Sunday, November 2, 2014

Eleven things I learned at Magna cum Murder XX

I spent the weekend of October 24-26, 2014 at the Magna cum Murder mystery writing conference. For those that don't know, Magna cum Murder is a conference for both mystery writers and readers. The last time I attended it was held in Muncie, Indiana and sponsored by Ball State University. Now in its twentieth year, it is still sponsored by Ball State, but is now held at the historic Columbia Club in downtown Indianapolis, Indiana, the perfect atmosphere for discussing mysteries.

While this wasn't my first Magna, I'm still sort of a newbie for this conference, last attending in 2010. I had a wonderful time this year listening to all the guests and panelists talk about the aspects of writing mysteries and thrillers. Below are a few of the things that I learned this year.

11. When sharing a hotel room, make sure to exchange cell phone numbers with your roomies prior to the conference so you can find them when you get there. {{waving at Marian and T.}}

10. Some beads used for Rosaries can be poisonous. Thank you, Lucy Zahray (The Poison Lady) for that information. She's always so informative.

9. The elite military unit, Delta Force, really does.... I mean, really doesn't exist. (Sorry, John)

8. Parnell Hall is still as funny as ever. Don't let him tell you that he isn't a good panel moderator, because he is.

7. A lot of murders happen in small towns and especially in coffee shops, at least they do in mystery novels.

6. Prior to the conference, check the window washers schedule at the hotel so the audience isn't so distracted at your panel. Although, it was really funny.

photo courtesy of Beverly Ray

5. I have yet to win the Swimsuit competition. Those that attended the conference will understand.

4. John Gilstrap's favorite curse work is "F--k!" Thank you, John. Your answer will forever be burned into my memory.
3. I learned how to bury a dead body so its more difficult to find. Could come in hand someday, for one of my books of course. The presentation by Karen Cooper, CSI retired, from Florida was fantastic.

2. I could listen to Dorothy Cannell tell her story about Cedric over and over and each time still laugh out loud. She's a wonderful person.

And, the #1 thing I learned at Magna cum Murder XX: Jeffery Deaver is not nearly as creepy in person as he looks on the back of his books. I loved talking to him during our elevator ride from the tenth to the second floor and then again later when he signed a book for me.

I tip my hat (if I had one) to the Magna cum Murder staff who did an awesome job with this year's conference and I look forward to attending again.



  1. Great article Carol and thanks for the photo credit! Hopefully this will inspire more folks to come join in the fun next year.

  2. You're welcome, Beverly. Thanks for the use of the photo. It was perfect.

  3. {{waves back}} Yeah, that cell phone thing would have been a good idea.... Still, we found one another. Next year, we'll wear bells on our collars or something. ;)

    Marian Allen, Author Lady
    Fantasies, mysteries, comedies, recipes