If I told l you I saw a cat in a morgue, would you believe me?
It’s true. One April, I attended the Mad Anthony Mystery Conference in Hamilton, Ohio. As part of that event, participants toured the Hamilton Police, Fire, and Coroner’s departments. The morgue was particularly fascinating. The coroner, Dr. Burkhardt, walked us through the process of receiving a body, and he and his staff showed us autopsy tools and spoke of procedures while regaling us with stories both macabre and humorous. As the coroner spoke, an orange tabby wound through our legs, his kitty-cat curiosity apparent. Someone asked why they had a cat in the morgue, and the coroner said, “There’s so much desolation here—it’s comforting to have something alive when devastated people come to identify their kin.”
A cat in the morgue. What an unusual fact, and wouldn’t it be great fun to weave that thread into a book? I must admit, though, that I did find myself wondering what would happen if some body part fell off the autopsy table or if those grieving next of kin had severe allergies to cats. But feline antics aside, this conference included an in-depth Writers Police Academy taught by active or retired law enforcement personnel. About 120 people, including presenters, attended the mystery-related event, which was not only inexpensive but also surprisingly worthwhile.
Every year, there are scads of multifaceted conferences all across the nation, and many of them could change your writing life in unexpected ways. Many writers think pitching books is the main reason to attend a conference, but selling your book is one of the less likely opportunities you’ll have there.
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