Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Murder and Mayhem in Chicago (and some other stuff)

This past Saturday was the first annual Murder and Mayhem in Chicago (MMC), a one-day conference dedicated to crime fiction. It was a lot of fun, and a wonderful way to start my hectic weekend.

The conference was essentially just a program of panels, with time in-between for mingling and book-buying, but it went so quickly and was so fun and informative.

Panel Schedule

Violence in Crime Fiction 

Making a Mystery
Playing with the Past

All the panels were great, but my favorite had to be "Genre Conventions and Why We Break Them," moderated by Danny Gardner and featuring Lori Rader-Day (co-chair/creator of MMC), Shaun Harris, Marcus Sakey, Sean Chercover, and Alverne Ball.

Not only was it hilarious, but it was especially important to me as a writer whose work doesn't fit into neat little genre slots. I also love that it featured writers who work cross-media, since that's something that I'm interested in (I'm strictly a writer, but have plans for a graphic novel as well as a film project).

Genre Conventions and Why We Break Them

Another major perk of this panel? I got to sit next to the legendary Sara Paretsky, and it took everything in me to not completely fangirl out on her. I might not have been all that successful...

I'm gonna have a collage of ridiculous photos of me and Sara Paretsky someday

Sadly, I had to leave early to attend one of my closest friends' baby shower, so I missed the panel moderated by Nancy Johnson, where she interviewed librarians and booksellers. I also had to miss the keynote conversation between Sara Paretsky and William Kent Krueger, though I did make sure to get both my books signed by them. I was really sad to miss that last conversation, because I heard it was great and they are both such kind and talented people.

Alas, my overbooked weekend had to continue, and I headed out into the cold and up to Albany Park to attend the only baby shower that I've ever had fun at. The decorations were adorable, the food was great (they had a taco guy!), and the company was even better. I'm so excited for my friend, and I can't wait to spoil my honorary nephew/godson (especially since he might be the only baby in our close circle of friends. We are not a particularly maternal bunch).

The adorable mom-to-be (and equally adorable cookie)
First helping, straight from the Taco Guy
Dessert table (minus donuts and watermelon)
The Winners Circle (AKA my best friends)

To round out the night, my husband and I headed to our friend Sean's birthday party, where we sipped overpriced cocktails and fancy beer, and had the nerdiest of nerd conversations (ranging from Power Rangers to Voltron to Dragonball Z and other such properties). It was a good way to end the night.

Organic means it's healthy, right?

After such an action-packed day, Sunday was obviously a chill day where I did nothing but marathon the Great British Baking Show and eat ice cream, right? I wish (though I do that often enough). Sunday was the March MWA Midwest meeting, featuring guest speaker Clare O'Donohue talking about the 10 Things Writers Shouldn't Do. Expect that post sometime soon.

After the meeting, I participated in the first MWA Midwest critique group, which consisted of me and 6 other unpublished writers going over the first 20 pages of 3 different manuscripts (including mine). I got a lot of great feedback, including some praise for my dialogue and setting, but the biggest takeaway? I love writing backstory way more than people enjoy reading it. Probably leftover from my love of character creation for tabletop gaming, but it's a bad habit I'm trying to kick.

So now I'm off to edit my entire first act (which inevitably means changing everything else, as well) for the billionth time. Yay...


  1. Glad you had a great time at the conference, Mia!

  2. I'm already looking forward to next year ^^

  3. Honored to have moderated your favorite panel. Relieved you didn't find me insane. Or perhaps you did. If that's the case, thanks for not putting me on Front Street. ;)

    - dg

    1. Haha your moderating style definitely broke some conventions, but it kept things fun and energetic ^^

  4. congratulatons on such accomplishments mia, it is lovely to see your talent flourish to such ectent. i feel really proud of you. keep us updated with more

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