Tag Archive for: Love is Murder

How Do You Decide Which Mystery or Writing Conference to Go to?

Going to mystery cons are so much fun–and I used to go to a lot more than what I do now. The main reason I’ve cut down is I no longer enjoy flying. I’ve always had to change planes at least twice and often three times. Once I had to change concourses which meant a bus ride and going through security again.

Back when it was easier, I went to Bouchercon and Left Coast Crime no matter where they were (well in the U.S. anyway.)  After a while it was like going to a reunion because of meeting old friends–some of whom I met at previous cons.

One of my favorite cons was Mayhem in the Midlands which is no longer in existence. Too bad, Omaha was a great place to visit. And that was part of the whole experience, because all these cons are held in different cities, there is the opportunity to see places you’d never get to otherwise.

I went once to Love is Murder and loved it. Being a California native, what I didn’t love was flying in right in front of a snow storm–though loved the snow once we got settled in the hotel. Also loved meeting new people, and spending time with old friends too.

I’ve been twice to Malice Domestic–loved it, but it’s just too far away.

Left Coast Crime is another favorite–and I will be going to the one in Monterey CA–that’s drivable for me. Whether or not I’ll go to Bouchercon (also in CA–Long Beach) hasn’t been decided. Driving in L.A. traffic is another things I’ve given up.

One writing conference I go to every year is Public Safety Writers Association’s conference. The participants are made up of men and women in many public safety field, active and retired: police, FBI, dispatchers, firefighters, the Air Force equivalent of NCIS, on police psychiatrist, most of whom write mysteries or want to write mysteries and a small contingent of mystery writers who have figured out this is a good place to make friends with people who know how it really is. A small conference, it’s easy to really network.This one is always in Las Vegas in July–another I can drive to, and the month it’s held makes the hotel price cheap.

Epic is a conference for e-published authors and publishers. I’ve been to most of them. This is small and moves around each year. Whether I go to anymore will depend upon where they are

The big question is why go? First off, it’s fun. Mystery readers attend Bouchercon and Left Coast Crime. An author can meet readers with a little effort (means speaking to strangers), being friendly, and handing out business cards or bookmarks. I’ve met several readers this way who have since become my fans..

Because most of us are mystery fans too, it’s great to see your favorite authors and tell them how much you love their books.

What Mystery or Writing Conferences do you go to, and why?


Coming very, very soon. #13 in the Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery series!

What Are Your Feelings About Big Mystery Cons?

Recently I read a blog post from an author titled, “Why I Quit Going to Bouchercon” and some of the things expressed I’ve been feeling.

My hubby and I have been to several all over the U.S. We had a great time, especially exploring cities we’ve never been to before and wouldn’t have visited were it not for Bouchercon. Did it do anything for my career as an author? Not a whole lot. To even get my books into the book room, I always had to negotiate with the book dealer who wanted the standard 40/60 cut which meant I didn’t make a dime on any book sold. (I bought the books I brought with me at that same 40% cost.)

Being with small presses doesn’t impress the Bouchercon committees. In fact, I read the minutes of one of those committees after a Bouchercon I’d attended and several members actually came out and said “too many small press authors attended, discouraging the big name authors.” Does that mean my money isn’t as good as anyone else’s? After all, I paid a hefty fee to go, stay in the convention hotel and the transportation to get there and back.

My last Boucheron was the recent one in San Francisco. I went because it was close enough for me to get there fairly easily. I didn’t even bother to try to get my books in the book room. Hubby didn’t go and I roomed with an old friend I hadn’t seen for awhile. I had a great time schmoozing with people and wasn’t impressed with the panels I attended. Especially the one on e-books. The panelist, all published by big name publishers, didn’t know much of anything about e-books. This would have been a great panel for small press authors to shine, but they weren’t asked.

A big plus, is I have made friends with some wonderful fans of the mystery genre who have become fans of my mystery series.

Left Coast Crime is smaller and a bit more small press author friendly. I’ve already signed up for the one in Monterey CA. (Also easy for me to get to.)

There are other smaller cons around the country like Love is Murder (been once and loved it), Malice Domestic (been twice and it is also a great conference), Killer Nashville (been to one and thought it was fun) and I know there are many others in the Midwest. Public Safety Writers Association is the smallest one I got too because I get to learn a lot from experts and small press authors get to shine.

For me these days, I’m weighing in the problems of traveling when you’re older. I can no longer run through an airport with my carry-ons to get to my next gate on time which is 1/2 mile away, whether what I’ll get out of the conference or convention will be worth the cost (and I do count meeting and making friends with readers).

What are your feelings about these conventions and conferences for writers? And if you are strictly a reader, if you go, what do you like best? What are your favorite cons and why?


On Writing About a Culture I’m Not Really a Part Of

(Yes, I know that’s terrible grammar, but “On Writing About a Culture of Which I’m Not Really a Part” sounds terribly stilted.)

My heroine, Deputy Tempe Crabtree is an American Indian and I’m not. My closest relationship to native people are my daughter-in-law and a four-year-old great-grandaughter. When I first created Tempe, her native blood wasn’t a big part of life. With each book, she learns more and more about her roots. I’ve learned right along with her.

Tempe belongs to the Yanduchi tribe which is part of the Yokuts. Yanduchi is not a real tribe, though quite similar sounding to one. The Yokut Indians have many off-shoots and were and are located all over the Central Valley of California. The Bear Creek Reservation where many Yanduchi live has a strong resemblance to the Tule River Reservation which is located fairly close to where I live.

In looks, Tempe resembles my daughter-in-law who is part Yaqui, but her personality is her own. I’ve also been very much influenced by two female law enforcement officers I know.

Whenever I’ve put Yokut legends in a novel, the legends are true. Calling the Dead has quite a few that seemed to fit what was going on in the story. A future book, Dispel the Mist, is based on a Tule River Indian legend that isn’t well-known, but oh, so much fun to write about. To find out more about the legend, I was invited to go along with the anthropology class to the Tule River Reservation and visit the Painted Rocks.

Though I have attended Pow Wows and visited with our local Indians as part of my research, much of what I’ve used has come from books, especially when I’m writing about supernatural and spiritual aspects of the culture. I want to be respectful and that’s one of the reasons I always emphasize I’m writing fiction.

The town of Bear Creek is a fictionalized version of the town I live in, though I’ve moved it a thousand feet higher into the mountains. In all the years I’ve lived in my little town, there’s only been one murder and a second in a mountain community several miles above us. Bear Creek isn’t so lucky. The worst that happens on the real reservation are vehicle accidents on the narrow, winding road leading to the reservation and it’s casino.

Fortunately, I’m thrilled to say, the Native Americans who’ve read my books seem to like them.
My latest, Judgment Fire, besides investigating the murder of a battered wife, Tempe participates in a Starlight ceremony that opens her eyes to some buried painful memories of her highschool years.

Writing this series has brought me great pleasure and some faithful fans.

Marilyn http://fiction foryou.com

P.S. I met in person half of Evelyn David this past weekend at Love is Murder. Actually I’d met her before though I didn’t realize it. We all had a great time at LIM.