While I seem to have practically disappeared from the writers conference circuit lately (primarily due to travel and hotel costs), I’ve found a good one in Creatures, Crimes, and Creativity (otherwise known as C3).

This annual conference has been one of my favorites since it started being held right down the street from me. Okay, a few miles from me. In Columbia, Maryland.

Here’s a photo from one of the panels I attended. And, somewhere out there is a photo of me with the panelists on the “Holding You Hostage—Keeping the Reader Engaged” panel.

From left to right: Jamie Freveletti, David Swinson, John Gilstrap, and Bill Rapp (upstanding moderator)

There were signings after the panels each day, and I even sold three books. Awesome!

But, one of the great things about being at this writers conference is listening to the keynote speakers. The C3 conference takes places from Friday until the following Sunday. Dinner is included on Friday and Saturday, and the keynote speakers at both meals really rocked.

Keith DeCandido!

The keynote speech on Friday was by Keith DeCandido. It was the most awesome and inspiring talk. His philosophy about professional writing is essentially identical to my own. The takeaway is that if you want to write for a living, you must treat your writing as a one-person business.

That means having the discipline to do the work, keep track of expenditures, maximize your profits, market, and promote your books and other writing, and so on. If you’d like to read Keith’s speech, he put it up online here. Click that link! It’s well worth the reading!

Before I tell you about the second awesome keynote speaker, I have to say here that it was a pleasure to re-connect with authors I’ve met at previous conferences, including Annie Rose Alexander (pictured with John DeDakis below, at our signing table), Chris Bauer, John Gilstrap (who probably doesn’t remember our previous meeting, but why would he? 🙂 ), Caroline Bock, Austin Camacho (who’s known me forever), Dana King (who is a Laurel, Maryland resident who’s read some Sam McRae novels and actually said I nailed Laurel—yay!), Penny Clover Peterson (who’s in my writers group), Bill Rapp, David Swinson, and (finally!) Jamie Freveletti (who I can actually say, “I knew you when …”). If I left anyone out, I’m truly sorry.

John and Annie (I took the photo)

Yes, I really was there! 🙂

I did also get to meet other authors, including (but not limited to—lawyer language!) John DeDakis, P. A. Duncan, F.S. Gilbert (dude, get a website 🙂 ), Lanny Larcinese, Glenn Parris, Laura Ellen Scott, F.J. Talley, and no doubt more that I’m too stupid tired overwhelmed to remember!

Penny Peterson and John Gilstrap (shaken, not stirred)

Between panels, I went out in search of coffee, which in my case means an espresso drink, because American coffee sucks is way too weak. Anyway, I found out that my favorite coffee shop had vanished closed. I’m guessing it’s because of the coffee bar at the Amazon Whole Foods down the road a few miles hundred feet beyond the old place. So, I hobbled strode as quickly as my gamey (sp?) foot allowed to that coffee bar. While I was there on Saturday, I took advantage of the salad bar to eat at least one thing that wasn’t loaded with carbs. 🙂

Balancing all this crap with one and a half hands without spilling my salad or coffee was a miracle! 🙂

Okay, now let me tell you about Jamie Freveletti’s keynote speech. Jamie once practiced law (like myself, only in a more amazing way—international law! Wow!). Jamie also emphasized treating one’s writing career in a business-like manner. She then told us about her various amazing and (dare I say it?) innovative plans with regards to her own work. Here is the key takeaway. And here’s why traditional publishing is not completely dead. Jamie has used traditional publishing to her advantage. She is using her good fortune in that area as leverage to do more. Jamie is not only writing Robert Ludlum books-for-hire, but she’s venturing into combining music and writing in ways I’d never thought about. Among other things.

I got photos of Jamie, but you don’t want to see them. Too blurry or just not the best shots ever.

Personally, I can’t wait to have her on the Crime Cafe podcast. That’ll be later this season. You’ll see her there! 🙂

I got to hear Jamie on a panel I simply couldn’t miss: “Bail, Jury, or Affidavit? Getting the Legal Facts Correct”. Would a lawyer-writer miss this panel? Does the Pope shit in my backyard? The answer to both is “no”, in case you’re wondering.

Deliah Lawrence, Annie Alexander, and Jamie Freveletti (Norwood Holland, moderator, is outside the frame)

Norwood Holland (moderator) is on the extreme left.

I also got to be on another panel “Across State Lines—Writing Across Genres” (hmm … so, this isn’t about the Mann Act or interstate commerce?), along with F.J. Talley, P.A. Duncan, and Austin Camacho (moderator). Somewhere out there, I’m sure there’s a photo of us.

In any case, I hope you see that there’s a real benefit in going to conferences like this. Because you never know who you’ll meet or what you’ll learn. And they are fun. Exhausting fun, but even so. 🙂

If you enjoyed this post or, at least, weren’t completely bored by it, please feel free to share it. If only for the photo of this unique statue I ran across while getting coffee.

“The Hug” (or “Woman Smashes Face Into Man’s Armpit”)

And this awesome button the book seller wore! 🙂

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