If you are interested in blogging or want to promote your book, please contact E. B. Davis at writerswhokill@gmail.com

Our July author interviews: Ellen Byerrum (7/5), Day of the Dark anthology authors (7/12 and 7/19), and Nancy Cole Silverman (7/26).

Saturday Guest Bloggers in July: 7/1--Fran Stewart, and 7/8--Nancy Cole Silverman. WWK Saturday bloggers write on 7/15--Margaret S. Hamilton, 7/22--Kait Carson, and 7/29--E. B. Davis.


“May 16, 2017 – The Women’s Fiction Writers Association (WFWA) today announced the finalists of the second annual Star Award, given to authors of published women’s fiction. Six finalists were chosen in two categories, General and Outstanding Debut. The winners of the Star Award will be announced at the WFWA Retreat in Albuquerque, New Mexico on September 23, 2017.”

In the general category, WWK’s Carla Damron was one of three finalist for her novel, The Stone Necklace. Go to Carladamron.com for more information. Congratulations, Carla!

Congratulations to our writers for the following publications:

Warren Bull's new Lincoln mystery, Abraham Lincoln In Court & Campaign has been released. Look for the Kindle version on February 3.

Shari Randall's "Pets" will be included in Chesapeake Crimes: Fur, Feathers, and Felonies anthology, which will be published in 2018. In the same anthology "Rasputin," KM Rockwood's short story, will also be published. Her short story "Goldie" will be published in the Busted anthology, which will be released by Level Best Books on April 25th.

In addition, our prolific KM will have the following shorts published as well: "Sight Unseen" in Fish Out of Water, Guppie (SinC) anthology, just released, and "Making Tracks" in Passport to Murder, Bouchercon anthology, October 2017.

Margaret S. Hamilton's short story, "Once a Kappa" was published as a finalist in the Southern Writer's Magazine annual short story contest issue. Mysterical-E published her "Double Crust Corpse" in the Fall 2016 issue. "Baby Killer" will appear in the 2017 solar eclipse anthology Day of the Dark to be published this summer prior to the eclipse in August.

Linda Rodriquez has two pending book publications. Plotting the Character-Driven Novel will be released by Scapegoat Press on November 29th. Every Family Doubt, the fourth Skeet Bannion mystery, is scheduled for release on October, 18, 2017. Look for the interview by E. B. Davis here on that date!

James M. Jackson's 4th book in the Seamus McCree series, Doubtful Relations, is now available. His novella "Low Tide at Tybee" appears February 7 as part of Lowcountry Crimes: Four Novellas, which is available for order.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Malice Domestic 27

E.B., Grace, Shari, Me (Gloria), Paula, KM
This past weekend I attended my ninth Malice Domestic. As always, I found Malice exciting, interesting, fun, and yes, at times overwhelming with too much sensory stimulation.  I imagine many people there felt that way, at least the writers attending. After all, writers mostly work alone and I live alone, too.

It was a long drive to get there – six hours just to get to KM’s house. She drove from there and that was at least an hour and a half stopping for lunch on the way since I’d left at 6:30 a.m. After we checked into the Hyatt in Bethesda, we relaxed until it was time to register. A small group had congregated; some friends I knew or other writers I’d met at a previous Malice or ones I only knew through the Guppy list serve. As we waited, a photographer who had taken pictures at another Malice joined us. She had a vibrant and upbeat personality. I don’t remember her name, but I do remember her saying, when someone commented on the good pictures she previously took, that “It’s easy to get good pictures of mystery writers because they’re always happy, laughing or smiling naturally.” Those may not be her exact words, but what she said was true. Everywhere you go at Malice; panels, halls, elevators, etc. writers and fans are smiling and eager to visit. If someone looks familiar, we read the name and place on lanyards and make personal contact.  Sometimes it’s a newbie to Malice and we tell them what a great time they’re going to have.

Friday, after breakfast in the hotel pub, I took my books to the Mystery Loves Company dealer for sale. Kathy Harig has been handling my books there and in her store in Maryland since 2013.

The fun event of Friday morning was Malice Go Round, a two minute speed dating event for the writers who were chosen from a long list to participate – two authors per table dashing around from table to table telling us about their book and passing out bookmarks. It’s exhausting for the writers, I know, because I was lucky enough to be one of those chosen last year.

I went with a group of Guppies to Booeymonger's, a nearby restaurant where some of us meet for lunch on Friday and/or Saturday. I went both days and sat with different Guppies – some I knew and some I met for the first time. There’s something special about meeting and visiting with people over lunch, some I didn’t know before we met there.

That afternoon I attended one panel; New Kids on the Block: Our Agatha Best First Novel Nominees with Harriet Sackler the moderator and the panelists Annette Dashofy, Sherry Harris, Terrie Farley Moran (who won), Susan O’Brien and Tracy Weber. And  I made several stops in the book dealer’s room to buy books. Actually, I bought books every day – far more than I sold.

The six members of WWK who were there met in the hotel bar at 4:00 where we enjoyed visiting with each other. Paula and Grace had other plans for dinner, but KM, E.B. Shari, and I headed off for La Madeleine’s, a wonderful French restaurant a few blocks away, with several  other friends, too. Afterwards I went to the live auction for a short while before heading up to bed and a book. The auctioneers were funny and did a great job,but I was too tired to stay long.

Saturday morning I attended a delicious Sisters in Crime breakfast with a variety of food to choose from.  Towards the end of the meal chapter presidents were introduced as well as the new SinC president – Leslie Budewitz. When that ended, all the Guppies attending gathered with their boas or something similar for a group picture.  There had to be many Gups who couldn’t be seen from the size of the group. Yeah, Guppies!

I attended three panels that day, went to lunch at the Booeymonger's again sitting with different Guppies this time, visited the book dealers again to buy yet more books, and took some downtime in the afternoon to read.

The Chocolate Mousse was in an edible chocolate Cup.
Saturday evening was the Agatha Banquet. I chose to sit at Annette Dashofy’s table. The food was good, the others at the table friendly, and the speeches funny and good. The size of the crowd attending was remarkable. Annette didn’t win, but just being nominated was an honor.

Sunday morning was the New Author continental style breakfast where new authors were introduced. I had to leave before the end because I had a panel at 9:00 a.m.

My panel was Population 2000: Small town sleuths. It was the first panel I had at Malice. Patsy Asher was our moderator and the other panelists were Leslie Budewitz, Marcia Talley, Gail Oust and Jessie Crockett. After initial nerves before it started, I thoroughly enjoyed it.

After the book signings at 11:00, KM and I checked out and left for home.

Malice from the Viewpoint of an Unpublished Author
By Grace Toppping
Malice Domestic is a mystery fan convention.  Fans get to meet authors, and authors get to meet their fans and promote their books.  As an unpublished writer, I don’t have a book to promote, I don’t have fans (other than my family), and the sessions aren’t directed to writers on how to write, edit, publish, or promote their work.
So when asked by my family why I attend Malice, I had to think about it. I went to my first Malice years ago at the request of a friend who wanted someone to go along with her.  I read the occasional mystery, but I was not a diehard fan, and I had never thought of writing one. But as I listened to the panel members talk about their mysteries, the idea of actually writing one sounded intriguing, and I could see myself doing that. The seed was planted and I found myself beginning to grow as a mystery writer.
Something else happened at that first Malice. I made wonderful friends—friends who guided me through the conference and continued to encourage me throughout the year online. I had joined a community of intelligent, fun, and generous writers who have helped shape me as a writer. They introduced me to other writers, to organization such as Sisters in Crime and its subgroup the Guppies (the Great Unpublished). They shared information and encouraged me. And, best of all, they saw me as a mystery writer. After that, each Malice attendance became a reunion of these friends. Missing a Malice Domestic conference would be like missing a family reunion. Each year that family continues to grow. 
Another reason I go to Malice is because I discovered how exciting it is to meet the authors of books I’ve loved and hear them talk about what inspired them and the challenges they faced in their journey to publication. That first Malice, I actually got to meet Edward Marston, who came in from England, and Katherine Neville, who wrote “The Eight.” I was thrilled and discovered that I had become a diehard fan.
If you’ve never been to a Malice Domestic conference, add it to your bucket list. But beware: Attending Malice could change your life; it changed mine.
Paula’s Report From Malice
Paula and Aziz
This year, Malice was a whirlwind. Midday Friday, I arrived and rode with Aziz Rakla to the Hyatt. Aziz and I met a few years ago when we took an author to the hospital. Now, he provides my transportation to and from the airport each year and we catch up with each other when I come to DC. He’s always glad when his picture is included in my Malice write-up. Also, if anyone needs the name of a good DC/Bethesda driver, just send me an email!

One special memory I will cherish is riding up in the glass elevator with Toastmaster Toni L.P. Kelner’s husband and daughters. They were bringing her an arrangement of flowers sent by her good friends Charlaine Harris and Dana Cameron. After they exited, I watched through the elevator’s windows as the group ran into Toni’s arms. What a beautiful moment.

Being with my blogging partners from WWK is always a highlight at Malice. This year, those of us who gathered in the hotel bar included Gloria Alden, E.B. Davis, Shari Randall, KM Rockwood, Grace Topping, and myself. How terrific to spend time together and talk face-to-face!


The panel I moderated featured writers with Globe Trotter sleuths. The authors were Cathy Ace, who writes the Cait Morgan and WISE Enquiries series; Peggy Hanson, whose Elizabeth Darcy mysteries feature an investigative reporter; Maria Hudgins, who pens the Dotsy Lamb and Dr. Lacy Glass series; and Maddy Hunter, whose Passport to Peril series has tour director Emily
Andrew-Miceli, a reluctant sleuth, who chaperones Iowa senior citizens on trips around the world, stumbling over dead bodies along the way. We ended by singing happy birthday to Cathy.

I had the great privilege of sitting at Art Taylor’s banquet table when he won his second Agatha for Best Short Story with “The Odds Are Against Us” (EQMM). Art is a gifted writer and wonderful person. He was so very kind to acknowledge Writers Who Kill in his thank you speech as one of the venues that featured interviews with the nominees in the Best Short Story category.

On Sunday before leaving, I had the opportunity to see B.K. (Bonnie) Stevens’ Authors’ Alley presentation. Her protagonist in INTERPRETATION OF MURDER is a deaf interpreter. Bonnie brought her older daughter Sarah, a licensed interpreter, who taught us how to say “kill,” “murder,” and “dead” in sign language.

Now, I eagerly look forward to Malice next year!

Shari Randall’s Input

For me there were so many highlights at Malice: meeting friends old and new, and finally meeting friends I’d only met on Facebook. Enjoying a great French meal with my blog mates. Discovering new authors to follow (Yrsa Sigurdardottie, Cathy Ace, and too many to list.) Being in the same room with Sara Paretsky. Tons of free books, plus ARCs! What was the silliest fun at Malice ? Having a Diane Valere’s  Mad for Mod singalong to Doris Day’s “Que Sara Sara.” What a hoot! Diane was going for the Guinness World Record for most people at a mystery conference. Unfortunately, video of this event is now circulating online.

KM’s Thoughts on Malice

Malice Domestic, one of the country’s premier mystery conferences, is the first weekend of May, and I was excited to be participating again this year!

The conference is held at the Hyatt Regency in Bethesda, MD. For me, it’s not that far a drive—I live in southern Pennsylvania—but the nightmare traffic of the DC area is enough to convince me that, if I am going, I will stay in the hotel. That not only spares me the commuting, it also means I have a greater opportunity to mingle with other attendees. Which, as far as I am concerned, is the best part of the conference.

I have gone in the past, and it’s a magical experience. I find there is always too much to do, and I have to make hard choices about what to attend and what to skip. I’ve never figured out how they manage to schedule three panel sessions I’d like to attend at once, and then have a spot following it with topics that are of great interest to others, but not necessarily to me.

This year, I had a spot on a panel—Challenges, Challenges: Protagonists on the Edge—on Sunday morning. It was a good fit for Jesse Damon, the protagonist of my crime novel series, who is on parole for a murder conviction. I’ve read books by the other members of the panel, and there was a lively discussion. I had  a book signing time afterwards.

Malice Domestic had an area where authors can give away promotional items. Some of them were very creative, but I’m afraid I’m not that clever. My new publisher, Wildside Press, worked on getting my books available for the conference. They have new covers for them, and I arranged for bookmarks with the new covers.

One fun feature is Malice-Go-Round, which has been compared to speed dating with books. Authors circulate to tables to talk briefly about their books, and often leave giveaways and treats. Every year, there are more authors than available spots, so there’s a drawing to see who gets a spot and who doesn’t. Last year, I was dead last on the list. This year I was closer to making it. Maybe next year I actually will make it.

But meeting people is the best part. Fans, other authors, people who I have admired from afar, dedicated and hardworking volunteers who make the conference run. I have made some very good friends, and hope to continue that tradition. Writing is a solitary experience, and interacting with all these people with similar interests is always invigorating.

Have you ever attended Malice or another mystery conference?

What did you like about the experience?




16 comments:

Warren Bull said...

It sounds great! Thanks for the report. You make it sound so tempting.

James Montgomery Jackson said...

Glad everyone had a great time -- and you guys all look wonderful in the picture!

~ Jim

Paula Gail Benson said...

Warren, we always have such a great time!

Jim, thanks so much. We missed you this year!

Malice is truly an experience to relish. As Grace says, it can change your life.

Gloria, thanks for compiling all the reports!

Gloria Alden said...

Warren, I hope to see you there sometime. The camaraderie makes it all worth it.

Jim, wish you could have been there again, too.

Paula, thanks for the pictures and the editing. It was so nice seeing you and the other WWK members there who came. We've created a bond just by blogging together so meeting in person makes it even more special.

Shari Randall said...

It was so wonderful to spend time with WWKers at the conference. Now I am getting psyched for Bouchercon. Who's going to that one?

E. B. Davis said...

I attended the Woo-Woo panel, featuring Maggie Toussaint, who I've interviewed here, Fran Stewart, and Ann Cleeves. Ann Cleeves? I've read her entire Shetland series and there were never any paranormal/supernatural elements. Much to my surprise, I found out that the last book published in her series has a ghost in it. I'll have to catch up on my reading.

I had a great time at Malice. But I caught a respiratory infection there and couldn't move from the couch on Sunday, so Malice was cut short for me. I know I was too happy about not getting sick over the horrible winter we had. Spring paid me back!

Paula Gail Benson said...

E.B., I hope you are feeling better soon. It was so good to see you.

Shari, I'm heading to B'con, too. It will be great to see you and others there. I say it's time for another WWK gathering!

Tracy Weber said...

Malice was SOOOOOO fun! I can't wait for next year!

Gloria Alden said...


Shari, I'm heading to B'con, too, and so is KM. I'm hoping there will be more of us Writers Who Kill there, too.

E.B. I attended that panel, too, and enjoyed it. I bought one of Ann Cleeves' books, a Maggie Toussaint book and Fran Stewart's new book. I'm sorry you missed the New Author breakfast, E.B. Fran entertained us with a funny song.

Tracy, Malice is always fun - a bit overwhelming at times, but still fun.I'm glad I was able to meet you and attend your panel.

KM Rockwood said...

It was a great experience!

Shari, I'm planning to go to Bouchercon. I figure this one is within driving distance, and who knows when it will be this close again? So I don't want to miss it.

Tracy Weber said...

Thanks, Gloria!

Kara Cerise said...

It sounds like a great time! Everyone looks wonderful in the WWK group picture.

I think I gained 10 pounds just looking at the edible chocolate dessert cup photo.

Sarah Henning said...

An excellent roundup, folks! It sounds like a great time!

Marilyn Levinson said...

Malice was wonderful! Reading your posts brought it all back. Like my good friend Grace, I go to Malice mainly to reunite with friends. Also to meet other writers and fans.

Marilyn Levinson said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Gloria Alden said...


Kara, you would have loved the dessert. The mousse was so light and creamy that I swear it didn't have any calories. I only nibbled on the cup.

Sarah, I wish you could have been there.

Marilyn, it was nice seeing you there. I love meeting people again that I've met at previous Malice conferences as well as meeting new people.