When you read this, I’ll be getting ready to attend my fifth Malice Domestic. Although I didn’t leave the bench until two years later, this conference marks the fifth year of my formal commitment to a writing career.
Malice is a mystery fan and writer conference. While there, I will wear both hats while appearing on a panel, networking with writers and fans, attending the Sisters in Crime breakfast, having lunch with the Guppies, sharing a drink with the Short Mystery Writers Group, and holding my breath at the banquet hoping nominated friends take home an Agatha. The conference is a busy few days, but it doesn’t end there because invariably I go home having new people I stay in contact with.
The other thing special about the 2012 conference was being invited to be one of the twenty-four authors showcased at the new authors breakfast. I arrived at the room and discovered there were twenty-four round tables each set for ten people. The authors were expected to grab a table and act as its host or hostess, except for the few minutes the author went to the microphone to answer a question and give a book blurb.
My table was in the back of the room. Not being well known, it wasn’t one of the first to fill. Two women, looking for seats together, sat with me when the next table didn’t have room for them. From their faces, I knew they were disappointed at being unable to sit with that author. That changed when I comically handled my interview question. When I returned to the table, I had two devoted fans who I have enjoyed spending time with at each Malice since then. Although I have developed other fans, those two are very special to me.
Since that first Malice Domestic, I have been fortunate to be a panelist or a moderator at every Malice I’ve attended. Between the panels and my seating at the banquets, I have the opportunity to earn fans for Maze in Blue, Should Have Played Poker, and my short stories (this Malice, I’ll be on a short story panel and you can be sure I’ll mention the May/June Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine features, “The Night They Burned Ms. Dixie’s Place,” my first story accepted by AHMM) and I am able to mingle and become a fan and friend of established and starting writers
I love the books I bring home and the memories created, but I treasure the friends I make. That’s what Malice is to me.