Malice Domestic 23: what made it special?
Was it the planning, the cool panel topics (check Wed’s post for some highlights), the book riches, the hotel accommodations?
While all of these helped make it an enjoyable convention, Malice Domestic would have been nothing without the wonderful people who attended. I was fortunate to meet a good number of them, and wanted to highlight a few here, along with some terrific mystery writer groups/resources. Clicking on their names will take you right to their sites, so you can check them out for yourself.
First, a big “thank you” to some writers from the convention:
Amanda Flower, an Agatha Best First Novel award nominee for her debut mystery, Maid of Murder, hosted the banquet table I sat at for the awards dinner. We had a fun chat (about awful bridesmaids’ dresses, among other things), and she was the first to contact me on Facebook when I got back. You rock, Amanda!
Gail Oust, author of the Bunco Babe Mysteries, whom I met at the hotel bar with her husband Bob (we teased him a little – he was Gail’s “arm candy,” rather than an attendee). Sitting next to them was…
Rebecca Hale, author of the Cats and Curios series (love the title of her first book, How to Wash a Cat). Rebecca, Gail and Gail’s hubby were very supportive of my project and asked lots of questions.
Ellen Byerrum, author of the Crime of Fashion series, is quite the fashionable-looking lady herself, and has graciously agreed to guest blog for one of my “Fashion Friday” posts. There I was, sitting at the bar to grab a quick lunch, and left with both a tuna melt and a wonderful fashionista’s expertise to call upon! How great is that?
Kaye George, creator of the Imogene Duckworthy series (Imogene is a diner waitress/P.I. wannabe in small-town Texas). Kaye walked with a group of us down the umpteen blocks to Guapo’s for dinner, regaling me with the story of her victim being killed by a package of frozen sausage stuffed down his throat. She’s a great pre-dinner conversationalist, LOL.
Marilyn Levinson, president and co-founder of Long Island Sisters In Crime, and an author of mysteries, children’s books, and ghost stories. (I don’t know how she finds the time!). The margaritas were good, but the conversation was better.
Frankie Y. Bailey, a teacher, scholar and writer. She’s an associate professor of Criminal Justice at a New York university. Her main character, Lizzie Stuart, is a professor of criminal history and uses her knowledge and research to solve contemporary mysteries with a historical connection. As a former literature professor myself, I enjoyed talking with Frankie about balancing her university life with her fiction-writing life.
Jeri Westerson I met at the Agatha banquet on the second night. She writes a Medieval Noir series – imagine Sam Spade set in medieval times and you’ll have a good idea. Really cool stuff. She was very encouraging of l’il ole unpubbed me and my historical mystery. She gave me a sword-pen souvenir from her medieval give-away bag that my ten-yr-old son got a big kick out of, too!
Louise Penny, New York Times Bestselling author of the Chief Inspector Gamache series, and four-time winner of Malice Domestic’s Agatha Award for Best Novel (I’m glad that my vote for her didn’t jinx it this year 🙂 ). It’s a wonderful series, with an uncommon narrative perspective between multiple characters that you need to experience for yourself. Louise is a warm and gracious lady, who made me feel that what I had to say was the very thing she wanted to listen to at that moment in time. It is a rare quality, and worth its weight in gold. Thank you, Louise!
honored this year for Malice Domestic’s Lifetime Achievement Award and best known for her multi-award-winning alphabet mystery series. I spoke with her on two occasions (and no, I didn’t have to trap her in the elevator to do it), and she signed my book. I never had the guts to ask if I could have my picture taken with her (the “I-don’t-want-to-bother-you-and-be-an-obnoxious-fan” shyness kicked in. Oh, well). Did you know that her breakout mystery novel, A is for Alibi, was her 9th book, and that her first three novels were rejected, along with numbers seven and eight? She recalled the publication of A is for Alibi as her “Jesus moment.” Take heart, all you unpubbed writers out there.
this year’s Malice Domestic’s Toastmaster, author of two series, the Meg Laslow series and the Turig Hopper (sentient computer) series, has won more awards than I can name here. She heads up several mystery writers’ groups and organizations, and is sort of den mother to writers, published and unpublished. For all her prestige and accolades, she’s funny, warm and approachable (except for that nasty cough she had – keep your distance, LOL.) Thanks for all your great suggestions, Donna, and for making me laugh!
And to the best convention-buddy a girl could have, Janice Hamrick, winner of last year’s Mystery Writers of America First Crime Novel contest for her book Death on Tour. Don’t we all wish we could go on a guided tour of Egypt and have the most annoying tourist get bumped off!
Great writer organization and support:
Janet Rudolph, winner of this year’s Malice Domestic’s Poirot Award, which is given to a non-writer who has made significant contributions to furthering the genre of cozy traditional mysteries. Her company “Murder on the Menu” provides interactive non-lethal entertainment, and she has multiple blogs in support of mystery novels, among other mystery pursuits (and don’t forget the chocolate – she is a connoisseur and judge! Get me that job). Yet another person who doesn’t sleep much! Her husband, Frank Price, runs the team-building aspect of “Murder on the Menu,” and we had a lovely chat during the first evening’s cocktail reception (remind me to never try balancing a wine glass, plate, and knife while standing and chatting. At least no one was hurt 🙂 ).
Nikki Bonanni founded and runs a book club/coffee club organization in Ithaca, NY called “The Killer Coffee Club.” Although you may not be able to go as a regular because of location, she has been known to set up skype interviews with authors for her meetings. Super cool!
Sisters in Crime is an organization whose mission is to “promote the professional development and advancement of women crime writers.” There are yearly dues, but you get a lot in return: a quarterly newsletter, a listserve, especially “Mentor Mondays,” website link to crime authors via WorldCat, networking, regional chapters, and so on. There is a sub-group called the SinC Guppies (or just “The Guppies” – the Great Un-Published), that provides support for unpublished writers honing their craft.
Well, that’s it from Malice Domestic! Hope you get a chance to go. I’ll be making my plans for next year!
What’s your favorite convention? I’d love to hear from you.
Thanks for reading,