I promised to give you an update on my very first Malice Domestic. An annual mystery lovers convention in Bethesda, Md., this year’s Malice officially kicked off on Friday, April 29th. Because I’ve never been to Washington before, I decided to fly in a day early to play tourist. Here’s a brief recap:
Thursday, April 28: Got up at 3:30 a.m. — the airport shuttle picked me up at 4:30 a.m. Arrived at Toronto airport at 5:30, the 2 hour obligatory time ahead of my 7:30 a.m. flight. I was too excited to be tired!
Arrived at Reagan airport at about 9:00, caught the Metro (yellow line to Gallery Place, red line to Bethesda). The subway system is very easy to navigate and very inexpensive. It was about $5 from the airport for an approx. 40 minute trip. Checked in early (thank you Hyatt Regency Bethesda), and then caught the Metro to the White House.
I played tourist and walked a few miles to see what I could. I considered a tour bus, but I knew I’d be sitting a lot over the weekend and wanted to be moving, despite the cool/rainy day. I really wanted to get to Arlington, but by 5 p.m., I was just too tired to think about it. Back to the hotel.
Thursday evening, Lucy Zahray, aka The Poison Lady, did a great presentation on lead poisoning and everyday products that could be used to commit murder. I already have an idea for a short story! (Did you know that Grecian Formula contains lead? That’s what actually darkens the hair — the lead corrodes).
Friday, April 29: A good night’s sleep, had a quick breakfast with some fellow authors, caught a couple of panels, and then headed off to meet the Sisters in Crime Guppies for lunch at Booeymonger, a local deli-style diner. We were a noisy bunch! A couple more panels and time for dinner with a group of “Facebook Friends” authors. The restaurant was REALLY expensive. I paid $8 for 4 spears of asparagus with a small strip of mozzarella cheese, and $11 for a small (and I do mean small) beet salad. Note to self: Check the online menu before making plans!
Saturday, April 30: A big day that started early with the Sisters in Crime International breakfast. Then at 10 a.m. my panel, Extra Extra, Newshounds and Murder. Joining me were moderator Nora McFarland and authors LynDee Walker, Jan Burke (yes, THE Jan Burke), Hannah Dennison, and Kate Dyer-Seeley. Thanks to Nora’s expertise, the panel went off without a hitch.
The panel was followed by a multi-author signing, and it was there that I met Harriet Sackler, Grants Chair for Malice Domestic. Harriet suggested we have lunch together in the hotel, and we were joined by 2015 grant winner Keenan Powell, who came all the way from Anchorage, Alaska.
Saturday evening is the main event, with the Agatha Awards banquet. Here, award nominees host tables, and attendees can request to sit with their favorite author. I requested Ellen Byron, who was up for Best First Novel for her Cajun Louisiana mystery, Plantation Shudders. As you can see by the photo at the top of this post, we really got into the Mardi Gras theme!
Sunday, May 1: Up bright and early for the 7 a.m. Debut Author’s Breakfast. Here, 21 Debut authors (first published in 2015) were interviewed by Cindy Silberblatt. It was great fun to meet fellow debut authors and hear a bit about their books.
All too soon, the conference was over, and it was back to the airport, but not before a photo opp with some fellow members of Crime Writers of Canada. Back on the Metro, where, due to a flight delay, I spent a few hours at the airport. Got home at midnight, exhausted but happy, and already planning my next conference: Bouchercon 2017 in Toronto. Stay tuned!