Friday started off with a bang with a presentation by Lee Williams, former Special Agent with the Criminal Investigation Division of the IRS. Lee told of his years investigating money launderers, narcotics traffickers, and corrupt police and public officials. Following the money trail led to the successful prosecution of numerous individuals, including former Illinois governor George Ryan.
Dr. Dave Ciambrone taught us about poisons and what works or doesn't work in mystery novels. Dave's class was followed by a primer on guns by weapons experts William Zeller and TD Roe, and a presentation by Col. (ret.) Jill Morgenthaler on what it takes to be a spy and how spies recruit and manipulate potential informers.
While Lee Goldberg conducted a class on writing for television, Libby Fischer Hellmann and Rebecca Crowley presented a how-to workshop on promoting and marketing books. The Mystery Writers of America track of classes concentrated on plot, dialogue, and character development and the submission process, including how to write a hood query letter and synopsis.
Fun events on Friday included a champagne tour of the InterContinental's amazing art collection, a discussion of Charles Dicken's unfinished novel The Mystery of Edwin Drood, drinks and dinner with LIM's featured authors, and a presentation by Confidential Paranormal Investigator Kathy Santini-Richardson on the ghostly aspects of Willow Creek Farm, which has been listed as one of the most actively haunted sites in Illinois.
Saturday's schedule featured many fun panels for both readers and writers, and included a LIM scavenger hunt. Police officer Michael Black demonstrated what really happens at a crime scene -- unlike CSI! Authors discussed their books and the many sub-genres of the mystery genre in which they write -- amateur sleuth, thriller, paranormal, etc. Discussions on short stories, mystery series, and humorous novels were held, and two fun craft workshops filled the afternoon schedule before a mass author signing and Saturday evening's banquet and Lovey Award presentation. After the banquet, the Those Were the Days Radio Players entertained attendees with live renditions of classic radio programs.
Sunday's wrap-up started with a hot breakfast and attendee questions aimed at a stellar group of women writers. Other events included a round table discussion on e-publishing, advice by librarians on getting novels into libraries, a presentation on self-editing, and a talk by ex-CIA agent James Strauss that included real life spy stories from his past.
I'm already looking forward to 2014's Love is Murder. The featured writers for that event include Heather Graham, the best selling author of mystery, thriller, and romance novels; Jamie Freveletti, thriller writer who was recently tapped by the Robert Ludlum estate to continue Ludlum's Covert One series; Marcus Sakey, multi-published author and host to the Travel Channel's Hidden City; Peter Kornbluh, director of the National Security Archive's Chile and Cuba Documentation Projects and author of several non-fiction books on politics; and Shane Gericke, local multi-published author of suspense novels.
If you enjoy reading mysteries -- or writing them! -- consider coming to Chicago next year for Love Is Murder. I'd love to meet you there! :)