Seven months into the pandemic, we’ve become pretty darned good at adapting, haven’t we?
We see our friends and family at carefully choreographed, socially-distanced deck visits. We think ahead about the weekend’s menu and place online orders on Thursday night for curbside pickup on Friday of bread, beer and haddock filets.
The crime writing world also has adapted, with online book launches, readings and conferences. It may not be exactly the same, but because we’re a creative bunch, we’re making it work.
For many of us here at MCW, a big annual gathering of the clan is the New England Crime Bake, held each November near Boston. Due to the pandemic we can’t meet in person this year, but whether you’re a writer or a reader, you can still take part in the region’s largest celebration of crime writing, because the ‘Bake will take place virtually on Saturday, November 7 at 7:00 p.m. and most of the programming is free!
The registration link is here: https://crimebake.org/
There will be two live panel discussions. The first, Writing During the Pandemic, will showcase New England crime writers Jeannette deBeauvoir, Alexia Gordon, Edith Maxwell and Peter Swanson talking about how to stay on task and remain productive in challenging times. I will have the honor of moderating that discussion and cannot wait to hear these talented writers talk about how they’ve kept on keeping on during this tumultuous year.
The second panel—The Publishing Landscape: 2020 and Beyond—will feature Jason Pinter of Polis Books, Terri Bischoff of Crooked Lane Books, Paula Munier of Talcott Notch Literary and Dana Kaye of Kaye Publicity, talking about what we know and don’t know about how the pandemic is affecting publishing. This important discussion will be moderated by the wonderful Dru Ann Love, the woman behind the award-winning book blog Dru’s Book Musings.
As always, Crime Bake will honor debut authors (there are seven CrimeBakers with first books out this year!), applaud the winner of the Al Blanchard Award for excellence in short story writing, and celebrate the winners of the Flashwords micro-fiction contest (once you register, you’ll get the info on how to enter).
Several modestly-priced add-ons also are available. You can connect virtually with an agent or editor to discuss your query letter ($50) or the first page of your book ($50). Here’s the link for more info: https://crimebake.org/2020-agentseditors/
For $75, you can have 20 pages of your manuscript critiqued by a published author. Here’s where to sign up for that: https://crimebake.org/2020-manuscript-critiques/
The deadline to sign up for both the agent/editor package and a manuscript critique is October 13 or until all the slots are taken, so hop online now and register if you’re interested in those Crime Bake opportunities.
Glass-half-empty types may focus on the drawbacks of attending a virtual conference, and it’s true, this year we won’t have the chance to schmooze in front of the coffee urn or hang out together in the bar, but Crime Bake 2020 will have its advantages:
- You can wear your most comfortable sweatpants;
- You’ll be less tired than usual on post-conference Monday, because it will be a couple of hours of fun, not an entire weekend, and
- Best of all, there will be no need to navigate Boston traffic.
In November 2021, Crime Bake will return live and in-person. Steve Berry, author of the bestselling Cotton Malone series, will be our Guest of Honor. Master classes will be back, and the Lifetime Achievement Award will be, too.
But until we meet (in person) again, Crime Bake 2020 is a fine alternative. See you there!
Brenda Buchanan is the author of the Joe Gale Mystery Series, featuring a diehard Maine newspaper reporter who covers the crime and courts beat. Three books—QUICK PIVOT, COVER STORY and TRUTH BEAT—are available everywhere e-books are sold. A member of the New England Crime Bake’s organizing committee and the Maine member-at-large on the Board of Sisters in Crime- New England, these days Brenda’s hard at work on new projects.