Crime Writers of Canada members at Malice: Mary Jane Maffini, Vicki Delany, Linda Wiken and Cathy Ace.
Last year, I attended Malice Domestic as a debut author. It was my first Malice and my first visit to Washington/Bethesda, and as you can imagine, it was beyond exciting. I was almost not going to attend this year, but something made me decide to go for it. I’m very glad that I did, because it reinforced, once again, how supportive the mystery writer/reader community is. And it is very much a community (although we do tend to use our books to murder people who annoy us!)
One thing that really resonated with me was the number of authors and readers who stopped me to say they loved one or both of my books AND that they recognized me from my author photo. A very good reason not to photoshop your author photo to the point where you’ve aged backwards by two decades! For those of you who may not have read it, here’s a link to my author photo post.
Another thing I LOVED was meeting new authors. I remember how exciting and nerve-wracking that process was. A special shout-out to: Karen Neary…I know you’re going to get a contract… and to Micki Browning, whose debut novel, Adrift, is an Amazon bestseller.
Here are some of the highlights from this year’s conference. Unfortunately, I don’t have photos (yet) of my panel (Thrilling Suspense) on Saturday, but it was an amazing panel with great audience participation. After the panel, I popped into the dealer/book room and was beyond thrilled to see a line of people with one of my books in their hand!
At the Agatha Banquet. Author Jane K. Cleland, the host of our table, won for best non-fiction.
Jane K. Cleland with her Agatha teapot!
The line-up for author signing at 5 p.m. Saturday!
With Diane Vallere and Susan Van Kirk at the author signing.
Author signing! Copies of The Hanged Man’s Noose sold out in the book room within 10 minutes of my panel and Skeletons was selling up a storm!
NEXT CONFERENCE: Bouchercon Toronto!
If all went according to plan, by the time you read this, I’ll be in Bethesda, MD, (or headed there) for Malice Domestic, a mystery reader’s conference. This will be my second Malice, and my second time in Washington, DC, and so, unlike last year, I have some idea of what to expect. I’m also hoping to get some sightseeing in. Last year, I saw the White House and the war memorials. This year, I’m planning on visiting Arlington.
So far, my schedule includes:
A Friday Breakfast with other members of Crime Writers of Canada.
A Friday Dinner with other members of Sisters in Crime — Guppy Branch.
A Saturday Breakfast with other members of Sisters in Crime International.
Saturday evening banquet, where I’ll be at the table hosted by Agatha nominee Jane K. Cleland. I love her Josie Prescott series!I’m sure there will be a couple of lunches in there, not to mention some time at the bar sipping on wine!
It’s not all about food and drink, though. I’m part of a terrific panel of authors on Saturday 3 p.m. to 3:50 p.m.
Doris Ann Norris: Moderator
Eileen Rendahl/Kristi Abbott
Judy Penz Sheluk
Book signing from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m.
Sunday: Homeward bound, exhausted, but hopefully filled with new ideas and inspirations, and the memories of time spent with old and new friends.
I’ll be posting pictures on my Facebook Page! Hope you can stop by and check them out. Update next Friday!
As this post hits your inboxes, I’ll be in Bethesda, Maryland, for Malice Domestic. It will be my first Malice and my first trip to the Washington, DC area, and while I won’t have a lot of free time, I am hoping to do some sightseeing.
For those of you unfamiliar with Malice Domestic, it’s an annual “fun fan” convention first established in 1989. It salutes the traditional mystery—books best typified by the works of Agatha Christie. The genre is loosely defined as mysteries which contain no explicit sex or excessive gore or violence.
The convention begins on Thursday night with “A Little Spot of Poison,” a presentation by Luci Zahray, aka The Poison Lady, and continues with panels on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Here’s a look at the lineup: Malice Program 2016.
In addition to attending panels, I’m also going to be on an author panel Saturday at 10 a.m. The panel is titled Extra! Extra!: Newshounds & Murder. Joining me will be Nora McFarland as the Moderator, along with authors Jan Burke, Hannah Dennison, Kate Dyer-Seeley/Ellie Alexander and LynDee Walker. I’ve never met the other panelists, but I did have the pleasure of sharing a panel seat with LynDee at Bouchercon in Raleigh.
There’s also going to be lots of food. Dinner with the Sisters in Crime Guppies on Friday. A breakfast with fellow Sisters in Crime International on Saturday morning, the Agatha Awards banquet on Saturday evening, and the Debut authors breakfast on Sunday. Couple that with meeting old friends and making new ones, and it’s bound to be a great four days!
Stay tuned: I’m planning to post a Malice update on my return.
Recently I had the good fortune to attend Bloody Words 2014, a convention for mystery readers and authors (aspiring, emerging and established). This wasn’t my first Bloody Words—I also attended the 2012 edition—but it will be my last. Not because I didn’t enjoy every minute of the experience, but because, sadly, it’s the last Bloody Words. Or at least that’s the status as of today.
Founded in 1999, the tireless Toronto organizers, most involved since the beginning, had reached a point where the work involved in putting on a successful event had become all consuming. Efforts to get another city to host fell through. The difficult decision was made to make 2014 the final year for Bloody Words.
If you weren’t one of lucky attendees at this year’s participants, here’s what you missed:
- Authors: An opportunity to meet, greet and get to know a little more about Canadian Guest of Honour Vicki Delany, International Guest of Honour Michael Jecks, Master of Ceremonies, Melodie Campbell, and many other talented Canadian authors. There was even a mass autograph session, where authors would happily sign their books.
- Informative Panels: Three panels to choose from every hour, Friday night, all day Saturday, and Sunday morning. Experts and authors discussed everything from indie publishing to writing humor to reality in crime scene investigations. The hardest part was trying to choose which panel to attend!
- Meet & Greet: Yes, it included paying $10 for miniscule glass of unspectacular wine or $8 for a bottle of domestic beer, but sharing stories with like-minded folks was worth the price of admission. And technically, you could have bought a bottle of overpriced water.
- Banquet & Awards Ceremony: A sit-down dinner (this year guests dressed up as their favorite mystery character–I went as Kinsey Millhone–not only do I love Sue Grafton, but how easy is a black jersey knit dress, Kinsey’s go-to outfit?), the Bony Pete Short Story Award and the Bony Blithe Light Mystery Award. The winner of the Bony Blithe Award was Cathy Spencer for Framed for Murder.
- Dealers Room: Books, jewelry, truffles and chocolate (in the shape of daggers and other fun stuff), along with representation by Sisters in Crime – Toronto and Bouchercon, which is coming to Toronto in 2017.
- Agent and Publisher Appointments: A chance to pitch your completed manuscript in 10 minutes or less to one of four agent/publishers by appointment.
- Manuscript Evaluations: Registrants could submit their first 30 pages of a novel or short story for evaluation by a published author.
- Scene of the Crime Room: A staged room full of props and clues. Those who solved the crime were entered into a prize draw, winner announced at the banquet.
While each of these elements added up to a fabulous conference, my favorite part was finally getting to meet three of my fellow Sisters in Crime – Guppies (previously only known through group email digests). Here’s to Cori Lynn Arnold, Tracy L. Ward and Susan Daly, truly gifted writers and a whole lot of fun. Hope we meet again!
Although Bloody Words reaches the end of an era, there are many other writing conferences for all genres. In addition to Bouchercon, popular mystery conferences include Malice Domestic, Killer Nashville and Thrillerfest, but there are many others. If there is a conference in your area, or one in a city you’d love to visit, I’d highly recommend it, whether you’re a reader, a writer, or both (and let’s face it, most writers are voracious readers).
If you can get the chance to volunteer—something I did this year—it can enhance an already enjoyable experience. Most conferences rely heavily on volunteers, and a couple of hours of your time, whether it’s a brief stint at registration or as a timekeeper on a panel you’re already planning to attend, can make the world of difference. Here’s hoping you get a chance to find out.
Posted in Guilt by Association
Tagged Bloody Words, Bouchercon, Cori Lynn Arnold, Judy Penz Sheluk, Killer Nashville, Malice Domestic, Melodie Campbell, Michael Jecks, mystery writing conferences, Sisters in Crime - Toronto, Sisters in Crime Guppies, Susan Daly, Tracy L. Ward, Vicki Delany