Thursday, July 29, 2010

News from Love is Murder 2011 Conference

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Love is Murder on Dark & Stormy Nights XII: February 2011
In This Issue
Conference Comparison Chart
Interview with Carolyn Haines
Author Spotlight
Featured Articles

Ghost of Honor Chester Gould

Short Story Contest

Vendor Opportunities

at Love Is Murder

Love Is Murder provides a great opportunity for vendors of all kinds to sell their wares to an appreciative and captive audience. Our 3-day conference draws a diverse crowd of over 300 people who love to shop and be wowed by beautiful and unique products.

If you'd like to wow us up with your products, please visit the LIM website vendor registration page at complete the registration form. Once your form is received, Vendor Chairperson Terri Stone will contact you with more information on table sizes and prices.

We're looking forward to hearingfrom YOU!

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The Official Newsletter of  Love is Murder
Interview with Featured Guest Carolyn Haines
Author Carolyn Haines and her best friend Maybelline

by Joanna Campbell Slan

"Sarah Booth and Jitty came to me in tandem, arguing just as they do in the books. When such fully developed characters visit a writer, it's truly a gift." -- Carolyn Haines

JCS: Talk about hearing fully developed characters, please. Why and how do you think this happens? Can an author improve the chances of such visitations? Should an author ever ignore those voices and replace them? What if the fully realized characters don't work with plot?

CH: Last question first. Most good plots come from character, so if you've got a mismatch, the book isn't going to work. I do think most writers hit streaks when the characters are fully alive and in the moment with them. When I write, I almost have to get to that place-I have some subconscious control, but it seems as if I'm merely watching, not engaged in the action.

How to bring about this? I think it's a matter of focus. Knowing your story, knowing your characters, and a real regard for language. Writing isn't about slapping words together. It's about thinking. And language is very delicate. We forget that sometimes. Word choice is vital to character development.

JCS: Carolyn, you create truly vivid, one-of-a-kind characters. What are some of the techniques you use? I notice that Jitty's clothes are always a highlight, as are Sweetie Pie's sunglasses and scarf. You seem to be able to vary the cadence of your characters' speech. Dish!

CH: Well, thank you very much. I think clothing and accessories are one of the easiest ways to characterize. They can show a character's humor or quirkiness or hint at the character's motive (and sometimes this is a deliberate misdirection). I think what makes a unique character is what's in his heart, his spirit. Is he greedy, selfish, mean, generous, afraid, desperate? What does he desire? Motive is what makes us do the things we do, and motive stems from our unique psychology. Why do some people feel they must have designer labels and others are confident in thrift shop finds? Why are some people happy in the country and others in cities? These are the questions at the heart of a character. It is often helpful for new writers to do intensive character studies. Write it down. Read it often and remember the moments in the past that have brought your character to this particular place and time where the story begins.

Since I clearly hear how my characters speak, I can write their dialogue most of the time without too much trouble. Long ago I was shy, and I listened a lot. It's a good thing to do. In fact, I make it a habit of eavesdropping almost everywhere I go. Fascinating.


For more of this interview with Carolyn Haines, go to

Carolyn Haines is the editor of Delta Blues (May 2010 Tyrus Books) and author of Bone Appetit (July 2010 St. Martin's Minotaur). Visit her at

Joanna Campbell Slan is the author of Paper, Scissors, Death (Sept. 2008 Midnight Ink), an Agatha Award nominee for Best First Novel, and Photo, Snap, Shot (May 2010 Midnight Ink). Visit her at

Want to be in the Author Spotlight?

LIM attendees are always on the lookout for good books. Beginning in August, the "Author Spotlight" section in the LIM newsletter will give you, our authors, a opportunity to advertise your work to hundreds of readers for a nominal fee.

Option 1 includes your book title and name:

Clyde's First Murder by I. M. A. Writer

Cost: $10/title/issue of the newsletter

Option 2 includes your book title and name plus a brief description (15 words maximum) or series information (15 words maximum):

Clyde's First Murder by I. M. A. Writer: All Clyde wanted was a vacation by the sea. What he got instead was murder!

Cost $15/title/issue of the newsletter

All entries will be listed alphabetically by the author's last name.

KISS KISS BANG BANG will be sent to more than 500 mystery fans each month for the next six months. Authors can advertise their books in one or more newsletters starting with the August issue and ending with the sixth newsletter in January, 2011.

One issue, two issues, or all six issues - it's your choice!

Send the information as explained above along with your email address and a check or money order to:

Love Is Murder, c/o Mary Welk, 6127 N. Ozark Ave., Chicago, IL 60631

Advertising for the August newsletter MUST be received by August 7, 2010.

Advertising for future issues must be received by the first of the month.

Ghost of Honor Chester Gould - 1900-1985
Dick Tracy's creator Chester Gould

Through its "Ghost of Honor" recognitions, Love is Murder honors writers who, through their characters and craft, have helped define and refine the genre fiction we all know and love.

This year's GOH is Chester Gould, creator of everyone's favorite jut-jawed, hard-boiled copper Dick Tracy. The Encyclopedia of Mystery and Detection"  among many other standard references, declares Dick Tracy the most famous detective in fiction, with the exception of Sherlock Holmes, the character created by last year's GOH, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. It's fitting that we celebrate Gould the year after Doyle was GOH, because Doyle was one of Gould's biggest influences. Please join Love is Murder in honoring Chester Gould and his crime fighting alter ego, Dick Tracy by attending lifelong Tracy fan Jim Doherty's informative and fascinating look into the man and his character.

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Short Story Contest

Love is Murder is sponsoring its first-ever short story writing contest. If you've never been published, this could be your ticket to breaking into print. All rules and details are at the web site under "Events." If you're serious about entering, don't delay. Entries must be postmarked by Sept. 1, 2010 to give our judges a chance to read them and pick a winner. The winning entry will be announced at the conference, and will also be published in the February, 2011 issue of CrimeSpree Magazine!

Conference Comparison Chart

The Board of Love Is Murder has always tried to keep conference costs as low as possible and in line with other major mystery conferences. This year we've added a "Conference Comparison Chart" to our website where friends of LIM can compare conference costs for themselves. The "Conference Comparison Chart" is accessible at

Shown below is a summary of the "Conference Comparison Chart". LIM registration fees and room rates are shown for 2011. Some 2011 conference rates were unavailable when this chart was created, so expect registration fees and room rates to be higher in 2011 for conferences listed below as occurring in 2010.

IN SHORT: Using the figures in the comparison chart, the approximate cost of a comprehensive registration and two-night hotel stay for each conference is:

Love is Murder 2011 = $527

Thrillerfest 2010 = $1314 Bloody Words 2011 = $602 Canadian

Bouchercon 2010 = $693 Deadly Ink 2010 = $418

Malice Domestic 2011 = $613 Mayhem in the Midlands 2010 = $438

Left Coast Crime 2010 = $575 Sleuthfest 2011 = $613

Magna cum Murder 2010 = $410 ($80 room rate

See You In February!

Lovingly (and alphabetically),

Hanley, Luisa, Marlene, Mary, Silvia, Sue, Terri, and Wally

Visit the Love is Murder website for the latest conference updates!

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