Counting Down to the Poisoned Pen WebCon

Mood Swing: The Bipolar Murders (2006)Only three days till the Poisoned Pen WebCon on October 24th, and I’m psyched. I’ve signed on to be a virtual coffee shop host beginning at 11 a.m. Eastern Standard Time – perfect for me, since I’m not a morning person, and that’s about as early as I can expect to be reasonably perky and sociable. It’ll be a text-messaging coffee shop, though – no audio or video, so no particular pressure.

By 2:30 p.m., I’ll be all pins and needles. That’s when I get my 12 minutes to pitch my work to an editor at Poisoned Pen Press. They held a drawing to select registrants who’d get this opportunity, and as one of the chosen, I sent them the synopsis and first chapter of Mood Swing: The Bipolar Murders. By the time I call in, the editor will have read my submission.  I’ve already self-published this novel, but I’m still hoping to land a “traditional” publisher for it, and who better than PPP? Fortunately, they’ve given out an 800 number so I can call in. Originally, they’d been planning to hold these pitch sessions only on Skype, but I gather I wasn’t the only author who didn’t have time to get up to speed with the technology in time.

Three weeks ago, I wrapped up the two virtual text panels I’ll be hosting. For each panel, I posed questions to four mystery writers, suggesting that we keep the tone conversational, visualizing ourselves as being on a panel at a live, in-person conference. The panelists took that idea and ran with it, and the panels will be posted online this Saturday as part of the WebCon. Here are the panels and the writers who participated:


Julie Lomoe (moderator), Judy Clemens, Ann Parker, L.J. Sellers, Nancy Means Wright.


Julie Lomoe (moderator), Deb Baker, Mary Anna Evans, Vicki Lane, Beverle Graves Myers.

It was a pleasure and a privilege working with these writers, most of whom have published extensively. I’ll be e-mailing them, inviting them to stop by this blog and introduce themselves. They had some fascinating things to say – register for the conference and you can read all about it.

I’m not yet technologically savvy enough to play around with video, so I played it safe by sticking to text panels, as did many of the moderators. But there’ll also be live video panels throughout the day, with featured guests including Dana Stabenow, Lee Child, Laurie R King and Nevada Barr. You can register right up to the time of the conference by visiting At $25, it’s a bargain compared to in-person events like Bouchercon, and you don’t have to worry about being exposed to the flu! I’m sure we’ll be seeing more virtual events like this in the future, and I congratulate the Poisoned Pen writers who had the gumption to pull this WebCon together.

It’s exciting and a little scary to be part of this cutting-edge approach to bringing writers and readers together. Why not take the plunge yourself? And if you do, be sure to stop by the coffee shop at 11:00 a.m. EST and say hello. I’ll be at my computer, waiting for visitors.

5 thoughts on “Counting Down to the Poisoned Pen WebCon

  1. This sounds like a great event and I’d love to sit in on your panels – they both sound interesting. I’ve already made plans to attend the Florida Writers Conference on that date or I’d sign up. Hopefully I can do it next year.

    • Have fun at your live event, Jane. I hope they do this Web Con again. I know the organizers, Mary Reed and Janice Hally, have put an enormous amount of work into it. Even if you can’t attend on the 24th, they’ll have a lot of the presentations available on demand after the event is over, so it might be worthwhile registering anyway.

      And now I have to get ready for a live in-person event. Mavens of Mayhem, my local Sisters in Crime chapter, is having a pre-show signing party at the Cohoes Music Hall, after which everyone will get to see Sweeney Todd – unfortunately, not Johnny Depp, though. I wonder if I’ll sell enough books to make back the cost of the theater tickets. At least it’s cheaper than Bouchercon.

  2. Hi Marvin,
    Wish I knew what bells and whistles to bring! I’m just hoping to get the sound working on my computer so I can listen to the live video events.

    I’d hoped to buy my long-anticipated Mac laptop before this event, but my husband wisely pointed out that switching from my familiar desktop Windows computer to a system I’ve never used right before the Con probably wasn’t the most brilliant idea. I swear I’ll get that Mac next week, though!

  3. I’m already signed up. I need to go see if there is a schedule online so I can plan out the day. I’ll try to drop in. We’ll see how I hold up, since I am one of those people with the flu (but I can’t spread it through Skype!). I think I may close my little camera eye since I don’t feel up to putting on makeup and washing my hair. :-O

    Straight From Hel

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