Wednesday, June 14, 2017

On the road again....by Cathy Ace



There’s only so much time, and there’s only so much money, while the opportunities are plentiful. How do you decide which writing conferences and conventions to attend? (ie, what are your criteria?)

With Sue Grafton, Bouchercon 2013
When it comes to conventions, I jumped in at the deep end. Bouchercon is the largest international crime writer/reader convention in the world, meaning it’s a BIG convention in every sense, and the one held in Albany in 2013 was my first. I knew very few people among the thousands there, but I persisted, met people I admired (Katherine Hall Page gave me a hug and Sue Grafton did the same – DOUBLE WOWZER!!)…and now I LOVE conventions! 

The next year I attended Left Coast Crime (it was in Monterey) which is a smaller version of Bouchercon in that’s it’s truly cross crime-sub-genre, as well as Malice Domestic (which focuses on traditional mysteries, of the type I write). Since then I’ve spread my wings and have attended CrimeFest UK twice – to support my UK publisher’s efforts with my Welsh-set series of books. 

At the "Pub Quiz" CrimeFest UK 2017 - our team won - YAY!
At my first convention I was a fan-girl more than anything else, and I don’t see anything wrong with that. Now (other than still allowing my inner-fan to peep through when I meet authors whose work I adore) I use conventions to listen, learn and meet readers, fellow authors and fans.

So why/how do I choose the ones I do? Well, the first thing to acknowledge is that attending any conference or convention is expensive. Sometimes very. For the first four years of my writing career I invested any money I made from writing into attending conferences, and also a good deal more than that. This past year was my first “break even” year, as far as earning/attending conventions goes. That’s how much they have come to mean to me. 


Panel at Bouchercon 2016 with Ragnar Jonasson, Charlaine Harris, Martin Edwards, GM Malliet & Claire Booth
My criteria for “success” at conventions has shifted over the years: it began with “meet my favorite authors”, morphed to “do the best you can to represent your own work on a panel”, then to “be the best moderator for your panelists that you can be” or to “conduct the best interview of this Guest of Honour”. I also find that setting up meetings with reviewers, bloggers, interviewers and fellow authors is a good way to use the breaks between panels I want to attend…often the only time for such meetings to be held face to face. In 2019 I’m honored to be looking forward to a new goal: “be the best Toastmaster you can be!” Yes, I’m the Toastmaster for Left Coast Crime 2019, when it’s to be held here in Vancouver, BC, and – guess what? – receiving a Lifetime Achievement Award will be none other than Sue Grafton…so I get to share the Green Room with her and the other wonderful Guests of Honor! (Thrilled fan-girl moments aplenty!)


In 2016 I became Chair of Crime Writers of Canada (CWC), and now find I am not just representing myself and my work at these conventions, but also the work of the approx. 300 members of CWC, too. I try to organize get-togethers for our members who are attending any convention I go to, as well as – when possible – organizing opportunities for fans to meet CWC members face-to-face. One important aspect is trying to get all our members in attendance to one place, at one time, to get a photograph taken with our CWC logo – so we can show the members who weren’t there that we were flying the flag, so to speak. So, while I am Chair of CWC, I will continue to attend as many conventions as I can afford to do, which means my annual cycle of Bouchercon, Left Coast Crime, Malice Domestic and CrimeFest UK will continue for a little while at least (I was just voted Chair until June 2018). 
With fellow members of Crime Writers of Canada, Left Coast Crime 2016

If I had to whittle down my list, removing the “least important” first, I would have a hard time doing it: Bouchercon is the biggest, so I get to mix with most fellow authors and fans there; Left Coast Crime is more intimate, more local, and allows more time to be with people; Malice Domestic focusses on the types of mysteries I write, and brings me closest to the largest, focused, groups of fans of that type of book; CrimeFest UK keeps me connected to my UK roots, and allows me to get my hands on books I love to read quite some time ahead of their appearance in Canada (a real bonus!). Looks like I’ll be on the road for some time to come!
Here are some links you might find useful:




Criminal Minds at Malice 2017: L to R Susan Shea, Catriona McPherson, Alums Tracy Kiely & Art Taylor, Alan Orloff, Cathy Ace

Cathy Ace is the Bony Blithe Award-winning author of The Cait Morgan Mysteries (#8 The Corpse with the Ruby Lips was released on November 1st) and The WISE Enquiries Agency Mysteries (#3, The Case of the Curious Cook, was released in hardcover in the UK on November 30th and in the USA & Canada on March 1st).  You can find out more about Cathy, her work and her characters at her website, where you can also sign up for her newsletter with news, updates and special offers: http://cathyace.com/

4 comments:

RM Greenaway said...

Left Coast coming to Vancouver in 2019, and you at the helm, that's so great! I'll circle the date.

Cathy Ace said...

Great idea - I know it seems like a looooong way off now, but it'll be here in a heartbeat!

kold_kadavr_ flatliner said...

Dunno if you saw this before...
yet, here it is once moe, curly:

Greetings, earthling! Need summore new-fangled-thots N ideers? Look no firdr, brudda. Can't stay long. Done gotta git, Paw... yet, if Im a sower, we plant the Seed; if Im an artist, we RITE the Word:

Would U please help a plethora of King Size, wildchild, rawkuss poetry/wordz which are lookin 4 a home in thy novelty?? Thx. Whew. They're pretty insane. They're bereft of reason. Oi! Blimey! They're bloody PINK spiders!

Gotta gobba lotta shrewd, surreal, supersonic, sardonic satires, sassy N savvy elixers N electronic elegance (and palpable nuance) on our YOUTHwitheTRUTH blogs. Wannum? Have'm. N'joym. Gettm outta my hair!!!

How mucha wanna betcha our sugar-high-mojo, pleasure-beyond-measure, fuse-blowin-exploits R a copious madhouse of one lavish bookay D.O.A.? Our proFUSE NRGod who leads U.S. to explosive fairy-tales in the 'one-stop-shop' symphony Upstairs? God's the BigDude, the Owner of ElysianFields, the Grand Prize, the Austere Overdrive, NoPurchaseNecessary: our bombastic tenaCITY on a Hill which'll plant the Seeds 4u2 grow-up to new N greater heights!! Mama mia! Thatsa good pasta!!

CAUTION: our 22ish, avant-guard, accurately-atrocious, offa-the-reservation-like-Jimmy-Hoffa, metal breadcrumms R sooo out-of-order, toots, they're an intimate wealth of bottomless sophistication. And dats da lethal fak, Jak. Go ahead. Sue me. Yawn. But, yet, here's the perennial KOO D'TAH: who else has actually SEEN the Great Beyond in spirit & lived to tella youse bout the bionic, bloated, brevity-like-earth we're living on?? Yes, earthling, Im an NDE, almost salivating4salvation. So gain altitude, never attitude: death has no intrinsick favorites.

If Mr. abSUREditty's an ultra-great-reward, and not everyone enters, Q: why is it an excruciating deluge of epic-.357-caliber where the quality's a limitless bulldozer plowin, pushin-your-power-cord with eternal goodies? A: the Prize-A+-TheEnd just gives U.S. moe-curley-graphix 2 VitSee: an explosion-of-extravagance which few R asking 4 anymore! Grrr. They're too concerned withe grotesque sanity of ambivilant piss-ants which swiftly crawl like lemmings to their scorecard destruction. C'est la guerre.

THANK GAWWWD!!! the Don has the ebullient BAWLS!!! to do the Manifest Destiny!!! To lead U.S. forward to the White House Upstairs with his SQUARES!!!

So, break-free, earthling; be like a contraversial outgrowth of incredibly-intoxicating-effusiveness in your zeitgeist to give the ultimate, stunning, backknuckle potency: Wiseabove. Wanna join this useFULL idiot Upstairs 4 the most zany, kooky, X-acto-knife antidotes? Extremely exquisite, explicit endorphins in abundance? Puh-lenty of pulverizingly-tantalizing psychopathic psychosomatics with eXtras? i2i-kick-velocity's-ass-ultra-maximum-rocket-fuel-party-hardy at my pad ya ever encountered without d'New Joisey accent 4 an eternal slew of precarious, magnanimous & primeval absurdities indelibly etched in the granite corridors of eternity with a total-barrage-of-melt-in-thy-mouth 'depth-of-undenial'???

Make Your Choice  -SAW
...cuzz nobody gitts outta here alive, earthling.

kold_kadavr_ flatliner said...

Dunno if you saw this before...
yet, here it is once moe, curly:

Greetings, earthling! Need summore new-fangled-thots N ideers? Look no firdr, brudda. Can't stay long. Done gotta git, Paw... yet, if Im a sower, we plant the Seed; if Im an artist, we RITE the Word:

Would U please help a plethora of King Size, wildchild, rawkuss poetry/wordz which are lookin 4 a home in thy novelty?? Thx. Whew. They're pretty insane. They're bereft of reason. Oi! Blimey! They're bloody PINK spiders!

Gotta gobba lotta shrewd, surreal, supersonic, sardonic satires, sassy N savvy elixers N electronic elegance (and palpable nuance) on our YOUTHwitheTRUTH blogs. Wannum? Have'm. N'joym. Gettm outta my hair!!!

How mucha wanna betcha our sugar-high-mojo, pleasure-beyond-measure, fuse-blowin-exploits R a copious madhouse of one lavish bookay D.O.A.? Our proFUSE NRGod who leads U.S. to explosive fairy-tales in the 'one-stop-shop' symphony Upstairs? God's the BigDude, the Owner of ElysianFields, the Grand Prize, the Austere Overdrive, NoPurchaseNecessary: our bombastic tenaCITY on a Hill which'll plant the Seeds 4u2 grow-up to new N greater heights!! Mama mia! Thatsa good pasta!!

CAUTION: our 22ish, avant-guard, accurately-atrocious, offa-the-reservation-like-Jimmy-Hoffa, metal breadcrumms R sooo out-of-order, toots, they're an intimate wealth of bottomless sophistication. And dats da lethal fak, Jak. Go ahead. Sue me. Yawn. But, yet, here's the perennial KOO D'TAH: who else has actually SEEN the Great Beyond in spirit & lived to tella youse bout the bionic, bloated, brevity-like-earth we're living on?? Yes, earthling, Im an NDE, almost salivating4salvation. So gain altitude, never attitude: death has no intrinsick favorites.

If Mr. abSUREditty's an ultra-great-reward, and not everyone enters, Q: why is it an excruciating deluge of epic-.357-caliber where the quality's a limitless bulldozer plowin, pushin-your-power-cord with eternal goodies? A: the Prize-A+-TheEnd just gives U.S. moe-curley-graphix 2 VitSee: an explosion-of-extravagance which few R asking 4 anymore! Grrr. They're too concerned withe grotesque sanity of ambivilant piss-ants which swiftly crawl like lemmings to their scorecard destruction. C'est la guerre.

THANK GAWWWD!!! the Don has the ebullient BAWLS!!! to do the Manifest Destiny!!! To lead U.S. forward to the White House Upstairs with his SQUARES!!!

So, break-free, earthling; be like a contraversial outgrowth of incredibly-intoxicating-effusiveness in your zeitgeist to give the ultimate, stunning, backknuckle potency: Wiseabove. Wanna join this useFULL idiot Upstairs 4 the most zany, kooky, X-acto-knife antidotes? Extremely exquisite, explicit endorphins in abundance? Puh-lenty of pulverizingly-tantalizing psychopathic psychosomatics with eXtras? i2i-kick-velocity's-ass-ultra-maximum-rocket-fuel-party-hardy at my pad ya ever encountered without d'New Joisey accent 4 an eternal slew of precarious, magnanimous & primeval absurdities indelibly etched in the granite corridors of eternity with a total-barrage-of-melt-in-thy-mouth 'depth-of-undenial'???

Make Your Choice  -SAW
...cuzz nobody gitts outta here alive, earthling.