Wednesday, December 11, 2013


This week's blog comes to us from one of the attendees of C3 conference this year. 

Sharon Buchbinder is an accomplished author of the novel Obsession ,. She is also the 2014 EPIC eBOOK Awards Finalist, Romantic Suspense 2nd Place 

Like many women of my generation, I grew up reading Nancy Drew, moved on to Agatha Christie, and then the darker realms of Stephen King and Dean R. Koontz. With Nancy Drew, we had Ned and his roadster for romantic interest. Surprisingly, I found more romance in King and Koontz’s works than in Christie’s. However, I wanted more romance in my reading and my writing. After turning my hand at horror, science fiction, and mystery, I moved under the generous umbrella of romance which could accommodate my fascination with genre crossing.

And villains.

To read more, go to

Monday, November 18, 2013


This blog was submitted by one of the attendees: Bill Fietzer

What I like best about writers' conferences and this one in particular are the interesting people one meets. Not only the headliners like Jeffrey Deaver and Allison Leotta (See my blog page on the conference at: but the attendees I rubbed elbows or broke bread with at the breakfasts, luncheons, and after-hours soirees all had interesting stories to tell.

Allied with this is the serendipity factor. Though Baltimore is something of an outer-ring satellite of Washington, D.C., I never expected to meet the mother of a son who works for the U.S. Foreign Service. Turns out that Lane Stone and I both have sons in the diplomatic corps working in the Far East, hers in Beijing and mine in Osaka. Such a small, intimate, intriguing world globalization has created for us!

The other thing I enjoyed about the conference was the opportunity to explore the Baltimore area via the light rail line. At other conventions such as in Atlanta and San Antonio, taking the light rail or bus lines permits me the opportunity to get a feel of the city, if only through a window as a passing traveler. Never having been to Baltimore before, the hour and a half trip provided ample opportunity to witness the magnitude of Baltimore Harbor, the location of the Baltimore Orioles stadium, the rebuilding historic downtown, and the extensive sub-urbanization of many industries and manufacturing plants that reach almost to the Pennsylvania state line.

The trip also revealed that a two-story high berm or bridge need not be the environmental eyesore that opponents of one of the proposed local spurs to the light rail line in Minneapolis claim it could be. All politics, they say (whoever "they" are), are local, and the anecdotal evidence gleaned from my ride to and from the airport showed that an elevated rail track is not the odious monster some locals claim is sufficient reason for stalling a multi-million dollar transportation project.

The link to my Facebook photo album of C3 highlights is:
I'm looking forward to an even more provocative, inspirational time at next year's event.

Friday, October 18, 2013


This blog was submitted by Lane Stone:

Panels at C3 reflected the casual, inclusive spirit of the conference.  By way of follow up, I thought I’d inflict the notes I had prepared for my panels on you now.

Here are the bullet points from my remarks in the “What’s so funny about…?”  
According to my informal survey people preferred the first Sex in the City movie to the second.  In the follow on, there was too much ‘set up for a joke, joke.’  Humor in your novel should be organic to the plot and the characters. Next, consider your genre.  In mysteries, you can use humor to give your readers a break from the tension you've created.  Whereas, in romance, including romantic suspense, editors tend prefer your heroine have very few funny lines. Her best friend can cracks jokes all the time.  Last, and you’ll have to trust me on this, after you read your funny lines a couple of hundred times you’ll question them.  Rely on your critique partner. 

“The morals of heroes & heroines.”   
 In this post-Breaking Bad world, we need to think of our protagonist’s moral code, rather than his or her morals.  In my Tiara Investigations series, the three sleuths start a detective agency and don’t tell their husbands, which forces them to meet clients at a local Cracker Barrel.  Sure, this deceit might look immoral to some, but it is consistent with their code of sisterhood.   Consistency is key – until it’s not.  Again, consider your genre.  In romantic suspense, characters are expected to change. They work their way through some internal conflict and are different by the end of the book, so they can – you guessed it – love again.  In cozy mysteries, the sleuth changes very little.  Think Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple.  Your sleuth’s life might change (or not) but not her moral code.  And remember, show don’t tell your hero or heroines moral code.  

Loved the conference! 

Tuesday, October 8, 2013


The Board members of the C3 conference have already started working on next year.

They added a new member and they have their duties. Larry Matthews has been a friend for a while and after attending the C3 conference, he asked if he could be a part of this small group of zany, crazy people. I personally think it was because +Austin Camacho was the lone man on the group and after the passionate speech that Austin gave at the opening ceremony, Larry felt sorry for him. We like to think it was because the women on the board are so irresistible or maybe he just wanted to be the first to see what shoes one board member would have for next year.

C3 Conference Board Members (left-right)
Sandra, Juli, Denise, Cyndi, Deliah
Austin, Ann
Either way, we are glad to have him on the team and the work has begun. Marketing never stops and Sandra has been working hard; well we don't think she ever stopped and except for interchanging a just signed author with an author that she has been trying to forget. Austin has been contacting potential guests and finding out that not everyone reads email every day. Denise has been trying to keep the website updated but with the many changes that occur; it's almost a full time job in itself. Cyndi is out of state so she doesn't have to worry about the long meetings but she has the task of keeping all emails/registrations and payments (which have already started rolling in)Ann, Juli and Deliah have all waited so patiently for their new duties that they may run and hide when they find out what it is that they will be doing. (Deliah...don't worry, your job duties are exactly the same) That leaves Larry; poor, unsuspecting, Larry. Well he will find out soon enough why we meet at an eatery that serves plenty of coffee!

The laughs that will be shared, the coffee that will be drank and the ideas, suggestions that will be shared will be the best memories that we all will make

Welcome aboard and welcome back. The work has just begun!

Monday, September 23, 2013


The C3 Conference ended last Sunday, a little before noon. The panelists were heading home, the hotel was quiet and the board members were exhausted.

The drive home was spent in reflection.

Had everyone enjoyed themselves? Was it what I wanted it to be? Did I do a good job moderating my panels? Did everyone think I was funny, stupid or just an annoyance? Did my shoes photograph well?

I know people enjoyed themselves and I know that although there weren't that many fans there, I think the authors had a great time.

Look, we (the board members) tried our hardest to get the fans involved but we didn't have costumes, movie stars or TV stars and we didn't have a game room that stayed open all night. We didn't have the 8-3-1 rule (for those that don't know it is...sleep for at least 8 hours, eat at least 3 times and take at least 1 shower) Apparently at some 'fan' based conferences they have to state that rule up front. Well we didn't have that rule although a lot of us ended up in the bar, we still managed to get enough rest that we didn't look like we were zombies. (hint: +visine is your friend at a conference)

What we did have was panels that were informative, authors that were accessible and volunteers that were helpful. We thought we wouldn't get a lot of feedback but you know what; we did and all of the feedback has been positive.

Were there problems, sure, just like any conference but those problems were so small we could swat them away. (for those of you at the conference, you know what I am talking about) Hey, that was a good problem to have. Not every first time conference can say that they had almost 80 people there, the food was great and the entertainment was fantastic!

We Can!

All that to say, hopefully next year fans will want to come even if we don't have those silly rules and no game room. If not, the writers and their friends, who have now become fans, will have a blast. Just like they did this year.

If you were there and took pictures of our marketing director and her shoes, please send them to our shoe diva so she can post them here and on her blog; aptly called "Shoes On Tour 2013"

Next year's conference is scheduled for October 10-12 and will have more great authors, more great panelists and the cutest shoes our marketing director can find. You don't want to miss it!

Submitted by: Sandra Bowman

Thursday, September 19, 2013


Today this blog will feature two submissions. The first by Anne Alexander and the second by Juli Monroe.

Submitted by: Anne Alexander

I thoroughly enjoyed the C3 Conference because everyone was friendly, and down to earth.

Austin Camacho interviewing author John Gilstrap at the Saturday breakfast
The panels were informative, and the food was delicious.  I liked the way the book store was set up. It was easy to find the books by the author's names.
I loved the way the big name authors were treated the same as the first time authors in every respect, from the panel selections, to the book signings, to the seating arrangements at dinner. 
I think this is one of the best conferences I have ever attended. I look forward to being there again next year. I brought two guests with me to the conference and they had so much fun they want to come again next year.
Annie Rose Alexander
Author of Evil In High Places
Submitted by: Juli Monroe

Jeffery Deaver keynote

You may have noticed that I haven’t been around much for the last few days. I was getting ready for and then attending the Creatures, Crime and Creativity Conference that was held last weekend in Baltimore.

While I’ve attended numerous conferences, this was my first writer’s conference, and I admit I’m...

To read the rest of this article, please visit--> Tele Read


Wednesday, September 18, 2013


Submitted by: Robin Murphy

There was a reason for my excited anticipation for the C3 conference.  I had searched for the last couple of years to find the “right” conference to attend.  The issues I ran into were either distance (West coast), cost, or quite frankly, not permitted to attend due to the fact my publisher wasn’t found on their “approved” list.

Then, while I was out perusing the members section of the Sisters in Crime website, I found the listing for 2013 conferences.  Lo and behold, I discovered Creatures, Crime, and Creativity.  As I read the description, and then further reviewed their website, I finally found a writer’s conference that fit the bill.

From the start, the communications and transactions with the powers that be (i.e. Austin Camacho, Denise Camacho, Sandra Bowman, Delia Lawrence, and Lauren Carr) were clear, concise, cordial, and patient.  I’ve been in the administrative world for over 30 years and have organized my share of events, so I know the work that goes into making a conference a success, and in my estimation, that’s exactly what the C3 conference was…a success.

From the moment I arrived, I was warmly welcomed and felt as if I knew the organizers.  I was given easy to understand instructions, received my nifty “gift bag” filled with a ton of goodies, and then was led to the opening ceremony promptly at noon.

Speaking of goodies, there was a unique approach at this conference.  They allowed the first response authors to contribute a story of their own to the C3 Anthology, which was published by Acorn Book Services and only distributed to conference attendees.  What a great way to combine talent in one book!

The first panel I sat on regarding publishing a series with Austin Camacho and Bill Rapp felt like I was sitting in a coffee shop discussing and sharing ideas and tips.  I wasn’t the least bit nervous, and without a doubt, Austin clearly knew his panel and the subject matter, because the conversation flowed seamlessly.

The rest of the weekend continued in the same manner with great panel discussions, wonderful keynote speakers, and amazing fans and authors.  Oh, and let’s not forget the great food that was included in the conference registration fee.  They even allowed my son to attend the dinner Friday evening for just a small added cost for his meal.  Everyone was so easy going.

The one thing that stood out above everything else was that I felt as if I was on the exact same level as John Gilstrap and Jeff Deaver, who were completely approachable and quite funny!  There was no pretense on their part and they were so willing to share their “do’s and don’ts”.

I met some great people and did some amazing networking throughout the weekend.  I believe these newfound relationships will remain bonded and I look forward to seeing them all at the 2014 C3 conference.  I can’t deny I’m dying to see what “shoes” Sandra will be showcasing next year!

Monday, September 9, 2013


The countdown has officially began.

Well, it didn't just start, it started 13 months ago when the brain child of this conference twisted the arm of a webmaster and got the website up and running. The countdown clock was the brainchild of our webmaster, James.

Every week I would look at that clock and say, "wow, that's seems like a long way off" and then I looked at the clock today and said, "oh my gosh! it's here already".

I have been fortunate enough to work with some great people on this conference and have learned a lot about them and about myself in the process.

I learned that I love to have fun in everything that I do. Our monthly meetings started off with organization and an agenda and quickly erupted into a free for all of conversations, jokes, laughs and plenty of coffee. In the end we all have worked like a well oiled machine. We have come together for a common goal and that is to bring you the best damn conference possible.

If you are coming to the conference, I can't wait to meet you and if you aren't...shame shame, you are going to miss the best damn party, EVER!

See you in four days, 20 hours and 15, 14, 13, 12....well you get the picture....

I'm as giddy as a two year old waiting for Santa!

Submitted: B. Swangin Webster

Thursday, September 5, 2013


Hi, It's me again, Author Deliah Lawrence and Yes, I’m a romantic-suspense junkie. You may be wondering what that means and I’ll tell you that it’s the best of both worlds. There are some folks who enjoy reading a good romance novel, especially one that’s filled with characters staring lovingly into each other’s eyes, exchanging sweet kisses and locked in warm embraces? Well, for me that would only last for a split second before I start looking for the action. You see I like non-stop action where the protagonist is on a quest to solve a murder and still finds time for a lot of kisses and warm embraces.

Typically when you think of non-stop action, you think of thrillers with high drama, a rush of emotions and excitement that truly keeps you on the edge of your seat. Thrillers are villain driven where the protagonist must overcome some obstacle amidst the desire for justice and their morality. Just think of novels by John Grisham, Tom Clancy, and Michael Crichton or movies like The Bourne Identity and Taken or some of my favorite TV shows, The X-Files24 and Prison Break. The action truly never stops when reading any of these novels or watching any of these movies or TV shows. Unfortunately, it doesn’t slow down enough to care too much about the romantic side of things.

Mysteries on the other hand, can be less dramatic. It involves giving the readers clues or “red herrings” to allow them to find out who committed the crime. They also contain less violence than thrillers. For example, a cozy mystery is full of clues and its plot is not full of action. It’s more of a mind game between the criminal and the detective. However, an amateur detective mystery involves a detective who gets involved in the plot by accident. These amateur sleuths don’t follow the same rules as the police but it’s fun to read how they solve the cases. Here too, not enough time is spent on romantic relationships.

There are many sub-categories of a thriller (e.g. psychological thrillers, crime thrillers, erotic thrillers, spy thrillers, etc.). However, suspense is an integral part of thrillers that builds up the “on-edge” feeling for the audience. So, for me, writing romantic-suspense novels where I strive for a balance between heart pounding action and sexual tension between the characters guarantees that my readers will be turning the pages. In my debut novel, Gotta Let It Go, the protagonist is on a quest to solve a murder, throw in unresolved feelings for a soon to be ex-husband, attraction to a hot detective and a few death threats and you have a roller coaster ride of a romantic-suspense novel. Although my novel, won the 2011 Next Generation Indie Book Finalist Awards in the multi-cultural fiction category, the ultimate praise for my novel came from a family friend who said that her husband asked if she wasn’t coming to bed. When I heard this, I knew that I’ve done my job as a writer! 

Tuesday, September 3, 2013


Okay, I’m not proposing that you do anything illegal here. What I’m proposing is that if you’re an author or an unpublished writer you should consider attending writer’s conferences or cons as us authors like to call them as a path to success.  Cons provide a wealth of information that writers find very useful: how to start a novel, how to plot story lines, how to develop strong characters, how to promote and market through social media and the list goes on.  It gives you a platform to be visible as a panelist to “strut” your stuff, to act as a moderator – showing that you can manage the authors and the audience and if you’re not quite comfortable doing either, you can always be a volunteer. Regardless, it affords you the opportunity to meet, mix and mingle with like-minded individuals and who knows you may run into your “writing” hero.

When I decided to become serious about my writing, I quickly joined the Maryland Writers’ Association and was eager to attend my first con. I remember it was on a brisk Saturday morning in spring and I dragged a couple members of my writer’s critique group along with me.  We were the first ones to arrive. After receiving my “goodie” bag of freebies, I started going through the list of workshops and one in particular caught my eye. It was being taught by Leslie Esdaile Banks aka “L.A. Banks.” She was so engaging as a speaker sharing how she got started writing and that we should consider writing a “business.” Unfortunately, a few months later, she succumbed to cancer. However, I was glad I was in her presence at this con. Since then I’ve attended the Eastern Shore Writers Conference twice and was a panelist at the Love is Murder conference in Chicago earlier this year.

Fast forward a few months later and I’ve taken on a new role as the Author Panel Coordinator for the Creatures, Crimes and Creativity Conference in Baltimore, Maryland, September 13 – 15, 2013 at the Hunt Valley Inn. This con will bring together readers and writers of mystery, suspense, thriller, horror, sci-fi, fantasy and steam punk. My job is to communicate with all registered authors and ensure that they are placed on the panels of their choices so that they can “strut” their stuff. This is not an easy task as most of the authors would like to be placed on the “hot” panels such as “New Writers Talk About their First Novel,” “What Makes a Hero,” “Men Writing the Softer Side/Women the Rough Stuff,” etc. So, the juggling begins when all the choices come rolling in.

With all of these moving pieces, I’m thankful that I’m very organized in coordinating and putting things together. Overall, it’s a very exciting process and I look forward to meeting, mixing and mingling with all the authors and fans when they all come to con their way to success!  

Submitted by: Author Deliah Lawrence

Thursday, August 1, 2013


What I Learned About Writing From Watching Supernatural
I've been a pretty good dialogue writer for a while, but I've been weaker on description. Not static description, like for a room, but descriptions of character body language and all the non-verbals that go into good dialogue and character interaction.
It's curious that I haven't been good at it. In my day job, I'm a life and business coach. Watching body language is part of my training, but I finally figured out why that didn't translate to good writing. When I'm coaching, I'm using more of my intuition. I'm not stopping to break down body language with an eye toward describing it in my writing.
Which is when I discovered Supernatural. If you've never watched it, you can probably guess the idea from the title. A couple of young guys ride around the country, dealing with supernatural menace. The early seasons follow a "monster of the week" format, while later seasons get more into long story arcs.
Yes, it's genre fiction. But it's genre fiction with some actors who know how to use their body and faces to communicate a lot of sub-text.
Heck, you don't even need to know what's going on. You could make up an entire story, just from that short clip. From the turn, to the facial expression to the hand motion. Lots there to work with.
Or this scene. Three actors doing a lot with their facial expressions (and one of my favorite scenes in the show).
What made me sit up and take notice was realizing I could watch scenes and dissect them. That's why I like all the animated .gifs I can find on Tumblr. Sometimes not having dialogue helps. I can watch facial expressions and hand movements and decide how I'd describe them. I've learned things about eye contact that completely altered a scene. I knew a character was nervous, and in the original draft, I talked about how she was nervous. In the rewrite, I showed it by describing how she avoided eye contact and casual touching. When she finally met another character's eyes, you knew it meant something.
I do all my writing on my iPad, and I've actually downloaded some Supernatural clips from YouTube. When I get stuck on writing a scene, I load one of the clips and watch the actors do their job. Which inspires me to do mine even better.
What do you use for descriptive inspiration?
Thank you Juli and we can't wait to see you at the confernece; Check out her website here:

Tuesday, July 30, 2013


Why should you be looking forward to the Creatures, Crimes, and Creativity conference on September 13th?  In a word, FUN.
We literary types have the head for this kind of stuff.  I mean, where else can you get together for a weekend with a bunch of like-minded people and talk about horror? Suspense? Murder methods and body disposal? If that gets your imagination revved, you will be right at home here.
And we know that we writer types can talk endlessly about things like social networking, marketing and publicity, and what to expect from those people from another planet: publishers and editors.
But this conference, should we actually get there, will have a deeply personal meaning for my husband and me. My husband is author Robert E. Bailey, who started the Art Hardin mystery series in 1998 and whose books have received a Josiah Bancroft award, and been finalists for the Shamus and the Great Lakes Book Award. Ever since we started dating ten years ago, we’ve always wanted to go to a writer’s conference together. We tried to find time and money to get to the Florida First Coast writer’s conference, where it all started for Bob back in 1998, but for a few years it never worked out, and then the Florida First Coast abruptly folded. Too many writer’s conferences have bitten the dust. Bob is full of wonderful memories of FFC, and that’s why it’s always good to see a new conference make its debut.
But then something worse happened, right in the middle of Bob’s fourth book. Brain cancer. It showed up in the speech and language area of Bob’s brain, making him aphasic and making completion of this last book extremely difficult. But he got it done. In March of this year he reached the words, “The End,” and submitted the book to his agent. His agent requested that a chapter be added, and Bob started to work on that. It was right about then that we planned several appearances and signings for the summer, including the CCC conference, and spent a wonderful evening anticipating the fun we were going to have.
Bet you can guess what happened next. Brain cancer came back, and it is inoperable this time. In the course of two weeks, Bob went from reading, writing, walking, and driving, to someone suffering from both three new brain tumors and gout at the same time, who couldn’t even turn himself over in bed. By all the published information about brain tumors I could find, I estimate that we were about three weeks from losing him.
Dr. Khan, our wonderful neuro oncologist at VCU Massey Cancer Center, came to the rescue with a change of chemotherapy, and so far Bob has gotten quite a lot of function back. He’ll never drive again, but he can walk, talk, and complete many basic tasks he could not perform two weeks ago. The human brain is an amazing thing. The sad thing is that Bob’s tumor, glioblastoma multiforme, is rare compared to breast and prostate cancer, and research for this does not get a lot of funding. There are only two chemotherapies that are really proven to work, Temodar and Avastin. When the tumor comes back after those, your number’s up. But Bob is determined to be there to meet all of you on September 13th.
Please come, and stop by to say hi. We’ll be REALLY glad to see you!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013


A novel set in the present day Chicago and Chicago in the year 1923. A serial killer is on the lose now and the case is eerily similar to a cold case from 1923.


     The nose that pressed against the glass at O'Hare International belonged to an normal looking man who kept his eyes glued to the plane as it landed smoothly and taxied up to the terminal.

       He looked like any professional commuting from city to city, nothing remarkable stood out.  Nothing remarkable, except for his intense stare, the way he lowered his chin, and the pucker of his mouth as he pressed his upper lip over his lower lip. He did this when he was concentrating hard, like some people stick their tongue out the side of their mouth when performing a difficult task. His lip action forced the flesh of his lower lip between his teeth. He ignored the pain as he bit the inside of his lip and his concentration remained unbroken as his clenched fist caused his fingernails to dig into his soft, smooth palms.

  His heart quickened as he waited for Maria Gonzales to file out with the other
passengers. They looked like cattle going to slaughter. He could be watching for any of
them. She deserved the title of Miss New Mexico, and she deserved more. He'd give he
more. If she would accept it, he'd give her more.
Make sure you hop over to her website to see more,

Monday, May 20, 2013

Meet the volunteers

Today we want to introduce you to the group of ladies that are helping us put on the C3 Conference.

These ladies jumped; well maybe jumped isn't the right word but they walked; very slowly, towards being volunteers to help put this confernce together.

With all of their knowledge and expertise, they have brought great ideas to the meetings and have also taken on responsiblities that most people would have run away from.

Deliah Lawrence is not only an author but she is our Master Scheduler and Author Liason. She will work with the authors and the on-site book store to make sure that the titles that the attending authors want to sign will be there when they arrive. She is also working on putting together the schedule of sessions/panels that the authors will sit on. This is a huge undertaking and we want to salute her for taking on this huge role.

Cynthia Lauth is our registration coordianator. She tirelessly works the registration part of our website. She contacts the authors when they have forgotten to make their meal choice or have forgotten to press the submit button to enter their choice of payment.

Juli Monroe is our Intrigue Pub twitter guru. She is on Twitter everyday putting the word out and making sure that @IntriguePub is being seen by the people that need information about our conference.

Ann Arbaugh is our volunteer coordinator. She will be working with our volunteers and recruiting volunteers. She will be one of the people you will see running around during the conference making sure that our guests are being taken care of properly.

We have all gotten so excited about this conference that we meet regularly to talk about the new things that are happening or that we want to happen.

This group of dedicated workers will be there to meet and greet you on Friday and they will be easy to spot. They will all have one their C3 shirts.

See you in September!

Monday, May 13, 2013

Meet and Greet

Today we would like to introduce you to one of the authors that will attend the conference this year.

She signed up recently and we decided to put her on the spot and have a short meet and greet with her.

Her name is D.A. Spruzen and we would like to tell you a little about her.

Hello everyone, my name is Dorothy Spruzen Hassan, but my pen name (maiden name) is D. A. Spruzen.

I am President of the Northern Virginia Writers Club and delight in communing with my fellow writers. I attend writing conferences and workshops whenever my schedule allows, and am looking forward to the C3 Conference where I will meet writers closer to home than is the norm. There is always something to learn, always that golden nugget of information ready to drop into my lap if I remember to stop and listen.
I’m a writer of fiction and poetry and have lived in Northern Virginia since 1971, except for a two-year hiatus in the Middle East. I grew up near London, U.K., earned an MFA in Creative Writing from Queens University of Charlotte, and teach writing for Fairfax County Schools Adult and Community Education program and the McLean Community Center.  I also run private critique workshops in my home.
In another life I was Manager of Publications for a defense contractor. My undergraduate degree was in dance education and I served on the faculty of a London Theater school before coming to the U.S.A. My short stories and poems have appeared in many publications, and I am seeking representation for my novel The Blitz Business, set in WWII England.  The first two novels in my Flower Ladies Trilogy, Not One of Us and Lily Takes the Field, are available on Kindle and in other e-book formats, as well in paperback.  My first poetry chapbook, Long in the Tooth, will be published by Finishing Line Press in June 2013.
My husband and I live in McLean, Virginia with a Jack Russell terrier who doesn’t know he’s old and doesn’t know he’s small. If you want to look me up, all you have to do is click on one of the links below.
I hope to see you in Septemeber!
Not One of Us
Lily Takes the Field
Long in the Tooth
Posted by: Author D.A. Spruzen

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Sit down...Let's have a chat

Oh hello, how are you, I wasn't expecting you for another few minutes, but please come in and sit down, let's have a chat. So you wanted to ask me a few questions about the Creatures, Crimes and Creativity conference.

What's your first question?

How did I find out about the C3 Conference? I am a member of Sister's In Crime and as I was perusing their list of conferences, I came across the listing for the C3 conference and when I continued reading the description, it sounded like a perfect opportunity for me to meet other authors, as well as readers. Oh and let's not forget that the price fit right into my budget.

What appealed to me about the conference is the unique angle of bringing authors together with their fans, along with getting the opportunity to pitch my story to an agent. I love the list of guest speakers that are attendidng because it will allow me to rub elbows with a few bestselling authors, which is never a bad thing, right?

Another great aspect of the conferences is the opportunity I had to contribute to their C3 anthology. I got the chance to write a short story of about 7,500 words and Acorn Book Services is going to add it, and other author's stories, to create an e-book. When the conference is over, they will release it to Amazon and my promotional information will be included. What a great way to get my name out ot the masses.

Was I aware of the discussion panels? Oh yes, this is another great opportunity to be a part of a group of authors to share ideas, experiences and learning curves. I don't doubt I will learn something from the other writers. We all have something to share.

Sure, I'd love to tell you about the stories I've written. I have two published in my paranormal mystery series. The first is Sullivan's Secret, and the second is Secret of the Big Easy. I like to tell people that my stores are a Psychic Detectives meets Ghost Hunter's mystery. My third book in the series, Federal City's Secret is due for release this summer.

Yes, I have an author platform and you can find me at and I'd love for you to follow me on my social media sites on Facebook: and on Twitter: @murfett and LinkedIn:

Now tell me, after hearing all of the great information about the Creatures, Crimes and Creativity conference, will I see you there? Great, I'm glad to hear it and who knows, maybe you'll become one of my new fans.

Thank you, I enjoyed meeting you as well.  See you in September.

Post Written by: Author Robin Murphy

Friday, May 3, 2013

Early to rise!

The sun is shining a little longer each evening.

She isn't a morning person, that could not be mistaken, ever! But on this day, the sun awakened her with it's bright ray and she stretched, yawned and padded to the bathroom. She climbed into the steamy shower, letting the day begin as she formed the thoughts of what would be her adventures. She toweled off, brushed her teeth and pulled her hair into a ponytail. Ready to meet the world head on.

She decended the stairs into her open kitchen and wondered what to have for breakfast. She then decided to get the paper but it wasn't there. Those darn newspaper thieves! No problem...she started to scramble an egg, got her coffee and turned on the morning news. Imagine news..hmm, she switched channels and again no news...What is this...a slow day or maybe it was later than she thought.

She turned her head as her cat wandered in and gave her a look. "Don't give me that look missy. I already have your food out." she said as she focused her eyes on the microwave.

She jumped up and went closer. It couldn't be.

"Good Lord! It's only 6:16 in the morning!"

Yes. It was early...and she is not a morning person..she actually shouted that to no one but the cat.

To early to be up on a Saturday but what was she to do? Well, she decided the only thing possible. She pulled out her laptop and checked out the Creatures,Crimes and Creativity Blog and so here she sits...reading and many more days until the conference?

If you want to know how many days there are left for the best conference in Maryland this year...check out and the countdown clock will tell you.

Posted by B.Swangin Webster

Monday, April 1, 2013

Agent Pitch Sessions at Creatures, Crimes and Creativity

C3 has been lucky enough to get two local agents that are currently looking for great new authors. I have listed a little about what each is looking for below.

Emily Gref – Lowenstein Associates – Based in New York, Emily says she is looking for speculative fiction, science fiction, and fantasy for middle grade, young adult, and adult. She has a special weakness for historical fantasy, steampunk, and unique fairy tale retellings. In any novel she is hoping to find a strong voice, stellar world-building, surprising twists, and main characters that represent diverse experiences.

Berta Treitl – Grosvenor Agency – Based in Washington, DC, Berta is looking for historical and high-quality mysteries. Berta focuses on projects that present a counterintuitive or fresh viewpoint and that feature unusual communities, travel and foreign locales, and female main characters.

Don’t miss out on this opportunity to meet one-on-one with a literary agent looking for the next big name.

Pitch sessions are for registered conference attendees only.

Be prepared!  There are some key elements that you need to know before pitching your novel to a literary agent.

1.       Be confident about your story. If you come off as not being confident you are devaluing yourself in their eyes.

2.       Do your homework. Each agent specializes in specific genre. Don’t pitch your science fiction novel to a historical fiction agent. Not only will they look at you like you’re crazy but they’ll talk about you to their agent friends about how unprepared you were.

3.       Give them a BRIEF one liner on the story.

Editor Laura Backes shared a technique for creating a story line that works perfectly for condensing the essence of your book into one sentence.

Fill in the blanks:              
My story is about ___ (character)_________that wants more than anything to _____(goal)_________ but can’t because ____(conflict)_______.

Here is an example using the Wizard of Oz:

This story is about a teenage girl from Kansas named Dorothy who wants more than anything to go home, but can’t because she is stuck in a strange land.

Notice there is no mention of a tornado, munchkins, witches or a cowardly lion. That information can come later, but this is the basic premise of the novel in just one sentence.

If If you give the agent more than they want you will bore them and they won’t care what the book is about by the time you are done.

4.       Practice your pitch. If you need to you can even have a small note care with key words on it so you will remember, but be sure to practice so you have it down.

5.       Professionalism counts. Don’t think for an instant that you can just come to a pitch session wearing day old, wrinkled clothes or don’t need to take a bath or brush your teeth in advance. These are professionals in the industry so show them the courtesy of presenting a professional appearance to them.

6.       Relax during your pitch. You’re just telling your story to someone so don’t let your nerves get away from you. Once you have seated yourself in front of the agent be cordial and calm. They are people too and are just looking for someone to tell them a good story. If you have practiced your pitch and have a good story to tell they will get it.

7.       Don’t get upset if they don’t ask you to send them your manuscript. Your story may not be the one they are looking for but don’t burn your bridges. Just because it isn’t right for them doesn’t mean it won’t be right for another down the road.

8.       Send a thank you. The thank you card to follow up after your pitch session is important. Keep your lines of communication open. You might run across them later one and you want them to remember you as being gracious and open.

So are you ready to pitch? Then what are you waiting for? Sign up for the Creatures, Crimes and Creativity conference and don’t forget to sign up to pitch your story to one of the agents listed above.

Good luck!

Monday, March 25, 2013

What are you doing now?

Yes, right now?

Well, me; I'm trying to decide what to do next. Do I start editing or do I start promoting my yet to be released latest novel or do I look at the conference's I've been to and figure out if I have done half of the things they suggested.

+Austin Camacho will be attending Thrillerfest and of course our conference, C3. I know for a fact that he always plans his confernences in advance to make sure that he doesn't over book himself.

+Dee Lawrence attended a conference for the first time last year and she attended it again this year. +Bay to Ocean Writers Conference is where I asked her to come out, sight unseen and she gave it a try and she liked it enough to come out again this year.

+Lauren Carr has invested a lot of time and energy into help with the C3 conference and we are so grateful to have her on board.

+Penny Clover Petersen is another author who will give Malice Domestic a look to see if her cozy mystery will do well there.

+Christine Verstraete will look into conferences that will fit her new zombie book coming out in July.

DB Corey will also look into attending the malice domestic conference and hopefully we get a lot of good information from it.

So I will ask you again...what are you doing right now?

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Authors Meeting Readers: Nightmare or Dream?

By Lauren Carr
Imagine this: Writers Conference. You are a published author with your first, second, third, or whatever book, traveling for hours to spend a whole weekend at a hotel promoting your book(s).
Your job, should you chose to accept it, is to convince the readers, fellow authors, and, if you are lucky to get the opportunity, literary agents and publishers, to like, if not love, your book enough for them to invest in buying it.
Why would any author not take on this opportunity? Well, there can be many reasons that some authors would be hesitant. For one, how many of us have the money to invest in registration and hotel for a conference that would be a sure thing.
Suppose you fail? Suppose you don’t sell anything? Suppose you sit up in front of everyone at your panel discussion only to learn afterwards that you had a big hunk of lettuce stuck to your teeth the whole time and no one told you?
Then, you would have invested the money into registration and a hotel and end up financially in the hole. Not to mention the deep wound in your pride as you sit at your table at your book signing hour with Nora Roberts next to you with her line of admirers spilling out the door while you’re sitting there playing with your pen. (Been there, done that.)
At one mystery conference, after my second mystery came out in a big expensive hardback ($26), I was seated next to an author with a six-dollar mass paperback. She and other authors, who also had mass paperbacks, had lines around the tables while I sold one book. I came away from that conference feeling like a failure.
No, this post is not to tell you not to go to C3, I’m telling you to go!
Today, social media is the thing for book promotion. Basically, it’s free, which means your only investment is your time. Believe me. I know. I rarely do in-person book events anymore. It’s either a sure thing or for a good cause. I get more out of Twitter, Facebook, and the other sites. Plus, I can do it naked while having a bad hair day.
However, you can’t let that be your whole book promotion package. There are readers who love to meet writers and this is an opportunity to shine. In person, you can let your personality sparkle. Readers will see how fast you are at delivering a witty line on the panel. They can see how bright your smile is.
Your enthusiasm for your book will really come through in a way that it can’t across the Internet. Once, at a book event, a reader told me that she was buying all of my books because I loved them so much that she knew she would, too. As she sat reading my books, she could pick up my enthusiasm which would not have happened on Facebook.
When readers meet authors at a book event, not only will they have a face, they will have a person—a real-live friend—not just an avatarto associate with your books. It’s a personal connection that can’t be made across the Internet.
So, here is another way to think about traveling to the C3 conference:
Suppose you succeed? Suppose you sell everything? Suppose you walk into the conference room for your panel and floor everyone with your sparkling personality and walk out of that room with a roomful of new fans.
So sign up for C3. Submit a short story to the C3 anthology (there is still time and openings). Get dressed, and comb your hair, and come to Baltimore to meet your fans and make new ones. Don’t forget to brush your teeth and use deodorant.
I’ll get dressed … I promise.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Why am I attending?

I’ve attended writer’s conferences before. Maryland Writer’s Association, Bay to Ocean Writer’s Conference ... a couple others whose names escape me at the moment. I found them enjoyable, even if I did feel like a fish out of water.
I had been writing for maybe a year-and-a-half, had finished what I call today, my practice novel (it wasn’t very good), and began my quest for publication. I heard that conferences were the way to go to get a feel for the industry. I could meet publishers and editors, attend Q&As with authors manning a variety of panels and roundtables, and the pièce de résistance, if you will, schedule a sit-down with an agent; a fifteen-minute, one-on-one shot to deliver your pitch to one of publishing’s gatekeepers. But that kind of undivided attention costs extra. And it should. Time is money, as they say, and your fifty-or-so-bucks buys you that time.
But, I decided I wouldn’t spend the money. “Fifty bucks buys a lot of U.S. stamps,” I said to myself. “I can reach a lot of agents for fifty bucks. Why should I spend it on just one?”
Looking back at the experience now, I realize that I was the person folks refer to as the guy who just fell off the proverbial turnip truck. Soliciting an agent takes months and months of customized query crafting, synopsis sculpting (at different page lengths), cover-letter cobbling, label printing, stamp sticking, and envelope licking—all to be able to finally sit back and collect the rejections. In light of that, fifty bucks seemed like a bargain.
So I spent the dough; talked to an agent from one of the BIG New York agencies, delivered a flawless pitch, and sat back to listen to what he had to say. The feedback was immediate. I had more work to do.
Was I disappointed? Of course. Did I learn something? Yup! Would I do it again? In a heartbeat. And I did. Why? Because what I didn’t have to do, was wait months on end for responses that contained zero advice, if they responded at all.
And what does this have to do with the C3 Conference you ask? Well there will be agents, editors, publishers, and authors like most writers’ conferences, but the C3 isn’t just a writer’s conference. It’s a fan conference, and speaking as a newly minted author whose book will be released in August, I’m just dying to meet (and make) some fans. Just a couple will do, and family doesn’t count. Plus I am anxious to meet Jeffery Deaver, Trice Hickman, and John Gilstrap ... just to name a few; accomplished authors who I hope will bestow upon me the benefit of their invaluable experience while allowing me a glimpse at the big-time—and I think that’s pretty cool.
If you are a writer, and want to publish (and what writer doesn’t?), I think you will find C3 a better fit than going the traditional route. The old established way is hard. Very hard! Even today’s most well known names were rejected uncounted times. Independent publishers like Intrigue and Acorn are coming into their own, and represent a new direction in the publishing industry. They are in the hunt for writers who are good, but have experienced rejection after rejection like me. They will give you a chance, simply because they are new, they are hungry, and they are looking for the next Stephen King or James Patterson or Isaac Asimov. The publishing industry is changing because technology has allowed it, and anyone who ever dreamed of seeing their novel on a bookstore’s New Releases shelf will benefit.
I think you will be very excited about what you find here. Take advantage of this conference while you can. There aren’t many like it, and you don’t want to be standing on the platform when the train leaves the station.  
As someone very special to me said when I was about to quit, “You’ve worked so hard and learned so much, why would you give up now?”
Good advice. I’m glad I took it. Check me out on for more "observations"
DB Corey



Monday, March 11, 2013

Memoriable First

I’m Ann Arbaugh and I’m happy to join Intrigue Publishing and the C3 Board as the Conference Volunteer Coordinator.  
My first professional experience with Conferences was back in 2006.
Austin’s wife, Denise, was the Maryland Writers Association Conference Coordinator.  She put out a call for volunteers and I stepped in. I thought I’d be helping with a small task, but Denise really needed someone to organize all the volunteers. No problem, I said.  
Sometimes it’s better not to know how big a job really is becaue you don’t have time to talk yourself out of it.  
There were many communications about which volunteer to assign to what position, how many people were needed, and many other details that needed attention. Yes, there were even a few emails from Denise.  She was afraid I’d back out.

Not a chance. 
The weeks passed quickly. 
Conference day was filled with meeting new people, running up stairs, and making sure everyone was in place. The facility didn’t have catering, so we took care of the food on our own.  I had to make regular runs between coolers and our rooms, bottled water filling my arms, making sure that our moderators didn’t run dry. 
I sat in on several sessions for minutes while catching my breath. 
At the end of the day, we relaxed at a cocktail hour. Everyone who worked the conference was tired. I felt like I’d been in a whirlwind all day. My brain was fried and I wondered how I did as a first-time volunteer coordinator.  
Then Denise came up and repeated what one attendee told her – “This was your best conference ever.” 
That’s all I needed to hear. 
Since that time, I’ve attended many local conferences and retreats in Maryland and Pennsylvania. Each one was put together by a great team of volunteers. 
Flash forward to August 2012 and a short email from Denise asking if I’d like to help Intrigue Publishing with the C3 Conference. Being cautious, I asked for more info. I checked the website and was very impressed. 
Three days...Lots of sessions... Hunt Valley Inn... And Jeffrey Deaver? Seriously? My reply email said “sign me up”. 
Every C3 meeting makes me more excited about the Conference. Ideas are coming together. My job, so far, is to add ideas and thoughts regarding our volunteers. My real work begins in a few months. 
For now, I’m going to sit back and pick up another Deaver novel.

My assignment is to read several books by each of our guests by the time September arrives. 
Why don’t you pull up a chair and join me.

Which authors will you be reading? 

Monday, March 4, 2013

What's the appeal?

What is it that makes Cons so appealing? First of all what kind Con are we speaking of? Is it a scifi convention or writing conference? And are you going as a fan or an author or both?

I am Amy McCorkle and my first Con as a professional was the 2011 Fandom Fest/Fright Night Film Festival.  I went as a way to promote my work and to get my name out there. As someone who writes under a pen name as well as my given name it was a great way to get my feet wet. I had a table with hardly anything on it, some bookmarks and trading cards and I sat next to a generous individual, Bertena Varney  who showed me the ropes.

I learned valuable things on how to network and even found a publisher there. (My second one) Hydra specializes in speculative fiction.

Scifi Conventions are great events where everyone is a fan, even the authors, and everyone helps each other out. It’s a very inclusive atmosphere and the friends you make at one Con are very likely the people you’ll see at another and it’s a great way to network professionally and personally.

Writers Conferences on the other hand are places where there is a more business-like attitude. People are often there to learn how to get published. There are the exceptions like Romfest and RomCon which are reader oriented romance versions of the sci-fi cons, but when you go to a writers conference you are going somewhere to either learn something, learn how to sell your work, or promote your work.

I like both aspects of the conventions and conferences but often conventions are cheaper than conferences.

Whereas the membership fee for a sci-fi con is 30-50 bucks a straight conference can be 200-300 dollars at best for registration alone. And for those of us on a budget that can be intimidating. Especially when trying to bust through the slush pile.

A nice thing about sci-fi cons is that sometimes speculative fiction small presses are there to pitch too. The bigger conferences are nice to pitch to the agents. I haven’t been to any mystery conferences. Until this year. This year I have two or three of the more expensive conferences to attend.

I’m attending Romfest, Killer Nashville, and Creatures, Crimes, and Creativity. All of which are more expensive than Fandom Fest which I will be comped for. But these conferences could advance my career. I am looking forward to them as the camaraderie that one feels at these things is wonderful. And that is ultimately why I love the Cons and Conferences most of all.

Monday, February 25, 2013

A Conference kind of weekend.

This weekend +Austin Camacho and +B Swangin Webster attended the +Bay to Ocean Writers Conference.

Every year this conference is held in Queenstown Maryland at the Cheaspeake College. Their mission is to inform, encourage and inspire writers of all levels. They strive to share helpful knowledge and experiences among the writers in attendence.

The day is filled with panel discussions that hit on every topic from marketing, to blogging, to poetry.

Intrigue Publishing is always in attendence as Austin Camacho is one of their dedicated speakers.
This year was no different. His class on developing a plot was well attended and the questions that were asked went from how to not get writers block (that would be by making an outline) to writing in a spiral vs straight ahead.

Even best selling authors had a question or two.

This year, Intrigue Publishing hopes to bring some of those authors and aspiring authors to our conference by offering different panels and hosting some great NY Times best selling authors such as +John Gilstrap and @Jeffrey Deaver as well as +Christopher Golden and +Trice Hickman

Wilson Wyatt and his team of dedicated volunteers put on a great one day conference and if you have never been, you really need to think about going.

If you missed this conference, it is not to late to register for C3.

Our conference is in September 13-15, 2013 in Hunt Valley, Maryland.

After all, you are never to accomplished to learn something new.