First up was Sidekicks, The Good the Bad and the Ugly where authors Priscilla Royal, James Calder, Karen Olson and Maria Hudgins discussed the role of the sidekick in a mystery and the various forms he/she can take.
Second panel of the day was Cozymania. Leslie Caine, Rita Larkin, Terri Thayer and Deb Baker talked about their respective series, how and why they got started writing, and what it means to be cozy. Interestingly enough, Larkin pointed out that the term came about thanks to Agatha Christie herself.
The third panel was called Dying is Easy, Comedy is Hard. Mario Acevedo acted as moderator (and drew names for the devil duck!) while jokesters Marc Lecard, George Getz, and Jess Loury talked about the use of humor in mysteries.
Last but not least was the psychological thriller panel called Mind Games and Manhunts. Robert Greer, Christine Jorgensen, Peter May, and Laura Benedict all talked about the distinctions between mysteries and thrillers.
So far I've gotten to meet Toni McGee Causey, author of the amazingly hilarious Bobbie Faye's Very (very, very, very) Bad Day, Laura Benedict whose debut thriller Isabella Moon made my toes curl, quirky Mario Acevedo, and the very sweet and amusing Simon Wood.
I recommend looking into ALL of the authors I mentioned above. They were each incredibly interesting and, given the chance, I would have purchased books by each. I did limit myself. I walked out with Greywalker by Kat Richardson (she'll be speaking later this weekend) a paranormal mystery. Wine of Violence, Priscilla Royal's very first book in her medieval series. Marc Lecard's Vinnie's Head, Simon Wood's Paying the Piper, and Pari Noskin Taichert's first Sasha Solomon mystery, The Clovis Incident.