Please contact E. B. Davis at for information on guest blogs and interviews. Interviews for October: 10/5 Carolina Crimes: Rock, Roll and Ruin 10/12 Alicia Beckman, Blind Faith 10/19 J. Woollcott, A Nice Place To Die 10/26 Carol J. Perry, High Spirits

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Writers Who Kill at Malice 2013

Writers Who Kill at Malice 2013
Shari Randall, Gloria Alden, Paula Gail Benson and Jim M. Jackson in the back.

Rather than have each of us who attended Malice Domestic in Bethesda this year write our own blogs about the experience, I suggested we do a group blog with each contributing their thoughts, feelings and highlights of the conference. Since Jim was the first to respond, I’ll start with him. He’s the tall handsome guy in the back.

This being my first Malice Domestic, I had no idea what to expect. I brought Jan along as well since the conference is targeted to readers more than writers, and I corrupted her from reading mostly “literature” to mystery/suspense/thrillers. We both had a great time. Not only did I participate in my first author’s panel, I was able to meet in person dozens and dozens of people I had only known online. First meetings included the WWK bloggers who attended Malice. One of the best things about being a part of the mystery community is that it is a supportive community. While there are a few dog-eat-dog souls in the group, most people I have met are very cooperative. They recognize readers are not a zero-sum-game. They can be shared and frequently grown to everyone’s benefit. I like that mentality a lot. – Jim Jackson

Elaine Will Sparber, one of our newer members sent her input next. Unfortunately, in all that crowd of hundreds of mystery lovers, we never met, although she said she saw me once, but I was talking to someone and she didn’t want to interrupt. I wish she had.

This Malice Domestic was my second, but that didn’t make it any less overwhelming. I attended my first Malice a long five years ago, plus I was surrounded by people who awed me. What a treat to be introduced to Harlen Coben by Hank Phillippi Ryan, chat with Laurie R. King and Aaron Elkins in the elevator, and pass Laura Lippman in the hallway, not once but several times. Forget about the hundreds of other people – writers and fans – rushing about. The four days I was at Malice were a blur. Several of the speakers – one was Laura Lippman and I believe another was Laurie R. King – said that they felt this same way at their first Malice. But the mystery community being a welcoming one, they soon began to feel welcome and at home.
 -  Elaine Will Sparber

Shari Randall, another new member,  had the following to say about Malice.

 Lucy Zahray, The Poison Lady is in yellow

As usual, Malice was packed with great panels, signings and parties. This year I was thrilled to meet Louise Penny, have a drink with Lucy Zahray, the Poison Lady herself, party at Hank Phillippi Ryan’s table at the Agatha Awards banquet, and spend time with wonderful WWK blog and Guppy friends. But it was the happy accidents of Malice that made the convention so memorable for me, especially the ones that happened when I was just getting from Lalique to the Lobby. This year it was all about the elevator. I discussed young adult fiction with Harlen Coben by 
the elevators, and spoke about mystery fiction with Terri Bischoff in the elevator. As I was leaving Malice, lugging my swag-stuffed bags, I was disappointed by only one thing – I had not met Stefanie Jaye Edwards, author of the Sugar Land Mysteries. But as I passed the elevator – ding! – the doors opened and Stefanie Jaye Edwards stepped out, along with her lovely husband, Richard. I was thrilled to chat with her for a moment before she was swamped by other fans, and Richard and I talked about creating a signature drink for Stefanie (He thought champagne with rye because of her “wry” writing style; my vote was rye and ginger ale along with a twist of lemon). Next year, who knows where I’ll have those serendipitous moments – the registration desk?  - Shari Randall

E.B. Davis, our blog maven and one of the original members of WWK, gave us her impression. She was also the one responsible for putting together not one, but two baskets for the Fish Nets Guppy Anthology. And a wonderful job she did, too, as you can see with one of them in the picture below taken by Gigi Pandian.

One of the two baskets made for the Fish Nets Anthology

On Thursday, before the conference started, I drove to the hotel and met Harriette Sackler, another local SinC Guppy and Malice Grants Chair, who helped me place two charity baskets the authors of Fish Nets, the second Guppy anthology, contributed to the silent and live auctions. The proceeds benefited The John L. Gildner Regional Institute for Children and Adolescents, serving children and adolescents with severe emotional disabilities. I’m happy to report that each basket yielded near its full value of $280.00.

Due to an unexpected family obligation, I spent only one day at the conference, but I packed that twelve-hour day with fun. My day started on schedule with the Malice-Go-Round in which authors go from table to table with only a short time each to speak. It’s a conference fixture I love because I learn about new books written by established authors. I met Maggie Barbieri (See my blog:, author of the Murder 101 Series. This singular event ended my involvement with the conference at 11:30 a.m. even though I stayed until 7:30 p.m.

Why? I ended up socializing with Guppies! I attended the Guppy lunch where I met Karen Pullen and Susan Boyer, who I’ve interviewed here at WWK, and then met with Steering Committee members at the bar where we enjoyed libations and devolved. I previously had met Kaye George, but I had never met Karen Duxbury, Teresa Inge or Jim Jackson and his S.O., Jan. Later we dined together, and Shari Randall, WWK blogger and fellow short-story writer, joined us. I had a great time despite missing most of the conference. Next year, I hope to meet more Guppies, and maybe I’ll attend the conference in full. - E.B. Davis

Paula Gail Benson is another new member who writes about her time at Malice.

I counted it up – this 25th anniversary at Malice Domestic was the 10th time I attended the conference. I had a wonderful time. A few years ago, I met cab driver Aziz Rakla, who helped several of us take a writer to the hospital. He gave me his card. Now, each year, I call and he provides my transportation at Malice.

I particularly enjoyed meeting my fellow WWK bloggers, Gloria Alden, Jim Jackson, Shari Randall and Elaine Will Sparber. I listened to Gloria’s presentation for Author’s Alley and heard Gloria and Jim give brief descriptions of their books at the New Authors’ Breakfast. Before leaving on Sunday, I got to hear Jim participate on B.K. Stevens’ panel about cold cases. I hope to meet other blogging partners at a future Malice. – Paula Gail Benson

Before my 15 minutes at Authors Alley Begins
I attended my first Malice in 2007 without knowing anyone there and never having attended any conference before. I think I must have read about Malice Domestic in Writers Digest and thought it would be interesting. I drove to the DC area from NE Ohio in my little red Mercury Tracer wagon with two cousins and my best friend to attend my first mystery conference. While they toured Washington DC, I stayed in the hotel attending the conference completely overwhelmed by the mystery world out there. I couldn’t believe I was actually meeting real mystery authors.
It was where I learned about Sisters in Crime and 
the Guppies and they were to change my writing for the better.

I’ve enjoyed every year, but this year was my best because I was able to participate as an author. Two years before I was in the Guppy Anthology, Fish Tales, and that was nice, but this year I not only had a short story in the new Guppy anthology, Fish Nets, but I also had two books out – The Blue Rose and Daylilies for Emily’s Garden. I had a 15 minute segment in Authors Alley where I was actually wired up. How cool is that! I had a book signing and I had a table at the New Authors Breakfast. (So did Jim Jackson) Equally as good was meeting my fellow bloggers and reconnecting with Guppies I’d met before and also meeting my online friend, Kathleen Rockwood (KM Rockwood) for the first time. We shared a room and she was the perfect roommate. All in all it was another wonderful Malice.

Have you ever attended Malice Domestic or another conference of any kind?

If you did, what was your experience?


Polly Iyer said...

I'm jealous. I do think there's a big connection in SinC with authors who meet at conferences. This is something I've missed. You all look like you're having a good time.

Gloria Alden said...

We were, Polly. I wouldn't have so many friends and/or acquaintances in the mystery world if it weren't for the conferences I've attended. I know it's a bit pricey, certainly for a retired single person but I've learned so much from them. It's actually the hotels that are the most expensive part of going to a conference.

I hope some day to meet you at Malice, Polly. We were having a good time.

Kaye George said...

So I'm not quite the last person to blog about Malice. I was thrilled to meet with some of you WWK authors for the first time--Jim, Shari, Paula, Elaine--and to connect with Gloria and E.B. again. I do love going to Malice! Thanks for the pictures.

Warren Bull said...

I couldn't make it. I'm jealous. I attended the Great Manhattan Mystery Conclave every year of its existence.
I also like KIller Nashville which I attended last year for the first time.

Patg said...

Gloria, you and I met at Malice too. I really loved that con and hope to attend next year. I also like LCC and next year it is in CA.
Nice pictures.

Marilyn Levinson said...

It sounds like a good time was had by all. I'm sorry I missed Malice this year. Hope to be there in 2014.

Gloria Alden said...

Kaye, I didn't get home until the Tuesday night after the conference so I couldn't get this together in time for my Thursday blog last week. I enjoyed seeing you there, too.

Warren, maybe next year you can go. Of course, if you're limited by time and money as I am, you may want to stick with those you already go to. I liked the Love is Murder Conference the two times I went there, too, as well as Crimebake the one time I went there.

Oh yes, Pat, I certainly remember that especially since we've been corresponding on a regular basis ever since then. Maybe we'll actually meet in person for lunch next month in Portland, and hopefully next year at Malice, too.

I hope to see you next year in 2014, too, Marilyn.

Kara Cerise said...

What fun! I enjoyed the stories and photos. I hope to be there next year.

Gloria Alden said...

Kara, I hope you'll be able to be there, too. It would be so nice to meet you.

Paula Gail Benson said...

Kaye, it was such a pleasure to meet you in person and have a chance to talk with you at Malice. I enjoyed seeing a number of Guppies I feel I know so well from our online discussions. I love going to Malice, too, and am looking forward to your post about it.

Kaye George said...

Paula, I put all the pictures I have on Travels With Kaye, but I don't have one of us together! Next year.

Paula Gail Benson said...

Absolutely! I look forward to it!

Gloria Alden said...

Is Travels with Kaye your blog or your website, Kaye?

Kaye George said...

It's my blog that I do by myself.
Thanks for asking!

Anonymous said...

I'm so glad Gloria "talked" ("e-mailed"?) me into going to the conferences. It was my first one. I had a great time and met lots of interesting people. I definitely plan to go again.

Next, I probably should listen to Gloria about joining SinC and the Guppies, if I'm eligible.

Judy Hogan said...

Nice to read all the perspectives on Malice. It still overwhelms me sometimes, but it gets easier with each Malice, and as I know more people. I also was a first time author, and that was a high point, the New Author breakfast, and the panel on sidekicks. I wrote a Malice report, too, on my blog for May 12:
Judy Hogan