Thank you Crime Bake Community!
Celebrating New England Crime Bake’s 20th anniversary in the midst of a pandemic was not an easy challenge, but WOW! We came together in a terrific celebration of community and craft. With a 20th year unlike any other, Crime Bake again proved itself to be the cornerstone event for crime and mystery writers.
Who better to showcase our community than New England’s own Hank Phillippi Ryan as our Guest of Honor? Being both inspirational and generous, Hank typifies our community’s warmth. Providing our audience with laughter and goosebumps, Hank showed us what perseverance and dedication to our craft can do and reminded us that success is defined not only by achievement, but by the rewards in the journey itself.
Mask/Vax/Test requirements didn’t hamper the joy in coming together. For many of us, it was the first time we’d been at any conference since Crime Bake 2019! We did a few things differently this year and having both an in-person and an online event was one way the Crime Bake Committee addressed the unique challenges presented while expanding our reach.
For the in-person event, fewer, but longer, sessions provided our panelists time to dig deep into their content while providing registrants with the opportunity to settle into sessions and really absorb information. Meals were different, too, with to-go containers at each buffet allowing attendees to eat where they felt most comfortable. The on-site bookstore, The Book Shop of Beverly Farms, offered over 100 titles for sale by 78 speaker and panelist authors. Flashwords, Debut Authors, and Al Blanchard award finalists and winners all had their moments to be acknowledged by their peers. Ten attendees were happy recipients of bags filled with booty that divided over 200 books donated by our wonderful community members!
And then, another WOW! Our online conference looked and felt unlike any other conference. Acknowledging that people are Zoomed out, our committee created an entirely new experience for our community. With pre-recorded content done with an eye for documentary-type quality, we offered over ten hours of on-demand and live interactive programming over the span of one week. All content continued to be accessible for another three months allowing for registrants to revisit videos and content. With a combination of interviews, Master Classes, conversations, quick tips, fun clips, and more, our online offering has received kudos and compliments from across the country.
Our thanks go out to our stalwart parent co-sponsor, Mystery Writers of America New England. Through their confidence and support, this annual event set the stage for the next twenty years.
Thanks to all of you in our New England Crime Bake community. We look forward to what our future together brings.
Connie Johnson Hambley
Co-Chairs, New England Crime Bake Committee