by Paula Gail Benson
|Nancy Pickard (Photo by Anita Baker)|
This joint conference effort began two years ago when SEMWA brought then MWA President Jeffrey Deaver to Columbia to give a writing seminar. The following year, we organized the first Mystery in the Midlands. With each event, we have been able to have authors representing multiple states. We plan to continue the tradition during “famously hot” summers in Columbia.
Special thanks to this year’s authors: Stacy Allen, Paul Barra, Candace Carter, Tracy de Hahn, Elysabeth Eldering, Kaye George, Victoria Gilbert, Sally Handley, Sasscer Hill, Roger Johns, Terrie Farley Moran, Dorothy St. James, J.R. Ripley, Nancy Sartor, Raegan Teller, Jaden (Beth) Terrell, Brian Thiem, Maggie Toussaint, and Warren Moore. Master classes explored Hemingway’s POV, Police Procedure, and Humor in Mysteries. Panels discussed the importance of settings, writing both novels and short stories, cozy mysteries, and the journey to publication.
Midday, we had a buffet lunch and a game of “guess the author.” The first person who picked out the correct author for each description won bonus bucks to be spent with our bookseller, Books on Broad from Camden, South Carolina.
During the conference, we held a silent auction and raised $630 to benefit My First Books, the South Carolina affiliate of the Dolly Parton Imagination Library, which provides a book a month to registered children from birth to age five.
Each year, not only have readers been introduced to new writers, but also the authors have time to exchange information. This year, on the Friday before the conference, a local forensic anthropologist welcomed a group to visit his lab and ask questions about his process.
A local weekly paper advertised the event and sent a reporter to cover the conference. It was wonderful to have the stories available online as well as appearing below the fold on the first page. See https://www.thecolumbiastar.com/articles/local-mystery-writers-conference-features-award-winning-author/
Many thanks to all
the people who participated, attended, and helped with the organization behind
the scenes. Please come and join us next year!
|Article and photos by Anita Baker for the Columbia Star|