Killer Nashville Act 1


This was the view from my room at The Hutton Hotel. (You can read my review of the hotel by clicking on the Hutton hotel link.)

It was the best conference hotel I’ve ever stayed at and the nicest most helpful staff of any hotel I’ve been to in the U.S.

The wine tasting on Thursday night was delightful. Met three lovely authors and tasted 4 wines each of which was accompanied by a delish amuse bouche. The 1808 Grille was a fabulous setting for the tasting.


I met up with fellow blogger August McLaughlin on our first night and went to Chuy’s for Mexican.

Sara York joined us. The company was awesome, the decor was ostentatious.


The official start of the conference was on Friday morning. Clay Stafford talked about how his goal is to see lives transformed and that the conference is all about the attendees. (It truly is)


D. P. Lyle was one of the guests of honor and our first speaker. If you get the chance to hear this man talk, GO!

He is an electrifying presenter and his talk on Scott Peterson and OJ Simpson was one of the best of the conference. He talked about the importance of knowing the backstory and plotting things out when writing a murder. But also it’s key to understand where your story starts.

For Scott Peterson, the story starts with: Where’s Lacey?


The next panel I attended was a Forensic Workshop: Interrogation Techniques with Sgt. Derek Pacifico a retired Homicide Detective. Another engaging and awesome speaker who imparted lots of useful information to the audience.

He gave us an in depth understanding of the 5 steps to interrogation: interview prep, building a rapport, interviewing (not interrogating), break, and interrogation. He talked about the importance of the interviewing to determine a truth baseline. Just chatting with someone will give you an idea of what their tells are before you have the actual interrogation.

IMG_3115After lunch, I attended the Self Publishing panel with three authors I adore: Jennie Bentley, August McLaughlin, and Rae Ann Parker. I also got to meet two new authors–Karen Sandler on the far right and Vinnie Hansen on the far left.

One of the key takeaways from this panel for me was that every book has an audience.

Publishers want the biggest market share. Self publishing can target a market share that the big publishers overlook.

However, self publishing is a massive undertaking. You have to do everything a traditional publisher does and more.

Also the ereaders and book readers are two very different segments without much crossover between them.


I  attended the breakout session that was a Q&A with agents and editors.  Agents and editors agreed that there is no point in writing to trend. They want to love the books they work with.

No one knows with real certainty what will sell. Agents learn about market saturation when editors push back on something. The booksellers tell the publishers what isn’t selling and the publishers tell the editors and they let the agents know.

Highlight of my day?

Gretchen Archer asking me in the elevator if I was Kourtney Heintz. And when I said yes, she asked about Six Train! How cool is it that she knew the name of my book. BTW, her book Double Whammy was a finalist for the Silver Falchion Award and on my must be read soon list!

I ended up having dinner with her and her friends, a group of fantastic Henery Press authors that included: Terri Austin, Lyndee Walker, and Larissa Reinhart. We went back to Chuy’s. And they adopted me into their group. Had a blast hanging with them all weekend. But that’s a post for Thursday. 🙂

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28 Responses to Killer Nashville Act 1

  1. Arlene says:

    Sounds like such an amazing time – total emersion with other authors and plenty of learning going on. Good for you! I’m sure it will show in your next story — can’t wait! 🙂

  2. Carrie Rubin says:

    Sounds like a fantastic conference. I need to look into more writers’ conferences. Thanks to you, I found ThrillerFest!

    You’re really making the rounds across the US. Pretty soon you can start a travel blog. 😉

    • Killer Nashville is near and dear to my heart. I made so many wonderful connections there in 2010 and 2013. It’s one of the few I plan to make part of my annual conference plan. 🙂 Aw, I’m glad I could help. I haven’t gotten to Thrillerfest yet. Though I haven’t written a real thriller yet. 😉 LOL. I’m trying to get the word out as best I can. It’s expensive though so it’s mostly targeted trips. 😉

      • Carrie Rubin says:

        I think your book qualifies as a thriller. What genre have you classified it as? A psychological suspense? Just curious.

        • LOL. Depends on who I talk to. I call it speculative fiction because that seems to encompass the paranormal, the literary, and the mystery best. It definitely becomes a thriller for the last 100 pages. I also call it cross genre since I blend so many genres. Some have told me I should call it commercial fiction. I think it can fall into many categories. That’s been the bane of my marketing process.

  3. Sounds like a great conference, Kourtney. Thank for sharing it with us. I love Nashville, especially because that’s where my sister lives. 🙂

    • It was. And this was only the first day and a half. 🙂 Happy to share highlights. If you write mystery/thriller, you should definitely go next year! Nashville is a great city. Had a terrific time and ate some amazing food. 😉

  4. Happy memories! I was so bummed to miss DP Lyle’s talk – and am still grateful for our goofy night in the ‘hood! 😀 Hope you’re having a brilliant weekend.

    • Had a great time at Chuy’s and Hattie B’s. Best signage right in our backyard. 🙂 Busy marketing weekend. Does it ever stop? LOL. Did slip off to the beach for a day of relaxation. That was worth every second.

  5. All this cool stuff – and getting recognized in the elevator! Can’t get much better. Congrats

  6. Mae Clairae says:

    Sounds like an amazing conference and a fantastic time. Thanks for sharing. It has me hyped to get to a conference in 2014, since I didn’t make any this year!

    • I try to get to 1-2 a year. They really give me so much in terms of craft, connecting, and overall author growth. 🙂 Yay! Definitely get to one in 2014. RWA Nationals is in San Antonio, TX…

  7. I’ve had the honor of meeting and talking to Clay Stafford several times. He is a very interesting man and very talented. If you ever have a chance to attend one of his seminars go for it. One I attended was an all day affair and by the end of the day we had almost written a full novel.
    I’m so glad you enjoyed the conference and Nashville.

    • Clay’s wonderful. You can tell how much he cares about the conference attendees. He goes out of his way to chat with everyone and make them feel a part of things. 🙂 I’ll have to look into his seminars. The conference was one of the best I’ve been to and Nashville is amazing. Definitely plan to go back again. 🙂

  8. Gemma Hawdon says:

    What an exciting life you lead!! I’ve just posted about ‘The Fear of Public Speaking’ so quite appropriate to read your post straight afterwards! D.P Lyle sounds very interesting 😉

    • Aw thanks Gemma! The book touring is pretty cool. LOL. I am always nervous about public speaking. I over-prepare to counter my nerves. 🙂 D.P. Lyle is fascinating. I picked up one of his books and I’m sure I’ll be wanting to read more.

  9. EllaDee says:

    I think being recognised in a lift by anyone, let alone another author, means you’ve offically made it!

  10. The whole experience sounds fantastic! I’ve heard of these elevator moments; can’t imagine what it must be like, but it does suggest you’re doing what you need to do to promote Six Train. Wow! Looking forward to Thursday’s post.

    • I wish I could capture just how fantastic the people are there. Nashville brings out the best folks. And Killer Nashville is on of my favorite mystery conferences. It’s so well done and has something for everyone. As thanks. I hope so. I’m promoting my bum off hoping something works. 🙂

  11. jmmcdowell says:

    Wow, that sounds like such an incredible trip! I’d probably go tongue-tied if someone recognized me in an elevator like that. 🙂 It’s going to be such fun to make the trip over the Potomac River soon to see your appearance in Virginia!

  12. Pete Denton says:

    Sounds like you had a great time and being recognised in the lift must have been great 🙂

Any thoughts or reactions or favorite foods you want to share?