In the Mood for Crime Bake

It’s middle-ish November, and you know what that means: one of us Chicks is just back from the New England Crime Bake writers conference. Yes, we have photos (sort of), and our faithful Chick correspondent’s annual report…

In the Mood for Crime Bake

Lisa here, still breathless (yes, a week later) upon her return from another successful New England Crime Bake. This fun, small-but-mighty writers conference is held each year around the second week in November (Veteran’s Day weekend). I’ve attended every year but one since I moved back to New England in 2008, and I always come home feeling revved up and ready to work. Attendance is capped around 300-plus, so there’s plenty of chance to really connect with fellow authors, readers, editors, and agents.

This year the theme was “History is Mystery,” in tribute to Guest of Honor Bill Martin, a/k/a The King of the Historical Thriller. In keeping with the setting of his latest, December ’41, we were encouraged to dress in 40s attire for the awards banquet on Saturday night.

I know you are all probably busy prepping for Thanksgiving—or thinking about it—so I’ll keep this short and share a few photos to give you the flavor of this storied event. My apologies for the questionable photography skills (it’s that hotel lighting, I swear—that’s why most of us leave it to pro Maureen (“Mo”) Walsh to capture every event.

When you first arrive at Crime Bake, the always-smiling volunteers will greet you at the door. Nicole Asselin jumped out of this picture before I could catch her (but thanks for everything, Nicole!).

This is our lobster mascot in cuffs (doesn’t that danger sign behind him look sort of like a crime scene?). Allegedly, his name is Larry. No one is quite sure.

On Friday afternoon, just before the conference officially opens, Crime Bake offers some fantastic Master Classes. Our good friends Dru Ann Love of Dru’s Book Musings and Kristopher Zgorski of Bolo Books gave a fabulous presentation on The Dos and Don’ts of Working with Book Bloggers. I did get a pic of them later (Kristopher is in his banquet costume here):

Speaking of Bolo Books, here is a pic of Kristopher’s hubby Michael Meuller with DonnaRae Menard in the lobby. I wanted Michael to show you the cool evidence bag swag he created. And DonnaRae, thank you for that delicious fresh-raspberry Danish. I enjoyed a piece every morning!

Here’s a shot of the opening session—from the door, because I was late per usual and didn’t want to interrupt. But you can see that live conferences are BACK!!! (Crime Bake does offer a virtual conference version, too, with additional panels and guests.)

This dapper gentleman is Doug Grad, who happens to be our own Chick Ellen Byron’s agent. He was named as one of the costume winners (judge: GOH Bill Martin). I think I must be 40s Nancy Drew here—I had no idea how to do any cool retro hairstyling and I forgot about the watch. Maybe Nancy would have worn one to a banquet.

The actual winner of the costume contest was one of these mighty Rosie the Riveters. (Don’t they both look great?) The beautiful Lady in Red is Tilia Klebenov Jacobs.

Special mention to our Wicked friend Edith Maxwell—her stylish red hat was everywhere (here cutting up a rug on the dance floor). There were 2 ballroom pros on hand to teach us the foxtrot.

The last person I saw Saturday night was editor friend Terri Bischoff, who is always in demand at the agent and editor pitch sessions. We take an official pic together every year. She had a flight home so early the next morning we figured she might as well just stay up. I stayed for my fave presentations at breakfast (forensic sessions, which I call Blood Spatter & Bacon). Awesome.

A few years ago, Maine author Dale T. Phillips said that Crime Bake is “like Brigadoon—this magical kingdom that appears for a short time, changes lives, then melts into the mists of time.” Totally true—I think I especially felt that way this year. Co-chairs Connie Johnson Hambley and Paula Munier, you put on quite a clambake! I’m so thankful to have the chance to see old friends and meet new ones each November in Dedham—but maybe even more grateful this year.

Happy Thanksgiving, one and all!

Readers, are you in the mood for the holidays–and will you spend part of them with a book (or a manuscript-in-progress)?

23 thoughts on “In the Mood for Crime Bake

  1. Love the lobster, Lisa! (And love all those Ls in that sentence, says Leslie.)

    I’m guessing I’m not likely to make it to Crime Bake anytime soon, given the distance from Hilo to New England, so thanks so much for the recap and photos. I’m thinking we need some dancing at Malice and Left Coast Crime!

    As for reading: Yes! During the holidays and every day!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Ha! Larry and I could lead a tap dancing conga line!

        Love your recap, Lisa. I’ve never been to Crime Bake, but I adore all the conferences and conventions I’ve ever been to. I think my first conference was in 1999! As to the holidays, I doubt much writing will happen for me, but I suspect I’ll sneak in some reading here or there!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Lisa, thanks for sharing a bit of Crime Bake with us! It’s a conference I hope to attend one of these days! Over the holidays I hope to spend much time reading — and watching holiday films!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I’ll have to put Crime Bake on my radar for next year. I’ve always loved New England and I wanted to live there for many years, but I ended up here in the South. Now I wouldn’t leave for anything, except to move further south, maybe!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Oh my gosh, that looks so fun! I’ve always wanted to go to Crime Bake but it never works out timing wise (so far! maybe! a girl can dream)! You look AMAZING as Nancy, Lisa!!

    (And I’m so happy to see everyone there–everyone looks so great–with a special shout out to my own editor, the fabulous Terri B!)


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