My first panel of the day (I slept late and didn't attend the actual first set of the day) was called Dicks with Baggage; The Modern PI. It was pretty interesting. There are a certain set of guidelines that originated with the classic PI novel that are still followed today in regards to characterization and motivation. Most authors today have put a more modern twist on this whether the character be a woman, someone who is more technologically savvy, or some other approach. Panelists including Lori Armstrong, Parnell Hall, James Mitchell, and Anthony Bidulka.
My second panel of the day was Sex and Violence. Panelists Tasha Alexander, Marcus Sakey, Bill Cameron, David Corbett and Eric Stone. This was a pretty funny panel. It seemed that the authors all agreed that there can never be too much of either sex or violence in a book, and no real line that shouldn't be crossed, as long as it had a purpose in the story. Questions were posed in an attempt to make David Corbett blush and the winner was the man who suggested that Tasha Alexander read the sex scene from Corbett's book aloud to the audience - she read one paragraph and that was certainly enough to do it.
Next up was Shaken, Stirred, and Blended: Sleuths That Cross Genre Lines. Jeanne Stein, Lee Killough, Kat Richardson, and Margaret Lucke discussed their mysteries, each of which have a paranormal twist to them. Urban fantasy was more than mentioned and they tried to pin down a definition, but really couldn't. Stein described it as urban, contemporary, gritty, and without a happy ending. Sounds good to me - I bought both her and Richardson's books, btw. Stein also thanks Joss Whedon for breaking the previous perception of vampires!
The Good Old Days: Writing About the Past was a pretty interesting panel. Stephanie Barron and Lauren Haney were joined on this panel by debut novelists Sharon Rowse, Brian Thornton, and Geri Westerson. Each author talked about the event, or events, or footnotes that inspired their books.
Finally Laura Caldwell, Jeff Buick, Teresa Schwegal and CJ Lyons were on the Thrills and Chills ITW panel. Buick moderated, but joined in on some of the discussion. Each of the ladies talked about how their careers influenced their books and their methods for writing and for developing their characters.