Monday Muse: Epiphanies and Tap Dancing

Over the weekend I had an epiphany: I simply cannot maintain a blog about writing. Oh, I can write, and I intend to, but blogging about writing  just because it’s my is focus is BORING. It’s boring to me, so it’s got to be boring to you. The online blogging class is over so I’m tossing the week one assignment to have a focus. I’m not, however, discarding the other cool things I learned or the great people (other students and instructor) I met through the class.

I need to write about what’s relevant to me in the moment in order to be inspired and creative. I’m sure I’ll do plenty of blogs on writing, especially if/when my book is accepted for publication. I just don’t want to be pinned down to the subject. I’ll keep the Monday, Wednesday, Friday format (though I may change the blog names). My characters will continue to blog most Friday’s because … well because I’d have a riot on my hands if I tried to stop them.

So … what’s relevant to me today? Tap dancing. “Huh?” you say. (That was hubby’s reaction too when I brought home a pair of tap shoes.) Yep. Tap dancing. I tapped as a little girl and was on my college dance team, the Huntingdon Honeys, though we didn’t tap.  Our primary performance venue was at halftime of home basketball games, and they had this silly thing about preserving the court floors–Go figure.

I’ve only tapped (publicly) once as an adult. Fifteen years or so ago (in my other life) I belonged to a club that did a show once a year.  About eight of us former tappers decided to dust off our tap shoes and do a tap number one year. The only thing I can say about that performance is we survived … barely.

Today I start my twice a week tap dance lessons at a little studio about five miles from my home. Once I’m up to speed, I’ll be promoted to a group of mature women called the Tap ‘N Dolls. They recently won the talent show at an adjacent county fair and perform at events around town from time to time. Next June we’ll join the other students in the dance school (i.e. children)  in their annual recital at the Tennessee Performing Arts Center. TPAC is where the road companies of Broadway (and other) shows are performed. As season ticket holders we’ve seen Wicked, Beauty and the Beast, Jersey Boys, The Color Purple, and many more excellent productions on that stage, so imagine the thrill of dancing there.

The instructor for the Tapping Dolls is a former Rockette, but that’s not even the coolest part. The coolest part of all this is I’ll be among the YOUNGEST of the dolls. Some are in their 70’s. Oh, I can’t wait to be the baby of a group again.

So if I’m not too sore to type (and my fingers shouldn’t be) I’ll be back Wednesday. ‘Til then…

~Kay

Friday Favorites: Character Chat—Nan

Guest blogger: Nan Macomb, character from Murder on Music Row

Hi everyone,

I had to let Loralee go ahead of me in our blogging rotation, because sometimes it’s just easier to let her have her way than to fight her. I learned a long time ago to pick my battles with her.

Before I tell you about my family, I’m supposed to announce Kat, Lor, and I are naming our blog posts.  We didn’t ask if we could do this; we often operate under the premise that it’s easier to ask forgiveness than seek permission. Anyway the name of mine posts will be Nan’s Notes. Lor’s will be Loralee’s Lyrics. She made me promise to tell you since she didn’t have room last week. We’re still in discussion on what Kat will call hers, but she says it will be resolved by next week when it’s her turn to blog.

So on to the topic of my family. I’m an only child unless you count Lor, who’d rather claim my family than her own. My parents have been married for almost forty years and, since my father’s retirement, I’ve never seen them happier.

Mom’s a homemaker, with a degree in home economics and a minor in drama. If you ask me it should’ve been the other way around. She is—how can I say this nicely—a drama queen. It has to be her way or she pouts like a three-year-old, and my dad almost always gives in to her. She also has the strangest hobby (for an adult). She’s a Nancy Drew fanatic. She has her original collection and we still catch her reading them from time to time. That’s all I remember her reading to me growing up.

Daddy was an executive with one of the health care providers established and headquartered just south of Nashville. Did you know health care and publishing are both bigger industries in Nashville than music? Most people are surprised to learn this. Daddy’s also very socially conscious. When he found out Mom’s early Nancy Drew editions had racial slurs, he bought a new set and demanded she get rid of hers. It was the biggest argument I ever saw them have. They finally compromised—she could keep hers as a private collection, but I’d only read the revised editions.

My parents met in college and married shortly afterwards. Mom wanted to go to NYC and be a Rockette, but love intervened. It’s a romantic story. Daddy proposed at the Parthenon, a local landmark in Centennial Park. While I was growing up we went there for picnics almost every weekend when the weather was nice. We always visited the exact spot where he went down on one knee and asked Mom to be his wife. Sometimes they reenacted it. They’re so goofy in love it’s hard to imagine he was the CFO of a multi-billion dollar company.

They’re very energetic for their age. They’ve won the club championship in both golf and tennis multiple times. When Dancing with the Stars debuted on TV they started taking ballroom dance lessons and have even competed a time or two.  They aren’t half bad. I’m lucky, I guess, to have parents to love each other and who I get along with–at least most of the time. Sometimes I envy Lor because her parents are never in her business. Even though they sometimes get on my last nerve, I guess I prefer mine.

Till next time…

~Nan

Wednesday Wisdom: Circle of Friends

“Friends – They cherish one another’s hopes. They are kind to one another’s dreams.”       Henry David Thoreau

What a pleasant surprise to learn Kay Elam Writes has received the Circle of Friends Award! It came from a really cool blog I follow called ADVENTURE SALON.  This creative and funny blogger from southern California  blogs about adventures from her bucket list and offers tips and ideas as she encourages others to create their own bucket lists. Now I get to honor five other fantastic bloggers and they, in turn, can pass it to their Fab Five.

Check out these fun blogs and see why they’re among my favorites.


And the award goes to:

Ask Mama

DeborahShouseWrites

I Write With Cats

The Jet Lagged Vagabond

Weathering the Storm


Monday Muse: Killer Nashville High

Killer Nashville. What a conference! It was more inspiration than I could possibly absorb in three short days. A TBI-staged crime scene, famous authors as well as not-so-famous ones, the published and the yet-to-be published, readers who don’t write (but no writers who don’t read), and investigative forensics groupies–all were there and all made it a great literary event. Agents and publishers also attended and graciously interacted with unpublished wannabes (like me) and invited some of us to send a sample of our work for consideration. Yes, I was asked to submit Murder on Music Row…oh, the stress, the anticipation, the hope…the waiting!

I think the conference had a goal to make every participant so tired they couldn’t function afterward. If so, they met that goal with me.

If you love to read, are a beginning or experienced writer, or just enjoy learning about real crime-scene investigations, I invite you to mark your calendars for the third weekend in August next year. The three-day conference is the best writing bargain you’re apt to find. Come to Nashville and experience it for yourself. Come early or stay a few extra days to enjoy the other sights and sounds of the Music City. It’s a great place to visit. You just might want to live here.

Until Wednesday,

~Kay

Friday Favorites: Character Chat—Loralee

Guest blogger: Loralee Anderson, character from Murder on Music Row

Hey ya’ll,

Kay’s off at the Killer Nashville Literary Conference and I’M BACK! It ain’t really my turn, but I didn’t know I was gonna have to wait a whole month to get to blog again.  So I pitched me a little hissy fit to get to go next and Nan, the peacemaker—God love her—agreed to swap spots with me. Prob’ly just to shut me up! Whatever. I’m happy.

To keep us on the straight and narrow, we were given a blog topic this time. Our family. What is this a damned therapy session? I was told if I didn’t blog on family I couldn’t blog at all, so here goes.

My folks divorced when I was in the seventh grade. That’s when me and Mama (I’m an only child) moved to Nashville from Texas. My granddaddy was a rancher, but my daddy made his money in oil so we didn’t want for nothing. I went to private school which is where I met Nan. I told you that last time, but lots has happen’d since then so I’m reminding you in case you forgot.

B’fore the divorce mama was a typical housewife. She played bridge and tennis, was in Junior League, went to the country club all the time and had lots of friends. I saw our maid more than her. Daddy had his hand in several business ventures so he was gone a lot. We weren’t the typical family which is probably why I took to Nan and her folks like a fish takes to water. It was the kind of home I’d always dreamed of.

Some of mama’s people lived in Nashville so we moved here. After they’d introduced her to all their eligible friends (with money), she moved on to the personal ads. She paraded a new “uncle” through her bedroom just ‘bout every month.  When she found true love (again) she moved off to Kentucky with him, leaving me to hole up with Nan’s family while I finished high school.  After graduation, I moved to Lexington–the new boyfriend didn’t work out (surprise!)–and started at UK. Then Mama heard about online datin’ and was in hog heaven. I think she was one of the first people to sign up for Match.Com She finally did find someone to marry her (on line, of course).  I was ready to get on with my life so I dropped out of school my senior year and moved to Texas to live with my Daddy. I for damn sure weren’t gone live with the newlyweds.

I hadn’t seen much of Daddy since the divorce—two weeks at Christmas and a month in the summer was ‘bout it—so it was a blast gettin’ acquainted as housemates. I got me a job waitin’ tables and singin’ for tips at a local juke joint. It was perfect for me ‘cause I hate mornins. Sometimes Daddy’d drop by to make sure I got plenty of clappin’ during my sets.  It was sweet ‘till he hooked up with Millie, another waitress just five years older than me. You could’ve knocked me over with a peanut when they up and got married. Then they announced they were expectin’—just a month after the wedding. I hit the road and headed back to Nashville where I’ve been ever since.  It just plain weirded me out that they were makin’ me a big sister at my age. The cutsie birth announcement said the baby was pre-mature at eight pounds—like anyone (except my mama) gave a damn.

I’m way over my word-count so I gotta run. But I’ll be back. ‘Specially if you leave lots of comments saying you like me. You don’t even have to say you like me best (unless you really want to). Bye-bye for now.

~Loralee

Wednesday Wisdom: Live and Learn

“We are made wise not by the recollection of our past, but by the responsibility for our future.”                         – George Bernard Shaw

Earlier this week, I spent nineteen hours in the emergency room with hubby who was having chest pain. His dad died of a massive heart attack at age fifty-eight, so we don’t take this lightly…at least I don’t.

He first noticed the pain after about an hour on a cross-trainer at the YMCA. (Well, duh! I hurt just thinking about it.) Then he went into the dry sauna, got into a discussion with some other exercise enthusiasts and lost track of time. (A sauna? In August? In Tennessee where we’ve had 30+ days of 90+ degree weather, many with heat indexes well over 100? Why not just go outside and get in his car?) He said he stayed well-hydrated, but got light-headed when he left the sauna. It took about twenty minutes for him to recover enough to even walk out to his car. He called me from the parking lot and told me what’d happened, and described his symptoms as reflux. I should have been suspicious, but he’s the doctor. I offered to pick him up so he wouldn’t have to drive, but he said he’d just talk to me during the less than ten-minute drive home. He has a Bluetooth so I reluctantly agreed. Yet I wondered what I would do should he suddenly stop talking. Call 911? Charge out to find him? Wring my hands and panic?

After eating and watching a movie, he seemed fine so I went upstairs to write. He joined me a while later and ‘fessed up that the reflux (indigestion) might be more like chest pains and, since they hadn’t subsided, perhaps we should have them checked out. I threw our toothbrushes, a couple of books, and my computer into a bag and we headed across town to the “heart hospital.” I was furious with him for not telling me it might not be reflux during the four hours he’d been home, but decided not to make a big deal about it until after we’d determined he wasn’t having a heart attack. When I finally asked why he didn’t tell me sooner he said he was he was afraid I’d overreact.

Me? Overreact? I’m the one who let him go three days last year thinking he had food poisoning before insisting we go to the ER. That trip we found he had a major abdominal obstruction. They had him in emergency surgery so fast it made my  head swim. We spent ten very long days in the hospital. He could have died. Overreact? So what if I did? I think I’m entitled to a free pass after that experience.

This trip to the ER, they worked him up very quickly—they do that with chest pain. EKG looked normal. Blood work was normal. But they wanted to observe him overnight, repeat the EKG every time he fell asleep (it seemed), and do a stress test the following morning. He wanted to go home, sleep in our own bed and return the next morning, but they nixed that idea. He was not a happy camper…especially when they said he could have nothing to eat or drink after midnight. Really—who eats in the middle of the night anyway?  He sent me out to get him a “good meal” while he could still eat. As I was cruising this part of town I don’t know very well,  I found a Target. I spent 30 minutes picking up things we  might need. $100 later (yes, I save the receipts and will make some returns) I left with three bags of stuff. The best purchases were tube socks for the cold ER room and a pair of tennis shoes. Mastering a treadmill in Crocs after virtually no sleep seemed like an accident waiting to happen to me.

They didn’t admit him, so we stayed in the ER the whole time. The staff made it as pleasant as possible replacing the hard as bricks ER table/bed with a genuine hospital bed topped with an air mattress that groaned every time he moved. They also found a semi-reclining chair for me. Unfortunately, they couldn’t do anything about the noise in the halls or the constant hum and occasional beeps made by the machines. The good news is the treadmill was normal and it probably was indeed reflux, possibly aggravated by some steroids he’d taken for Sciatica. So a mere nineteen hours after we first graced the halls of the emergency room, we left—a little worse for the wear, but relieved with the outcome.

What does this adventure have to do with today’s topic of  wisdom and writing? Writing is therapeutic and, after an experience like this one, a wise way to process it is to write it down. Am I telling hubby I’m doing this post? Nah…at least not for four hours or so after I’ve posted it. Passive aggressive? You bet. But I admit it and will deal with any repercussions. After all he still has to deal with the wrath of Kay for not telling me about his chest pains earlier.

I hope you’ll come back Friday for another character chat from my book. I’ll be at Killer Nashville, so I’m a tad bit nervous about what may get posted.

~Kay

P.S. The winner of the Friday the 13th contest (as selected by the online random generator www.random.org) is Laura. Laura, please send your mailing address and how you’d like the book personalized to kayelamwrites@gmail.com. I’ll get the information to Suza and she’ll get it in the mail to you. Congratulations and thanks to everyone who left a comment. If you want to purchase the book from Amazon you may do so from this link:

Monday Muse: Xander

Xander -- about a year old

In an earlier post I told you an inspirational muse can be found almost anywhere. Today I want to tell you about one of my muses–the bravest little boy I know.

Xander (pronounced Zander) is my first cousin twice removed. In other words his maternal grandfather is my first cousin. In the south we have to keep up with stuff like this. It keeps us from intermarrying.

Almost five years ago Xander’s great-grandmother (my aunt) called out of the blue one night and told me Natalie (Xander’s mom) was pregnant and the baby had a severe case of Spina Bifida. My aunt said Natalie and her husband, David, were in Nashville to try to get into a specialized study at Vanderbilt and, since they didn’t know anyone in Nashville, asked if I could check on them. I said, “Sure…but who are Natalie and David?” I didn’t have a clue.

I made one of those awkward phone calls to Natalie at their hotel. “You don’t know me but…” Long story short, my husband and I took them to dinner the next night, the evening before they were accepted into the Vanderbilt study which required them to relocate from Florida to Nashville until after the baby was born.

Xander's first day

Two days after I met his parents, Xander had his first surgery to repair his spine. He was only only 23 weeks old and it was done in utero. He was only the 87th person to take part in this experimental prenatal procedure.  He was born six weeks later and weighed a slight 2 lbs 13 ozs. The Cesarean was an emergency and Xander’s grandparents couldn’t get to the hospital for his birth (they were enroute, of course) so my husband and I stepped in as honorary grandparents.  We were later promoted to Grammy and Pappy–his  godparents. As we stood in the neo-natal intensive care unit and watched him for the very first time, Xander took off his oxygen mask and showed us what a fighter he was going to be.  To this day he hates oxygen masks.

Xander and friends during one of his hospitalizations

Xander is now four. He’s had twenty-one surgeries since that initial one, more than half of them life-threatening. He has a team of doctors that could fill a conference room. He has severe neurological and urological damage that will unfortunately plague him for the rest of his life. It’s heartbreaking when a four-year-old knows the difference between an X-Ray, a Cat Scan, an MRI and a urodynamics test and, when he’s in a hospital, can tell you which way to go for surgery. On the other hand, it’s amusing to watch him instruct the nurses on how to take his temperature, insert a catheter or start his “RV” (IV).   He’s endured more pain and hospitalizations than most of us will have in a lifetime.  I could tell you a lot more but I think you get the picture.

Xander and his family now live across the country, near an excellent children’s hospital. My sister lives near them and we try to visit as often as possible. I recently saw him at a family reunion. He does pool therapy so he had a lot of new things to show me. He’s learning to walk with “sticks” and has long been doing wheelies with his custom wheelchair. From the reunion he was headed to Disney World. His parents make sure he has plenty of fun to balance the trying times.

It’s said a picture is worth a thousand words so here are a few pictures of Xander–my Xtraordinary, Xceptional, Xhilarating Muse. I bet he’ll inspire you too.

Until Wednesday,

~Kay

Walking with Pappy

A great traveler

Xander with his service dog, Harley

piano man

So tiny -- less than 3 pounds

Standing -- March 2010

Mutual Admiration Society @ Xanders 4th birthday party

Grammy tickles Xander at recent family reunion

In the pool


Friday Favorites: Friday the 13th Contest

As promised on Wednesday’s blog, today’s post is an interview with Suza Kates, author of the recently released and already acclaimed Whisper of a Witch. For a chance to win a personalized, autographed copy of her book, leave a comment telling us why you’d like to win. The contest is open to US mailing addresses only, though anyone anywhere is welcome to leave a comment. The winner will be chosen at random.

INTERVIEW QUESTIONS FOR SUZA KATES

KE: What influences in your life inspired you to become an author?

SK : In all honesty, I was in Germany with little access to the entertainment we’re used to here in America. I missed home and my family, so I started writing a book set in the south with fours sibling. After that, I was hooked!

KE: Where did you get the premise for your debut novel Whisper of a Witch?

SK: I wanted to write a series involving a coven of witches and started with the setting and characters. The story for each just evolved from there. The overall tale is laid out, but I’m still thinking of new things to add!

KE: You began the book by writing an introduction to each of the major characters. What led you to open the book this way?

SK : Including a prologue is tricky, but I felt it was necessary for the book. There are a lot of women to get to know in the series, and I wanted the reader to begin with their everyday lives, where they are coming from, and the instant change that brings them all together.

KE: The names of your characters are not names we’d see on Christmas Ornaments at Cracker Barrel. How did you choose these unusual names and why?

SK : I wanted a mix of the classic, modern, exotic, and well, just plain made-up! For example, Anna, Kylie, Lucia, and Willyn. Each name was important, because I wanted it to reflect that character. The hardest part was coming up with last names that didn’t sound to similar.

KE: Do you have a favorite character in the book? If so, which one and why?

SK : Oh, no. I have a tender spot for each of them. Some are obviously strong, but might have a vulnerability we don’t know about, yet, while others are gentle and surprise us with their ferocity. I enjoy building a unique character then throwing the reader a curveball, but any detour in personality is usually for an emotional reason. I think that’s something we can all relate to.

KE: Writing with an ensemble of nine primary characters is rather daunting. How did you keep up with which witch had what characteristics, personality, physical features, etc.? Did you ever get confused?

SK : Once they were all developed, they were each unique in my mind. I knew the reader would need a little time to learn them, so I stuck with one or two specific details for each one. I admit I have to sometimes check to see what each cat looks like or remind myself about a witch’s eye color.

KE: The book reminded me of The Twilight Saga by Stephanie Meyer.  Has anyone else told you this and what do you think about the comparison?

SK : I’ve been pleasantly surprised by things people have said, but no one else has mentioned The Twilight Saga. In fact, it’s been fascinating how each person sees different strengths in the book. Some were touched most by the characters while others enjoyed the descriptions of Savannah.  I certainly hope my characters will be as well-loved as those in The Twilight Saga!

KE: Since I’ve known you for more years than either of us probably wants to admit, I know Suza Kates is a pen name. Why do you write with a pen name and what is the origin to yours?

SK : I enjoy the association between Suza Kates and the books I write. Having my real name and a pen name is like a separation of lives, even though they bleed into each other a great deal. When I go on vacation, Suza comes away with some pictures! There is no relation between the pen name and my own, and I just wanted something that would be unique.

KE: What other books are you working on and when can we expect to see them?

SK : She Who is Hidden is a romantic suspense out this fall. It’s the first in a trilogy, and I think readers of romance who also like Dan Brown will enjoy it. The second coven series book, Conviction of a Witch, is due for release in February. With the wonderful response I’ve gotten regarding Whisper of a Witch, I can’t seem to write fast enough!

KE: What books are on your bedside table right now?

SK : An older Nora Roberts/J.D. Robb combo called Remember When, The Sookie Stackhouse novels, and in my Kindle is Larissa Ione’s Desire Unchained. Her Demonica Series has been an education on paranormal hotness!

Thank you, Suza and thank you readers for participating in my first-ever blog contest.  My plan is to hold a similar contest quarterly, but if it’s a big hit I’ll try to do it more often. Remember you have to leave a comment for a chance to win the autographed, personalized copy of Whisper of a Witch.

If you just can’t wait to read the book you can purchase it from Amazon right now:

Until Monday,

~Kay

Wednesday Wisdom: Meet Suza Kates

I can remember a time when I didn’t think it possible to learn something from someone younger than me. Obviously as I got older my position changed. However, I’ve found when I encounter adults who I knew as children, it’s sometimes difficult to really see them as an adult. For example, I have a niece in her early twenty’s. Recently she called me all excited about some upcoming job interviews and to talk about her interview strategy. The entire conversation my brain struggled with how to reconcile this articulate, poised new college graduate with my image of her as a feisty almost three-year-old who stripped butt-naked in a parking lot in the dead of winter because she wanted to put on a new Minnie Mouse dress we’d just purchased. I totally understand the television commercial where the dad hands his teenage daughter the car keys but when he looks at her, sitting impatiently with her hands gripping the steering wheel, she’s still a toddler. It’s kind of like going back for a class reunion and expecting everyone there to look like they did in high school and/or college. (How did they get so old while I stayed so young?)

In my life I’ve worked with a lot of young women both professionally and as a volunteer. Twenty years or so ago, I was the chapter adviser for a collegiate chapter of a sorority  at Jacksonville State University in Alabama. There were around seventy-five young ladies active in the chapter at any given time and, believe it or not, I could match every face with a name…most of the time.  Some were easier than others—they were officers who called frequently or they were in trouble so much I’d groan when their name surfaced—but they were all my girls.

I remember one young lady who stood out for another reason. As I recall, she was pretty, smart, and somewhat shy. If she was mischievous, I never learned of it. It turned out she was the younger sister of a friend so I took a particular interest in her. I lost touch with her for a number of years but we became Facebook friends a while back. Imagine my delight when I learned she is also a writer. In fact her first book was released to acclaim last month. I immediately downloaded it to my Kindle (Amazon said they were sold out of the hard copies at the time) and read it in two or three nights. It wasn’t my usual genre, but I was hooked by her characters, her creativity and the storyline. As it turns out this is the first in a series so, who knows, I may become a fan of the paranormal genre after all.

Her pen name is Suza Kates, and the book is Whisper of a Witch, set in Savannah, Georgia, where she now lives. We’ve communicated frequently since discovering our common interests and she’s graciously shared her wisdom of the industry with me. Of course, I still see the pretty, shy, smart sorority girl even though I know she has become an accomplished teacher,  a caring health professional (RN), and now now a talented published author. Thank goodness I’m old enough and smart enough to know I can acquire much wisdom from those younger than me…even those I knew way back when I could (usually) outsmart them.

Anyway, Suza has agreed to participate in my first ever blog contest which will be held this Friday. Yep, that’s Friday the 13th. It seems only right to blog about witches on this illustrious day. I’ll have an interview with her for my Friday Favorites blog along with a contest for a chance to win a personalized, autographed copy of her book. More specifics about the contest will be on Friday’s blog.

So check out Whisper of a Witch on Suza’s website www.suzakates.com then come back here on Friday to learn more about the book and the author.

Until then,

~ Kay

Monday Muse: Killer Nashville

A great place to find inspiration in any profession is at an industry conference, and I’ve been to quite a few in all sorts of fabulous places during my various careers.  I used to critique them by how quickly I started daydreaming about skipping out for a dip in the pool or a nap in my room. However, I attended my first ever writers’ conference last summer and it left me wide awake and wanting more. Better yet, it was a short commute from my home. I just happened to find out about it at the last minute, but people come from all over the country for this one.

Now I’m not an expert on writers’ conferences, but I can tell you Killer Nashville is special, and it’s about time for it to roll around again.  It’s held annually the third weekend in August and it’s not too late to register at the Killer Nashville website: www.killernashville.com. Held at the Cool Springs Marriott, it will be a great way to escape this oppressive heat and humidity. As I recall, the Marriott is sufficiently air conditioned—in fact, you might want to take a sweater.

The conference is billed as “three days of authors, forensics, contacts, and publishing” and that’s not an exaggeration. According to the website, this year’s event will have “over forty panels and discussions available on mysteries, thrillers, and general writing and promotion techniques applicable to any genre.” Best of all it’s not only for aspiring authors, but also for accomplished ones…so we writer-wannabes can hobnob with real published authors. Also welcome are non-writers who love to read mysteries and/or thrillers or who have an interest in crime-solving techniques. Let’s face it with TV shows like CSI, Law and Order (all versions), Bones and The Closer, who isn’t curious about this stuff?

The three-day conference is divided into four tracks—writing, fan, forensic, and marketing—though it’s okay to mix and match the sessions you attend. There’s even a breakout session on Autopsies and Medical Examiners, though I personally will not be at that one! In addition, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation will have a “real” crime scene set up and you get to guess who dun it after you visit. I avoided it last year and probably won’t venture over this year either. I’m prone to nightmares and a crime scene might be a little too much for my delicate sensibilities.

The keynote speaker will be Jeffery Deaver and a dinner honoring him is planned for Saturday evening. Plus (drum-roll here), three agents and two editors will be available for ten-minute pitch sessions and you don’t even have to pay extra for this opportunity. You do, however, have to sign up in advance.

So, if you don’t have plans for August 20-22 (Friday-Saturday) check out Killer Nashville. If you see me there, be sure to say hi. I’ll be the one wrapped up in a sweater and avoiding all the gruesome stuff; the one whose head’s about to explode with all of my new-found knowledge.

~Kay