Friday, May 6, 2016

Malice Domestic

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.

34 comments:

  1. SO GLAD you came to Malice!! Told ya it would be worth it. :-D

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    1. I absolutely knew I'd love it. I just wish it were much closer so it would be easier and cheaper for me to go every year.

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  2. Happy to see you there. (Even if I didn't rate a mention. JK.) And I can't believe you made it this far without reading Victoria Thompson. She's one of my favorites!

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    1. *Hangs head in shame* There were so many wonderful authors there I didn't get to mention. It was great to see you there, too.

      I think I bought the first book years ago. It's just a matter of figuring out where I have it. I'm sure I will enjoy Victoria Thompson when I make the time to read her.

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  3. Sounds like fun, I hope to get there one year. I think I would go crazy trying to meet all the authors that I would like to meet, not to mention all the books I would probably buy. :)

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    1. I can be overwhelming, even if you know not to try to do everything. Pacing yourself is not easy.

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  4. Thanks for allowing us to attend vicariously via your report!

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  5. I know- it was so much fun? Even for an introvert like me! You will enjoy the Victoria Thompson books- I've read most of them and the characters are really appealing and the mysteries are excellent. I was astounded to learn that for many years she had a day job as well as being a writer! What dedication! Nice to meet you Mark- hope your travels were uneventful!

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    1. It seems like most authors have day jobs. I don't have the self-discipline to keep that up. I barely get my blog posts up on time!

      Wonderful to meet you, too.

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    1. You're welcome. Thanks for your work in getting to all put together.

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  7. We will make that "more time" happen sometime in the near future, I hope.

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  8. Sounds like a great experience! Would love to attend something like that someday!

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    1. You absolutely need to attend something like this in the future.

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  9. It was wonderful to meet you! I look forward to seeing you at the next Malice or hopefully sooner as we're both in CA!

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    1. I'll be watching for any local book events you will be at for sure!

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  10. It was great meeting you and talking books and authors and how people can spend the equivalent of three mortgage payments on an auction item. :)

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    1. And you know, that conversation lead me to pick up one of your books the next day, too.

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  11. Great meeting you at lunch, and I hope you sneak back to Malice again soon!

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    1. It's a trek for sure, but I'm thinking about next year. It will depend on multiple things, but it's on a radar.

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  12. It was so much fun getting to know you in person, Mark! You are such a great support to writers. I think you said you'd been reviewing books since 2005! You are amazing.

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    1. Thank you for your kind words. I do this to help get the word out on authors I love, so it's always nice to know my efforts are appreciated.

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  13. So nice to have a chance to meet you at Malice, Mark. And guess what? I just got the first Trixie Belden book :) Thanks for the recommendation!

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    1. I do hope you enjoy! Trixie has had a huge impact on my life.

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  14. I'm so glad I got to meet you in person!

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    1. Me, too, Joyce. It was great to finally meet so many authors.

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  15. It was great to meet you, Mark! Next time, we'll talk more!

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    1. So many people to talk to, so little time.

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  16. So glad you got to come - and to finally meet you!

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    1. So wonderful to finally meet you, too, Liz.

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  17. Mark, it sounds like you had an absolutely fabulous time at Malice Domestic. Thank you for sharing your experience. I felt like I was right there with you.

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    1. Glad you enjoyed my thoughts. Hope you get to go yourself some time.

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