The Mystery Florida conference was held this weekend at the Lido Key resort, and you never saw so many hot Florida mystery writers in one spot. I don’t mean hot because of the weather, but hot because of their popularity.
Michael Connelly, Kristy Montee (half of P.J. Parrish), Barbara Parker, Jim Born, Jonathan King, Wayne Barcomb, Ward Larsen, James Macomber, Don Bruns, Bob Morris, N.M. Kelby, Terry Griffin, Pat Gussin, Tom Corcoran, Tim Dorsey, David Hagberg, Jim Swain, and me. On Friday night, there was a free bash open to the public where we all signed books provided by Circle Books of St. Armands Key. Mystery fans came from all over the place to have a glass of wine and schmooze with one of their favorite authors.
Then bright and early Saturday morning, paying guests who were mostly aspiring mystery writers listened to panel after panel talk about individual writing styles and give writing tips. Panel members were seen making notes too, as we all learned something from one another. Jim Born stood on a chair and demonstrated how he had been walking amongst us fully armed as the real-life cop he is. We were appropriately awed, and we scribbled notes like crazy. John D. MacDonald, who lived on Siesta Key where my series takes place, wasn’t actually there, but Cal Branche, who has exclusive materials from the author’s family, made him seem present by showing slides of wartime letters between John D. and his wife.
Last night all the authors had dinner with guests of the conference at a restaurant on St. Armands Key. When the day was over, I don’t think anybody left without feeling it had been time and money well spent.
Mystery Florida will be an annual conference, most likely always the first weekend in June. If you’re a mystery fan, mark your calendar and think about joining us next year.