Wednesday, March 14, 2012

The Joys of Schmoozing

I had a great time at Sleuthfest in Orlando. I got to visit with mystery author friends that I hadn’t seen in a long time, like Donna Andrews, Charlaine Harris, F. Paul Wilson, Toni Kelner, Reed Coleman, Hank Phillippi Ryan, Julie Kramer, Marcia Talley, Mary Anna Evans, and so many more. Then there were people I’ve met online, to whom I could finally assign a face: Jeffrey Marks, Alan Orloff, John Gilstrap, Steve Forman, Joanna Campbell Slan, and so on.

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John Gilstrap is on the far right

And of course, our own Florida MWA members were present. They number too many to list here. We heard great keynote speeches by Jeffery Deaver and Charlaine Harris.


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Nancy Cohen & Charlaine Harris

I got to chat with my Five Star editor, Denise Dietz, and reacquaint myself with an old writing pal, Pat Van Wie, now an editor for Bell Bridge.

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Deni Dietz & Pat Van Wie

I saw reviewers Oline Cogdill and Nancy Pate. And the booksellers from Murder on the Beach manned the sales desk while also in the bookstore room were wonderful raffle baskets designed by talented author Vicki Landis (and I won two!).

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Linda, Joanne, and Sue from Murder on the Beach


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Vicki Landi, Gregg Brickman, Ann Meier

Bestselling author Heather Graham very generously sponsored a dinner party at House of Blues on Saturday night. It was great to loosen up and relax over drinks and fabulous food.

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Heather Graham, vocalist and sponsor


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Michael Meeske, Kathleen Pickering, Nancy Cohen, Traci Hall

Of course I attended panels and participated on three of them. Maybe I learned a few new things.


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But the best part was hanging out with like-minded friends, chatting at the bar, having one-on-one discussions, and finding out what was new with everyone. Sometimes we only see these people at conferences and it may be years between visits.

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Johnny Ray and Joan Cochran


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Joanna Campbell Slan and Elaine Viets

I met new people, too, whom I’ll hope to recognize at the next mystery conference I attend. Several members of RWA made an appearance: Heather Graham, Kathleen Pickering, Michael Meeske, Traci Hall, Rhonda Pollero, Lynnette Hallberg, Marty Ambrose, and more. Forgive me if I leave out your name!

It gives you such a warm, fuzzy feeling to be in a welcoming environment where everyone shares the same hopes and dreams. It’s easy to walk up to a perfect stranger, introduce yourself and say, “What do you write?” Conference goers are interested in meeting new people and making friends. At least, it’s that way with writers.

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Donna Andrews and Deborah Sharp



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Julie Compton, Becky Swets

Our prime goal is to schmooze. Oh, it may be to have an editor/agent appointment and pitch our work, or to speak on a panel and promote our books, but the real gratification comes from the camaraderie. Kudos to the Sleuthfest organizers and committee for a terrific conference!

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Nancy, Miette, Linda Hengerer

16 comments:

  1. Love your post, Nancy. You're inspiring me to take more photos at my next conference. You are so right about the importance of schmoozing. Conferences & face time with other authors replenishes the creative well. Thanks for sharing!

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  2. Forgot to say how much I enjoyed seeing pics of Deni Dietz. She is a HOOT! And I wish I could've heard Heather sing. What a party!

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  3. Thanks for sharing, Nancy. Those photos are keepers.

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  4. You had me at "chatting at the bar." :) Joking...kinda. Thanks for sharing the pictures and the names, and I'm glad you had a great time!

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  5. I can tell what a great job it did refilling the creative well just by the enthusiasm in your post. Glad it was great.

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  6. Here, here, Nancy! And it is always great to see your smiling face in the crowd, as well. I love that gleam in your eye at conferences. It's like you're up to something. :)

    One of the perks of belonging to both romance and mystery writers is the ever widening circle of friends/acquaintances we meet. And the personalities. OMG!! Mystery writers are a breed of their own. I'm fascinated!

    Great post and reminder of all the reasons why attending conferences is important. Schmoozing is a joy!

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  7. Yes, I like taking photos and sharing them afterward along with reports on the panels I attended. It helps get the info to people who couldn't attend.

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  8. Kathy, it's always great to see your bubbly personality at conferences. And you know how to party, girl! You're right about the romance and mystery groups. Once you get used to the "cultural" differences, it helps to broaden your acquaintances. The more people you know in the biz, the better.

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  9. Good post, Nancy. Sorry I missed you at Sleuthfest. Maybe at Bouchercon.

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  10. Mike, I'm going to Malice this year and skipping Bouchercon.

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  11. I love conferences, but they were getting pricey so I cut down to 2 a year: Left Coast Crime and Bouchercon. Already for my tix for both this year!

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  12. Yes, Michelle, conferences can be pricey. Since I write in both genres, I try to alternate years but it depends on what releases I have coming out too as to which ones to attend. I'm already signed up for the FRW Cruise Conference on Liberty of the Seas in January.

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  13. Now I'm feeling sad I didn't bring along my camera. Thanks for the good memories and great pix, Nancy. I'll have to forward the one of Donna Andrews and me to my sister. Not only is Donna one of her fave authors, my sis loaned me the spiffy scarf I'm wearing. Maybe when she sees how nice it looks, she'll let me keep it!

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  14. Looks like you had a great time! It reminds me that I need to get to a conference soon - moving to Australia has made me feel rather like I moved to the moon!

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  15. Clare, what kind of writers conferences do they have near where you are?

    Deborah, I'm glad I captured you in one of the photos. Make this your new motto: never attend a book event without a camera!

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  16. They have a few conferences but to be honest since my books are only available as imports here I am still focusing on the USA.

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