Mystery Writers, Readers Gather In Smyrna

Murder Feb A 2014 032Mystery writers and those who just like to read gathered at the annual “Murder Goes South” conference sponsored since 2003 by the Friends of  the Smyrna Library.

This year’s conference was held Jan. 25 at the Smyrna Community Center.

“Turnout has been excellent,” said Mary Wallace Moore, Smyrna library director, who noted that 44 people registered for the conference.

Tamar Myers, the keynote speaker, advised the group that “perseverance is how you get published,” noting that it took 23 years to get her first novel published. She is now the author of 45 books.

The daughter of missionaries, she was born in Africa, in what was then the Belgian Congo. Mrs. Myers has written several novels based in Africa, plus the Pennsylvania Dutch Mystery with Recipes and Den of Antiquity series.

Laughing, she said, “I write stand up comedy with a dead body thrown in every hundred pages or so.”

Christie Eheman and Harriette Hine of Smyrna were manning a table for Sisters in Crime, an Atlanta area group of writers and would-be authors who specialize in murder mysteries. The group meets monthly at the Smyrna library and brings in guest speakers, including police officers, medical examiners and other crime specialists.

“I’m interested in getting back into writing,” said Eheman, a former journalist who now works for the government. Open paragraph I joined sisters in crime after attending last year’s conference and have now written a draft of a murder mystery.”

“I get great ideas on marketing and promotion, plus advice on being true to your writing,” said Mary Ann Edwards of Smyrna. She will launch her first murder mystery in February.

Louise Richardson, president of the Atlanta chapter of Sisters in Crime, moderated a session on humor in mysteries. “I started as a reader, now I’m encouraged to try my hand at the writing side. I’ve learned so much from the people we have invited.”

Deborah Malone of Rome, author of Murder in Marietta and Death in Dahlonega, was at the conference for the first time as a speaker. “The classes further your knowledge on writing. I get a lot of information from the networking and encouragement,” she said.

One of the breakout sessions, led by Pamela Mason, a romance writer, included advice on using social media to promote a book.

Another group, led by Gloria Stowers of Smyrna, a member of the Southern order of storytellers, was made up of readers who want to learn about new books and new authors. “Writers don’t sell without us, the readers,” she said.

From the February 2014 issue of The Bright Side, Cobb County Georgia’s Newspaper covering Smyrna, Vinings, Mableton and Austell, GA.