Some people tell me it's crazy to travel to Chicago the first week-end in February, that the city is too damn cold this time of year.  But I can't imagine anyplace warmer and more hospitable.  I first started coming to Love is Murder in 2005.  I was a brand-new author then, knowing little about the craft, and even less about the business of writing.  I came because a friend told me If you want to be a writer, you have to start going to the places that the real writers go.  And I've been coming back ever since.  Last year, Love is Murder went on hiatus, so, this year, it's been a pretty special week-end.  Saturday morning, I was a last minute addition to a panel discussing the delicate relationships between authors and their publishers, agents and publicists.  On the panel, I met a couple of new (to me) authors.  If you're a fan of thrillers, let me point you to Jamie Freveletti, whose debut thriller, Running from the Devil, is already an international bestseller and multiple award winner.  And also to James Strauss, known primarily for his work in television, including his work as a writer for House.  James Strauss has a soon-to-be released espionage thriller, The Bering Sea.  Saturday afternoon, I spoke on a panel about amateur sleuth mysteries along with some wonderful writers, including Julie Hyzy, Gail Lukasik, Mary Jane Maffini and Elizabeth Duncan. If you enjoy amateur sleuth mysteries, or you just appreciate really good writing you won't go wrong with any of their books. Julie won the Lovey last night for Best Traditional/Amateur Sleuth Mystery for her latest book, Grace Under Pressure.  If you're keeping score, I was nominated and lost in two categories this year (Best Traditional/Amateur Sleuth Mystery and Best Short Story).  That's real progress.  In the past, I've only lost in one category.

Perhaps the best thing about Love is Murder is the opportunity to spend a week-end talking about reading and writing, about scotch and snowball fights and criminal behavior with old friends and new.  So, here's a few more names to add to your reading pile - F. Paul Wilson,  Michael Allen Dymoch, John Galligan, Tina Whittle.  I could go on listing names, but if I don't log off soon, I'll miss my flight home.

My thanks to the Love is Murder Board and volunteers for putting together a fantastic conference.

So many books, so little time.

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