Those were the topics of the first three sessions Friday afternoon at Prime Crime, a mystery writers conference held at the Columbia Club in Indianapolis. The Columbia Club is a magnificent old hotel on monument circle. Attendees were greeted with evidence bags containing free books and programs. There are people from both coasts and a lot of 'locals' from Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois. My writer friend, Elaine Orr, and I arrived just in time to dump our bags in our room and hit the first session.
At the end of the afternoon, time to change and refresh for the evening's reception. The guest of honor is C. J. Box, best-selling author of twenty-some western mysteries about a Wyoming game warden. Trace Conger, Reavis Wortham, and John Gilstrap are other thriller writers present. Charles Todd, author of the Ian Rutledge mysteries, is more on the cozy side. Events were held on the top floor of the Columbia with great views. I ask C. J. Box if he had been wanting to have a picture with me, and he said he did!
Saturday began with a breakfast buffet, followed by sessions all day. I was on three panels, so didn't have much choice in my schedule. At lunch, Reavis Wortham did a great interview with C. J. Box. After a full afternoon and a short break, we had a banquet and were entertained by the visiting authors playing the Match Game.
This morning, there will be a couple more sessions and a farewell lunch before we head out for the long drive home. But it's certainly been worth it. I haven't been to a live writer's conference since before Covid and had forgotten how energizing it is. This one is different than others that I have been to in that it is completely focused on mystery, and there are readers here too.
Fifty or so years ago, Sew and Blow was born. Six women with common interests, our families spent a lot of time together, our children were in the same age range, and our husbands were good friends as well. We had no dues, no officers, no rules. We just got together for coffee to chat, and some of us actually sewed. We have remained in touch and celebrated each other's joys as well as shared each other's sorrows. Three of us have lost husbands; two and a half years ago, we lost one of our members.
We don't all live in the same town any more but we manage to get together at least once a year. The last few years, that has been at Lake Darling in a couple of their all year cabins. This year, we apparently chose the three coldest days in October for our gathering. That didn't interfere with two of our favorite activities: eating and jigsaw puzzles. We enjoyed hearty meals and yummy snacks. The puzzle that was agreed on this year was a collage of vintage campers. I didn't do anything to influence that decision, honest.
But we did get outside in spite of the temps and brutal winds. Several walks were taken although we didn't have any of our planned campfires. Winter coats and gloves were the dress of the day. The fall color was coming on and the park is beautiful.
And we did talk a little bit. We covered politics, gossip, philosophical questions, and grandchildrens' weddings. We discussed recipes, even though we don't cook as much as we used to, and things we wished we'd done, even though there's no going back. We enjoyed beautiful sunsets. There is no substitute for long time friends.
I love fall camping. The crisp temperatures make campfires more welcome, soups and stews more tasty, sweatshirts more comfortable, and hiking more appealing. We are at Oakland Mills County Park south of Mt. Pleasant for a few days, where my niece's husband is the county conservation director and my in-laws are hosting at the campground for a couple of weeks.
Like many campgrounds, they are taking advantage of the season and gearing up for a Halloween decorating contest and a couple of nights of trick or treat this weekend. People began getting their decor out yesterday, but high winds made havoc of some.
Kids will be looking for candy Friday and Saturday nights but the real tricks for our group came Thursday afternoon. Several friends came down to celebrate brother-in-law Ken's birthday, which is actually today, with an apple torte and other goodies. We had had rain earlier but the sun came out and helped temper the effects of the wind. Nine or ten of us were sitting around in lawn chairs anticipating our treats, when suddenly a gust of wind dumped a shower of rainwater off the end of the awning on Harriet and Rhonda who were sitting right underneath. They moved pretty fast but didn't avoid a thorough soaking. They decided as long as they were up, they would serve the torte. They moved over to the picnic table under the front of the awning and just had cut several slices, placing them on festive fall plates when another gust dumped more rainwater off the front of the awning onto the servers again as well as the table. It didn't hurt the torte. I thought maybe they could reenact the incident so I could get some photos for this blog but no one would cooperate.
Some random thoughts about writing, camping, and eating.