Tomorrow evening, if the stars are aligned correctly, I will be in Boca Raton attending the welcoming session at Sleuthfest 2017. This is my 4th (maybe 5th, I’m not sure) time to attend a Sleuthfest conference. Put on by the Florida MWA (Mystery Writers of America) chapter, it’s a three or four day conference, depending on if an attendee pays for an extra day on Thursday. The keynote speaker this year is David Baldacci. The other “featured” writers are S.J. Rozan Jane Cleland, Reed Farrel Coleman, and Jess Lourey. (Besides these authors, there are dozens of published writers, agents, editors, and publicists in attendance. It’s a great time to connect and reconnect.)
The Thursday sessions are interactive workshops that focus on certain aspects of writing the mystery: red herrings, show vs tell, writing dialogue, writing the synopsis, etc. Thursday evening signals the beginning of the general conference when all attendees are welcomed. The “work” for me starts Friday morning.
Sessions begin at 8:30 a.m. on Friday 9:00 a.m. on Saturday and continue until 4:40 p.m each day. They are followed by an awards banquet on Friday night and an agents and editors cocktail party Saturday evening. During the day there are four consecutive sessions running: Craft I for beginning writers, Craft II for more advanced writers, Career for ways to manage one’s career, and research. I’ll be on two panels during the conference, both in the Craft II lineup. Friday I’ll be with Marty Ambrose, Lisa Black, and D.J. Niko (moderated by Maryglenn McCombs) talking about :The Good the Bad and the ‘How Come?’ ” Saturday I’ll be with Diane A S Stuckart and John Keyse-Walker (moderated by Cheryl Hollon) talking about “The ‘Gritty Cozy’: the evolution of a subgenre or just plain hogwash?”
On my free time I’ll probably be learning about Cadaver Dogs, Shooting Solutions, Real Cops Who Write Mysteries, and book promotion. There are two sessions I would love to attend, but, alas, they’re held the same time I’ll be on a panel. (Sometimes I wish I could be in two places at one time.)
Of course, I’ve often discovered much of what I learn during a conference occurs between sessions and in the bar. I will be gathering as much information as I can while I’m at Sleuthfest so look for blogs covering the above topics in the next few weeks. Until then, I need to pack. (If you are also going to be at Sleuthfest, do say “Hi.” If I don’t recognize/remember you right away, just know I’m usually walking around in a fog during a conference. Too little sleep plus brain overload.)