My Big Fat Toast To The Wicked Cozies — Guest Michele Dorsey

“Surprise, surprise, surprise.” (Gomer Pyle)

I am not an extrovert. Forget that I look and sound like one. Trust me on this.

dinner with friendsI was reminded about this heading to my first Malice a few weeks ago. I was confident having survived my first Bouchercon in October that I would sail through smoothly. I forgot how overwhelming a condensed weekend conference filled with events could be, no matter how much fun, how many old friends you get to see, or new ones you get to meet. For me, it can feel so over-stimulating, I may as well wear my nervous system on the outside of my skin. Upon my arrival from a tropical island to a dank and drizzly Bethesda on Thursday evening, I was offered an umbrella that would symbolize the warmth of the Wicked Cozy Authors during the entire weekend.

So here’s to the Wicked Cozy Authors, affectionately referred to by me as the Wicked Cozies, whose skirts I clung to for nearly 72 hours straight.  I have known all of them for years now, some better than others. I’ve suffered through and celebrated the path to publication with them and had a lot of fun along the way.

Julie on the Best First Novel panel.

Julie on the Best First Novel panel.

To Julie, who gently prodded me to attend Malice, thank you for reaching out and including me in the Pre-Con dinner and for recommending I stay at a residence-type hotel two blocks away from the Marvelous Madness of Malice. When I hit a wall Friday evening and opted to order pizza in and go to bed early, I knew this respite was why she had suggested I give myself permission to take a conference time-out.

To Sherry, whose understated words of warning merely cautioned without instilling panic. Yes, avoiding the crush of the pre-Agatha Awards Banquet, was a good idea. So were so many other of her little baubles of wisdom. And Sherry, like all of the other Wicked Cozies, never failed to know who needed a friendly face in the audience during a panel.

Michele on her panel!

Michele on her panel!

To Jessie, with Wicked Cozy Accomplice Kimberly Gray Hurth, for joining me at my table at the New Author Breakfast at the ungodly hour of 7:00 a.m. after a wild night at the banquet, and for cheering me on, assuring me the fact that I couldn’t hear the interview questions (bubble in ear after plane ride, of course) wouldn’t matter at all.

IMG_8923

Michele at the New Authors Breakfast!

To Barb, for volunteering that I did well in the interview, even if I couldn’t hear the question or the answer, for that matter. Barb’s direct, businesslike honesty made me believe her, and I knew she was facing a deadline, so there was no time for fluff. Encouragement is such a  balm.

IMG_8948For Liz’s equanimity during the entire weekend. Also facing a deadline, Liz’s calmness and generosity was impressive. Sitting near her, I couldn’t help but absorb some of her serenity and chuckle at her quiet quick wit.

IMG_8879To Edith, whose good-natured advice about what to miss or what could be skipped, for helping me sort through the “abbreviated” 50 page “Malice at a Glance Guide.” And for the fun we had trying to figure out the check at the Lebanese tapa restaurant that foolishly declined to give our end of the table separate checks. We’re writers, not accountants.

My takeaway from Malice is that it can be a fun-filled and informative conference where new friendships are born and old ones nurtured.

Michele in the audience for Barb and Sherry's panel.

Michele in the audience for Barb and Sherry’s panel.

But my lesson from the Wicked Cozies is even better. In a profession where self-doubt, isolationism and pressure constantly abounds, there is no better remedy than the warmth and generosity of a group of writers who understand how mutual support and encouragement breeds confidence, accomplishment and joy. The Wicked Cozies get that success comes to writers who are collaborative and inclusive.

So here’s to the generosity the Wicked Cozies bring to the writing community. May it be the gift that keeps on giving.

No Virgin IslandReaders: What kinds of encouragement and support do you most appreciate? Writers: Who has lent a helping hand along the way in your journey as a writer?

C. Michele Dorsey is the author of Sabrina Salter Mystery series. First in the series is No Virgin Island and Permanent Sunset releases October 11, 2016.

41 thoughts on “My Big Fat Toast To The Wicked Cozies — Guest Michele Dorsey

  1. Aw, Michele, what a sweet post! It was a delight to have you with us at Malice (and at any other time, for that matter). You were already part of SINC-New England before I joined, and I’m so happy you now have a mystery out and more to come.

    • Karen, I could write an entire blog about that alone! I will insist from now on and threaten to leave a restaurant if it won’t accommodate separate checks. I’ll bet Edith and my other friends at that end of the table might agree.

    • Ah, Sheila! I remember you waving your hand in front of my face after the Author Go Round to see if I was still conscious. But yes, of course I will go again!
      I think a lot of writers appear to be “so together” when their inner writers are terrified. I wonder why.

  2. Michele this is lovely! And you are right that no one would guess you are an introvert! It was great to see you. I must be a tad claustrophobic — it’s why I avoid the cocktail party before the Malice banquet.

    • Sherry, I’d go back to Malice just to hang out with you! I agree about the crush of the cocktail party – but others seems to love it. I’m thinking about this introvert on the inside/appearing to be an extrovert on the outside more now. I guess it’s time for me to read “Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking” before I head to Bouchercon in September in New Orleans. Now that will probably challenge my inner introvert for sure!

    • The journey with fellow writers is the unexpected gift for all of the “agony” that comes with writing. Sharing ride with you has been a joy, Julie. And hanging out with The Wicked Cozies at Malice reminded me to be grateful for our writing community.

  3. I was able to witness this (part of it, at least) first-hand and wholeheartedly agree. The support from this group is palpable. I especially enjoyed how each member of the Wicked Cozies is so unique and brings her own magic to the group.

  4. This is exactly how I felt as a fan attending my first Malice this year.

    I was so relived when Sherry messaged me a few days before the convention started- I WOULD know someone!

    And you described everyone so accurately! 🙂

  5. It was lovely to meet you at Malice, Michele, even if briefly.

    And I couldn’t agree more about how lovely the Wickeds are. They kept including me in activities, and I found that wonderful since it was my first Malice. Once I know someone, I will talk their ear off, but I’m always hesitant to go up and start a conversation with someone I don’t know. They kept sweeping me up into their plans and introducing me to people. It helped so much.

  6. What a sweet tribute. I’ve gotten to know some of the Wickeds — Edith Maxwell the most, but also the others and getting to know them better as I attend regional meetings (Sisters in Crime New England) and, of course, New England Crime Bake. They do have such a welcoming, generous spirit.

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