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?