I just returned from Magna Cum Murder, a mystery con in Indianapolis. It's interesting that each year, more people know who I am and more have already read my books. Many of us on what's called the Mid-list (meaning we're not big names that publishers are engaging in bidding wars for) sit quietly at these cons, listening to more famous writers tell their stories. Some might think that if a book is good, everyone will find it and read it. That's not necessarily true in this age of hype from big publishers. A book might be very good but not quite the thing the marketing people are pushing this year or the fad type of book everyone is supposed to be reading. (For example, when did "everyone" start reading YA lit?) There's nothing wrong with being a mid-list writer in my opinion. I write what I want to write, and no one argues with me (well, not much) about the direction my career should be going. I feel no pressure to attend twenty conferences a year or w
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I manned the Midwest Mystery Writers of America table for a while, with the able assistance of E.A. Poe I returned last night from Magna Cum Murder, a mystery conference held in Indianapolis, IN at the beautiful Columbia Club. One can safely say that a good time was had by all, and the organizers, led by the indefatigable Kathryn Kennison do a great job of making everyone feel at home. Since I've attended many Magnas, I saw lots of authors I've chatted with, dined with, or sat on panels with in the past, either at Magna or at other cons. Molly MacRae, Sarah Wisseman, Sharan Newman, Tony Perona, Albert Bell, Dan (D.E.) Johnson, John Desjarlais, Monica Ferris, Ann Margaret Lewis, Carla Norton, Elaine Orr, Carol Preflatish, Lori Rader-Day, and Brenda Robertson Stewart. Among those authors you will find a wide array of mysteries, from woo-woo to cozy to deadly serious. What does one do at a mystery con? If you're an author, you sit on panels and discuss wh
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This weekend I'm headed to Magna Cum Murder, a mystery con that's fairly close to home (only 7.5 hours!). Magna is organized by the folks at Ball State University, and it's a great place to see old friends from the mystery community and meet new ones, especially fans. From Friday p.m. until Sunday, we'll discuss our favorite genre, bemoan the current state of publishing, and enjoy being with people who get it, who know how much fun it is for very nice people to read, write, and talk about violent death. I'm on two panels. On Saturday I'll be discussing historical mysteries with Sharan Newman, Albert Bell, Sarah Wisseman, and C.J. Norton. Historical discussions often focus on how much research an author should do and how much inclusion of history in a mystery is enough...or too much. My Simon & Elizabeth Mysteries got me on this panel, and since the fourth book of that series ( Her Majesty's Mischief ) is due early in 2015, I'm pleased to be there.