Tuesday, February 17, 2009

A Conferencing We Will Go

I'll be heading off to SleuthFest, a mystery writer's conference, at the end of the month. Why do writers go to conferences? Join author J L Wilson as she talks about the Roman legionnaires she met while in Chicago.

I just got back from two writer’s conferences (back to back), and since I write murder mysteries set at conferences for writers, they were very, very useful to me.

I used to go to big conferences — RWA National and RT spring to mind. But in the last few years I’ve focused on three or four smaller conferences throughout the year. And let’s face it, three small conferences cost as much as RWA or RT, so I’m getting more bang for my buck.

The thing I like about smaller cons is that I usually get to either meet readers or I get to meet writers who are often with smaller presses, just like I am. So I get a chance to (1) reach a new audience and (2) exchange ideas with people in the same boat as me.

Speaking of boats …
Keep Reading...

...the first conference was a cruise at sea. Since I’ve never cruised, it was fascinating (if you want more details you can check my newsletter, posted at my web site. It was a very brief cruise, but enough to give me a taste of the life, so to speak.

The last conference I attended was in Chicago and was a murder-mystery conference. I’m finding those more to my taste than the romance conferences. This one was particularly interesting because another conference was at the hotel at the same time, and it was “Re-Enactor Fest.” So we had a few hundred people sharing the hotel with us who were dressed as: soldiers (Roman soldiers, WWII soldiers, British soldiers — you name it, we had it), Southern belles (complete with hoop skirts), Henry VIII, pioneers, Native American Indian scouts, movie stars …

The variety was endless. I have to tell you, I got SO many plot ideas! And I had a chance to inspect muskets, blunderbusses, and swords up close (so useful for my time travel books) as well as see just how uncomfortable some of that clothing was (the consensus was that the shoes were the hardest to create accurately AND comfortably).

So all in all — a very good time. I sold a few books (my latest came out on the first day of the conference, so that was a bit of serendipity) and I gathered a lot of ideas for upcoming novels. My next conference is in June then one in August and I’m done for the year. Since I’m already contracted through 2011 that should give me enough plots to get me through 2012! For more information about my various books (mystery, romantic suspense, and time travel), check my web site

16 comments:

Clover Autrey said...

I've just decided that I'm going to focus on the smaller conferences myself as well. I'm very jealous about the Roman Legionaire group. I would have loved that.

Judi Fennell said...

There's a Re-Enactor Fest? OMG, that's right up my alley! No, I don't re-enact, but I love to play dress up! :) And of course, I have my old Hollywood get-up from RT last year.

I've got a slew of conferences set up this year, but we're road-tripping to them, so the cost isn't as much as airfare - plus we're cramming 3 of us to a room. I figure since I rarely spend time in the rooms, why do I care if there's 2 or 3? I'd even consider 4.

Bummed out I won't see you at RT or RWA this year, but I'm looking forward to seeing Lynne. Glad to see you got more ideas - that re-enactor fest will be PERFECT!!!

J L said...

I wish I could drive to more conferences, because I'd do it in a minute. But airfare is a killer!

Maybe next year at RT -- I think it's in Ohio, and that might be doable...

Terry Odell said...

I hear you on airfares. RT is 3 miles from my house, which is why I'm going for the first time. I like the smaller conferences very much, but figured I'd be silly not to take advantage of a bigger one so close to home.

Tarot By Arwen said...

You know, JL, after reading your mystery about what COULD happen at a conference, I'm not so sure I want to go to any conference you are at! HA! :)

Maggie Toussaint said...

Hi JL and Terri! I love how you can devise plots from every situation. I get caught up in the experience and forget to take notes. This also happens when I'm newspapering, and I need to break that habit, LOL.

I would have enjoyed seeing the armor and swords. Anytime we go to a museum I am consistently drawn to the old weapons section.

Nice blog post.

Mia Watts said...

May have to incorporate armor, swords, and blunderbusses in next book. Might there be a way to use all while one or more partners are cuffed to bed? Could be dangerous and armor is cold on bare body, I'm told.

Linda LaRoque said...

Wow, JL, I'd love the Re=Enactor Fest and examining all those old weapons. Most of the historical I write is in the 1800s but I've been considering stepping back in time.

Your idea of smaller conferences is food for thought. I'm considering a book signing cruise out of Galveston in November a group of authors are putting together.

Linda
www.lindalaroque.com

J L said...

Mia, you saucy wench: let me know if you need details, I chatted with some of those re-enactors a bit and might be able to help {wink}.

Arwen, you know I make sure my friends are safe in my books -- although Maggie and I did come up with a great idea for murder on our cruise (but she's safe, trust me!)

Linda, I had a blast on my cruise -- first one I've done, and it was very nice.

Terry, we now have a new air carrier in town giving the hometown planes a run for their money (Northwest is the hub here but Southwest just came in). I'm going to check SW fares and maybe I can splurge on an out of town con now and again...

liana laverentz said...

Link didn't work to the website, so I'll have to find you on my own. I'm curious about your cruise experience--I'm still blogging about mine...I've spread it out over several posts. Did you get to play the slots?

liana laverentz said...

Maggie, they have an awesome weapons display in the Cleveland Museum of Art, I think it is. I could have spent hours in that room alone. All swords and chain mail and helmets and breastplates and pisols and daggers and...

Kind of like that Dungeon we were in on the cruise, only the real thing.

Terry Odell said...

Liana -- I think I fixed the newsletter link. At least it works in Firefox

Anita Birt said...

Smaller conferences make sense to me. None close by Vancouver Island so I shall await. Something might turn up. I am going on a short cruise in August, the inside passage from Vancouver up the coast and return. First time for me. I don't expect plot ideas but it will be different.

Thanks for the post. It was very interesting.

Terry Odell said...

Cruises are great, Anita -- I could get used to being waited on hand and foot. We've done an Alaska and a Caribbean.

J L said...

In case links don't work, just try my web site:

http://www.jayellwilson.com and click on "News".

I had a great time on that cruise -- it was a short one and was a nice break from winter!

Margaret Tanner said...

Hi Terry,
I also made the decision to only attend smaller more intimate conferences too. I think that is the way to go for use small press authors, at least you meet like minded people there.

Regards
Margaret