Two Minutes in the Slammer

Two Minutes in the Slammer

I had the pleasure to attend another Maine Crime Wave last week, as produced by the amazing Maine Writers & Publisher’s Alliance.  With great talks and panels, including a fascinating keynote by F. Lee Bailey, and several sessions featuring honoree Doug Preston, it was, as always informative and fun.  But new for me this year was my participation in the Two Minutes in the Slammer event, a reading slam featuring the writing of conference goers.  I could have renamed it “two minutes of terror,” as I was exceptionally nervous in front of the crowd (ironic since I have done public speaking for my whole professional career!).

I read a scene from late in my novel-in-progress, Machine Learning, in which an FBI agent and his team execute a forced entry to defuse a hostage situation.  I got through the reading just under the bell and sat, listening to other excellent, thrilling and compelling snippets from other conference attendees, thinking how great the writing was.  So I was completely flabergasted to hear MWPA Executive Director Josh Bodwell call my name as the winner!  Thanks to the judges, and Josh, for that experience, and for the lovely prize:  a writing class with the super compelling thriller writer Chris Holm, most recently the author of the Michael Hendricks assassin thrillers!

And as a final note, as I was still shaking my head in surprise at the outcome of the slam, only then did I realize it had been my first time ever reading my own creative work aloud, and it had been as terrifying as the prospect of a real stint in the slammer.

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