We’re Baked

The New England Crime Bake was last weekend. This was the 11th conference. I missed the first one, but haven’t missed another. Being with so many other writers always exhilarates me, and I leave exhausted but inspired. This year I was on the committee, which added to the exhaustion factor. But it in no way took away from the inspiration.

We will be posting about the different sessions over the next few weeks. But for now, what were your top three takeaways from the conference? Mine were:

  • Writing is hard. I know, this sounds trite. But it is always so comforting to hear writers talk about the challenges of doing the work. And the panels of writers were very open with the audiences, talking about the struggles, their process, and some productivity tips.
  • Laughter is a gift. On Sunday we had two fabulous speakers: Debra Prince-Zinni, Forensic Anthropologist and Michelle Clarke, Death Scene Investigator. Their sessions were really interesting, but they were brutal. In between Joseph FinderKate FloraJoseph OlshanHank Phillippi Ryan, and moderator Hallie Ephron had a panel called “Plot Conjurers”. It was a riot. We still learned a lot, and Hallie would always step back and enforce a tip or lesson, but there was a lot of laughter. And boy, did I need it.
  • Sharon Daynard and I worked on the banquet Saturday night. I think it went well–I have a page of notes for tweaks next year. But my take away? Give a mystery writer the chance to get dressed up and dance, and they’ll take it. We’ll have pictures up soon.

What were your take aways from last weekend?


About JH Authors

As Julia Henry, she writes the Garden Squad series for Kensington. PRUNING THE DEAD debuts the series in February 2019. As J.A. Hennrikus, she writes the Theater Cop series for Midnight Ink. Next up: WITH A KISS I DIE, April 2019. As Julianne Holmes she wrote the Clock Shop Mystery series for Berkley. She tweets her writing life as @JHAuthors, and her other life as @JulieHennrikus. She is on Instagram as @JHAuthors. Her website is jhauthor.com, and she blogs with WickedAuthors.com and KillerCharacters.com.
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8 Responses to We’re Baked

  1. Nancy Gardner says:

    Loved the conference and love your title–yes, we were Baked! Thanks, Julie!

  2. Rhonda Laner says:

    Yep, I still feel baked. 🙂 I can’t imagine how wiped out you were by Sunday afternoon.

    I always get a lot out of the Ask the Experts session. Bill Landay and Margaret McLean helped me brainstorm legal possibilities for a story thread. Dave Reardon had “cop toys” for show-and-tell. I, too, appreciated Michelle’s and Debra’s presentations. I didn’t pitch, but I asked people how their sessions went and heard the take-away that agents may be buying a first book in a series but are looking to see how the next two books might play out with a three-book deal in mind. Thank you, Julie and Crime Bake committee, for all your hard work.

    • I was happy to be part of the committee this year, though I had so little to do with this huge undertaking overall. What a dedicated group they are. And I am glad you found the “ask the experts” useful. I missed it this year. So much to see/do!

  3. Rhonda Laner says:

    Oh my! How could I leave out the fantastic manuscript critique I received from you, Julie. I so appreciate the comments and ideas you gave me for leveling out those logic gaps and deepening characterization. Thanks again.

  4. Margo Carey says:

    I arrived feeling bogged down in my work and left pumped to get back to work. Speakers and workshops were excellent, the banquet kept me smiling, and your specific manuscript critique opened my eyes.Yeah, I felt baked but to a perfect consistency.
    Thank you Julie and everyone else who made the event a success, particularly all the authors who shared their experience and struggles.

  5. Lisa Jackson says:

    Another great ‘bake’! I love how down-to-earth everyone is – easy conversations with Joe Finder and Archer Mayor – where else can that happen? I always enjoy being able to discuss specifics of, um, how to bury the body, without getting sideways glances. This was the first banquet I went to — loved it – and the memorable professional photo from it! 🙂

  6. Sandy Gardner says:

    absolutely fabulous! So helpful– great information from experts– especially on autopsy findings, loved the Plot Conjurers, and best of all, excellent critique from Hank Phillipi Ryan on my new mystery novel…..This is my third Crime Bake and I plan to be back from many more! And because I found the writers at Crime Bake so great, I just joined the New England Chapter of SIC
    Sandy Gardner

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