The New England Crime Bake is a conference that is very near and dear to my heart. I missed the first, but have been to the other 13. This year I was co-chair, and I was also honored as a debut novelist. What a journey!
As I write this, I am still exhausted from the weekend. I don’t know where Lisa found the energy to post on Monday–as registrar for the conference, she was as busy as I was. It was a terrific weekend, for so many reasons:
I learned. I had the great good fortune of interviewing Elizabeth George on Saturday. I was very nervous about it for a couple of reasons. First, everyone was watching–it was during lunch. Second, I am a fan of Elizabeth George. The interview went well–I’m a bigger fan now. More than that, I learned so much by listening to her. Since it was a writer’s conference, I focused on her process. Setting is important to her–helps inspire her plots. She sets out to top herself in every book. She believes in reading up, for encouragement. And “they are only words, and I won’t let words defeat me” was her remark at another panel. I feel like that should be on a coffee mug I use every day.
I met new people. My co-chair and I set out to make the weekend welcoming. We held a Crime Bake 101 meeting on Friday afternoon, and encouraged people to come up and ask questions all weekend, which they did. It was so gratifying to meet so many folks who were coming to Crime Bake for the first time.
I met people in person. I am a member of the Guppies, of Sisters in Crime, and of MWA. I am also active in social media. I know a lot of people from on-line, but now I got to meet them in 3-D. Social media cuts out a lot of small talk–it was like meeting old friends.
I spent time with friends. I saw Lisa and Diane, which was terrific. I also spent time with my friends from the Wicked Cozy Authors blog. We don’t get to be all together too often, so we appreciate the time to be together tremendously.
I signed books. It’s been a month, and it isn’t getting old. I sat down at one point this weekend and saw this pile of books. Level Best Books’ Red Dawn, my book, Elizabeth George’s latest. How thrilling is that, especially since I didn’t even know her!
I’ve said it before, and will say it again. Find a writer’s conference, and go. Don’t wait until blah blah blah (book finished, you have an agent, you have a contract). Go when the dream is just a glimmer in your eye. Crime Bake is one of my favorite weekends in the year, and I am already looking forward to next year!
Julianne Holmes is the author of Just Killing Time.