Intrigue Publishing hosted the first Creatures Crimes and Creativity Conference at Maryland's Hunt Valley Inn. The conference was the idea of managing partners Austin and Denise Camacho and designed as an opportunity for readers and writers to engage and exchange trade information in an informal atmosphere.
The conference embraced varied interests including suspense, mystery, thriller, sci-fi, fantasy, horror fiction, and sub-genres paranormal and urban fantasy. Panel discussions focused on writing and the business of writing. More than 25 panel discussions offered stimulating topics from How To Brand Yourself to Keeping us breathless, (how to build suspense), Violence in Genre Fiction.
The Saturday luncheon featured bestselling author Brian Keene whose 2003 debut novel The Rising--considered one of the best-selling zombie novels of all-time.--and translated into over a dozen languages. It inspired the works of other authors and filmmakers, and has become a cultural touchstone for an entire generation of horror fans. His book the Ghoul was made into a TV movie and debuted on the Chiller Network in April 2012. Keene title his topic, “Why I do this Sh*t.” was a hilarious tribute to the satisfaction found in his writing life.
The keynote speaker was award winning mystery crime writer Jeffery Deaver recipient of the Steel Dagger award and Short Story Dagger from the British Crime Writers' Association as well as the Nero Wolfe Award. He is a three-time recipient of the Ellery Queen Reader's Award for Best Short Story of the Year and a winner of the British Thumping Good Read Award. His novels have appeared on bestseller lists around the world, including The New York Times, The Times, Italy's Corriere della Sera, The Sydney Morning Herald, and The Los Angeles Times. He entertained with select journal entries from his diary illustrating the daily minutia of his writing life.
For Austin Camacho the conference was an idea percolating for some time and after more than a year planning it finally came to fruition. Asked about his anticipation and final assessment he said, “This kind of event is a mass of details, like a machine with too many moving parts. I was terrified something would go wrong, but the event went more smoothly than I could have hoped, thanks to a hard working dedicated team of volunteers. We got nothing but praise from the attendees.
Intrigue Publishing partner and Marketing Director Sandra Bowman (pen name B. Swangin Webster) also played a major role expressed a similar sentiment, “I wanted people to get to know other authors and have a nice time, learn some things and network with others. In the end I didn't expect people would spontaneously start to talk about how great the conference was. I was a little emotional afterwards.
An ideal event to network and learn about current publishing trends and well worth the time was the general consensus among the conference attendees. It inspired participants to return to their writing caves and step up their game. Registration for next years conference has already begun.