Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Nothing to say...

by Jennie Bentley

We were supposed to have another guest blog here today, but my friend Beth, for whatever reason, didn't get one to me yesterday. I guess it's up to me to save the day.

Hah.

The thing is, I don't really have anything to say. Nothing pithy or pertinent, anyway.

I think Beth may have decided to talk about Killer Nashville, our local mystery/crime writers conference taking place here in Tennessee August 15-17. She's the conference coordinator - you'd enjoy swapping war stories, Annette, and I'm sure you, at least, can understand why a guest blog might slip her mind a month or so before the conference is set to go off.

She's working on the panel topics right now, and sent me a list of them a week or so ago. The only two I feel supremely confident talking about, is Animal Mysteries - there are two cats in the DIY-series - and the Relationships in Mysteries panel. (It has another, more euphonious name, but I can't remember what it is.) The relationship-panel replaces the sex-panel, and I'm sort of sad to see the sex-panel go, since it's always good for some entertainment. Especially at 8:00 in the morning, which is when they usually schedule it. Then again, if it was still the sex-panel, I couldn't be on it, since I don't get to write sex, and unlike last year's panelists, I'm not sure I could talk about BDSM at 8:30 AM on a Sunday morning, anyway.

Another interesting one is the social commentary panel. I think that might have been suggested by Liz Zelvin, whom I know is attending. Liz writes about recovery, i.e. alcoholism, which is one of those social commentary things.

The thing about social commentary, is that you have to be careful how you put it. My first book, A Cutthroat Business - the one that has finally found a home and will be coming to a store near you in June 2010; yay! - has some social commentary. Unfortunately, it's the kind of social commentary that some people find hard-to-swallow, which I think is part of the reason why that particular book was so hard to sell. Racial prejudice is ugly stuff, and only OK to tackle as long as it's the bad guys who suffer from it; but give the heroine's family reservations about the fact that she's getting involved with someone of a different race, and suddenly you're in deep s***.

I think the most fun panel I've ever been on, was last year's Humor in Mysteries panel. We got to tell jokes and talk about people like Terry Pratchett and Janet Evanovich and Donna Andrews and Carl Hiaasen. There's no humor panel this year. I guess maybe not enough funny people are attending the conference this year. Sobering thought.

Let's get interactive. What's the most fun/interesting/challenging/amazing panel you've ever been part of, or attended, and why? The schedule isn't set in stone yet; and I'm sure Beth can always use another suggestions.

Till next time!

13 comments:

Dana King said...

I attended my first Bouchercon in Baltimore last year, and went to a oanle titled "Would I Lie to You?" (Or something close.) Mark Billingham was the moderator. John Connolly, Laura Lippman, Karin Slaughter, and another author whose names escapes me right now (my fault entirely; he's well known) had to answer questions about themselves. Each had to lie five times in the hour. For every lie the audience caught, the author had to put $5 into a pot for a local charity; if the audience member was wrong, he or she had to pay a buck. The room was packed and it was great fun for all. Who knew Laura Lippman can drop and knock 50 push-ups on demand?

Jennie Bentley said...

Oooh! That sounds like fun. Great concept for somewhere like Bouchercon or Malice or Thrillerfest, where you have all the really big name authors that everyone wants to see.

Very impressive of Laura Lippman. I sure can't do that. I'm a good liar, though...

Wilfred Bereswill said...

I thought Lee Child was part of that panel also, Dana. I could be/probably am wrong.

Also at Bouchercon last year was "Beer for my horses." The authors talked about alcoholism in books and in authors. It got pretty irreverant, and funny.

I was part of a panel with Austin Cammacho and Barb D'Amato where we facilitated the writing of a mystery flash fiction. It really spurred the creative juices and the audience actually came up with the basis for a good story.

I was told it got high marks on the comments.

Jennie Bentley said...

That sounds like fun, Will! Are you going to Bouchercon again this year? I'm thinking about it. Then again, I'm always thinking about it...

Dana King said...

Will is correct, it was Lee Child. No wonder I'm embarrassed; I'm a big fan.

My word verification was "ockfay", which is Pig latin for, well, use your imagination.

Dana King said...

Jennie,
Last year was my first Bouchercon, and I've been registered for this one since February. Educational and fun at the same time. Doesn't get much better than that.

Jennie Bentley said...

Dana, I was registered last year, and didn't end up going. This year I'm not registered - yet - but Indianapolis is practically driving distance from Nashville, so I'm thinking seriously about it. Last year it was the same weekend as the Southern Festival of Books; this year it isn't. But we'll see.

Wilfred Bereswill said...

I'll be at Bouchercon. Like Dana, last year was my first. I had a blast. More of a fan conference than anything, but I learned more from hanging out in the bar than anything.

Jennie Bentley said...

The bar is definitely where it's at, Will! Being a non-drinker and someone who tends to fall asleep around ten, I'm not sure how successful of an investment it would be for me, though. But it would be nice to see old friends, some of whom I've yet to meet!

My word verification is 'avion'. Are we speaking French now?

Joyce said...

I'll be there too. In the bar, of course! If you guys don't have room reservations yet, better get them now. I heard that some of the hotels are full.

There were so many great panels at Bouchercon, I don't think I could pick a favorite.

Wilfred Bereswill said...

JENNIE! Bars serve virgin marys too. Okay, let me rephrase. They sell non-alcoholic drinks as well. Every author I talked to in advance of attending my first Bouchercon was to hang out in the Bar.

There was a moment where I was wedged between Lee Child, Bret Battles, Lori Armstrong, Scott Miller, John Lutz, Robert Gregory Brown and Harlan Coben. Oh and some big time editor that I can't remember. And I mean wedged. The Bar was crazy busy on Saturday night. Just before that I was hanging with the entire Muderati crew.

Patg said...

Actually, I've spent so much time helping to run cons, and setting up panels and discussing them with the authors before hand, I rarely got to attend and found the subject used up when I did. Now that I don't do that anymore, I tend to enjoy more.
Patg

Jennie Bentley said...

Now, don't yell at me, Freddy! I know the bar sells non-alcoholic drinks, too. Being stone sober around a bunch of really happy people isn't always fun, though. Especially when you're someone who maybe could have used a drink or two to loosen up a little... (Shy, you know.)

Pat, I'm sorry you haven't had time to enjoy your conferencing overall. Glad you're getting to relax and enjoy more now that you're doing less!