Memories of Malice 2018

Five of the Wickeds and two of our accomplices attended the 30th Malice Domestic conference last weekend. Malice celebrates the traditional mystery, and we celebrate alongside hundreds of mystery fans and authors (although we sorely missed Liz and Jane joining us). Here are some of our highlights.

Sheila:  Ann Cleeves and Brenda Blethyn. Need I say more? Delightful and talented women who were gracious to the adoring throngs of fans. I asked and was told that “pet” is a term that applies to both men and women and is regularly used by Geordies (those who live in Northumberland, I understand).

Apart from the miles of walking from one end of the convention hotel to the other, everything went smoothly, and I saw many happy faces, and talked to more people than I can count.

Edith: So many highlights!  The core Wickeds started off with dinner together, minus Liz, alas.

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Jessie and I found our Agatha-nominated books on the special table in the bookstore!

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The Sisters in Crime breakfast is always a wonderful gathering. Those of us present from the Sprint Club – which Ramona DeFelice Long runs every morning – got a group shot in, too.  The sprints get me writing every morning at seven and I am grateful.

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Sprint Leader Ramona DeFelice Long at far right.

The Kensington signing and book giveaway on Saturday was very popular, with an entire box of my books going in under an hour. I had a delightful crew at my banquet table that night, including the Wickeds’ agent, John Talbot, and a bunch of avid fans, plus Map Your Mystery blogger Christine Gentes (standing at far left).

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Sunday was topped off by a fabulous interview between Catriona McPherson, Toastmaster, and Lori Rader-Day (who could do stand-up comedy if she wished), then the Agatha Tea. But I don’t want to monopolize the blog! Next?

Sherry: One of the highlights for me was introducing Dorothy Cannell and Marcia Adair at the Sisters in Crime Breakfast on Saturday morning. Every year a scholarship is given in Dorothy Cannell’s name to a member of the Guppy chapter of Sisters in Crime so that member can attend Malice Domestic. This year the winner was Marcia. I had a great time getting to know her during the conference. And as I said in my post yesterday it’s just about getting to hang out with members of the crime fiction community be they readers or writers.

Jessie: On Thursday I started out the weekend by spending the day with most of the Sleuths in Time for a plotting and chatting session. They are a fun group of women! Friday evening I had a great time at dinner with the Wickeds own Kim Gray and a host of other friends both old and new.  On Saturday I really loved signing books for some new readers at the Kensington book giveaway! I also had a wonderful time meeting some of the lovely ladies who have already read some of my work at the table I hosted for the Agatha banquet. They were a lively and fun group!

Barb: In the photo below I’m with two members of the Maine Crime Writers, Kathy Lynn Emerson/Kaitlyn Dunnett and Lea Wait/Cornelia Kidd. Bruce Robert Coffin and Maureen Milliken were also there, though I only saw Maureen once, passing in the long hallways.

Kathy Lynn Emerson/Kaitlyn Dunnett, Lea Wait/Cornelia Kidd, Barbara Ross. No, we did not coordinate our outfits!

I had loads of fun on my panel Murder at the Improv, making up a mystery on the fly from audience suggestions with Sheila Connolly, Hank Phillippi Ryan and Parnell Hall.

Murder at the Improv with Barbara Ross, Hank Phillippi Ryan, Sheila Connolly and Parnell Hall.

Julie: I am still exhausted from Malice! Favorite parts? Seeing folks, even in passing.  My panel with Sherry, Shari, and Leslie that Sherry talked about yesterday.  Barb and I hosting a really fun table of folks we didn’t know at the banquet. Seeing Catriona McPherson shine as the toastmaster. Edith and Jessie’s excellent panel (with Rhys Bowen, moderated by Harriet Sackler). Breakfast with Jacki York, who we first met when we carried her on a stick a few Malices back. Seeing Annette and Ramona, the sisters de Felice. Meeting people, as always. But the best part? Laughing. What a great group of folks at Malice. SO much laughing!

Malice going friends, what was your favorite part of the weekend?

Taking a Breather

Edith here, post Christmas, in between books, still north of Boston.

In between books? Is she ever in between books, you ask?

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Preston knows how to take a breather – under the Christmas tree.

Well, yeah, sort of. On Friday I’ll start writing a new book (Local Foods #5, Mulch Ado about Murder). After I finished one round of polishing of the March 1 book on December 16 and sent it along for our very able Sherry Harris to edit, I realized I could take a little break. Shouldn’t we all take a breather now and then, especially at this time of year?

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Me and Allan

Sure, I have blog posts to do, and a couple of proposals to get ready, and a launch to gear up for. Those can wait. One of my sons has been here for more than a week, always a treat. I’ve also spent time with my young friends and with older friends, and will have a whole day with Master J (age 6) on Wednesday.

What a delight it’s been to not anchor myself to 1500 words per day, reading through a manuscript on paper for two or three days straight, or doing multiple editing passes. I really do treat this fiction-writing thing as a job, and a job means working every day but Sunday. So I guess I’m taking a staycation!

I’ve seen movies, baked, played Scrabble,  socialized, gone on a beer tour (fun!), taken

Wine glass coasters made from West African cloth

Wine glass coasters made from West African cloth

endless walks both alone and with others. And sewed. I love sewing. I learned it from my mom, and really enjoyed spending a couple of days creating these cute (and complicated) wine glass coasters for several friends as Christmas gifts.

But mostly I’ve been reading! I have SO many books I wanted to catch up on, and it’s the holidays, after all. Interp-of-murderHere’s my list since December 16 (and I still have four days left…):

  • An Interpretation of Murder by BK Stevens. The first mystery I’ve read with a sign language interpreter protagonist, and a great read.
  • To Brew or Not to Brew from Joyce Tremel – who was our guest right here recently. I loved this Brewing Trouble mystery – and boy, did I think of her on my brewery tour yesterday.
  • Guilty as Cinnamon by Leslie Budewitz (who has also guested with us), the second and very delicious Spice Shop Mystery.
  • Ho-Ho-Homicide. I’m finally getting to Kaitlyn Dunnett’s Liss MacCrimmon series and am glad I did – I really liked Liss and her adventures. Kaitlyn, aka Kathy Lynn Emerson, is another Wicked friend.
  • gerbildaughterThe Gerbil Farmer’s Daughter, my author pal Holly Robinson’s memoir, to which I was very tardy getting to. I knew I would love it, and I did.
  • Princess Elizabeth’s Spy from Susan Elia MacNeal. I’m slowly getting through her Maggie Hope mysteries, which all take place in England during World War II. This is the second I’ve read and I can’t wait to finish the series to date.
  • I read an ARC of Wendy Tyson’s A Muddied Murder, which was right down my alley, since it’s a Certified Organic Greenhouse mystery. Nice job, Wendy – I’ve already sent in my endorsement.
  • Murder at Beechwood from Alyssa Maxwell, another intriguing Gilded Newport MMurderBeechwoodystery. And she has a new early-1900s series coming out, too!
  • And of course, Murder Most Finicky will be out tomorrow from Wicked Cozy Liz Mugavero, so I’ll be sure to finish that by the end of 2015, too

It’s a real breather for me to immerse myself in my author friends’ book – and yes, I know all these authors personally. I suppose I could read books by people I don’t know – but the To-Be-Read pile by people I DO know never gets down to zero!

Readers: How do you take a breather, recharge, regroup? Are reading binges part of it?