Thursday, June 22, 2017

Mayberry Madness

by Alan

Your assignment: You must novelize a popular TV show, past or present. The catch: you must change its genre. What show and what new genre? Give us a taste of the plotline and character arcs. (Example: Turning I Love Lucy into a serialized thriller series similar to 24.)

 
(The following is not a novelization. More like a screenplayization.)

FADE IN:

INT MAYBERRY JAIL – LATE AFTERNOON

Deputy Sheriff BARNEY FIFE sits on the edge of Sheriff ANDY TAYLOR’S desk, one leg dangling.

BARNEY
So, Ange, Thelma Lou and I were planning to go to the movies on Saturday, and we were wondering if you and—

The door to the jail opens and OTIS THE DRUNK stumbles in, covered in blood. He goes directly to the hook on the wall, removes the key to a cell, and opens up the cell. Then he closes the door behind him.

ANDY
Howdy, Otis. Ain’t it a bit early for you to be visitin’?

OTIS
I’m guilty, guilty, guilty. I kilt them all!

Barney gets up, rushes over to the cell.

BARNEY
Ha! I knew it was you! Who have you killed now, you worthless slob?

ANDY
Easy, Barney. Otis is just talkin’. Ain’t that right?

OTIS
No, Sheriff. I really did it. I killed everyone. See all the blood? It ain’t mine.

Otis flops on cot, and Barney stalks over to Andy’s desk.

BARNEY
Listen, Ange, Otis hasn’t been right lately. This whole town ain’t been right lately. Those three people mauled to death last week. Four others gone missing. Something serious has been happening around here, and we’ve finally got the confession we need! We need to transfer Otis to maximum security over to Mount Pilot!

ANDY
Otis is just exaggerating. Probably shot a deer, is all. You’re getting a little wound up, don’t you think? This is Mayberry. Nothing bad happens around here.

BARNEY
What about the two beheadings week before last? And what about Floyd’s throat being cut? That bad enough for you, Ange!

ANDY
Barney, I think you’re right near foaming at the mouth. Why don’t you take Thelma Lou out for a nice supper, keep your mind from worrying?

BARNEY
Worrying? I’m trying to catch the Mayberry Serial Killer who’s been terrorizing our town!

Barney goes to the file cabinet, pulls out a sheaf of papers.

BARNEY
I’ve been keeping track. Over the last three months, twenty-four people have been murdered and another eighteen are missing. And the perpetrator is right under our noses! Otis just confessed. You need to arrest him. Take action!

Andy strokes his chin, looks off into the distance.

ANDY
You might be on to something, Barn. But this needs some more thought. I’m going home to enjoy whatever Aunt Bea has whipped up for dinner. Make sure Opie’s done his homework. Then maybe I’ll sit on the porch and think a spell.

BARNEY
It’s Otis, Ange! The murderer in our midst is Otis! He confessed! He’s covered in blood! There’s a knife sticking out of his pocket!

Andy gets up, puts his hat on.

ANDY
You’re in charge. Got yer bullet?

Barney taps his shirt pocket.

BARNEY
Got it.

ANDY
Good. Now don’t do anything rash. We’ll figure this all out, and then we can get an ice cream soda down at that new place opened up on Main Street. Sounds mighty good to me!

Andy leaves. Barney waits until the door shuts, then fumbles the bullet out of his pocket. Drops it on the floor. Picks it up and with a shaking hand finally manages to load it into his gun. Then he tiptoes over to the jail cell where Otis lies on his cot, snoring. He raises the gun. Aims.

FADE TO BLACK

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Novelizing a popular TV show

Your assignment: You must novelize a popular TV show, past or present. The catch: you must change its genre. What show and what new genre? Give us a taste of the plotline and character arcs. (Example: Turning I Love Lucy into a serialized thriller series similar to 24.)
by Dietrich Kalteis
I don’t watch much TV nowadays, so I’ll look at some shows I loved when I was a kid. Although writing a modern take on the exploits of Maxwell Smart while changing the genre might not work … well, definitely the shoe phone showing up as an iShoe would need some rethinking. And turning Hollywood Squares into a whodunit where one of the squares goes missing isn’t likely to win a Scribes Award. 
While novelizing an existing series seems a little like working backwards, I can see how it would capitalize on its branding. Also, there have been many popular novels that have spun from TV shows like the different CSI series, Monk, Star Trek, Batman, Superman, 24, Monk, Murder She Wrote, the X-Files and a long list of others. 
Since I write about crime, I’ll stick to that and draw from the many cop shows from back in the day, ones that inspired me to write crime stories in the first place. Shows like The Rockford Files, Baretta, Mannix, Hill Street Blues, Police Story, and Hawaii Five-O.
Barney Miller was one of my favorite cop sitcoms that ran from ’75 to ’82 and took place mostly in a detective squad room, with some hilarious characters, bad coffee and a single jail cell. It was a well-written series, and the only existing novelization I could find was Fish Strikes Out by T.J. Hemming. The book was based on the ABC series Fish, which was a spinoff from the original series, and which starred Abe Vigoda. And writing about the interaction between a bunch of oddball cops and the strange characters that wander into the squad room seems right up my alley. 
The Job was another cop sitcom that ran from 2001–2 that I enjoyed. It starred Denis Leary, playing Mike McNeil, a hard-drinking New York detective with his own unique twist on fighting crime who juggles the chaos of married life and a girlfriend on the side. Alongside an interesting squad of characters, this could work as a novel. 
The Avengers series from the early sixties also came to mind, and I found that several novels have spun from it. John Peel who wrote the original TV series also wrote Too Many Targets, based on the series, and he wrote other novels under several pseudonyms based on Doctor Who, Star Trek and James Bond. The popularity of The Avengers led to a French TV commercial for champagne with Macnee and Thorson reprising their roles. The success of the ad led to a remake of the original series in ’76, running in Canada as The New Avengers. If I novelized it I’d leave the genre alone, but I might set it in modern-day Vancouver. Emma Peel was perfect, and Steed had that umbrella (something he’d need here), although his character could use a bit of a makeover. I’d let him keep the saber in the umbrella, but instead of the Savile Row suit, I’d deck him out in something by Brooks Brothers, take away the gas-guzzling Rolls and give him a Tesla. Then I’d have the pair attempting to bust up a smuggling ring at the ports, throw in some dark humor and sexual tension, while trying to keep that cool jazzy air from the original show.
Columbo, yup loved this, and the original character showed up in a number of novels: The Columbo Collection was a series of stories written by the show’s co-creator William Link. There was even a novel based on the show published in Sweden and another in Japan. The show’s star Peter Falk also contributed to The Cop Cookbook — arresting Recipes from the World's Favorite Cops, Good Guys, and Private Eyes. I haven’t checked it out, but Peter Falk’s recipe ran right alongside ones by Clint Eastwood, Dennis Franz, Angie Dickenson, Tom Sellick, Jack Webb, Tommy Lee Jones, Francis McDormand, James Garner, and more.
A couple more shows that came to mind: The Saint starring Roger Moore, which originally came from a series of books by Leslie Charteris, published between 1929 to 1963. And The Man from U.N.C.L.E. which ran from ’64 to ’68 also inspired two dozen novels. Real Cold War stuff. And I already mentioned Get Smart, which inspired about a dozen novels. 
Social issues were handled more delicately on TV during the seventies, but All in the Family, while not a cop show, tackled them head on. Nothing was off limits, and its anti-hero Archie Bunker was the poster boy for racism and homophobia. A man who was cynical and politically incorrect at every turn while his wife Edith was his polar opposite, a cross between little miss sunshine and the voice of reason. As far as I can tell, this one was never novelized, but it could work.
In recent times, there have been a number of incredible cable series like Breaking Bad, The Wire, Justified, Deadwood, Better Call Saul, Six Feet Under and The Sopranos. Of course, Justified sprang from Elmore Leonard’s stories Fire in the Hole, Pronto, Riding the Rap and Raylan. Some very talented creators and writers like Vince Gilligan, David Simon, Ed Burns, George Pelecanos, Graham Yost, David Milch, Alan Ball have given us some great story lines and characters, and I think any of these would translate well into novel form.  

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Shakespeare by any other name

By R.J. Harlick

Your assignment: You must novelize a popular TV show, past or present. The catch: you must change its genre. What show and what new genre? Give us a taste of the plotline and character arcs. (Example: Turning I Love Lucy into a serialized thriller series similar to 24.)

Do you remember the eighty’s TV show Moonlighting starring Cybil Shepherd and Bruce Willis before he headed off to the big screen? The two of them ran the Blue Moon Detective Agency and didn’t always get along. There was one particularly memorable episode that I still chuckle over. The storyline was based on Shakespeare’s play The Taming of a Shrew and had everyone dressed in the ornate garb of Shakespeare’s time.  I can still picture Bruce Willis as Petruchio, the aspiring suitor, arriving to court his unwilling bride, the headstrong Katherina played by Cybil. Garbed in velvet and satin with a floppy medieval hat, Bruce rides up on a horse that was wearing a blanket with a BMW logo and enormous sunglasses perched on its nose. The dialogue was a mix of famous lines from various Shakespearean plays and the modern dialogue of running a detective agency. The show was hilarious and a marvelous example of cross-pollinating into another genre, if Shakespeare could be called a genre.

Though not directly answering this week’s question, I thought I would explore the Shakespearean plays that could be used for some of the TV shows I’ve watched over the years.

In some respects Downton Abbey could provide a good cast for King Lear. We have a father with three daughters and a magnificent estate that has an heir problem. But it seems unfair to give the Earl of Grantham the tortured soul of a King Lear. He’s too nice. Nor do Lady Mary and Lady Edith have the evil in them to do what Regan and Goneril did to their father, King Lear and their sister, Cordelia. 

But I think it would be fun to take the cast of MASH away from the Korean War for a few hours and put them into the fantasy world A Midsummer Night’s Dream, where everyone is falling in love with the wrong person.  I think Klinger would make a marvelous Puck, the mischievous sprite who concocts a magic potion to make a person fall in love with the first living being they see upon waking up.  Frank Burns would be a perfect bumbling Bottom, a member of an acting group. Hawkeye, because he is top dog and has a devilish streak, will be Oberon, King of the Fairies and ‘Hot Lips’ Houlihan, his queen, Titania.  I’ve used Hot Lips only because she was the only female with a major role during the 13 years of the shows run. A comment on the times, eh? The other cast members will fill the various star crossed lover roles and the acting group of the play within the play.

And so we have Hawkeye upset with Hot Lips ordering Klinger to make this magic potion and give it to her. Hot Lips falls asleep in the forest while the play within a play takes place. She awakens. And the first living thing she sets eyes on is Bottom wearing the head of a donkey. She falls in love and so the fun begins.

Though love isn’t exactly a theme of NCIS Los Angeles, there is the undercurrent with Deeks and Kensi and Sam is always trying to get Callen a girlfriend, so I think the high jinx going on in Much Ado About Nothing would work. Deeks and Kensi could be Benedict and Beatrice, who are afraid to admit they love each other. Callen could be Claudio who is searching for love and finds it in Hero, who could be played by Nell which would be interesting.  Sam is Don Pedro, a prince from Aragon and I’ll have Hetty take on the role of Don John, his bastard brother, only because he is the one pulling all the strings and causing such confusion.  

In short Callen falls in love with Nell and proceeds to woo her, but Hetty intervenes and sets it up so that it looks as if Sam is also going after her. Meanwhile a matchmaking scheme is hatched by Sam to get Deeks and Kensi to admit their love to each other. But like anything that has to do with Shakespeare none of it goes smoothly.

I am sure many of Shakespeare’s plays could be applied to other TV shows, but I’ll stop here and let you digest these three possibilities.


And to switch to some blatant self promotion, the next Meg Harris mystery, Purple Palette for Murder, is available for pre-order and will soon be out on Netgalley for reviews.

Enjoy your day.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Genre, Genre, Who's Got the Genre?

Switching genres
by Terry Shames

Our topic this week is to take a TV program and convert it to a novel in a different genre.

To say this subject is daunting is to speak in understatement.  I watch a fair amount of TV, but it's mostly basketball. I guess I could see basketball games as sci-fi. Games played on a planet where when a player went to dunk, gravity was so low that a leap into the air meant soaring hundreds of feet before gently wafting back, by which time the game was over. The plot could be a team trying to figure out how to get back to earth so they could play regular games. But that sounds too much like the Warriors.

I did watch The Wire, all five seasons, twice. The Wire as Romance? Wait, there's already a good bit of sex in those episodes, although you couldn't really call it romance. Nope. Not appealing.

How about Downton Abbey as a Space Opera? After all, a lot of sci-fi novels are novels of manners. Imagine Lady Edith dressed in one of those tight, shiny space outfits, kicking butt as a starship pilot?  Lady Violet as Queen of the Universe. When people die they come back as creatures who behave the opposite of the way they did during their lives. Matthew becomes a zombie, the Insipid Lady Sybil (too good for her own good) comes back as a dominatrix. The plot would involve her trying to lure Carson into a menage a trios with her and Matthew.

I could turn Veep  into a novel about creepy, nasty people who scheme to take over the White House. Oh, wait, that's House of Cards. Never mind.

I have it. Frazier, as a spy thriller. His brother, Niles, is actually a mole, feeding information to a dark, sinister group that's plotting to take over the world, headed by a mastermind named Marris. Frazier's father is an aging spy who knows all the tricks and teaches Frazier everything he has to know to beat Marris at her sinister game. His ace in the hole is a terrier that can sense when a person is up to no good. He barks to let everybody know. But, of course, he's a terrier so he barks all the time, and it's hard to sort out the bad guys from the good ones.

Bosch would make a hell of a good romantic comedy. Unlike the TV Bosch, who glooms his way through every episode, he'd be a zany guy known for being a snappy dresser and having a repartee that attracts women like flies to honey. In the novel he has to decide between wooing a busty,  cheery woman or a thin, sexy vamp. The cheery woman turns out to be a crime boss and the sexy vamp is really a transvestite. In the end there's a touching scene in which Bosch persuades the crime boss to repent her ways and she decides to become a nun. He buys the transvestite a new wardrobe and sends him on his way. And he escapes to a lovely island with a kindergarten teacher who turns out to be a serial killer and he spends the rest of his life hiding from her.

In the end, I think I'll stick to writing my mystery novels and watching mindless TV. Although I am thinking of writing a sic-fi novel...




Friday, June 16, 2017

Eenie Meenie Miney Moe To Which Convention Do I Go?

There’s only so much time, and there’s only so much money, while the opportunities are plentiful. How do you decide which writing conferences and conventions to attend? (ie, what are your criteria?)

by Paul D. Marks

Funny you should ask, since I spent this weekend at the California Crime Writers Conference in Culver City, CA (Los Angeles). In fact, I’m writing this the night I returned home from the conference – so that’s one I decided to attend. It’s put on by the Los Angeles chapters of both Sisters in Crime and the Mystery Writers of America. I’m on the board of the latter and have been on the board of the former (a long time ago). That sort of helps in determining whether or not to go 😉 . However, I would go anyway. This is one hell of a good conference that’s put on every two years by these groups. It’s local – well fairly local for me. And that helps. But one still has to pay for the conference and maybe the hotel.

My Panel at CCWC this past weekend:
The Long and Short of It: Short Stories and Novellas vs. Novels
L to R: S.W. Lauden, Me, William Kent Krueger, Kate Thornton, Travis Richardson

As the question says, there’s only so much time and so much money and tons of conferences and conventions. And, while I might like to attend many conventions/conferences, one necessarily has to limit the ones we go to. If the event is local that certainly makes it easier to decide to attend. No airfare. Though sometimes even for local events I might stay in the hotel where it’s being held. It’s just easier than going back and forth, especially as we live kind of off the beaten path.

Bouchercon, Long Beach

Another thing that might make me want to attend is if I’m nominated for an award. But sometimes you don’t know that by the time you have to register. Sometimes it’s the city where the event is being held that draws you in, besides the event itself. I really wanted to go to Bouchercon in New Orleans. And we’d made reservations but due to the usual “circumstances beyond my control” I had to cancel. It would have been nice to hit Left Coast Crime in Hawaii too. Luckily those are both places I’ve been to a lot so I didn’t feel totally let down not going.

Bouchercon 2015 - Raleigh
L to R: Elaine Helms, Paul D. Marks, Art Taylor, Tara Laskowski, Janet Hutchings, Rick Helms

The Edgar Awards are always in New York and are the Big Kid on the Block of mystery/crime awards, akin to the Oscars in Hollywood. I didn’t know if I’d ever have a chance to go to them, but luckily I did get to go to the last Edgars a few weeks ago since I won the Ellery Queen Readers Award and was EQ’s guest at the Edgars. And I would love to go again…especially if I’m ever nominated 😃.

The quaint house we bought in Albany during the 2013 Bouchercon.
See, you never know what'll come of going to a convention 😉 .
And Bouchercon is the Big Kid of mystery/crime conventions/conferences. I’ve been to a few and really enjoyed them all. Love being able to connect with people I’ve met online, or people I don’t get to see in person that often, and to meet new people. We went to Bouchercons in Raleigh, NC and Albany, NY, two cities we might never have visited if not for the convention. And while we enjoyed Bouchercon we also booked a couple of extra days so we could explore the “neighborhoods,” and enjoyed them both. We’ve been to other Bouchercons as well, but in cities we already “knew.” There’s also the ITW convention, which I’d like to attend someday. And Malice and so many others. It really is hard to choose.

The Food Truck Day Celebration, right outside the Bouchercon hotel in Raleigh.
Who knew?

Even if you’re an introvert, you still might want to check some of these out. Most people are friendly and the writing community is very supportive. It might be uncomfortable at first, but eventually you’ll become part of the flow.

Hanging out at the bar -- a Bouchercon tradition.


My wife, Amy, usually comes with me. It gives us a chance to get away and spend time together. And we always have a good time.

Amy, on our way home from Left Coast Crime in Monterey, CA.

Of course, I’d like to attend as many conventions as I could, for the comradery, the networking, fun, adventure, excitement! And the food. But it’s impossible, so it really does come down to where they are, how much they are, how well suited to my writing style they are. Possibly if I have a book coming out that also would motivate me to want to hit the road.



I doubt you’d go wrong attending any of the established conventions/conferences. There’s always something to learn, people to meet and places to explore. Have fun!

###

And now for the usual BSP:

My story Twelve Angry Days is in the May/June issue of Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine, on sale at newsstands. Or click here to buy online. If you like food and you like mysteries, I think you might like this story.



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Thursday, June 15, 2017

Practical business decisions R us.

Q: There’s only so much time, and there’s only so much money, while the opportunities are plentiful. How do you decide which writing conferences and conventions to attend? (ie, what are your criteria?)

By Catriona

Well, I don't go to conferences, so that's a time-saving and money-saving start right there. Except it's not true. I sometimes go to conferences - events where writers take classes to become better writers - if someone has asked me to teach a session and for some reason I've failed to say no. 

But, every single time, I feel panicked and fraudulent, sure I'll never be able to think up 40 or even 90 minutes worth of stuff to spout that everyone in the class hasn't heard before, put better, by someone who knows what she or he is talking about. 

(Just as I can't come on here every other Thursday and write "What Cathy Ace said" though, I can't stand up in front of a class and say "read Stephen King's On Writing".)

This isn't false modesty. I know I can write. I just don't know much about how to describe how to write. I've got three fiction workshop sessions up my sleeve now - on character, on dialogue and on synopses - and two science-writing classes as well. But each of them came from me saying yes (being married to the person asking, in the case of the science ones), panicking, racking my brain and deciding to offer myself up warts and all as a shining example / dire warning and let the chips fall where they might.

The relief when people don't walk out in droves is always tremendous. 

In short, I'm not much of a conference-goer. 

In teaching mode
Conventions and festivals are another matter.

So, how to decide about Bouchercon, Malice Domestic, Thrillerfest, Left Coast Crime, KiIler Nashville, New England Crimebake, Crimefest, Sleuthfest, Harrogate, and Bloody Scotland???

If I was solely based in America, I'd go to the Big One, plus the one that fits my sub-genre best, plus the nearest regional one.

So that's Bouchercon - it's our community's AGM; missing it feels unthinkable.
First Bcon, San Francisco 2010, with Clare O'Donohue and Ellen Crosby

And  . . . Thrillerfest or Malice. How can I not know which one?  Well, Thrillerfest isn't just for thriller-writers. And Malice definitely isn't just for cozy writers. Both are much wider in scope than they get credit for and they overlap in the middle of the genre, coming from opposite ends. I got in the habit of going to Malice because I started out over here with a historical traditional series. If I had started with the standalones, I'd maybe be in the habit of going to Thrillerfest, but Malice is in my blood now. It's the mothership, the tribal homeland.  And I make no apology for being so unbusiness-like, so sentimental. Writing is lonely, and publishing can be cruel. Community matters.

Criminal Minds at Malice 2016
And . . . because I'm on the left coast, Left Coast Crime. I went to LCC when it was in Colorado and when it was in Hawaii. so it's not exactly convenient every year, but it's a lot closer than Malice and   . . . community matters. Left Coast Crime is a hugfest. With occasional ukuleles.

Marla Cooper at Left Coast Crime in Hawaii
That takes care of the US. I'm also back in the old country every summer to launch books, see my agent and UK editors and do research. Bloody Scotland is a tantalisingly long stretch after Harrogate so I can't go to both every year. (It's Bloody Scotland this year.) And Crimefest is at completely the wrong time for me, in terms of writing commitments and book launches. (But I've just looked at the Crimefest website for 2018 and now I'm pining.)
Interviewing MC Beaton at Bloody Scotland 2015
So what's the answer? What are the criteria? Time seems to weigh more than money for me. The rhythm of my year is basically: write for two months, Left Coast, write for two months, Malice, write for two months, summer [Edinburgh, London, research, mum, dad, sisters, new babies, old friends], Bloody Scotland, write a wee bit, Bouchercon, write like mad till Christmas, collapse.

And the other criteria are: family, tribe, mothership, hugs, laughter, love. You're a long time dead.


Wednesday, June 14, 2017

On the road again....by Cathy Ace



There’s only so much time, and there’s only so much money, while the opportunities are plentiful. How do you decide which writing conferences and conventions to attend? (ie, what are your criteria?)

With Sue Grafton, Bouchercon 2013
When it comes to conventions, I jumped in at the deep end. Bouchercon is the largest international crime writer/reader convention in the world, meaning it’s a BIG convention in every sense, and the one held in Albany in 2013 was my first. I knew very few people among the thousands there, but I persisted, met people I admired (Katherine Hall Page gave me a hug and Sue Grafton did the same – DOUBLE WOWZER!!)…and now I LOVE conventions! 

The next year I attended Left Coast Crime (it was in Monterey) which is a smaller version of Bouchercon in that’s it’s truly cross crime-sub-genre, as well as Malice Domestic (which focuses on traditional mysteries, of the type I write). Since then I’ve spread my wings and have attended CrimeFest UK twice – to support my UK publisher’s efforts with my Welsh-set series of books. 

At the "Pub Quiz" CrimeFest UK 2017 - our team won - YAY!
At my first convention I was a fan-girl more than anything else, and I don’t see anything wrong with that. Now (other than still allowing my inner-fan to peep through when I meet authors whose work I adore) I use conventions to listen, learn and meet readers, fellow authors and fans.

So why/how do I choose the ones I do? Well, the first thing to acknowledge is that attending any conference or convention is expensive. Sometimes very. For the first four years of my writing career I invested any money I made from writing into attending conferences, and also a good deal more than that. This past year was my first “break even” year, as far as earning/attending conventions goes. That’s how much they have come to mean to me. 


Panel at Bouchercon 2016 with Ragnar Jonasson, Charlaine Harris, Martin Edwards, GM Malliet & Claire Booth
My criteria for “success” at conventions has shifted over the years: it began with “meet my favorite authors”, morphed to “do the best you can to represent your own work on a panel”, then to “be the best moderator for your panelists that you can be” or to “conduct the best interview of this Guest of Honour”. I also find that setting up meetings with reviewers, bloggers, interviewers and fellow authors is a good way to use the breaks between panels I want to attend…often the only time for such meetings to be held face to face. In 2019 I’m honored to be looking forward to a new goal: “be the best Toastmaster you can be!” Yes, I’m the Toastmaster for Left Coast Crime 2019, when it’s to be held here in Vancouver, BC, and – guess what? – receiving a Lifetime Achievement Award will be none other than Sue Grafton…so I get to share the Green Room with her and the other wonderful Guests of Honor! (Thrilled fan-girl moments aplenty!)


In 2016 I became Chair of Crime Writers of Canada (CWC), and now find I am not just representing myself and my work at these conventions, but also the work of the approx. 300 members of CWC, too. I try to organize get-togethers for our members who are attending any convention I go to, as well as – when possible – organizing opportunities for fans to meet CWC members face-to-face. One important aspect is trying to get all our members in attendance to one place, at one time, to get a photograph taken with our CWC logo – so we can show the members who weren’t there that we were flying the flag, so to speak. So, while I am Chair of CWC, I will continue to attend as many conventions as I can afford to do, which means my annual cycle of Bouchercon, Left Coast Crime, Malice Domestic and CrimeFest UK will continue for a little while at least (I was just voted Chair until June 2018). 
With fellow members of Crime Writers of Canada, Left Coast Crime 2016

If I had to whittle down my list, removing the “least important” first, I would have a hard time doing it: Bouchercon is the biggest, so I get to mix with most fellow authors and fans there; Left Coast Crime is more intimate, more local, and allows more time to be with people; Malice Domestic focusses on the types of mysteries I write, and brings me closest to the largest, focused, groups of fans of that type of book; CrimeFest UK keeps me connected to my UK roots, and allows me to get my hands on books I love to read quite some time ahead of their appearance in Canada (a real bonus!). Looks like I’ll be on the road for some time to come!
Here are some links you might find useful:




Criminal Minds at Malice 2017: L to R Susan Shea, Catriona McPherson, Alums Tracy Kiely & Art Taylor, Alan Orloff, Cathy Ace

Cathy Ace is the Bony Blithe Award-winning author of The Cait Morgan Mysteries (#8 The Corpse with the Ruby Lips was released on November 1st) and The WISE Enquiries Agency Mysteries (#3, The Case of the Curious Cook, was released in hardcover in the UK on November 30th and in the USA & Canada on March 1st).  You can find out more about Cathy, her work and her characters at her website, where you can also sign up for her newsletter with news, updates and special offers: http://cathyace.com/