Killer Nashville

Barbara Vey -- September 26th, 2011
Phyllis C. Johnson, Nancy Naigle and reader/aspiring novelist Joe Phillips of Nashville

Phyllis C. Johnson, Nancy Naigle and reader/aspiring novelist Joe Phillips of Nashville

Cub Reporter Nancy Naigle traveled with Phyllis Johnson to Killer Nashville.  They co-wrote inkBLOT, the young adult novel  just released in July under the pen name Johnson Naigle.


Cub reporter Nancy Naigle back on the job at Killer Nashville held in Nashville, TN with my writing partner Phyllis Johnson. While Hurricane Irene pounded my home back in Virginia the weekend of August 28th. Founded by film producer, Clay Stafford, Killer Nashville is growing in popularity and attendance. From forensics experts, advice from debut authors, to a track especially for readers, there was much to be learned and a lot of networking going on for both writers and readers.


The Hutton Hotel was the host to Killer Nashville this year. It’s a beautiful hotel and Thursday evening Phyllis and I attended the kick-off event – a wine tasting. This southern girl just didn’t have the palette for the fancy wines we tasted, but it sure was fun.


Donald Bain

Donald Bain

Keynote speakers were Donald Bain and Robert Dugoni.  Donald Bain is as funny as he is prolific. (He’s written over 100 books!). If you don’t recognize the name, you’ll definitely recognize his work. Donald Bain has written thirty-seven Murder She Wrote books over the past twenty-four years. He’s under contract for three more and these days he collaborates with his sweet bride, Renée, on those books.

Among his successes is the 70’s mega-hit Coffee, Tea, or Me? In his words, “Fluff can be gold!” He’s done a lot of ghost writing and when asked how he dealt with not having his name on the cover of those books, he said, “I got over the ego of it by dedicating each of those books to myself.” Bain takes a “Say no to nothing” approach to writing. Now that doesn’t mean he says yes to everything, but he considers all offers with an open mind. A good lesson for us all no matter what path our lives have us on.

Oh and one other little tidbit about the wonderful Donald Bain…he’s one heck of a drummer. Don wowed the crowd as he played drums with the Killer Nashville Coffin Bangers band on Saturday night. You rock Don!

Robert Dugoni

Robert Dugoni

Robert Dugoni is one of ten children (5 brothers and 4 sisters) and that must have kept him pretty humble because he is as handsome as all-get-out but he doesn’t seem to realize it. He’s so easygoing I feel like even I can call him Bob now! Even when they introduced him as being “the next John Grisham” he maintained that easygoing manner. It was fun to hear him tease about being one of ten, dipping his toes into the practicing lawyer role but always coming back to writing and the mis-steps along his journey. (After seeing him Electric Slide it’s hard to believe he would have any mis-steps…that boy can move!)


Anyone who knows me knows I’m a sucker for good dads. So it’s probably no surprise that I was endeared Bob’s stories about his own children and how his teen-age son keeps him grounded. We were treated to a special session on Sunday afternoon where Robert took us through a session on craft. I purchased the hard cover of Bob’s latest novel, MURDER ONE, and he autographed it for me. Squeee! Yes! I may have gone a little “fan-girl” on him. I started reading Murder One that night, and loved it. It’s definitely a page-turner to add to your list.


Dr. Bill Bass

Dr. Bill Bass

If you ever get the chance to hear Dr. Bill Bass, forensics pathologist and founder of The Body Farm, don’t miss it. He gave a far from toxic talk on skulls and bones. At one point, holding a skull laced with a knitting needle, he described the source of bullet holes. Phyllis said it looked like a skull-kabob. Don’t you just love the things that go through writer’s minds?


There was a mock crime scene set up in the hotel parking garage that was so doggone realistic that it was a little creepy, but it was neat to try to wrap your head around the steps in an investigation to figure out what happened. Blood spatter and smear, beer bottle, cigarette butts, a pillow, and yes…even a body among the clues,  made it a clever way to get our minds working.


Workshop panels covered such topics as POV, public speaking, marketing, promo, writing sex scenes (woo hoo) and cozy mysteries. The Mood and Atmosphere panel was enlightening. The panel, including author Tracy March (debuting her DC Thriller Girl Three in Jan 2012) gave examples on using setting to drive the mood in a scene. One important note I took away was:  “The writer writes fifty percent and the reader fills in the other fifty percent.”

Bottom Line:  See…we’re all in it together.


Monday Giveaways


From Romance University:  Romance University has a full week of awesome Visiting Professors lined-up for you. And lots of GIVEAWAYS!

Mon, 9/26 – Every author out there needs a good editor. No matter who you are; no matter how many books you’ve published. DONNELL BELL tells us why. Donnell’s giving away an advanced reading copy of THE PAST CAME HUNTING to one lucky commenter.  #giveaway

Tue, 9/27 – Like the old song from Journey, KARIN TABKE reminds us to “Don’t Stop Believing!” Karin’s giving away a book of her backlist to one lucky commenter. #giveaway

Wed, 9/28 – Thriller writer WENDY CORSI STAUB shares her delight at this summer’s Romance Writers of America’s booksigning event. Wendy’s giving away a copy of LIVE TO TELL and SCARED TO DEATH.  #giveaway

Thu, 9/29 – In Point of View: Channeling Elvis, best selling author PEGGY WEBB tells how she handles multiple point of views, and why she uses the point of view of a dog in her South Cousins mystery series. Peggy’s giving away three copies of ELVIS AND THE MEMPHIS MAMBO MURDERS.  #giveaway

Fri, 9/30 Romantic thriller author JO ROBERTSON gives us the deets on her new release THE AVENGER and a lecture you won’t want to miss! Leave a comment for your chance to win a download of THE AVENGER and THE WATCHER.  #giveaway

From Susan Hanniford Crowley: On Saturday, Oct. 1st, advertising expert and author of Market or Die, Jennifer Fusco will be on Nights of Passion blog for the book launch of Market or Die: Sensible Brand Building Advise for Writers (Second in her series). She will be giving away to one lucky commenter a book of her Market or Die (Vol. 2)

From Jillian Stone GET LOST IN A STORY giveaways for the week of September 26-30

Tuesday  September 27 Melanie Atkins – a back list ebook
Wednesday September 28 Adrienne Giordano – a copy of MAN LAW and a copy of A JUST DECEPTION
Thursday September 29 Theresa Ragan – SIX PACK DRAWING! Five e-books to five commenters and one print copy of RETURN OF THE ROSE.
Friday September 30 Anne Maire Becker an e-book copy of ONLY FEAR
From Christine Merrill: Harlequin has made my first book The Inconvenient Duchess a free PDF download at




53 thoughts on “Killer Nashville

  1. Nancy Naigle

    Ooops-I’m not sure what happened to Bob Dugoni’s picture…probably the twinkle in his eye messing with my flash :) Killer Nashville was a lot of fun. Hugs and hello’s to all the fabulous new friends I made there.

    Thanks for sharing, Barbara :)

  2. Debby Giusti

    I’d love to go to Killer Nashville some day in the future! Thanks, Nancy, for telling us about this year’s event. How exciting to hear Dr. Bass speak. Body Farms! Be still my suspense writer’s heart! :)

  3. Jessica Ferguson

    Great review of Killer Nashville. I had so much fun and was on overload for the amount of ‘stuff’ I learned. Honestly, I had forgotten how wonderful and intimate small conferences are. Dugoni is definitely a cutie with a lot of good info he shared.

  4. Shanon Grey

    Once again, you are in the heart of things. I love it. I would have drooled over the forensic pathologist! Okay, so I’m a little weird. Thanks for giving those of us who couldn’t go a great update.

  5. Tracy March

    Hi Nancy and Barbara,

    Thanks for the recap of Killer Nashville–and for the mention in the blog! We had such a great time there. Nancy failed to mention that Robert Dugoni stayed right across the hall from us at the hotel! Yes, there was a bit of “fan-girling” going on, for sure!

    For those of you looking for a fun and friendly conference, I would certainly recommend Killer Nashville!

  6. Grace

    Hi, Nancy – Nice Killer Nashville wrapup. Our hosts at KN did a fabulous job and the speakers were fascinating. Definitely a writing venue at the top of every suspense writer’s list.

    Grace Greene

  7. Leslie Tentler

    Hi Nancy,
    Again, great to meet you at Killer Nashville. It was a wonderful conference and your wrap up pretty much covered it! I wish I’d gotten a chance to go see the faux crime scene. Somehow I missed that!

    - Leslie

  8. Phyllis Johnson

    It was a great conference and a wonderful experience meeting and networking with other writers. I learned a lot and enjoyed serving on the Writing for Young Adults panel. Nancy and I sold some copies of inkBLOT and I brought home an armload of new books from the new writer friends I made. I want to go back to Killer Nashville next year!

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