Monday, July 21, 2008

Considering moderation....

I suspect that when the organizers of the New England Crime Bake mystery conference invited me to moderate a panel of short story authors, they had no idea how much of my life has prepared me for this task.

My job in November will be to introduce four short story writers and ask them stimulating questions that prompt answers to enthrall and educate the audience of a few hundred mystery writers and fans. I'll also try to make sure the authors get equal time (and no riots break out).

This moderating honor comes partly because I won the conference’s short story award last year and another story has been selected for "Deadfall: Crime Stories by New England Writers" to be published by Level Best Books this fall. But other things in my background also make me a good candidate:

· I have experience dealing with disputes about fiction. I once moderated a vicious argument between my children over the location of an invisible stop sign.
· When I was briefly class president in 5th grade, I wasn't afraid to use a ruler to rap a classmate’s knuckles for speaking out of turn. (You can understand why my reign was brief.)
· I also know better than to ask anyone what they plan to do with their book royalties. When I posed that question to US House Speaker Jim Wright years ago, I never anticipated his response might contribute to his downfall.
· I’ve spent untold hours observing Congress, the NH Legislature and local governing bodies. I learned that some politicians use the term “distinguished colleague” when they aren’t being nice. And if they say “with all due respect,” what follows can be downright nasty. If I hear those words, I’m prepared for what’s coming.
· And I've had experience dealing with bad-tempered people. I raised two teenagers. Plus, I’ve taught classes on how to stop smoking. Believe me, there’s no way a mystery audience could ever be as cranky as a bunch of smokers trying to quit.

I believe I'm ready for this wonderful opportunity. But I'll be looking for that old ruler just in case.


Steven T. said...

Very funny. Who's on your panel?

Hallie Ephron said...

Okay, hide the rulers. Here she comes!

Pat, the Crime Bake planning committee was delighted when you agreed to be one of this year's moderators. Everyone out there should run right to the web site and see all the great speakers and workshops and panels they don't want to miss. (Lucy the Poison Lady is coming back!)

Oh yeah, a smoker support group sounds like the perfect setting for a mystery.

- Hallie

Pat Remick said...

Steven asked who's on my "Short Stops" panel at Crime Bake -- and I'm happy to report it includes:
Edgar winner Mark Ammons
Stephen D. Rogers, whose web site is
Steven Torres, whose web site is
and the yet-to-be-announced winner of the 2008 Al Blanchard Award
No rulers needed for this group....

Pat Remick said...

Hallie--Thanks for the suggestion--a stop-smoking class definitely would make a great mystery setting. I know some of my students probably wanted to murder me before the series of classes ended....

Stephen D. Rogers said...

I don't imagine things will get ugly, not unless I don't get the seat I want.


Pat Remick said...

Stephen, you could always bring your own ruler to make sure...LOL