Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Killer Nashville

I had the opportunity last weekend to attend the 4th annual Killer Nashville mystery writers' conference. I was fortunate earlier in winning a competition sponsored by Tony Burton's Crime and Suspense magazine, which paid my registration fee.

Accompanied by my 17-year-old grandson, Michael, we drove to Tennessee (more than 800 miles one way), not knowing what to expect. Let me say right off the top, it was worth the effort.

The event attracts writers, filmmakers, publishers, agents and fans from across the nation and Canada. It includes programs on various phases of writing and publishing as well as seminars on investigative techniques and forensics by representatives of law enforcement agencies.This year’s guest of honor was New York Times best-selling writer J.A. Jance, author of four popular crime fiction series and winner of the American Mystery Award. She gave an interview and presentation Saturday followed by a book signing and dinner in her honor.

One of the key presenters this year was Lee Lofland, nationally acclaimed expert on police procedure and crime scene investigation, who conducted six sessions. I attended several of those, had opportunity to talk one-on-one with Lee and bought a copy of his book, "Police Procedure and Investigation."I also attended seminars on blood spatter, the mind of the psychopath, poisons and poisoners and another on the state of the publishing business.

Something I wasn't expecting to do (but enjoyed) was being a panelist on The Dark Muse: Inspiration and the Mystery Crime Writer. The panel was moderated by Philip Cioffari, filmmaker and author of "Catholic Boys." Others on the panel were Radine Trees Nehring, author of the Carrie McCrite mysteries, and Dr. A. Scott Pearson, author of the medical thriller, "Rupture."

Not only did I meet some people I've only corresponded with in the past--like Tony Burton, Chester Campbell and others--I talked to Tennessee Bureau of Investigation special agents, attorneys, a private investigator and many other writers.

In addition to all the writerly activities, I also spent some quality time with my eldest grandson and had dinner with Becky and Rick Crow, who drove in from Missouri to meet us. Becky and I share ancestry but had never met in person.

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