A few years back I attended a single day writer conference in Portland, Maine. I walked into the room expecting to see a bunch of strangers–wrong! I immediately saw Kate Flora and several writers I knew from my years as a committee member for the New England CrimeBake. If nothing else, the Maine Crime Wave (held every spring) is a true example of how something small can quickly morph into something special.
The initial Crime Wave was a single day event with panels and several breakout sessions taught by such well known Maine writers as Julia Spenser-Fleming (who gave a great breakout session on how to structure a scene), Paul Doiron, and several New England crime writers. Two years ago the Maine Writers & Publishers Alliance (the conference’s sponsor, along with the New England chapters of Mystery Writers of America and Sisters in Crime) implemented the CrimeMaster Award for Distinguished Achievement (Tess Gerritsen was presented the 2017 award and Douglas Preston the 2018 award) this year’s recipient is Lisa Gardner. The conference was expanded to a Friday night and all day Saturday event attracting writers from all over New England–I’ve even run into a couple of writers I know from Canada.
I recall the second conference when I saw a tall, lanky man sitting in the back row. My first impression was that he was an interested reader. I had no idea that he was a retired Portland homicide detective and now Bruce Robert Coffin has published three of his popular crime novels (between Bruce’s detective John Byron and Kate Flora’s detective Joe Burgess murder rate in Portland, Maine is the highest in its history–then again so isn’t the Portland PD close rate).
I’ve been to a number of conferences, but none in which attendees had such open access to writers, book reviewers, and literary agents. I have yet to hear a negative review of the conference from anyone attending.
This year’s event is being held on May 31 and June 1. If you haven’t signed up yet don’t wait. Registration closes in 8 days, May 20, 2019. I’ll be there and I hope you will be too.
I will be appearing with Brenda Buchanan and Dick Cass at the Bangor Public Library on May 14 at 5:30 p.m.
Look for My Brother’s Keeper, the next Ed Traynor crime thriller to be released on July 2, 2019 (available online for pre-order).