Magna Haps

As I said yesterday, I spent the weekend at Magna cum Murder Mystery Festival. Somebody asked me to tell about it, so here’s a quickish rundown.

We missed the first panel, alas, which was PI Means Paranormal Investigator. I would have loved to hear that, since some of my favorite books are about this kind of PI: Jim Butcher’s Harry Dresden and Laura Bickle’s Anya Kalinczyk.

One-Sitting Reads was about books we couldn’t put down. Parnell Hall called these “subway reads”, because they were so good you couldn’t read them on the subway or you risked missing your stop because you got so engrossed in the book. He claimed he deliberately wrote his books so you could put them down any time.

We discussed Ross Macdonald’s THE MOVING TARGET, our Festival book this year. A lot of the audience agreed that we didn’t like the ending. Although we tried to make it clear that we didn’t like it because we didn’t believe it was established firmly enough, I think the Macdonald super-enthusiasts think we meant it wasn’t Happily Ever After. ~sigh~

All that was before dinner on Friday! After dinner, there was a discussion of Mysteries of the Titanic, which we skipped because –SPOILER ALERT!– the ship sank. They also showed Bob Hope and Dorothy Lamour’s “My Favorite Brunette”, one of my favorite films, which also stars Lon Chaney, Jr. and my beloved Peter Lorre. But I own it and I’ve seen it many times, and we were tired.


Infinitely Cozy was a discussion of writing “the traditional mystery”, meaning not much gore, emphasis on the puzzle rather than rock-’em sock-’em action, amateur sleuth, maybe a hobby as part of the mix. Since this is what I favor, I enjoyed hearing others talk about their books.

I was on the panel about Ripped From The Headlines, which bemused me, since I write science fiction and fantasy more than mystery (so far). So I told them about FORCE OF HABIT, which was ripped from the headlines of another planet in the distant future. I also told them about Brenda Peterson’s THE DROWNING WORLD, a YA novel using global warming/pollution as its underpinning.

That’s enough for one day. I’ll tell you about the rest on Thursday. Tomorrow is food day here on the dear old blog. Meanwhile, today is the day I post at Fatal Foodies, so pop over there for what I learned from Luci Zahray, The Poison Lady.

A WRITING PROMPT FOR YOU: Rip a story from today’s headlines. Even better, take a headline story from the first section of the paper/news-site and a headline from specialty section (fashion, sports, entertainment) and invent a connection.



I was born in Louisville, Kentucky, but now live in the woods in southern Indiana. Though I only write fiction, I love to read non-fiction. The more I learn about this world, the more fantastic I see it is.

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