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