Bouchercon 2015–Raleigh and Readers

Liesa with Beth Ann at Bouchercon

Beth Ann from Jackson, MI is a great reader!

Last week, I had the chance to visit with readers from all over the country as I attended Bouchercon 2015 in Raleigh, North Carolina.  Activities spread between two large hotels, and I’d have to guess there were about 1,000 readers, writers, reviewers, and others from the publishing industry.  If you ever want to steep your soul in crime writing and reading, Bouchercon is the place to go.

The panel discussions were thoughtful, humorous, and sometimes provocative, as we listened to writers cover such topics as “Just the Facts: The Police Procedural,” “Mysteries: Small Towns/Big Secrets,” or “American Guests of Honor Spotlight with Kathy Reichs, Tom Franklin and Oline H. Cogdil.” More than three days of this left me with my head in a creative swirl and full of gratitude for the many readers who came, bought books and asked authors for autographs.

Moderator Catherine Dilts at Bouchercon

Great times with “Taking the Reader on a Journey,” and moderator Catherine Dilts.

Much of my time was spent with authors Catherine Dilts and Patricia Coleman as we visited each others’ panels and enjoyed a “death by chocolate” evening sponsored by the Raleigh chapter of Mystery Writers of America.

Some of the take-aways for writing I garnered included:

  • Writing mystery is a great way to get to know the victim.  If you explore your victim’s life through the sleuths, suspects, and witnesses, your story has a richer texture for your readers–Oline Gogdill
  • When writing short fiction, find the one interesting thing that happens and focus on it in your writing–Pam DeVoe
  • The author gives a blank coloring book to the reader with his/her story. The reader has the crayons to color it in.  Keep the crayons in the reader’s hands–Chantelle Osman.
  • Great fiction comes out of problems–Tom Franklin.

Another reason to like Bouchercon is that so many writing recognitions and awards are announced there.  These awards include the McCavity, The Derringer, and, of course, The Anthony awards.

The McCavity is named for T.S. Eliot’s cat, McCavity, and is awarded by the Mystery Readers international group.  The Derringer is awarded for excellence in short mystery fiction as voted on by members of the Short Mystery Fiction Society.  And the Anthony, named for William Anthony Parker White, pen name Anthony Boucher, is awarded by the people who come to the Bouchercon convention.

Stop, You’re Killing Me editors Lucinda Surber and Stan Ulrich keep an up-to-date list of all these writing awards on their site.  They were at Bouchercon again and helped people find more great reads.

Next year, Bouchercon will move to New Orleans.  Should be great.

Daisy Update – Visiting Friends

They say that public speaking is a terror for many people.  If you’re an author and have any desire for financial success, best get over that fear as quickly as you can.  In the next few weeks, I’m going to work on this with Daisy Arthur promotions. . .

Lindsay Woods with Liesa Malik at KRFC radio

Thanks, Lindsay Woods, for a great radio show!


Last night I had a blast being interviewed by my good friend, Lindsay Woods on a local radio station called KRFC 88.9 FM.  With such a generous questioner, I couldn’t help but relax and get into the topics we covered, including getting started in writing, promoting your book, and, of course, a little Sliced Veggie talk.  I hope to post the recording in a few weeks as I continue to update my website. As they say in “the biz,” stay tuned!

Beyond the Trope logo

See you soon Trope friends!


I’m very excited to be making my first podcast appearance soon.  This Saturday I’ll record a session with Giles Hash and his team from Beyond the Trope, a group of people focused on deep discussions on genre fiction and popular art and culture.  We’ll record via Skype (something I haven’t used very much, but am excited about), and then November 17, the podcast will become available if you go to I-Tunes and look it up by either my name or Beyond the Trope.

What’s a trope you say? A trope is the figurative use of language to quickly convey a general meaning.  I personally think of it as a short-cut to an image.  For example, if I say, “He was a real Prince Charming,” you have an image immediately of what I’m shooting for in our communication.  And no, I did not say “Prince Charming” sarcastically.

Bouchercon logo

Next week should be fun!


Are you going to be in Raleigh next week?  I will.  The annual crime readers and writer’s convention, Bouchercon, will be held there.  And guess what–I’ll be on a panel!  As there are 2,000 or more people coming to this event, I better NOT play shy on this opportunity.  No, I won’t speak in front of all 2,000, but I have to guess the panel will have 40 or 50 people in the audience.  How cool is that?


Remember how I did a workshop for RMFW’s CO Gold conference?  Turns out that workshop went well enough that I’ll be able to expand on it for a group of RMFW writers who live on the Western Slope of Colorado.  On November 14, if you’re in the Grand Junction area, please check out the program and come in for a visit.  We’ll be talking about building your reputation as an author with specifics on self-promotions and general marketing of your books.

Whew!  Too shy to get up in front of a group?  I’d better not be at this point!

Wishing you a confident week.