CCX2: CrimeCONN Express 2


CCX2: CrimeCONN Express 2

Connecticut’s Own (Virtual) Mystery Lovers’ Conference


Presented by The Friends of the Ferguson Library and Mystery Writers of America


Thursdays at 7 p.m. via Zoom Webinar

CrimeCONN Express is based on the popular Mystery Writers of America/Friends of The Ferguson Library CrimeCONN mystery lovers’ conferences. Presented live via Zoom webinars, moderators and panels include best-selling authors, experts in writing craft, and much more. Fast, easy, and murderously good fun.

Registration required for each individual session.

Zoom details will be provided in the registration confirmations.

Books available for purchase at Elm Street Books. Visit or call 203 966-4545.

Break Out of the (COVID) Box

We’ve all been trapped in lockdown with limited movement and the deadening effects of Ground Hog Day routine. As vaccinations happen and good weather is back, it’s time to break out of your reading and writing ruts with new inspiration and ideas from CCX2. This series is focused on the writing craft, the reading adventure, and how to expand your creative minds, loosen those writing muscles and discover new horizons.

June 3: It’s My Life (Or Not). Writing Outside Yourself.

Moderator: Ross Klavan
Panelists: Caroline Kepnes, Brad Parks, Kate White

Everyone says, “Write what you know.” But what if you gain the courage and confidence to lend your voice to worlds you can only imagine? How writers tap into the reserves of creativity that lie beyond the apparent and familiar.

This session has concluded. It was recorded and is available to watch on our YouTube channel.

CrimeCONN speaker Ross Klavan

Ross Klavan

Ross Klavan’s work spans film, TV, stage, books and radio. His screenplay for the film Tigerland was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award and was directed by Joel Schumacher, starring Colin Farrell. Other screenplays were written for Miramax, Weinstein, Paramount, A&E, InterMedia, Walden Media, and TNT. He’s acted as script consultant for SenArts Films and teaches screenwriting at the graduate level as well as privately. Klavan’s darkly comic novel “Schmuck” was published by Greenpoint Press. Down and Out Books published three of his noir novellas: “Thump Gun Hitched,” “I Take Care Of Myself In Dreamland,” and “Cut Loose All Those Who Drag You Down.” His play, “How I Met My (Black) Wife (Again)” (co-written with Ray  Iannicelli) was performed Off-Broadway. As a performer, Klavan’s voice has been heard in dozens of feature films including “Revolutionary Road,” “Sometimes in April,” “Casino,” “Sixth Sense,” “Snake Eyes,” “In and Out,” and “You Can Count On Me” as well as in numerous TV and radio commercials. In other lives, he was a reporter and anchorman for WINS Radio, RKO Network and LBC Radio (London, England) and a member of the NYC alternative art group Four Walls. He lives in New York City with  his wife, the artist Mary Jones.

CrimeCONN speaker Caroline Kepnes

Caroline Kepnes

Caroline Kepnes is the New York Times bestselling author of You, Hidden Bodies, Providence and You Love Me. Her work has been translated into a multitude of languages and inspired a television series adaptation of You, currently on Netflix. Kepnes graduated from Brown University and then worked as a pop culture journalist for Entertainment Weekly and a TV writer for 7th Heaven and The Secret Life of the American Teenager. She grew up in Cape Cod, and now lives in Los Angeles.

CrimeCONN speaker Brad Parks

Brad Parks

International bestselling author Brad Parks is the only writer to have won the Shamus, Nero, and Lefty Awards, three of crime fiction’s most prestigious prizes. His ten novels have been published in fifteen languages, reached No. 1 in the Amazon sales ranking, and won critical acclaim across the globe, including stars from every major pre-publication review outlet. He is also the recipient of a Virginia People’s Choice Award, and has appeared on annual Best Mystery/Thriller lists published by Kirkus Reviews and Library Journal.

Brad grew up in Ridgefield, Connecticut, getting his start as a professional writer forThe Ridgefield Press, which paid him fifty cents a column inch to cover the Ridgefield High girls basketball team. His articles typically went on for no less than forty inches. His first glimpse into the criminal mindset came when John Rowland—the future Connecticut governor (and future felon)—visited Brad’s Boy Scout troop.

After graduating from Dartmouth College, Brad spent a dozen years as a reporter forThe Washington Post and The (Newark, N.J.) Star-Ledger. He is now a full-time novelist living in tidewater Virginia with his wife and two school-aged children. His first six novels featured sometimes-dashing investigative reporter Carter Ross. The last four have been standalones, including his most recent, Interference, a suspenseful romp through the world of quantum physics.

CrimeCONN speaker Kate White

Kate White

Kate White is the New York Times best-selling author of seven standalone psychological thrillers, including The Fiancée (June 2021) and Have You Seen Me? (2020), as well as eight Bailey Weggins mysteries, including Such a Perfect Wife (2019), which was nominated for an International Thriller Writers Award.

The former editor-in-chief of Cosmopolitan magazine, Kate is also the editor of The Mystery Writers of America Cookbook. She divides her time between New York City and Las Flores, Uruguay. Learn more about her on

June 10: Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood. Breaking Out Of Genre Tropes.

Moderator: Sari Rosenblatt
Panelists: Juliet Grames, Stephen Mack Jones, Luanne Rice

*Due to a scheduling conflict, Charles Coe will not be able to join the June 10 panel.

Hear from writers that love mysteries, but primarily publish outside the genre, i.e. poetry, historicals, or literary novels. How can their approach help your writing break new ground? How can you bend the guardrails and confines of mainstream publishing categories? How to break out of the echo chamber of the mystery world and find fresh inspiration from gifted writers, thinkers and commentators.

This session has concluded. It was recorded and is available to watch on our YouTube channel.

CrimeCONN speaker Sari Rosenblatt

Sari Rosenblatt

Sari Rosenblatt, Connecticut teacher and writer, won the 2020 Iowa Short Fiction award for her short story collection, Father Guards the Sheep (University of Iowa Press.) Her collection has won star reviews from Mother Jones, LitHub, and Electric Literature.  The Chicago Review of Books describe her stories as “warm as a heavy coat with a familiar scent…where moments of transcendence bubble up from strange circumstances with much- needed laughter.’ ‘Wally Lamb calls her stories, "polished, perfect, gems." Her fiction, which features the towns of New Haven, Middletown, and especially Naugatuck in its rubber manufacturing heyday, has been published in the Iowa Review and has won prizes from Glimmer Train, New Millennium Writings, Ms. magazine, and Nimrod Journal of Poetry and Prose.  She was honored as a PEN New England New Discovery writer and has taught classes at The University of Iowa, Wesleyan University, Green Street Arts Center, and for the past twelve years, Educational Center for the Arts in New Haven CT.

CrimeCONN speaker Stephen Mack Jones

Stephen Mack Jones

Hammett Award and Nero Prize–winning novelist Stephen Mack Jones is the author of the critically acclaimed thrillers August Snow and Lives Laid Away. Lives Laid Away was short-listed for the CWA-UK "Ian Fleming Steel Dagger Award." He has also contributed an essay to the nonfiction book What Now?: Essays on Life After Trump (2021, Wellstone Center of the Redwoods). Once-upon-a-time he worked in advertising and marketing communications for which he is deeply sorry and promises never to do that again. Mr. Jones lives in suburban Detroit and has three adult children that mostly like him. Follow him on Twitter @verigatenun991, or visit his website at He's at either one most days—except Thursdays. Thursdays are reserved for pie. And writing. Mostly pie.

CrimeCONN speaker Juliet Grames

Juliet Grames

Juliet Grames was born in Hartford, Connecticut, and raised in a tight-knit Italian-American family where storytelling—loud storytelling—over long tables of food was the preferred Sunday activity. Grames was the kind of kid who would get her book taken away if she got caught reading through recess (again). After school, she would race home to type out novels on her dad’s Word Perfect program. Her first job—besides an undistinguished tenure at a local blueberry farm—was at the public library, where she shelved books until she got a job at Borders (store #351, R.I.P.).

Grames graduated from Columbia magna cum laude with a degree in history. In pursuit of a publishing career, she spent a year interning at a literary agency, which was enough time to convince her she could never be a literary agent. She lucked into a job as an editorial assistant at John Wiley & Sons, where, in a stunning example of situational irony, she worked on diet and exercise books. Two years and many non-reduced-fat muffins later, Grames left Wiley to take an editorial job at The Overlook Press. She has worked in independent publishing ever since, and is proud to have spent the last eleven years at Soho Press, where she is SVP, Associate Publisher, and where she curates the critically-acclaimed Soho Crime imprint. The Seven or Eight Deaths of Stella Fortuna, her first novel, is a culmination of many years of research, interviews, and writing in the early morning before the workday. (Photo credit: Katherine Grames)

CrimeCONN speaker Luanne Rice

Luanne Rice

Luanne Rice is the New York Times bestselling author of thirty-six novels that have been translated into twenty-four languages. In 2002, Connecticut College awarded Rice an honorary degree, and she also received an honorary doctorate from the University of Saint Joseph. In June 2014, she received the 2014 Connecticut Governor’s Arts Award for excellence as a literary artist. Several of Rice’s novels have been adapted for television, including Crazy in Love, for TNT; Blue Moon, for CBS; Follow the Stars Home and Silver Bells, for the Hallmark Hall of Fame; and Beach Girls, for Lifetime. Rice is a creative affiliate of the Safina Center, an organization that brings together scientists, artists, and writers to inspire a deeper connection with nature―especially the sea. Rice is an avid environmentalist and advocate for families affected by domestic violence. She lives on the Connecticut Shoreline. (photo credit: Sarah Gordon)

June 17: We Gotta Get Out Of This Place. How Changing Up Settings Can Free Your Imagination.

Moderator: Scott Adlerberg
Panelists: Cara Black, Timothy Hallinan, Johnny Temple

What we can learn from writing about places – or time periods – in which we don’t live. It’s a big universe out there, and international crime writing has never been more rich and mind-bending. How learning about crime in Paris, or Stockholm, can inform your story set in, for example, a small New England town.

This session has concluded. It was recorded and is available to watch on our YouTube channel.

CrimeCONN moderator Scott Adlerberg

Scott Adlerberg

Scott Adlerberg is the author of four novels, including Graveyard Love, a psychological thriller that takes place in upstate New York, and Jack Waters, a story of revenge and revolution on a Caribbean island in the early twentieth century.  His stories have been published in various anthologies, and his pieces have appeared in The Los Angeles Review of Books, CrimeReads, MysteryTribune, byNWR, and other online sites.  Every summer he hosts the Word for Word Reel Talks film series in Bryant Park. He lives in Brooklyn.

CrimeCONN speaker Cara Black

Cara Black

Cara Black is the author of nineteen books in the New York Times bestselling Aimée Leduc series. She has received multiple nominations for the Anthony and Macavity Awards, and her books have been translated into German, Norwegian, Japanese, French, Spanish, Italian, and Hebrew. She lives in San Francisco with her husband and son and visits Paris frequently. (photo credit: Laura Skayhan)

CrimeCONN speaker Timothy Hallinan

Timothy Hallinan

Edgar, Shamus, Macavity and Lefty nominee Timothy Hallinan has written twenty-one critically praised mysteries and thrillers in three series. The Simeon Grist mysteries featured a slacker private eye in Los Angeles; the Poke Rafferty Bangkok thrillers followed the adventures of an American travel writer and his bi cultural family; and the hero of the Junior Bender mysteries is a top-level Los Angeles burglar who hires out as a private eye for crooks. The fourth Junior Bender book, Herbie''s Game, won the Lefty Award for Best Humorous Mystery.

Before turning to writing full-time, Hallinan was active in television and the fine arts as a principle in a firm that represented much of the best of American and British television, major art museums, touring fine arts exhibitions, and and classical orchestras.

Currently finishing the eighth Junior Bender book, Rim Shot, Hallinan is also at work in a new series to be set in Hollywood in the 1930s, after the introduction of sound.

Hallinan lives in Santa Monica, California and has been married since the Ice Ages receded to Munyin Choy, who is much, much better than he deserves.

CrimeCONN speaker Johnny Temple

Johnny Temple

Johnny Temple is the publisher and editor in chief of Akashic Books, an award-winning Brooklyn-based independent company dedicated to publishing urban literary fiction and political nonfiction. He won the 2013 Ellery Queen Award and is the editor of the anthology USA Noir, which was selected as a New York Times Editors’ Choice. Temple has taught courses on the publishing business at Wilkes University, Wesleyan University, and Pratt Institute; and is the cochair of the Brooklyn Book Festival Literary Council, which organizes the annual Brooklyn Book Festival. He also plays bass guitar in the bands Girls Against Boys, Soulside, and Fake Names, which have toured extensively across the globe and released numerous albums on independent and major record companies. He has contributed articles and political essays to various publications, including The Nation, Publishers Weekly, AlterNet, Poets & Writers, and BookForum. (photo credit: Mariexxme)

MC for all three sessions

CrimeCONN moderator Tom Straw

Tom Straw

Tom Straw is an Emmy and multiple Writers Guild of America Award nominee for his TV writing and producing. He joined the Mystery Writers of America in 2007 on publication of his first book, The Trigger Episode. Subsequently, under the pseudonym Richard Castle, he authored the first seven Nikki Heat mysteries, all of which were New York Times Best-sellers, including a Number-1. His subsequent novel, Buzz Killer, was published under his own name. He still writes and produces TV (most recently Showtime's Nurse Jackie). Tom just finished a new manuscript, which is being optioned by a major studio for development as a TV series. In 2020 he was elected to the MWA National Board of Directors. Tom shelters in place in Connecticut. (Author photo © Jill Krementz)