If you are a mystery writer, maybe even if you are a dedicated mystery reader, you know what Malice Domestic is. Or, maybe you don’t. It’s a fantastic convention filled with mystery authors and even more mystery readers. It’s a grand weekend to put the two together. There are panel discussions, shared meals, autograph sessions, and award presentations. And I attended my first one the first weekend of May at Bethesda, Maryland.
An in-person conference introduces you to a lot of people. New faces. New names. But, since I’ve been a member of the writing community, especially the mystery writing community, for quite some time as a reader AND a writer, I know many names. I’ve seen many faces looking back from websites and blogs on my computer. And, wonder of wonder, some of those names and faces know who I am from seeing my posts on those websites and blogs. I have even met a few of the writers in person.
A gathering of 500 or 600 people can be overwhelming. The thing is, you can’t be shy. (Bit of a problem with that, as I’m sort of a naturally shy person, but I overcome it quite well, I think) I met people I’d never heard of before, and people who I already thought of as friends, even though I’d never met them before.
I belong to the Guppy chapter of Sisters in Crime, so I knew they were planning to lunch together on Friday. Meet by the hotel front door, I’d read. So, I grabbed my camera, met, and lunched with the Guppies. We were spread out over several tables. Here’s a few pictures of that event.
Late that Friday afternoon, I chatted with a few people. When I met Chloe. she had dinner plans, but asked me to come along. So I ended up having a lovely dinner with five ladies from Nevada. Besides Chloe, they were Marian, Martha, Susan, and Judy. They welcomed me into their group, and, of course, I took a picture.
I attended the Sisters in Crime breakfast on Saturday morning. As I came in I glanced around at tables filling up and saw a lot of unfamiliar faces. I was graciously accepted at the closest table, and as others joined us, I discovered I was seated with two of the honored attendees, Laurie R. King and Laura Lippman. (I didn’t have my camera with me. Sorry about that.)
Saturday night was the big blast–the awards banquet. As I milled among the
multitude at the pre-dinner cocktail party, meeting quite a few writers that I knew in person or electronically, I heard my name. There were my five Nevada friends. They’d scored a table for six, and had a chair with my name on it.
I’d signed up to sit at one of the Henery Press tables, so I met more people. And, I had my camera when one of their authors won the Agatha teapot for Best First Mystery.
Sunday afternoon as I sat in the lobby waiting for my husband to pick me up, I chatted with authors I’d met earlier during the convention. Of course, I went home with a ton of new books, for, as a mystery author, I’m definitely a mystery reader. I truly enjoyed attending panel discussions and listening to authors tell about things their books had in common. One was cooking–with samples. One was the invisible woman sleuth. There were so many, I couldn’t possibly attend all of them. However, it was great to meet and greet new authors and new readers–probably my favorite part of this convention.
How about you? As a reader, or possibly as a writer, do you go to conventions and conferences? What is your favorite part? The classes? The panels? The discussions? Or, like me, meeting others who share your passion.