2018 Schedule

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Crime Bake 2018 Schedule


2:00 p.m. – Registration opens

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

MC1: Meditations on the Structure of Revelation: An Advanced Workshop on the Craft of Reimagining Your Novel
Teacher: Walter Mosley
(Limited to 100 participants)

This master class will be presented by our Guest of Honor Walter Mosley, one of the nation’s most prolific and acclaimed crime-fiction writers. He is the author of more than 50 books, including the Easy Rawlins mystery series, and the recipient of an O. Henry Award, a Grammy Award and PEN America’s Lifetime Achievement Award.

MC2: Great Beginnings: Perfecting Page One
Teacher: Hank Phillippi Ryan
(Limited to 50 participants)

Your first page is make or break, you know that, right? Agents and editors stop reading after one paragraph if it doesn’t lure them in. So–the great opening lines: Ishmael, Manderley, the last camel. Why do those work? How can you create one for your own novel? What about that crucial first paragraph? And a first page that will entice editors and enchant readers? And that all important first chapter? How can you set the proper expectations for the story to come—and make every word work? In this in-depth interactive class, Hank will reveal the secrets of great beginnings. Hank will offer book-changing instruction, handouts, and practical news-you-can-use guidance—that will make sure you and your novel are headed in the right direction.

MC3: The Death Sentence: A Writer’s Course in Corpses
Teacher: Geoff Symon
(Limited to 50 participants)

Invariably crime writers have to deal with the corpse in the room. Death can be found in any genre, but too often the presentation and evidence is just dead wrong. Geoff Symon draws on his 25-years as a federal forensic investigator to walk authors through death and its processing by medicolegal professionals. With his crime-scene experience and his hands-on knowledge of autopsies, Geoff tackles topics ranging from time of death estimates to decomposition phases, from scene processing to Y-incisions. He’ll guide attendees along the body’s path from discovery to death scene to postmortem to funeral home. Crime writers at any experience level will benefit from this course so they can flesh out their body of work.


MC4: The Seven Steps to Creating Suspense
Teacher: Gayle Lynds
(Limited to 100 participants)

New York Times bestselling author Gayle Lynds steps you through her foolproof recipe for plot:
1. Understand the difference between your story and your plot. 2. Figure out what your story is about. 3. Find your three most prominent story elements. 4. Probe your characters, because who they are, what they fear, and what they want will help you fill in the details of cause-and-effect in your plot. 5. the villain drives the plot. Really. Until the end — that’s when the hero and heroine drive it right back. 6. Visualizing — daydreaming — is a time-honored way to plot, and it’s something you already know how to do, and do well. Just follow the above steps. 7. And be daring. Yes, you can plot!

MC5: Creating Your Author Life
Teachers: Julie Hennrikus and Liz Mugavero
(Limited to 50 participants)

Writers can learn the craft of writing, but how do they navigate the challenges of being an author? How do you network? How do you build your author platform, and what does that even mean? What is the importance of community? What are some of the best practices to put into place now, and what pitfalls should you avoid? How do you protect your creative self while putting your work out there? How do you connect to your muse while trying to make a deadline? Julie Hennrikus and Liz Mugavero are multi-published authors who have tips and tricks they have gleaned throughout their career. The goal of this class is to be both inspirational and practical, and will include social media and marketing strategies in addition to ideas on how to move your career up a notch.

MC6: Market Your Book Without Losing Your Soul
Teacher: Glenn Miller
(Limited to 50 participants)

Digital marketing guru Glenn J. Miller spells out how authors can make the most of their marketing dollars, no matter how large or small the budget. He’ll identify the pros and cons of the various opportunities and resources available in today’s digital marketplace: Social media, newsletters, websites, blogs; book trailers, Facebook ads, Twitter ads; what works, what doesn’t, how to best spend your time and money; strategies to sell books, build your brand, reach new audiences; sample timeline, $, $$, $$$ budgets; and much, much more!

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

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

100 Classics (no additional fee; no registration needed)
Today’s mystery writers are part of an ongoing continuum that began with Poe. What are the greatest mystery books of the 20th century? Who were the key writers in our genre’s past? Why have some remained popular while others have not? And how will history look back on today’s practitioners? Join in on the discussion.
Led by: Arthur Vidro

9:00 – 9:20 Desserts to Die For (no additional fee, but registration needed)
Come have some decadently delightful and delicious desserts, coffee, and drinks. (cash bar)

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


8:00 – 8:45 a.m. Breakfast

8:30 – 9:00 Welcoming remarks and Flashwords presentation

9:00 – 9:50 The Mystery of History (no additional fee; no registration needed)
Writers find many ways to deepen a story and its characters, including drawing on aspects of history to shape the reader’s perception of the present setting of the story. Five writers explore how they use history, what works and what doesn’t.
Moderator: Hallie Ephron
Panelists: Walter Mosley, Bill Martin, Elisabeth Elo, Frankie Bailey

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

CAPERS, CRIMES, & CRIMINAL MINDS: Writing It Short & Getting It Right
Crafting the short story is more than writing a short novel. Find out what Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine’s Editor Linda Landrigan looks for in a story and learn from prolific writers whose stories have been nominated for numerous awards including a Shamus, a Derringer, a mention in The Best American Mystery Stories, and a Pushcart Prize finalist.
Moderator: Ruth McCarty
Panelists: Kate Flora, Lorraine Sharma Nelson, Linda Landrigan, Stephen D. Rogers

Killer Fun with Fluffy and Fido
Mysteries featuring four-legged characters are more popular than ever. But writing animals into your story successfully is not as easy as you might think. Our panelists reveal the dos and don’ts of animal mysteries, addressing such sticky wickets as point of view, anthropomorphism, sentimentality, and more.
Moderator: Paula Munier
Panelists: Clea Simon, Donna Andrews, Liz Mugavero/Cate Conte

11:20 – 12:10 p.m. Sessions 

City Mystery, Country Mystery (no additional fee; no registration needed)
The city might have criminals in every doorway but the country has deadly weapons at every farm stand. Writers talk about the advantages and limitations of their urban or rural settings, from the dark alleys of Los Angeles to a seemingly quiet farm in the Pioneer Valley of Massachusetts.
Moderator: Susan Oleksiw
Panelists: Barbara Ross, Dave Zeltserman, Marian Stanley

New England is Murder (no additional fee; no registration needed)
From the forests of Maine to the elegant cottages of the Rhode Island shore, from legends about the Salem witch trials and the fun of a family clam bake, writers use what is unique about New England to enrich their stories and showcase the idiosyncrasies, history, and regional settings.
Moderator: Sheila Connolly
Panelists: Maureen Milliken, Kameel Nasr, Brunonia Barry, Sherry Harris

Agent Query Round Tables (Exclusive benefit for A&E Program registrants ONLY.)
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 ONLY.)
Bring your first page for critique by agents/editors and authors

Cliches Remade (no additional fee, no registration needed)
There may be nothing new under the sun, but writers still create refreshingly new characters and stories using the old cliches. The small-town policeman is reinvented in every novel, and the sidekick can be a cat or the mother-in-law. How do writers remake the old into something new?
Moderator: Edith Maxwell
Panelists: Lisa Lieberman, Leslie Wheeler, Bruce Coffin

Reading Like a Writer: Trent’s Last Case by E. C. Bentley
Led by: Susan Oleksiw
When E. C. Bentley set out to write his first mystery novel, he achieved something far different from what he intended. His mystery changed the direction of the genre, and introduced tropes still popular today. Read the novel and bring your copy to the workshop, prepared to discuss.

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

Writing for the Younger Set
Writing successful YA fiction requires more than younger protagonists and lots of friends anguishing over final exams. Authors of YA mysteries must meet specific requirements and still provide an age-appropriate and captivating story. Four successful YA writers discuss the special challenges for crafting stories in this popular genre.
Moderator: Lea Wait
Panelists: Peter Abrahams/Spencer Quinn, Lisa Q. Matthews, Beth Kanell

Mashups: What Is It?
Writers are combining sci-fi and mystery, paranormal and mystery, and everything else. Three writers will explore what works and what doesn’t work, and why.
Moderator: Michele Dorsey
Panelists: Dana Cameron, Alexia Gordon, Len Rosen

4:20 – 6:00

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

Drop in and Ask the Experts (no additional fee; no registration needed)
Informal roundtables with: Bruce Robert Coffin (police procedure/criminal investigation), Katherine Fast (handwriting analysis), Alexia Gordon (medical, military, whiskey), Chris Knopf (small press/publishing), Alan D. McWhirter (criminal defense/courtroom), and Edwin Hill (publishing).

6:00 – 6:30 Cocktail Party

6:30 – 9:30 Banquet & Awards ($60 per person; registration required. The banquet frequently sells out.)
Everyone’s a VIP at our second Red Carpet Awards Night Buffet Banquet, a 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, our debut authors, and attendees who have received awards and recognition during the past year.

Come dressed to kill or as you are for an informal evening dining with old friends and new acquaintances where we will revel in camaraderie and celebrate the accomplishments of the New England Crime Bake community. Enjoy an opportunity for quiet conversation to catch up with friends during the banquet. (We promise no music during dinner.)


8:00 – 9:00 a.m. Author Breakfast  (no additional fee; but registration needed)

9:00 – 10:10
Writing Cinematically (no additional fee; no registration needed)
Not every good story will make a good movie, but some writers seem to have the knack for telling a story that makes the reader see scenes that belong on the big screen. How do writers adapt the novel format to a cinematic one while writing fiction?
Moderator: Hank Phillippi Ryan
Panelists: Walter Mosley, Joe Finder, David Handler

10:20 – 11:10
Based on a True Story: How real-life cold cases can enrich mystery fiction (no additional fee; no registration needed)
Stories of solved and unsolved crimes–and cases of lost identity–abound in the real world. Facts and circumstances culled from these cases can provide the enterprising mystery writer with inspiration and a compelling sense of realism. Looking at works of fiction and nonfiction, we’ll dissect how authors use authentic details from true crime to inform and enliven their work.
Presenter: Deborah Halber

11:30 – 12:40
Scene of the Crime: Perpetrating & Investigating Your Fictional Felonies (no additional fee; no registration needed)
When you need your book to have a clue. This course gives you the basic tools to investigate your own fictional scenes. We’ll talk through the law, evidence concepts and the real life people who process crime scenes. We will also visit the most common forensic flubs and fallacies while discussing true primary forensic methods and fundamental terminology to breathe life into the scene of your crime.
Presenter: Geoff Symon