Authors Alley at Malice

By Sherry Harris

barbgoffman1Barb Goffman, Malice Domestic Program Chair, visits us today to talk about the Authors Alleys at Malice. Barb is the author of Don’t Get Mad, Get Even, a Macavity Award winner and nominated again (twice!) this year for the Agatha Award for best mystery short story published in 2013. Her nominated stories are “Evil Little Girl” and “Nightmare“.

Barb, I was so happy to see that the Authors Alley were brought back last year. What made you bring them back?

The Malice Domestic board doesn’t guarantee registered authors a spot in the program, but in practice, at least over the past several years, we’ve prided ourselves on finding a spot for every eligible author who registers before the panel assignments are made. In the past couple of years, meeting that goal had become difficult as more and more authors registered. By resurrecting Authors Alley, we could make room for about 25 more authors in the program.

What is your vision for the Authors Alleys?

Barbara Ross at Authors Alley 2013.
Barbara Ross at Authors Alley 2013.

In Authors Alley, authors have an audience devoted to them for fifteen minutes, rather than having to share the spotlight on a panel with three other authors. The Authors Alley sessions begin on Saturday morning at 9 a.m. and run through 12:15 p.m. on Sunday. These sessions allow authors the chance to whet readers’ appetites for their characters or setting or voice. It’s the time to help the readers decide they need more of the author and his or her fabulous plots. I encourage authors to try to think of unique ways to make themselves and their books stand out in Authors Alley so after their session, readers will go to the Dealers Room and buy their books.

Why should people attend the Authors Alleys?

Readers come to Malice to meet their favorite authors, as well as to learn about new authors and books they might like. But getting one-on-one time with an author can be difficult. Should you corner Earlene Fowler in the bathroom and tell her you love her? Or Parnell Hall in the elevator? You might get a few seconds to chat with your favorite author that way (though I recommend letting people use the bathroom in peace), but if you attend an Authors Alley session, you’ll get to listen to, and chat with, authors for fifteen minutes — with no bathroom door blocking your way. It’s a win-win for the author and the reader. (And yes, you’ll find Earlene and Parnell in Authors Alley this year.)

What are some of the authors planning to do this year in Authors Alley?

We have lots of fun things scheduled. Kathryn Leigh Scott of Dark Shadows fame plans to talk about her transition from actress to author. Lisa Fernow will discuss her tango mystery and share what it’s really like to dance the tango in Buenos Aires. Rochelle Staab will talk about adventures in researching the supernatural and maybe do some one-card Tarot readings. John Billheimer will address the rationale and roadblocks in starting a new series. Liz Lipperman will discuss why she’s naughty and nice. And Parnell Hall will, in his own words, “whine about his sales figures and beg people to buy his books.” You don’t want to miss out on these — and all the other — Authors Alley sessions. What are all the Authors Alley authors planning? You can read about them right here: Click on the link and scroll to the bottom of the page.

If any readers attended one or more Authors Alley sessions last year, I’d love it if you’d comment on what you most enjoyed about them. And maybe we can encourage some of this year’s Authors Alley participants to join in the conversation, too. In the meanwhile, I’m looking forward to seeing folks at Malice Domestic next week. Bethesda or bust!

55 Thoughts

  1. I love Authors Alley because it offers a chance, in a small group setting, to talk to an author I might not get an opportunity to meet.

  2. It was fun last year because you did get that one-on-one with the author and some tidbits about their work-in-progress.

    Great article guys!

  3. I was at Barb’s session last year. In fact, that’s the back of my head in the photo! The sessions provide great opportunities for both writers and readers. And just to add a plug for another New England writer, this year Maine’s Lea Wait will also be in Authors Alley, talking about her new Maine-set series.


  4. So nice to hear these comments. I’m hoping the authors who’ll be appearing in Authors Alley this year will stop by during the day and leave comments, so readers, stop back by to read more!

  5. I am really looking forward to my fifteen minutes and welcome the opportunity to meet readers. Authors Alley sounds like a relaxed way to get to know each other. thanks for the opportunity. I will definitely be making some of these sessions.

  6. I really enjoyed Authors Alley last year and look forward to it this year. Thanks for the excellent planning, Barb!

  7. Thanks Barb for bringing Authors Alley back! I’m so excited about my fifteen minutes and the opportunity to get to know readers in an informal setting. I’ll be appearing at 10 am on Sunday to talk about my series featuring a blind forensic psychiatrist. Hope to see you there!

  8. Hi Sherry and Barb. Thanks for opening up a conversation about Author’s Alley. I will be presenting at 9 am Sunday morning. While I may mention my debut novel, Well Read, Then Dead, which will be released by Berkley Prime Crime August 5, 2014 (phew–commercial over), since my time slot is the morning after the fabulous Agatha Banquet , we may all be a wee bit tired and need a perk-up, so I’ll probably bring a word game or two, and we shall play!!! Like games? Like mysteries? Feel free to join in!

      1. Ditto! (Again!) Isn’t it odd that young people today probably have no idea where the word ditto came from? Off topic, yes, but still …

  9. I’ll be in Authors Alley at 1:00 on Saturday. This will be my first Malice and I’m delighted to have the opportunity to meet people and tell them about my Jennie Connors series. Thanks, Barb, for keeping Authors Alley in the schedule – and thanks, Wicked Cozy Authors, for giving it this shoutout.

  10. Gee, I’ve been to Malice twice, and never heard of Authors’ Alley. How do I sign up??

  11. This will be my first time at Authors Alley. My mystery Windswept was recently released. Really looking forward to it. Any advise for a newbie?

  12. Thanks so much, Barb for setting this up. I’ll be in the Alley Saturday afternoon and am really looking forward to meeting readers and talking about archaeology and mysteries that both have layers!

  13. Looking forward to chatting with readers during my Author’s Alley slot at 9 on Sat, right after the Sisters in Crime breakfast. (It’s not too late to register for that and you don’t have to be a member to have breakfast and chat with us.) Lots of news to share about a new series, a standalone coming out in 2015, and a YA trilogy!

    1. Laura, we all know each other thanks to Sister in Crime. I’m looking forward to the breakfast.

      And your list is incredible! Looking forward to hearing your news.


  14. I love the idea of an alley, the cloak-and-dagger perfect place for mystery writers and fans to meet. What secrets will be spilled? Shhh. Maybe yours. I’m bringing my tarot cards along for quickie readings, all in good fun.
    See you in Authors Alley Saturday morning at 9:15.

  15. This sounds like fun. As much as I love panels, I might be tempted to just spend the day in the alley if I were able to go.

    Some year, I will make it to Malice.

  16. This will be my first appearance at Authors Alley and, indeed, my first time at Malice. If anyone has any advice for a newbie, I’d be happy to take it! I’ll be talking about why I choose to consume everything I make my protagonist eat and drink, and how I do it! It’s also a great chance to talk about my third Cait Morgan Mystery (THE CORPSE WITH THE EMERALD THUMB) which is launched this week in the USA. Since I’m not on until 10.15am on Saturday I’ll have a chance for my breakfast to have settled! πŸ˜‰ So – any advice anyone?

      1. Thanks for all the “newbie tips” Sherry. It’s quite daunting…though anticipation is stronger than trepidation right now πŸ˜‰

      2. One of my friends told me to just act like I was talking to a group of friends. Although I confess I’ve attended many Authors Alleys but I’ve never been the one in the spotlight!

  17. This is my first Malice since my debut in 2011, and I’m really looking forward to my Authors Alley time this year (Saturday at 3:15). I was so afraid I’d say the wrong thing or trip over my own feet back then. Now I can’t wait to meet and gab with fans and anyone curious about my personal weird history! Thanks, Barb, for all your hard work making Malice fun.

  18. Last year I was the first one to appear in the newly revised Author’s Alley. I was so nervous before I actually started, but then found it so much fun. I think most people who came had slots later in the day and wanted to get a feel for it. This year I’ll be at 10:30 Sat. a.m. and am really looking forward to it again. Thanks Sherry and Barb for writing about this great event. This will be my 8th year at Malice.

  19. Thanks for highlighting Authors Alley, Barb. Everyone should make sure they don’t miss Karen Pullen’s fifteen minutes which will be devoted to the new Triangle Sisters in Crime Anthology, Carolina Crimes: 19 Tales of Lust, Love, and Longing. Be sure to stop by!

  20. WordPress has shut me out on my computer, but I realize now I can post from my phone (I think). I’ve loved reading all these comments today. Thanks, everyone, for stopping by. Looking forward to seeing you all at Malice next week.

  21. Looking forward to participating. Thanks so much for organizing this, Barb! I don’t know how you keep all these balls in the air, but I’m very grateful that you do! The mystery writing community is so much richer for your efforts.

Comments are closed.