Live Presentations

This year the conference is broken down into two parts, those events that are pre-taped and can be accessed at any time between 8 a.m. Friday, October 16 through 8 p.m. Saturday, October 17 (PDT), and those that are live and can only be seen during the time allotted to them.

Click here to see Time Zone Chart.

Panels—October 16 & 17
General Membership Meeting—12 p.m, Friday, October 16
Anthony Awards gala and wrap-up—5 to 8 p.m. Saturday, October 17



9:30–10:30 a.m.

Make Mine Romance: Is There a Love Angle?
Many cozies feature a love interest for the protagonist, but does this add to the plot or characters?

Paula Gail Benson (M), Julie Hennrikus, Faye Snowden, Grace Topping, S.C. Perkins, D.R. Ransdell, Rena Leith, Camille Minichino

A Walk on the Wide Side: How to Keep up the Suspense
Thrillers must have suspense to raise the stakes. How do authors build tension? More murders? Putting the protagonist in danger?

Lori Rader-Day (M), Clare Makintosh, Tina Whittle, Chris Hauty, John Vercher, Vanessa Lille, Lee Matthew Goldberg

Far Away: Building a Fictional Town
Many authors will invent a place and setting for their story. How do they build a fictional town?

Cheryl Hollon (M), Barbara Ross, Christin Brecker, Hannah Dennison, Kaira Rouda, Connie Berry

Sleuths in the Recent Past
Speakeasies and Art Deco, the 20th century brought a new type of sleuth. No the usual historical from 19th century England, these crime busters were sharp and sassy.

Ona Russell (M), Susanna Calkins, L.A. Chandlar, Erica Ruth Neubauer, Shelley Blanton-Stroud

11–12 p.m.

Police Procedurals: Do They Really Say “Book ’em Danno?”
We’ve been shown a LOT of police work in television and movies, but how authentic are they? What are real police procedures?

James L’Etoile (M), Robin Burcell, Frankie Bailey, Maryann Miller, Terry Shepherd

Small Town Murder: Does it Have to Be in England?
There are small towns across the world similar to St. Mary Mead. Does a murder change if it’s in Canada or France or the United States?

Tracee deHahn (M), Stephanie Gayle, Shari Randall, Alice K. Boatwright, Cathy Ace, Iona Whishaw, Susan Shea

Not So Secret Lives of Authors
Authors are forged by the things they’ve done… and the things they shouldn’t have done. Drop by the “Not So Secret Lives of Authors” to listen to the wild, weird, and unusual, but true.

Simon Wood (M), William Kent Krueger, Ellen Byron, Gary Phillips, Catriona McPherson


1:30–2:30 p.m.

Staying Motivated: Creativity in a Pandemic
How many of us have said we feel overwhelmed and can’t find joy in what we’re doing? Today, it’s more important than ever to dig deep for creativity and satisfaction in our work.

Peggy Dulle (M), Ana Manwaring, Kim Keeline, Hannah Mary McKinnon, James Bartlett, Linda Hughes, Nicole Asselin

PIs: Is There Life After the Force?
In the world of crime and mysteries, many police officers leave the force to get a license and open their own private investigator firm. But others fall into the PI category by accident—maybe by asking too many questions. How do their investigations differ from that of the police? Are police procedural complementary to the PI cases or is their friendly/unfriendly competition?

J.P. David (M), Edwin Hill, Matt Coyle, Alan Orloff, Mary Keliikoa

Let’s Eat: The Food Mysteries
Food plays a central part in some cozies. There’s even a blog, “Mystery Lover’s Kitchen, featuring thirteen current cozy writers. What makes readers come back for second, third, or fourth helpings?

Mary Lee Ashford (M), Judy Alter, Leslie Karst, Bharti Kirchner, Nancy Parra, Maya Corrigan, Shawn Reilly Simmons

With a Little Help From My Friends
Sometimes sleuths need an assist, and not always from a fellow human.

Eileen Rendahl (M), Mike Befeler, Fleur Bradley, Carrie Voorhis, T.K. Thorne

3–4 p.m.

Ripped from the Headlines: Writing Contemporary Crime
Even if new police procedures and advances in technology make it more difficult to hide a crime, murders still happen and cases still baffle us.

Claire Booth (M), Mindy Mejia, Ian Rankin, Hank Philippi Ryan, David Hagerty, Kathleen Barber

Our Furry Friends
Animals play a big part in some cozies, acting as the sleuth’s sidekick, sounding board, or even, in some cases, leading the protagonist to the killer.

Kathy Krevat (M), Lane Stone, Jackie Layton, J.C. Kenney, Jennifer Chow, Becky Muth

Long Ago and Far Away
What additional factors come into play when writing the historical mystery—manners, language, mores?

Sarah Burr (M), Karen Odden, Kim Taylor Blakemore, Richard Koreto, Edith Maxwell, Dianne Freeman

Hanging Out Your Shingle: How Glamorous is the Life of a PI?
Stephanie Plum lives with a hamster, Jim Rockford lived in a mobile home on the beach. Does your PI have a quirk?

Elena Taylor (M), Alex Segura, Paul D. Marks, Matt Goldman, James D.F. Hannah, Tracy Clark


9–10 a.m.

Cold Cases: A New Look at Old Crimes
With the rise in forensics, many cold cases are being resurrected, solved, and perps prosecuted (the Golden State Killer recently grabbed headlines). Are these mysteries based on evolving techniques and forensics gaining in popularity? Does the reader want to see justice done, finally?

Mysti Berry (M), Marcia Talley, Priscilla Paton, Martin Edwards, Lissa Marie Redmond

Things That Go Bump: Writing Other-Worlds in a Mystery
Sometimes, it takes a slightly other-worldly presence to solve a murder, whether it’s ESP, ghosts, or parapsychology. How do these “others” help uncover a murder?

Marilyn Levinson (M), Dänna Wilberg, Polly Iyer, Gigi Pandian, Lena Gregory, Wendy Fallon, Sheri Lewis Wohl

Selling Books in a New World: Marketing in a Pandemic
How has the pandemic, sequestering, and social distancing affected marketing plans? What’s working in this new world?

Kristopher Zgorski (M), Jane Ubell-Meyer, Christine Whitlock, Michelle Hamilton, Lorie Lewis-Ham

10:30–11:30 a.m.

The Golden Age of Mysteries
From Sherlock Holmes to Agatha Christie to Rex Stout, what is there about these classic mysteries that keeps us reading after more than 100 years?

Debra Goldstein (M), Ana Brazil, John Billheimer, Josh Pachter, Marty Wingate

Keeping Secrets: The Past is Never Gone
So many people try to keep secrets buried, but those pesky things have a habit of popping up when people begin asking questions.

Keir Graff (M), Jess Montgomery, John Copenhaver, Michelle Falhoff, Lisa Towles, Debbie de Louise

Evolving Evidence: How has Policing Changed?
DNA, sequencing families, blood spatter, ballistics, cell phone records, tracking down people through ISPs. The world of technology has brought a sea change in the tools available to detectives in tracking down suspects. Does plain old door-to-door determination still work?

Sheila Lowe (M), Jen J. Danna, Carol Goodman, Michael Kaufman, Catherine Bruns

Rolling in the Aisles: Keep ’em Laughing
How does an author write humor that will keep the reader turning the pages?

Wendall Thomas (M), Sherry Harris, G.M. Malliet, Kate Lansing, Cindy Sample

12–1 p.m.

Villains: Made or Born?
The ultimate nature or nurture conundrum. How many thriller villains today are from an abusive background or suffered torture as a child? What about the Ted Bundys or Jeffery Dahmers who seemingly came from “normal” families?

June Gillam (M), Joel Shulkin, Susan Hatter Friedman, Susan Hammerman, Ellen Kirschman

Down the Rabbit Hole: How Much Do You Research?
Research, research. How do authors avoid the seven-hour google search?

Terry Shames (M), Cara Black, Tara Laskowski, Ann Parker, David Schlosser, Linda Townsdin

Partners in Crime: Writers and Readers
How do writers entice readers to engage in solving the crime?

Paula Bernstein (M), Susan Bickford, Layne Fargo, Brad Parks, Karen Olson, Samantha Downing

1:30–2:30 p.m.

Fiction vs. Fact: Do You Make the Whole Thing Up?
By their very nature, most mystery writers write fiction. But even this can have a basis in fact. How do you mix fact and fiction to tell the story and stay true to “real” events?

Gabriel Valjan (m), Avanti Centra, Art Taylor, Haris Orkin, John Galligan, Greg Levin

What Would Sherlock Do?
Sherlock Holmes didn’t have a modern forensic tools at his disposal, how did he and other classic sleuths manage?

Leslie Klinger (M), Laurie King, Bonnie MacBird, Liese Sherwood-Fabre, Elizabeth Crowens, , Roberta Ragow

The Future of Noir
Are the classic noir tropes still viable?

Holly West (M), Michael Bracken, Craig Faustus Buck, Kelli Stanley, Richie Narvaez

3–4 p.m.

Have a Clue! Live Murder Mystery with Star Amateur Sleuths

When someone stumbles across a corpse, what makes them begin the investigation themselves rather than leave it to law enforcement?

Naomi Hirahara (M), Glen Erik Hamilton, Heather Young, Joyce Krieg, Keenan Powell, A.E. Aymar, Frances Aylor

Madcap Mayhem: The Age of Screwball Comedy
Screwball comedies in the 1930s and 40s took a light poke at mores during the Depression. How do today’s authors build on this tradition with improbable set-ups, quirky characters, and wacky plots?

Heather Haven (M), Kellye Garrett, Cynthia Kuhn, Heather Weidner, Elizabeth Little

What’s a Weapon: Choosing Ways to Murder
Beyond a gun, knife, and poison, what are the other tools of murder?

Alec Peche (M), Tessa Wegert, Linda Joffe Hull, Barb Goffman, Tori Eldridge


5–8 p.m. Anthony Awards Gala and Wrap-Up