The New England Crime Bake

2016 social media squareI have been to all but the very first New England Crime Bake. The first year, I went with my friend Regina, and was totally intimidated. At first. But then the venue ran out of toilet paper, so Kate Flora stood outside the ladies room giving people sheets. After that, and after meeting the really terrific people who ran the New England Crime Bake, I realized I had found my tribe, and I went back every year. For the last four years, I’ve been on the committee, and was co-chair of 2014 and 2015. Registration is open for the 2016 New England Crime Bake, and here’s why I think you crime writers at any stage of publication should come.

  • The New England Crime Bake is intentionally kept small, and geared towards writers. It is put on by Mystery Writers of America, the New England Chapter, and Sisters in Crime New England.
  • The Guest of Honor this year is William Kent Krueger. He writes the Cork O’Connor series, and is also the author of the extraordinary Ordinary Grace. Go to his website and read the story about the follow up to Ordinary Grace. Don’t you want to meet someone with that much passion and principle?
  • There are Master Classes on Friday afternoon on a variety of topics, including marketing, editing, and self publishing. The classes cost extra, but are worth it.
  • The Saturday and Sunday panels are interesting, and well curated to give writers something to chew on as they do their work.
  • You can pitch your project to an agent or editor. Or both.
  • You can get feedback on the first page of your manuscript.
  • You can get a manuscript critique. Again, it costs extra, but you will get feedback on 15 pages of your work in progress from a professional writer.
  • You can learn from experts on different subjects.
  • You can find your people. And have fun while you do it.

The New England Crime Bake is November 11-13 in Dedham MA. We will sell out, and shortly, so don’t wait. I’d love to see you there.

Also, if you have a crime based short story, read the guidelines here and submit it to Level Best BooksLast date for submission is May 31, so get on it!


Julie Hennrikus writes the Clock Shop Mystery series as Julianne Holmes. Clock and Dagger will be released on August 2. She is in book jail this weekend, working on Book #3, tentatively titled Chimes and Punishment.

Getting in the 2015 Groove

In December, I talked about “Taking Stock“, and my plans for the new year.  Since this is my first post in this new year, I thought I’d touch base with how it is all going, and a few other random thoughts about 2015.

If you are going to write a book this year, read Paula Munier’s Plot Perfect. My pile of 75 scene cards are sitting beside me, waiting for another sort before I put them into Scrivener. I’ve written about dramatic structure before, but this book adds to that understanding, and helps you think through your story, including subplots and narrative arcs.

Keeping up with a journal is a challenge for me, but I really wanted to so I could track this year in my writing life. A friend passed on a suggestion that I love. Write five lines about your book (or your writing) every day. I’m adding that to my other journaling goal of writing three things I am grateful for, and therefore tracking this journey. I’ve never been good at keeping up with journaling, but 8 lines a day is doable for me.

My Passion Planner is on back order (hopefully it will arrive next week), but I’ve downloaded the blanks and am using it. I love the system so far. It is all about turning passion into action.

I have renewed my memberships to Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime New England, the Guppies, and Sisters in Crime. I have signed up for Malice Domestic, and Bouchercon. And, of course, I’ll be at Crime Bake. I am looking forward to taking a few workshops over the course of the year. This is all the professional part of being a mystery writer, but I’ve been doing most of them for years. If you are working in a particular field, or are interested in a specific genre, find a group and join it. Community has made all the difference for me, and it will for you too.

My friend Liz Mugavero wrote a great post this week about being “Lucky“.  Reframing the “I’m too busy” to “how great is this life?”. I echo her sentiment. How did I get so lucky? I’m not sure, but I am grateful that I did.

Happy 2015, dear readers. And happy writing!


J.A. Hennrikus writes short stories. Julianne Holmes writes the Clock Shop Mystery Series. They look alike.

Be My Guest: Oct 11 Event for Mystery Writers and Others

There’s a fun day on tap this coming Saturday, and if you’re somewhat local to Concord, MA and this is of interest, make sure to register today, Monday, October 6.

Fellow NHWN bloggers, Diane and Julie, and I are part of a mystery writers group called Sisters in Crime. We also both belong to the New England chapter. And it’s the chapter that has pulled together a wonderful mystery-focused event this Saturday.

Here are the details:

Sisters in Crime New England Presents

History, Mystery & Murder!

Saturday, October 11, at Concord’s Historic Colonial Inn

11 a.m. Guided Walking Tour (optional)

12:15 p.m. Luncheon & Author Panel

What happened when two Puritan ministers and a fur trader wandered into the wilderness? What was Nathaniel Hawthorne’s shocking and grisly encounter? What’s so memorable about Major Pitcairn’s boo-boo or Tildy Holden and her chickens?

This easy-going, 60-minute walking tour of downtown Concord and Sleepy Hollow covers a bit of what you’ve read in history books and a whole lot that was left out, including tales of witches and shoemakers, drunken barbers, and the almost unbelievable story of Frank Sanborn, “possibly the coolest dude that ever lived in Concord”.

Afterward, enjoy a luncheon at the historic Colonial Inn and a spirited author panel on writing one of the hottest properties in our industry, Historical Mysteries.

Moderator Leslie Wheeler and award-winning authors M.E. Kemp, Ben and Beth Oak, Tempa Pagel, and Sarah Smith discuss how to make the past come alive while spinning an exciting tale for contemporary readers.

SinC/NE is covering most of the cost of this unique chapter event for members and their invited guests.

Register as my guest at these rates:

Tour & Luncheon/Panel: $25

Luncheon/Panel Only: $15

Reserve your tickets now/today (this is the last call for RSVPs) at

It should be a fun time on a beautiful New England fall afternoon… as long as no headless horsemen appear, I’ll be just fine.


LisaJJackson_2014Lisa J. Jackson is an independent writer and editor who enjoys working with businesses of all sizes. She loves researching topics, interviewing experts, and helping companies tell their stories. You can connect with her on TwitterFacebookGoogle+, and LinkedIn.

Passing on the Joy

I am moderating a panel this fall at the at New England Crime Bake. It is entitled “High School Murder: Writing the Young Adult Mystery”. My panelists are Beth Kanell, Peter Abrahams, Kate Burak, and Kim Harrington. YA is a very popular sub-genre of mysteries right now, and I am so pleased that it will be a panel at the conference. I bought the books, and look forward to reading them all this summer in preparation.

sord1small1_bw2tBecause of this reading list and the genre, my nieces and nephews are benefiting from their aunt’s homework. My sister called me one night to tell me that B. spent two hours reading. The next day the reader herself called me, and let me know how much she loved Kim Harrington’s first book in the Sleuth or Dare series. She was thrilled that there are two more books in the series. And she asked for other recommendations of books to read. The sound of her voice brought me back to when I became a voracious reader myself. Was it Caddie Woodlawn? Or Nancy Drew? Not sure, but I do remember discovering how much fun reading is, and getting lost in books.

Do you remember when reading became a joy? When you realized that there authors who wrote a bunch of books you could devour? Do you remember the first time you dreaded finishing a book because you would have to say goodbye to the characters? Discovering that joy–one of the great moments in a kid’s life.

I read a lot, but I don’t always feel the joy any more. In fact, it is rare. I wonder if that is because I am a writer, and I am always looking at craft. Or because I don’t allow myself to just fall in love with reading. To make the time, and dive in.

So for the rest of the summer, I am going to learn from my niece, and find the joy again. I have a ton of books sitting on my Kindle, but am open to suggestions. Any titles you want to pass on?

[Note: If you are a mystery reader or writer, check out the New England Crime Bake. A great conference–purposely kept small. But there is still room.]


J.A. Hennrikus  is the Executive Director of StageSource. She has published several short stories, and is working on a novel. She is a huge social media fan, and tweets under @JulieHennrikus. She wrestles with allusions of athleticism, is an avid theatre goer and a proud member of Red Sox nation. Julie is a member of Sisters in Crime and the Guppies. She is a board member the current President of the New England Chapter of Sisters in Crime.