Malice Domestic 27 Conference

Malice Domestic 27

As a fairly new mystery writer, I didn’t know about the various conferences held all over malice domesticthe country for authors of mysteries, thrillers, suspense, noir, or various other mystery genres. This spring I went to my first conference, Malice Domestic, which is a fan/author conference, usually taking place in Bethesda, Maryland, at the Hyatt Regency. Held May 1-3, it drew 600 writers and fans from all parts of the country and from abroad. I had a marvelous time and met many of my fellow writers and some that I have always idolized. Malice Domestic usually brings out cozy writers, traditional mystery writers, and many people from the East Coast. Sara Paretsky received the Lifetime Achievement Award, Charles Todd (mother and son duo) were the Guests of Honor, and Ann Cleeves was the International Guest of Honor. Agatha Awards were given out at a huge banquet on Saturday night, and on both Friday and Saturday you could go to panels about various topics of mysteries.

This was the scene when I arrived to register at the Hyatt Regency:

134The panel with the Jungle Red Writers was one of the popular hits since they do a quiz show every year. This year they included audience members in a rollicking rendition of “Name the authors in two minutes.” A sample question would be “How many authors can you name that write books set abroad?”

670_Jungle_Red_Game_at_MaliceStarting with the third from the left, sitting, are Hallie Ephron and Rhys Bowen, Moderator Charlaine Harris, Lucy Burdette and Hank Phillippi Ryan. The others were audience participants.

Other panels included such topics as “New Kids on the Block: Our Agatha Best First Novel Nominees,” or “Let There Be Lighthouses: Murder at the Seaside” or “You Could Just Die Laughing: Humor in Mysteries.”  My panel was “School for Murder: Academic Mysteries,” and it included Neil Plakcy, Lori Rader-Day, Triss Stein, me, and moderator Debra H. Goldstein.

panelAbove:  Myself, Lori Rader-Day, Moderator Deb Goldstein, Triss Stein, and Neil Plakcy.

The first morning they did “Malice Go Round,” which can best be described as speed dating for authors. Two authors went around to each of twenty tables and had to describe their books and give out goodies in just a few minutes. Then they went on to the next table when the bell rang. It was exhausting just watching.

I was also invited to two breakfasts, one for the Sisters in Crime members, and one for the new authors.

006boasOn the left is Catriona McPherson and on the right are four of the writers, editors, and owners of Henery Press, which publishes mysteries. (Ellen Byron, Gigi Pandian, Diane Vallere, and Kendel Flaum.)  The feather boas are traditionally worn by guppies at this breakfast.

The booksellers did a brisk business and the authors signed books people bought.IMG_2068

Silent Auction ItemsSilent Auction Items 2There was also a silent auction for articles donated by various people and groups. Here are some of the articles.



They had a hospitality room for participants, and you could place various marketing articles such as book marks and business cards there for people to take with them.

Guppy lunch COLLAGE Malice 2015

I met my editor, Lourdes Venard, for the first time face-to-face, and we went out for lunch with other members of the Sisters in Crime (SinC) Guppies group. Guppies stands for the Great Unpublished, although many of us are published. Lourdes is in the upper picture to the right of me in my pink sweater.

IMG_2067 One of my favorite parts of Malice this year was the opportunity to interview Hallie Ephron, author of Night Night, Sleep Tight.  I am writing the interview for First Draft, the newsletter of the SinC Guppies. Hallie was a wonderful interview, very gracious and forthcoming with answers to my questions about her author life and her newest book.

IMG_2071All in all, it was a marvelous and exhausting three days, meeting lots of people, making good contacts in the writing industry, and talking about books. I was promoting my Five Star Publishing book, Three May Keep a Secret, at this conference. I plan to go back next year just before my second Endurance mystery, Marry in Haste comes out June 2016.

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2 thoughts on “Malice Domestic 27 Conference

  1. Great post, Susan. You made me long to be there — both for the wonderful networking and learning opportunities but also because I lived in Bethesda for many years. I know the Hyatt well and could just picture everything that was going on. Thanks for giving such a nice report!


    • You are so welcome, Britt. I was in a Barnes and Noble today, and as I looked through the mystery section I was surprised to see how many authors I knew and how many I’d met at the conference. So I’m planning to go back next year. It was really a great experience.

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