Welcome our guest poster, Beth Terrell, Executive Director and Chief of Conference Operations for the mystery conference Killer Nashville. Rather than cover what this unique conference is about, I asked if the lady-in-charge would take the baton and run in my place. She did. I'm presenting twice at the conference, once on August 24 and again on August 25, so I hope to see a lot of mystery readers and writers there. Come by my presentations or stop by the Bell Bridge Books publishing booth, and we'll chat.
Take it away, Beth!
A Drop Dead Good Conference
I've been a conference junkie ever since I attended my first Harriett Austin Writers Conference back in the Dark Ages. As an aspiring writer, conferences helped me hone my craft and build a network of friends and contacts in the writing world. I found my agent at a conference, and later, when I had a book on the market, conferences taught me about marketing and promotion and helped me connect with readers. There's nothing like a good writers' conference to recharge the creative batteries and motivate me to rush back up to my hotel room and write. With all this conference love going on, you can imagine how grateful and honored I was when Clay Stafford, founder and president of Killer Nashville, gave me the opportunity to help organize this thriller, mystery, and crime literature conference right in my back yard. It's a conference that truly has something to offer, not only to readers, but to writers of every genre and at every stage of their careers.
"There are writers sleeping all over the lobby!"
For aspiring writers, Killer Nashville offers a track on the craft of writing. This includes sessions on dialogue and other elements of fiction, plus hour-and-a-half workshops on story structure (by Edgar winner Steven Womack), raising your manuscript from competent to compelling (by award-winning author and indie filmmaker Philip Cioffari), plotting (by New York Times bestselling thriller author Will Lavender), and writing paranormal suspense (by New York Times bestselling author Sherrilyn Kenyon). For those who are ready to seek publication, our round table sessions offer a chance to meet and pitch agents and acquiring editors. We have a breakout session devoted to the pros, cons, and processes involved with self-publishing so attendees can make educated decisions about whether or not to pursue publishing independently.
TBI crime scene investigators even create a mock crime scene.
For published authors or those on the brink of publication, we have sessions on the business of writing, from copyright issues to negotiating a contract to techniques and resources for marketing books. We also issue the Silver Falchion award to the attending author whose 2011-2012 release is voted best by attendees. Freebie tables for your bookmarks and tchotchkes generate excitement during the conference, and a program book with a bio and your website lets other attendees find you and your books for weeks or months afterward.
Both published and aspiring writers can take inspiration and advice from this year’s Guests of Honor: New York Times bestselling thriller writer C.J. Box, Hollywood screenwriter Heywood Gould, and horror legend Peter Straub.
Killer Nashville may be best known for its forensic/law enforcement track, with presentations by police officers, attorneys, forensic psychologists, agents from both the Federal and Tennessee Bureaus of Investigation, and more. TBI crime scene investigators even create a mock crime scene so attendees can try their hands at sifting through clues and evaluating evidence. These are identical to the mock crime scenes used in actual TBI Training. These sessions are not only invaluable opportunities for research, but fascinating and fun for any CSI aficionado. We're thrilled that Dr. Bill Bass, world-renowned forensic anthropologist and creator of the Body Farm, will once again deliver the opening session.
Killer Nashville may be best known for its forensic/law enforcement track.
Add to that a track just for readers and a screenwriting intensive with Heywood Gould and Emmy-nominated comedy writer April Kelly, and you have an information-packed weekend with something for everyone.
A few years ago, on the last day of the conference, one of the other organizers came up to me and said, “There are writers sleeping all over the lobby.” Sure enough, there they were. They looked exhausted. They looked happy. Some of them had writing tablets in front of them, covered in scribbles. My friend and I looked at each other and pumped our fists in the air, knowing that for these attendees, the conference had been a success.
From Hope . . . Take a look at their dynamic trailer advertising the conference. If you look real hard at the flashing book covers you'll see Lowcountry Bribe tucked in there!!! It's in the running for the Silver Falchion Award. Vote for it when you come to Nashville! See you there.