- Paula Gail Benson
- Connie Berry
- Sarah E. Burr
- Warren Bull
- Annette Dashofy
- E. B. Davis
- Mary Dutta
- Debra H. Goldstein
- Margaret S. Hamilton
- Lori Roberts Herbst
- Marilyn Levinson aka Allison Brook
- Molly MacRae
- Lisa Malice
- Korina Moss
- Shari Randall/Meri Allen
- Martha Reed
- Linda Rodriguez
- Grace Topping
- Susan Van Kirk
- Heather Weidner
Please contact E. B. Davis at email@example.com for information on guest blogs and interviews.
Thursday, May 3, 2012
Malice Domestic 2012
I'm with Barbara Emrys at the Guppy Luncheon
She stood next to the tall table beside a pillar, a table for people to put their empty glasses after finishing their drinks. She was a tiny Asian girl with black hair. Even with a slight smile on her face, I could tell she was uncomfortable and feeling out of place in this crowd of laughing, talking people with drinks in hand standing around in small groups. It was the cocktail hour before the Agatha Awards Banquet at Malice Domestic. I knew the feeling so I went over and started a conversation. Her face lit up with a smile of relief. She'd heard about Malice from somewhere and since she'd read ten mysteries this year, she registered and came to her first conference. She lives in New York City and was quite pleased with herself because she'd come by Amtrak train, the first time she'd ridden Amtrak. She said she didn't realize people dressed up for the banquet and was uncomfortable because she was wearing jeans and sneakers. I assured her it didn't matter. Later I saw a few similarly dressed and hoped she saw them, too. Then the doors to the banquet room opened and we separated to find our tables.
Meeting her brought back memories of my first Malice Domestic six years ago. In fact, it was my first mystery conference. Like her, I'd come knowing no one. With my best friend and two cousins, I drove from my home in Ohio to Washington D.C. in my little nine year old red Mercury Tracer wagon. Except for dinner outside the hotel that first night with my friend and cousins, I never left the hotel except for a few walks while they toured the D.C. area. I knew no one at the conference and had never heard of Sisters in Crime or the Guppies before I came. I joined both before leaving. That first conference is a bit of a blur in my memory now. I remember attending Lucy Zahray, the Poison Lady's panel and being fascinated. I've gone back to it every year except this year. I chatted with a lot of people, but only stayed in touch with two of them from that first conference; Pat Gulley, a mystery writer from Oregon, and Josephine Wagner, a mystery fan from Florida. I probably talked to a lot of others who I've become better acquainted with, too, but I don't remember who they were now.
Judy Hogan and Robert Spieller at Guppy Luncheon
This year was special because I got to meet two of my fellow bloggers for the first time; Linda Rodriquez and E.B. Davis (Elaine), and I also felt more a part of the Guppies. The Guppies Press Quest group went out for dinner at a French restaurant Friday night, and we had a lovely time eating and talking. Every meal was spent with fellow mystery writers, some I already knew as well as many new ones I hadn't met before. It was interesting learning about them. I enjoyed the panels I could get to. Unfortunately, except for Friday, there were four panels at the same time so choices had to be made thus I missed some I would have enjoyed, also. I made sure I went to both of Linda's panels. She did an excellent job as moderator for "Have Gun Will Travel; Mysteries Set Out West," and as an author on the panel, "Well-schooled in Murder: Academic Mysteries" moderated by Judy Hogan.
The funniest event was "Another Shirt Ruined: An Interview with our First Amelia Award Honoree: Elizabeth Peters." It was a roast of sorts by Dorothy Cannell, Parnell Hall, Joan Hess, Daniel Stashower, and a mysterious ghost whose name I didn't get. They appeared as characters from her books. Parnell Hall, who is always funny, stalked in as a mummy after it started complaining the whole time. He ripped off his mummy coverings and was dressed in Egyptian garb under the wrappings. They all complained about the situations she'd put them in, and Daniel Stashower read lines from her books - repeating the same discription she'd used - and ridiculing her for it. The large room was packed and everyone, including Elizabeth Peters, was laughing the whole time. The line for her book signing afterwards was so long, that for the first time at Malice, numbers were assigned. I think she got to everyone even though it went over, but this way there wasn't anybody cutting ahead. I know there was a limit of only one book per person to be signed.
Itg was a good conference, one I highly recommend. I had an excellent roommate, Beth Groundwater. It was our first time sharing a room together, and it worked out quite well. In fact, the only downside to the conference - except some problems with the banquet this year - was that I bought too many books. I won't exactly have to go on a regimen of bread and water this month, but as happens every year, I over spend when it comes to books. Part of the problem is Malice-Go-Round on Friday which is like speed dating with authors moving from table to table with three minutes to pass out bookmarks and tell us about their book. Most do such a great job at this, that if I had unlimited funds and someone to haul the books around for me, I would've bought even more, but I don't. So that's why I'm glad Malice is only once a year.
If you haven't been to Malice Domestic before, I highly recommend it. It's not just for mystery writers, but also for mystery fans, too. One of the delights is meeting friends and strangers with common interests, and in meeting well-known authors, who are just as friendly as all the fans and lesser known authors. In fact, one can see more smiles on faces at Malice than just about any other place I can think of.
Have you been to Malice Domestic or another mystery conference? What was your experience?
How about another kind of conference? What did you like about it?