Last week I previewed what I’m writing about this week.
After the fact, I can tell you lots about this adventure.
I make it a point to visit a new (to me) conference every
one or two years. Malice Domestic is my mainstay since at least 2006, but I’ve
also gone to a couple of Left Coast Crimes, Mayhem in the Midlands, Murder in
the Woods (that may not be the right name—it was in Boise ID), a few Killer
Nashvilles, two Writer Police Academies, Murder in the Magic City, Alabama
Writers Conclave, and one in Plano whose name I don’t remember.
Online I’ve done one Poison Pen Webcom and Mystery Thriller
So this year, my new one was Magna Cum Murder in
Indianapolis. I was talked into it by Margaret Hamilton, who met me there. It
was our first face-to-face meeting after knowing each other online for quite
some time. As you can see, from the number of conferences above, I know quite a
few writers who go to them. It was VERY fun to see some that I already knew,
plus meet some I knew only online, and also to meet brand new writers and
others, as well, I hadn’t known at all.
The venue was the Columbia Club, which, I was told, is NOT a
hotel. It was stressed to me that I should not tip the waitstaff since they’re
paid better than normal. I didn’t tip the maid either, and I hope that was
A man in the lobby, who worked there, told us the history of
the place. He said it was the third building on the site. One previous one was
used by Benjamin Harrison to stage his campaign rallies. The present edifice
was built in 1924 or 1925, before The Crash. It’s over the top ornate in the
wood and plaster carvings. The lobby holds a piano that was played by Hoagy
Carmichel, a table that was in the oval office of Harrison, and a huge golf
trophy with an interesting history. An “obscene” history, our guide said.
The trophy was given to the winner of a golf tournament held
each year between the Columbia Club and the Indianapolis Athletic Club. Each
year, the winner made the trophy larger, until it’s now taller than a person.
In 1935, a woman from the competing club draped her diamond necklace on it.
When The Columbia Club won it, they took it home, diamonds and all, and quit
the tournament, retiring the trophy to their lobby! That does seem pretty
Anyway, the conference was held Friday through Sunday,
October 19-21 and the panels were all well done and well attended. I was on two
of them. Down These Mean Streets, with a PI theme, during which I discussed my
Imogene Duckworthy PI spoof series. The panel was moderated by M. Ruth Myers
and done by me, Terence Faherty, Dianna Collier, and Jim Doherty. The others
knew a LOT about the history of PI novels.
|Down These Mean Streets taken by Elaine L. Orr|
My other panel was called The Mists of Time, about
historical fiction and, in my case, prehistory. Moderated by Fedora Amis, the
rest of us were Caroline Todd, Albert Bell, and Bradley Harper.
|Reavis interviewed by John Gilstrap|
|Peter Lovesey at the banquet|
Guest of honor was Reavis Z. Wortham (with whom I’m
privileged to share pages in the first Austin Mystery Writers anthology, Murder
International guest of honor was Peter Lovesey.
Unfortunately, I had to attend in a surgical Cam Walker
boot, but had a blast anyway. Karen Maslowski and I amused ourselves in the bar one night. I also dined with Molly and Andrew Macrae, Susan McDuffie, and two friends of Molly's Friday.
|Friday dinner, Julia Kellman, Susan McDuffie, me, Molly MacRae, Andrew MacRae, and Phil Miller|
|Me and Karen Maslowski|
And a few more pix.
|Joe, T'Gracie Reese, and me|
|me with Susan McDuffie|
|Me and Bradley Harper on The Mists of Time|