Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Highlights of Malice Domestic, by Kathleen Ernst


I'm on the road home to Wisconsin after spending the weekend at Malice Domestic, the annual convention celebrating traditional mysteries. I've been attending Malice for quite a while, but this was one of the best yet. Here's my top ten list of reasons why:

1. Meeting readers! I often attend writers' conferences, and they are great for networking and honing my craft. But we write books for readers, and meeting them is nothing short of joyful. Malice readers are passionate about mysteries. What better people to hang out with?

2. Meeting and hearing some of my own favorite authors. They were uniformly gracious and informative.

3. Mary Higgins Clark, who received a Lifetime Achievement award. She is such a huge star that I had no idea what to expect. She was funny and articulate, and somehow managed to be both proud of her accomplishments and humble at the same time. She had a tough road to superstardom, and I found her inspirational.

4. Good attendance. I don't know the actual numbers, but it seemed that the conference was better attended than last year, when Malice struggled (like everything else) because of the bad economy. I'm glad to see the conference appears to be on stable footing.

5. The annual auction, which raised thousands of dollars for literacy programs.

6. The Culture Clash panel. I had the pleasure of talking about one of my favorite topics, cultural identity and related issues, with fellow Midnight Inker Alan Orloff, Rhys Bowen, and Frankie Bailey. The moderator was well prepared, and we had a great discussion.

7. No snarkiness. I've attended lots of conferences and conventions. More than once at one of the bigger ones I've heard authors publicly ridicule sub-genres or even individual authors. It never happens at Malice.

8. Friends. We writers are geographically far-flung; I love catching up with people I only see once a year.

9. Calm reigned at the freebie table. In years past, I watched in dismay as a few authors claimed more than their share of tablespace, moving or even covering other authors' offerings. For whatever reason, this year the table seemed to stay well-organized all weekend.

10. Fellow Midnight Ink authors! What fun to catch up with my colleagues-in-crime. After hearing some of them speak (unfortunately, the schedule did not permit attendance at every panel) I am more eager than ever to catch up on their work. Thanks, everyone! What were some of your favorite moments?

14 comments:

Lisa Bork said...

Let's see...Parnell Hall singing writing-themed songs at the award banquet. And the uncensored William Link telling us what he really thought of Burt Reynolds. And the "friend panel" of Dorothy Cannell, Margaret Maron, Nancy Pickard, and Sandy Goldenbaum. All too funny!

And getting to meet and chat with the extremely nice MI authors.

Dru said...

Mine favorite moment was meeting all the authors that I enjoy and oh my gosh, Parnell Hall performance at the banquet was the best.

Alan Orloff said...

There were a ton of highlights, that's for sure! The best part for me was meeting all the MI authors in the flesh and discovering they're even nicer in person!

Alan Orloff said...

Of course, Kathleen, modesty prevents me from mentioning how incredibly awesome our panel was.

Keith Raffel said...

Alan in re your comment. Did the MI writers all meet in a hot tub or something?

Alan Orloff said...

Keith,

What happens in Crystal City stays in Crystal City.

G.M. Malliet said...

My favorite moment was having so many MI authors at my table. You-all are wonderful. Sorry to have missed the hot tub later.

Elizabeth Spann Craig/Riley Adams said...

Great meeting you, Kathleen!

You and Alan had a great panel...

Elizabeth

Kathleen Ernst said...

I look forward to seeing more MIers at Bouchercon, which is the next mystery con I'm attending (unless anyone else is attending Lee Lofland's Police Academy for Writers).

Cheers,
Kathleen, who just made it home and no longer has to search for wi-fi while on the road!

Beth Groundwater said...

Many of the Inkers who weren't at G.M.'s table were at Sue Ann's table, and she gave out ARCs of MURDER IN VEIN as table prizes. Wowzer! I can't wait to read mine. I loved getting a dozen MI'ers together for a group photo. In the one from my camera, Alan doesn't show up, so if someone has a better one, please email it to me!

Deborah Sharp and I were on the "Into the Wild: Mysteries Set in the Great Outdoors" panel, and we all had funny stories to tell about our experiences researching our outdoor settings. Barb Goffman told me she could hear our audience laughing often through the walls.

The most exhausting event was the Malice-go-Round, pitching your book 21 times to tables of attendees. I really needed a nap after that hour and a half marathon!

Keith Raffel said...

Beth, of course Alan doesn't show up in photos. He's a vampire, don't ya know?

Renaissance Women said...

I have just gotten to read this post. What an absolutely empowing event this must have been. It is on my list of things to do. Thank you.

Jane Kirkpatrick said...

I didn't attend but loved reading Kathleen's highlights and discovering this site because someone posted it on the Women Writing the West list serve. A creative crowd you InkSpotters. Not surprising knowing that Kathleen, a favorite writer and friend, is among you!

Joni said...

Speaking for the Malice board, we were certainly happy to have all the excellent MI authors there this year! And we're glad to have provided you with that hot tub... I think...