Thursday, August 4, 2016

Business AND Pleasure

by Sparkle Abbey

We look forward to attending mystery conferences every year. Congregating in the bar with book lovers and fellow writers, sipping margaritas while chatting about what books we’ve recently read and which mystery authors we’d invite to our fictional dinner party. In fact, next weekend we fly to Suffolk, Virginia for one of our favorite mystery author festivals. http://www.suffolkmysteryauthorsfestival.com/
2010 RWA Conference

The festival is a partnership between the Suffolk Tourism, Suffolk Public Library, and the Suffolk Center of Cultural Arts. They pick us up at the airport, throw a welcome reception for all the authors, and provide our meals…basically they treat authors like rock stars. We love them.

But as much as we enjoy attending these types of events, we’ve really missed the “writer’s conference.” Writing conferences hold workshops where we get to hone our craft, become a little more business savvy, and learn new ways to reach readers who haven’t read our books.  This is where we refill our writer’s-well.

How much luggage can four writers stuff in a minivan?

For years we’ve talked about attending the annual NINC (Novelists, Inc.) conference. Each time we talk to a fellow writer who has attended, they gush about what a wonderful time they had and how we really have to go the following year. Well, guess what? Next month, we’re going! We’re so excited. And not just because the conference is at the Tradewinds Island Grand Resort in St. Pete, Florida. Okay, maybe we’re excited about that too. It does look pretty amazing, and the resort is ON the beach (everyone knows we love the beach!) Plus we heard we can get the best grouper sandwich just a mile from the hotel. We’re looking forward to brushing up on our writing skills, learning from colleagues with all kinds of publishing experience, and picking the brains of industry experts. A group of peers where we can discuss challenges and opportunities unique to the writing industry.


If you’ve attended or plan to attend a writer’s conference this year, tell us which one and why you’ve chosen that one. Maybe we’ll put it on our list for next year.


Sparkle Abbey is the pseudonym of two mystery authors (Mary Lee Woods and Anita Carter). They are friends and neighbors as well as co-writers of the Pampered Pets Mystery Series. The pen name was created by combining the names of their rescue pets--Sparkle (Mary Lee's cat) and Abbey (Anita's dog). If you want to make sure you're up on all the Sparkle Abbey news, stop by their website and sign up for updates at sparkleabbey.com.

15 comments:

  1. Ladies/Gents: The Cape Cod Writers' Conference focuses on perfecting craft. It is not genre specific but does feature intensive sessions by interest (mystery, romance, and basic components of writing). Plus, spending 4 days in Cape Cod during the summer is hardly penal servitude.

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    1. Arlene - Cape Cod sounds wonderful! We've never been and it's definitely on the list of places we'd love to visit. Thanks for the suggestion!

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  2. Ladies/Gents: The Cape Cod Writers' Conference focuses on perfecting craft. It is not genre specific but does feature intensive sessions by interest (mystery, romance, and basic components of writing). Plus, spending 4 days in Cape Cod during the summer is hardly penal servitude.

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  3. I hope you will report back -- it sounds fantastic! I love attending Crime Bake in Dedham, MA put on by the New England Chapter of Sisters in Crime and Mystery Writers of America!

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  4. We will definitely report back, Sherry. We've heard great things about Crime Bake. It fills up fast, doesn't it?

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  5. I'll be attending Bouchercon in New Orleans. Should be a fun conference and I'll get to see many colleagues.

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    1. Bouchercon is always fun, and New Orleans is a great city to experience. Should be a great time!

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  6. Next up for me is Bouchercon in New Orleans with the SinC Into Great Writing workshop the day before--where I will be teaching. Have a good time and let us know how your conference goes.

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    1. The SinC into Great Writing looks wonderful! And you are a fabulous teacher. We're sorry we're going to miss it.

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  7. Going to the Writers' Police Academy this month. The hands-on experience is amazing for a mystery writer. Everyone is wonderful and helpful and it's a great conference.

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    1. We're so jealous! That's another conference we've talked about attending for years. We've always heard great things about it. Let us know all about it when you get back.

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  8. I just returned from the RWA Annual Conference in San Diego two weeks ago. This was one of the best I've ever attended, if not THE best. It's big, so it can be overwhelming to the uninitiated. You have to study the program in advance and as you go to take advantage of the workshops most closely aligned to your current needs as a writer. But you also have to be open to the spur-of-the-moment opportunities to meet people and exchange information about the industry. Next year it's in Orlando, four miles from my home.

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    1. Barb, you're right RWA National can be overwhelming. That's excellent advice--pick workshop that closely align to your current needs! We're curious as to what made this one the best?

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  9. Looking forward to seeing you in Suffolk next week! My first time there, but already excited. I've been hearing what a great time it is, for the readers and writers both, and can't wait to celebrate with everyone. :-)

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  10. My fav is the Public Safety Writers Association's writing conference in Las Vegas at the Orleans hotel. The majority of attendees are on a form of law enforcement (FBI, police etc.), working or retired, CSI, some fire folks, all wanting to learn writing craft--and there are a few of us mystery writers who love to rub elbows with these folks and share what we know about writing.

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