Killer Nashville: A Magical Event


Sometimes an event is just so darn good it lingers on the palate for a long, long, time. – maybe forever. Last weekend’s Killer Nashville writers conference was one of those events. There was a magical feeling in the air that began the moment I saw the first road sign for Nashville.

I instantly understood the attraction – the pull – the place has on young, hopeful musicians. As I rolled closer to the heart of Music City I quickly decided that it’s not the actual town – not the buildings, billboards, concrete, and steel that has the powerful draw. It’s the people who’d all traveled those same roads in the past – people like Elvis, Chet Atkins, Patsy Cline, Tammy Wynette, Charlie Rich, and Eddy Arnold. That’s what sends people flocking to Nashville. It’s a city where dreams really do come true.

And hopes of a dream coming true is also why scores of writers flocked to the Marriott for the Killer Nashville conference. Of course the workshops and mock crime scene were all informative and fun, but it was the chance to pitch their books to literary agents and publishers that kept the excitement at a feverish pitch. Well, that and the chance to meet and chat with the guest of honor, legendary mystery author J.A. (Judy) Jance (pictured above with Clay Stafford – photo by literary agent Lucienne Diver).

Not only was Judy Jance both charming and fascinating, she, in keeping with Nashville tradition, thrilled the crowd by singing a few songs, including Janice Ian’s At Seventeen. Later, at the awards banquet ( by the way, the food was killer – pun intended), conference director Clay Stafford presented J.A. Jance with the Nashville guitar. Judy immediately began singing a country song she’d written, a very humorous song about Wild Turkey, the drinkin’ kind.

We were also entertained with songs by the wonderful Liz Zelvin and Stacy Allen. Stacy also played and sang outside in the courtyard under the stars where the magic continued until midnight. Conference attendees joined in, harmonizing and humming.

By the way, my book was the number one selling (it sold out) title at the event!

Here are a few more photos from the event:

J.A. Jance and husband, Bill.