As I mentioned on my blog last week, I spent the weekend in Bethesda, Maryland, at the home of every cozy author and reader’s dream convention – Malice Domestic. Yes, this is a convention dedicated to cozy mysteries, which, if you haven’t noticed, I have a slight addiction to.
The convention officially started on Friday morning, and I was down there bright and early to help kick things off. And by help kick things off, I mean take in every second I could.
The first event was called Malice Go Round, and the official description is pretty accurate – like speed dating with authors. Everyone there was sitting at tables, and the authors would come around in pairs. They had one minute each to pitch their books. Every two minutes, these pairs would switch tables. I got so many bookmarks and other swag from that alone. And I found a couple of books I just had to buy.
Friday afternoon was filled with some big panels. The honorees had a panel early in the afternoon followed by panels for the nominees of best contemporary novel, best historical novel, and best short story. That was followed by the opening ceremony and the live auction.
What did they auction off? A couple of authors auctioned off the right to name a character in one of their books. Other authors or groups of authors auctioned off baskets filled with books and other swag. All of the auctions went for more than I was willing to pay, but it was fun to sit and watch and chat with people at my table.
Saturday saw the beginning of the regular panels. There were be half a dozen at one time happening all over the hotel. The trick was deciding what panels to attend. I usually had two or three panels I wanted to go to at the same time. Saturday, I wound up going to all three of the foodie panels. I guess that says something about the type of cozy I’m most drawn to, doesn’t it? It’s always fun to get a peek at the author behind some of my favorite series.
Saturday night was the banquet during which the Agatha Awards were given out. This was a more formal evening with presentations and awards given out as well as more recognition for the honored guests at the convention that year.
Sunday saw a few more panels before it was time to pack up and head home.
Of course, at various times, authors would be out to sign books, and there was a room with booksellers to sell those books to us. I had brought some from home, but very few. I also had a list of books I had been waiting to buy at the convention. Not that I stopped there. I also made some splurge purchases after meeting the authors.
And that was the real highlight for me. I hung out quite a bit with the authors of the Wicked Cozy blog. As you know, I’m a huge fan of their work, so it was outstanding to finally get to meet them in person. (Okay, so I’d met two of them when they were in LA at the very end of March, but that’s beside the point.) I had dinner with them on Friday night and lunch with them on Saturday, plus we hung out some other times. Sunday’s lunch was with the duo that makes up D. E. Ireland (Meg Mims and Sharon Pisacreta) plus Cindy Brown, Toni L. P. Kelner (aka Leigh Perry), and Victoria Thompson. I even made it through the lunch without admitting to Victoria that I have never read one of her books. (But thanks to Google alerts, she knows now. I promise to try to fix that soon.)
I would have liked to have met more readers like me, and there were authors I met but would have liked to talk to longer (like Laura Bradford and Kylie Logan). There just wasn’t enough time.
It is expensive to get there, especially from the other side of the country, so I don’t know that I can make it every year, but I was so thrilled to finally be able to go, and I had a wonderful time.