’ve ever attended. The first week of June I was on a Marketing/Social Media panel at the one-day Mystery Writers of America/New York Chapter’s Fiction Writers’ Conference held in Stamford, Connecticut. That was a fun excursion as it was my first time taking Metro North and going to Stamford. Two weeks ago, I attended the Deadly Ink conference in Rockaway, New Jersey. This is mostly a writer’s conference but readers do attend. This was also the first time I took a different New Jersey transit train, normally I’ve traveled on the NE Corridor.

So if you’re counting I’ve been to four conventions/conferences so far and I’m not finished. Next up I’ll be in Toronto, Canada at Bouchercon and I’m looking forward to that and last but not least I will be attending for the first time, the New England Crime Bake conference held in Woburn, Massachusetts. They have pizza parties and I heard something about a red carpet.

So all in all, that’s six author/reader-related conventions this year and this does not include the book signings, the MWA monthly events where I get a chance to meet readers and authors. Oh there another conference, ThrillerFest which is held in NYC, I may not attend any events, but I do hope to meet up with authors. I already have a lunch set up with fellow Stiletto Gang member Kay.

Okay, I rambled enough and it was about something.

So do you have anything to ramble about?
What are you looking forward to?
What’s on your bucket list?

Left Coast Crime


I’m heading out this morning for Left Coast Crime.

Left Coast Crime is the big reader-oriented mystery conference that’s always held somewhere on, well, the left coast. This year it’s in Honolulu. I know, a sacrifice to head to Hawaii when we still have snow on the ground, but I’m up for the challenge.

Rather than author focused panels about craft or industry/publishing, the sessions are totally focused on books. Gotta love that, right? My panel is financial crime in mysteries, a session that’s right up my alley. Come by and say hello if you’re at the conference.

I’m eagerly waiting to catch up with author friends and make new ones.

Have you ever been to a reader-focused conference?

Cathy Perkins is currently working on new story in the So About… series.  She started writing when recurring characters and dialogue populated her day job commuting daydreams.  Fortunately, that first novel lives under the bed, but she was hooked on the joy of creating stories.  When not writing, she can be found doing battle with the beavers over the pond height or setting off on another travel adventure.  Born and raised in South Carolina, she now lives in Washington with her husband, children, several dogs and the resident deer herd. 

Joyful Joyful

It’s my turn today and I had nothing, so I asked Kay for suggestions and she mentioned writing about “things you do that help you find joy in everyday life when you live in a great but stressful city.“

I found a scale that identifies stress in your life and my score was very low. (The Holmes and Rahe Stress Scale). In another article (The Holmes-Rahe Life Stress Inventory), the top five ways cited to relieve stress are:

  1. Reading novels or magazines
  2. Watching TV
  3. Renting and watching a video
  4. Learning a new craft or hobby
  5. Camping

Guess what? I do all of them except camping, unless we can call staying at a five-star hotel camping because I did do that.

What things do I do to find joy in my everyday life?

  • I love reading.
  • I love sending a positive message every morning on social media.
  • I love reading the posts that authors write up for dru’s book musings and I always love seeing it when it posts.
  • I love helping authors spread the word about their work on social media.
  • I love *being* with my friends on Facebook.
  • I love traveling, yes, this introvert who would rather be in her own home, love to travel, especially when it is to meet up with friends, old and new.
  • I love being happy.
  • I love fine dining.
  • I love discovering new-to-me authors.
  • I love hanging out with my friends, although few and far between.
  • I love attending mystery conferences and exploring the new cities that I’ve never been to before.
  • And I love that the Mystery Writers of America is honoring me with the Raven Award.

With what is happening in America today, I’m so happy that I still have my books to read and the anticipating of traveling across North America to meet up with friends and talk about books.

So, tell me, what activities do you pursue to relieve stress in your life?

Beyond Sun Worshipping

By Cathy Perkins

Sun Dreaming….

Phoenix (and warm sunny weather) are on my schedule for next
Left Coast Crime kicks off the Great Cactus Caper in Phoenix on
February 25 and runs through the weekend.  I’m really looking forward to it. 

have my panel assignment – Romance Under the Gun, Friday at 3 PM. Come join me!
– volunteer assignment, and books arranged for the store. 

Still have to pack…
Left Coast Crime is a reader/author event so the focus is on
books rather than sessions for craft,
marketing or business.  (I might’ve had a fan girl moment or two at past events.
😉 )  

It’s a great chance to meet and talk with readers and to catch up with
writing friends.  Since this year’s event is right around the corner, I shared a
few scenes from Monterey and Portland, host cities for the last two years.
Readers – Have you attended a reader oriented event? Likes?

Authors – Same question, plus how to you think it compares
to strictly writing conference events?
award-winning author of financial mysteries, Cathy Perkins writes twisting dark
suspense and light amateur sleuth stories. A contributing editor for
International Thriller Writers’ The Big Thrill, she also coordinates the
prestigious Daphne du Maurier contest.

When not
writing, she does battle with the beavers over the pond height or heads out on
another travel adventure. She lives in Washington with her husband, children,
several dogs and the resident deer herd.

Much Ado About Something

by Sparkle Abbey

When we attend conferences, besides meeting readers (our favorite part of cons and the biggest reason we attend) we’re often on panels with fellow authors, and we also try to attend as many of the other panels as we can. We admit we’re sometimes (okay, frequently) distracted by catching up with friends and finding out what’s going on in this crazy world of publishing. And margaritas.

But we do attend panels.

Often these panels are so great that a panelist says something and we go away and need to think about it. It may be just a snippet but there are times when the “something” hangs with us long after the plane ride home. After the unpacking. After the laundry’s all been done. After we’re back to the routine of the day job. It often pops back into our heads the next time we sit down to write.

Lee Goldberg said one of those “somethings” in a panel we attended. At this point, we’re not even sure of the topic of the panel, but in any case, Lee said, “No one remembers the mystery plot of a Monk episode.” We shared a shocked look, sure that wasn’t true. Lee must be wrong. However, he went on to explain that mostly when fans of the series talk about a storyline, they say ‘the one where there the trash collection workers were on strike’ or ‘the one where Monk had a look-alike who was a crime boss.’

His point was that as writers we often think that the backdrop of the story is secondary, but really it’s vitally important to the story as a whole. If plot is “what” the book is about, the backdrop or sub-plot is tightly hooked into “who” the book is about. And together the what and who make the why, and that’s the trifecta that creates the richness in a series. It’s what makes us remember a book and come back to a character. As a reader, you’ve now lived through an experience with Monk. (Or in our case, Caro and Mel.)

That’s a very cool something.

We belong to an online book discussion group and recently everyone was sharing their all time favorite book(s). Wow, what a wide variety of novels were noted as favorites.

We were again reminded of Lee’s statement.

Fiction books are read for entertainment. We don’t read fiction for knowledge – though it’s very cool when we learn new things as part of the experience. We’ve tried to sprinkle in a few of things we learned about Greyhound rescue in our latest book, Fifty Shades of Greyhound. But when readers talk about the book we hope what they remember is the unique adventure Caro had as she worked to solve this whodunnit.

Because when we discuss our favorite books we talk about the people in the books and all that was happening to them while the story was going on. We share their experience. And that’s the magic of a memorable book.

Now, it’s your turn to think about Lee’s “something”

How about you? When you talk about you favorite books what do you remember?
(Oh and thanks, Lee.)

Sparkle Abbey is the pseudonym of mystery authors Mary Lee Woods and Anita Carter who write the Pampered Pets mystery series for Bell Bridge Books. They are friends as well as neighbors so you’ll often find them writing at ML’s dining room table or at their local Starbucks. They live in the Midwest, but if they could write anywhere, you would find them on the beach with their laptops and depending on the time of day either an iced tea or a margarita.

They love to hear from readers and you can find them online at:
Website: www.SparkleAbbey.com
Facebook:  facebook.com/sparkleabbey  
Twitter: @sparkleabbey
Goodreads: goodreads/sparkleabbey