2017 Schedule

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2:00 – Registration opens

Master Classes (MCs) are an additional $50 per class. Registration is required.

MC1: Character Development: A Master Class in Character from the Queen of Suspense
Teacher: Lisa Gardner
(Limited to 100 participants)

The art of show not tell. In suspense, clever plotting is only half the battle. Learn how to make your thriller stand apart through creating compelling protagonists and intriguing villains that will linger in a reader’s mind long after the end.

MC2: A Map in the Wilderness: Unsticking Your Plot Using Cinematic Structure
Teacher: Ray Daniel
(Limited to 50 participants)

The only thing worse than staring at the first blank page is to be staring at the fiftieth, hundredth, or hundred and fiftieth page with no idea what should happen next. The author peers into the fog ahead, lost in a wilderness of options. Fortunately, there is a map that not only tells us what to do at any point in our story, but also guides us, step-by-step to a thrilling showdown and satisfying conclusion. The cinematic three-act structure is the cornerstone of storytelling in our society, and once we understand it, we can find our way out of any story. In this hands-on workshop in we’ll compare our work-in-progress to the cinematic map. We’ll figure out where we are, set plot goals, and develop a clear path to a thrilling conclusion that will leave our readers dying to read our next book.

MC3: A Crash Course in Writing a Mystery
Teacher: Hallie Ephron
(Limited to 50 participants)

This workshop is a crash course in mystery writing. From coming up with a premise, to structuring the plot, to creating characters with competing goals, on to the opening hook, writing scenes that hook and grab the reader and ratchet the stakes, and crafting an ending that surprises and satisfies.


MC4: Mastering Suspense, Structure, & Plot
Teacher: Jane Cleland
(Limited to 100 participants)

By integrating these 13 thinking, writing, and revising tips into their writing processes, participants will write tighter, more polished first drafts. They’ll improve their story’s pace, while ratcheting up suspense. These tips serve both as a checklist and a mandate. The tips relate to tightening a story’s structure, adding complexity to the plot, integrating backstory, enhancing character motivation, choosing words for sensual specificity, balancing narrative with action and dialogue, and improving both productivity and professionalism.

MC5: Using Research to Get to the Roots of Your Mystery
Teacher: Frankie Bailey
(Limited to 50 participants)

This workshop explores how research can be used not only to answer “need to know” questions but also to generate new ideas and discover the theme(s) that you want to explore in your book. Frankie will argue that even a book that “requires no research” can benefit from creative research strategies that provide material for use in developing characters, setting, and plot.

MC6: There Is No Writer’s Block
Teacher: Hank Phillippi Ryan
(Limited to 50 participants)

Every writer faces them–those terrifying moments at the computer when your book is stalled. When you have no idea what do. No idea where to go. You stare at your manuscript page, and it’s blank. Your previously terrific idea seems dull and derivative and excruciatingly boring. Your characters won’t talk. Or move. And nothing is happening. The beginning is stalled, the middle is muddled, and there’s no way you’ll ever think of a fabulous ending. You wonder: whose idea was this?

What do you do now? Don’t curse at that cursor–and don’t give up! Award-winning journalist and novelist Hank Phillippi Ryan is here to help. In this fast-paced and info-packed course, Hank will offer a whole list of unique, practical and blazingly successful methods you can use every day to get your imagination into high gear and your brain working like a writer. She’ll offer two dozen new ways to think about your story, questions to ask yourself, new methods of cranking your imagination into high gear. New writers will leave with a whole arsenal of writing ammunition, and veterans will be inspired to take their stories to new heights.

6:00 – 6:30  Crime Bake 101 (no additional fee, but registration needed)

Tips on making the most of the weekend conference.

6:30 – 7:30 Welcome Pizza Party (no additional fee, but registration needed)

7:45 – 8:50 Seminars

SEMINAR 1: Fire Up Your Writing Brain (no additional fee; no registration needed)
How to Use Proven Neuroscience to Become a More Creative, Productive, and Successful Writer
Led by: Susan Reynolds

SEMINAR 2: Practice Your Pitch (Exclusive benefit for A&E Program registrants.)
Bring your pitch and refine it with the help of publishing professionals
Led by: Paula Munier

9:00 – 9:20 Death, Desserts, & Debutantes (no additional fee, but registration needed)

Come have desserts, coffee, and drinks and celebrate this year’s debut authors. Sponsored by MWA New England and SinC New England.

9:20-11:00 Movie (no additional fee; no registration needed)


7:30 – Breakfast

8:30 – Welcoming remarks and presentation

9:00 – 9:50 MASTERS OF SUSPENSE (no additional fee; no registration needed)

The Key Elements of Suspense
Moderator: Joseph Finder
Panelists: Lisa Gardner, Chris Holm, Gayle Lynds

10:10 – 11:00 Sessions (no additional fee; no registration needed)

Alone: Inside the Writer’s Studio
Process – How do you sit down and work every day? What does your space look like? What do you use to write? How do you get it done?
Moderator: Edith Maxwell
Panelists: Clea Simon, Frankie Bailey, Susan Reynolds

The Seventh Month: Rocking The Middle
Getting through the muddled middle
Moderator: Michele Dorsey
Panelists: Jane Cleland, Kendel Lynn, Hallie Ephron

11:20 – 12:10 PM Sessions 

I’d Kill For That: Creating Believable Motives for your Characters (no additional fee; no registration needed)
Moderator: Sharon Daynard
Panelists: Katherine Hall Page, Elizabeth Elo, Daniel Palmer

Fear Nothing: PR & Marketing for Introverts (no additional fee; no registration needed)
Fake It Till You Make It. How to be an Extraverted Introvert
Moderator: Julie Hennrikus
Panelists: Michele Dorsey, Linda Barnes, Leigh Perry

Agent Query Round Tables (Exclusive benefit for A&E Program registrants.)
Bring your one-page query and have it critiqued by agents/editors and authors

12:30 – 1:30  Lunch and Guest of Honor Talk – Main Ballroom (no additional fee; but registration needed)

1:45 – 3:00 Sessions

Agent & Editor Roundtables (Exclusive benefit for A&E Program registrants.)
Bring your first page for critique by agents/editors and authors

The Survivors Club: Career Strategies for the Long-Haul (no additional fee, no registration needed)
What do you do if your publisher doesn’t renew? If you need a new agent? How do you reinvent yourself?
Moderator: Lisa Haselton
Panelists: Lea Wait, Stephen D. Rogers, Toni Kelner

Reading Like a Writer (no additional fee, but registration needed)
Led by: Leslie Wheeler
Great novels not only make for enjoyable reading, but also contain important lessons for both beginning and veteran writers. In this workshop we’ll examine Daphne du Maurier’s classic novel of suspense, REBECCA, with a view toward determining the ways the author builds a compelling tale through characterization, setting, and plotting. The idea is for participants to come away with a better understanding of how to write successful fiction, whether mystery, suspense, or mainstream. Read the novel and bring your copy to the workshop, prepared to discuss.

3:10 – 4:00 Sessions (no additional fee; no registration needed)

Hide: Using Your Own Life in Your Fiction
How much of your own life can you use in your fiction? What impact does your experience have on you? How do you use that in your fiction?
Moderator: Julie Hennrikus
Panelists: Dana Cameron, Peter Abrahams, Hank Phillippi Ryan, Bruce Coffin

Face Off: Conflict, Conflict, Conflict
One of the reasons agents and editors turn down fiction is that there isn’t enough conflict. How do you raise the stakes, without losing the reader?
Moderator: Barbara Ross
Panelists: Karen Olson, Donna Andrews

4:20 – 6:00

One-on-One Pitch Sessions (Exclusive benefit for A&E Program registrants.)
Three-minute pitch sessions with agents and editors

Drop in and Ask the Experts (no additional fee; no registration needed)

Robin Stuart – Cyber Crime
Michelle Clark – Medicolegal Death Investigations
Richard Cass – Are you really ready to submit?
Bruce Robert Coffin – Police procedurals, getting the details right
Kameel Nasr – Host of community access cable show in Cambridge; interviewer of authors.

6:30 – 9:30 Banquet & Awards ($60 per person; registration required. The banquet frequently sells out.)
Everyone’s a VIP at our first Red Carpet Awards Night Banquet, a new tradition for our beloved New England Crime Bake! Join us as we celebrate the New England Crime Bake’s Lifetime Achievement Award honoree, the recipients of the Al Blanchard Award, and toast attendees who received awards and recognition during the past year.

Come as you are or dressed to kill. Dodge the paparazzi or strike a pose at our selfie station. Dine with old friends and new acquaintances, raise your glass in a toast to murder, mirth, and mayhem, and dance till you drop.


7:30 – 9:00 AM Author Breakfast  (no additional fee; but registration needed)

9:00 – 10:10
4 Lies People Will Tell You About Marketing Your Novel  (no additional fee; no registration needed)
Presenter: Barbara Ross
This session will expose the myths of marketing your book. Learn principles of book promotion authors can use to support their work, starting before their book is completed and continuing through their careers, along with a host of practical, achievable advice.

10:20 – 11:10
The Road to Hollywood  (no additional fee; no registration needed)
Dream of having your book made into a movie? Hank Phillippi Ryan discusses the subject with four writers who are well acquainted with Hollywood: Hallie Ephron, David Handler, Dana Cameron, Lisa Gardner

11:30 – 12:40  (no additional fee; no registration needed)
Forensics Session
Dr. Peggy Greenwald