I am getting ready for the New England Crime Bake next week. As this is my first time on the committee, getting prepped this year is a little different than in past years. This year I have some banquet stage management tasks, including making the awards for the costume parade. I am also moderating my first panel, which means reading books and prepping questions. The books aren’t a problem. I have a great panel, and am enjoying the reading.
But figuring out the questions to ask? How do I make sure to ask good questions for the audience, while giving the authors a moment to shine, and making sure the conversation flows? Fortunately, this is my tenth Crime Bake. And I’ve sat through a lot of panels. And most of the moderators made it look easy. But I’m not going to fall into that trap. I am doing my homework.
But honestly? Most of the committee is doing much more work coordinating this huge event. Especially the co-chairs, MWA’s Margaret McClean and SinCNE’s Barbara Ross. I have been on conference committees before, but I have never seen such a well oiled machine. The entire committee is volunteer, and most of them have worked on many Crime Bakes.
Crime Bake is co-sponsored by Sisters in Crime New England and the New England Chapter of Mystery Writers of America. I consider finding Sisters in Crime to be one of the greatest assets to my writing career. Serving on the SinCNE board is a privilege. And working with the Crime Bake committee has been humbling. What a dedicated group.
I also had a Sisters in Crime New England board meeting this past Sunday. Another amazing group. We have some pretty great plans for next year, and will let you know more very soon. But first, we have a conference to co-sponsor. And a lot of old friends to welcome, and new friends to meet.
As for my costume for the banquet? I haven’t even begun to think about it. Happily, it is optional. So instead of a Femme Fatale or a Lady Killer (think Lizzie Borden) I may go as a arts administrator/mystery writer/fan of Crime Bake.
See you on the dance floor! Or at the bar…
J.A. Hennrikus is the Executive Director of StageSource. Her short story, “The Pendulum Swings, Until It Doesn’t” will be in Level Best Books’ BLOOD MOON in November 2012. Julie is the current Vice President of Sisters in Crime New England. She is a social media fan, and tweets under @JulieHennrikus. Her website is jahennrikus.com