Thursday, November 15, 2012

Top 10 Things I Learned at Murder & Mayhem in Muskego 2012

As you already know, last weekend was Murder and Mayhem in Muskego. I have to admit that this was the best one yet since I've been attending. You know about my interview with Robert Crais. If you had problems viewing it here on the blog (some did), I broke it in two shorter segments and posted those on the Facebook page. So hopefully that will work better for folks who had problems.

And by the way, the Facebook page is an open page, so even if you haven't liked the page...or if you don't have a Facebook should still be able to access the page and see the video if you want.

But believe it or not, other stuff happened at M&M this weekend! So here is my minor recap of a weekend full of wonderfulness.

The Top Ten Things I Learned at Murder & Mayhem in Muskego, 2012

10. Daniel Palmer thinks writing is like a boiling cauldron and his favorite character (that is not of his own creation) is Jaws. His least favorite character--not his own--is also Jaws. This man is hysterical; if you've never met him in person, remedy that at your earliest convenience.

9. Craig McDonald says the Prologue is the over-used device he likes the least. Down with the prologue!

8. Lisa Lutz once (unknowingly) told a New York Times bestselling author that his mother was a major pain!

7. Chris Holm can not start writing a story without a title. To date he has been fortunate. The titles he's picked for his books have stuck, no publishing changes there.

6. Brad Parks knows a lot about fracking--actually I learned that one at lunch on Friday, but still...

5. Marcus Sakey is making a new television show. It won't be Hidden City, but a similar concept for the Travel Channel. 

4. Lou Berney is ambidextrous....and smart....and funny...and talented...and kind...and...

3. Jeff Lindsey has some very scary fans, and his minister likes to sermonize about Dexter!

2. Most of the panelists with Ayo Onatade didn't want to fess up to a character they didn't like (that wasn't their own) but John Lutz had no problems proclaiming Susan Silverman...with the caveat that he loved the Spenser books.

1. George Pelecanos is even more amazing than I thought he was last week!

I wanted to save this last one to the end of my list because there are several things I want to share with you. You may know them already, but this was my first chance to meet George Pelecanos and I can't even put into words how in awe I was. And he's not the kind of person who makes you feel uncomfortable or like you need to bow down and kiss his ring. He's down to earth, funny, kind, generous...and oh my goodness so smart.

If you followed my tweets during the interview with George, you already know that he will be working as an executive producer (as will Dennis Lehane) for Boardwalk Empire following the end of Treme. He also has the sequel to THE CUT coming out next year and it's called THE DOUBLE.

But I just have to tell you how this man won my heart in his interview. I don't even remember what the actual question was that brought this up, but he told the audience that he was acutely aware of the fact that he would leave a nice job, drive in his nice car to his nice house and live a comfortable life as a result of his writing about people far less privileged than he. So, he felt a need to give back. He's doing that through writing and reading programs in urban schools and prisons. One of the most incredible statements he made was, "If you give a kid in prison a book, that's how he escapes the cell."

Each year this one-day conference reminds me of the power of the story...the inspiration, the friendships, the fulfillment, the fun. The world always looks a little brighter after this conference for me. I highly recommend making an honest effort to attend it at some point. Save your pennies, plan your vacation, and get here. You won't regret it!

I'm going to leave you today with the other video I recorded this weekend. This is the panel I moderated Friday night...really I just pointed to people and said, "you share your story now." The panelists did the hard part--and they did it well. I apologize profusely. I thought I had the camera set up to get all the panelists, but poor Marcus got cut off. He's off to the left of the screen, but you can hear him when he talks. A couple times he leans into the picture. I hope you enjoy the show!


Lauren November 15, 2012 at 12:14 PM  

Great post, Jen, per usual. Can't wait to sit down and dig into all these wonderful videos! Thanks for doing all the hard work and sharing with those of us who couldn't be there.


Dana Kaye November 15, 2012 at 12:56 PM  

I loved your interview with Robert Crais. Definitely learned a lot from that one.

Naomi Johnson November 15, 2012 at 11:35 PM  

I cannot disagree with John Lutz.

Kristopher November 16, 2012 at 11:13 AM  

Thanks for the recap Jen. This conference is on my to-do list for one of these years. You just helped to move it up the list.

As for George's comments about books and prison, I couldn't agree more. That man is a true inspiration and I hope to one day meet him as well.

Beth F November 17, 2012 at 7:43 AM  

One day I will get to one of the mystery events / conferences. I just need to start playing the lottery.

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