Wicked Wednesday: What I Learned at Malice Domestic

On Wicked Wednesdays, the Wickeds weigh in on a subject. Almost two weeks ago we were all at Malice Domestic, a wonderful convention in Bethesda, Maryland that celebrates the traditional mystery. We had a lot of fun. But we also participated in many ways–Malice Go Round (Edith and Jessie presenting; Barb, Sherry, Julie and Liz listening); the New Author breakfast (Liz spoke); panels (Sherry moderated her first panel), and more. So Wickeds, what did you learn?

Julie with Reine Carter (on a stick) and former SINC National president Frankie Bailey.

Julie: As always, I learned so much by watching, meeting, and listening to other authors. My biggest take away? That I need to work on the pitch for my novel, and for myself. One or two sentences to intrigue the listener, but not telling too much of the story.

Edith: That even when I’m tired, or have a lunch invitation, I’ll learn more if I hang out at a session or with folks I IMG_4692don’t know well. One day I attended Lucy Zahray’s session on poisons (she’s the famous Poison Lady) instead of going out to lunch, and came away with murder weapons for my next two books. Another day I skipped a session and took a nap, then wished I had stayed in the conference, met some new folks, made some new friends. It’s only three days, after all. So many readers to meet, so little time!

Look at all the Agatha nominations among just four Sisters in Crime New England members! Liz, Hank Phillippi Ryan, Barb, and Julia Spencer-Fleming.

Barb: I learned, once again, what a wonderful, welcoming, supportive community tradtional mystery readers and writers are. The excellent program reinforced how critical good moderators are to the success of a panel. The women of Mystery Lovers Kitchen are always good role models. Look at how they describe themselves and their books, what they give away and how they handle themselves on panels, and you’ll learn plenty. And I learned, once again, that Guest of IMG_4629Honor Kathy Lynn Emerson is a talented writer and a gracious person.

IMG_4758Liz: This was my first Malice, and it was wild! What a great experience (although exhausting). Having now seen many traditional mystery readers in one place, I saw firsthand how devoted they are to the genre and to the books. It’s an amazing thing. And it was wonderful to meet so many new friends.


Jessie: This was my third Malice and IMG_4762I learned how easy it is to feel at home amongst so many enthusiastic readers. It is like being surrounded by friends even when the faces are new because there is so much everyone has in common. Absolutely everyone I spoke with was warm and approachable and seemed to be genuinely having a wonderful time. I was exhausted by the time I got home but I think it was mostly from all the smiling and laughing!

IMG_4723Sherry: I learned that moderating a panel is a lot of fun! I enjoyed getting to introduce my friends from the Chesapeake Chapter of Sisters in Crimes to the Wickeds. I met a lot of fun new people and also some old friends. Bethesda is only about 15 miles as the crow flies from where I live in northern Virginia but once immersed in Malice it seems like I’m in a whole different world.

Readers: What do you love about Malice? Who would you most like to meet there, if you got the chance to go? (And who wants to go on a stick next year?)


27 Thoughts

  1. When I get to go to Malice—really go there/not on a stick—I am certain the best part will be meeting people.

    Julie, that’s a beautiful picture of you and Frankie Bailey! Kathy Lynn Emerson… all the nominees… I would love to meet everyone… all the Wickeds… everyone.

  2. I couldn’t make it this time. But next year for sure! I’m looking forward to meeting all “yinz” guys (as we say here in Pittsburgh).

    1. Ooh, I love American English’s solution to our lack of the second-person plural pronoun, and yinze is one of my favorites!

  3. It was a treat for me to talk with all the Wickeds together. I just wish I’d had more time to chat with each of you. Liz and Sherri, you were on the other side of the table and just out of easy talking range, but at least we got to smile at each other. And Jessie–who knew? Turns out her family comes from the same tiny Maine village I live in! I love going to Malice every year for all the reasons mentioned here. Old friends. New friends. And new ways to commit murder and mayhem.


    1. Such a pleasure to spend a bit of time with you, Kathy. I loved Kate Flora’s interview with you. And amazing that you and Jessie have that connection!

    2. It was so wonderful to see you at Malice. And congratulations again on being the Guest of Honor. Very well deserved, and your speech was lovely!

    3. It was such a nice surprise to find we share a place in the world, Kathy! And your husband was one of the pleasantest people I met at Malice. So glad to get to chat with you both whilst there!

  4. YOu are such a fabulous, loving group! This blog is wonderful…and it was so terrific to see you all. I am so thrilled with your mad success!

  5. It was wonderful meeting all of you ladies! It was my first Malice and you all made me feel part of the family! I even got to hold Reine on the stick!

  6. The elevators! Not that they arrive when you want them and they can be awfully crowded but you never know who you’re going to meet on them. A couple of Malices ago I was on a high floor and one time the elevator was full. I knew she was on there and when the elevator emptied out, there was just Sue Grafton and me for a couple of floors. What do you do when you’re alone on an elevator with Sue Grafton? Talk to her, of course!..

    At the last few conventions we’ve attended (Malice, Bouchercon) a friend and I have been trying to get together with an author for lunch or coffee but it’s never worked out. One time on Friday we were going down in the elevator, it stopped on a floor, the doors opened, she was standing there with her mother. We screamed, she screamed, we hugged.

    Another time (I think it was Friday) I got on the elevator. There was one person on it. I didn’t know her name but recognized her from her picture on the Wickeds page. I watied a couple of floors and then decided I had to talk to her. Said I recognized her from the Wickeds page and that I’d entered the stick contest (so I could be in 2 places at once at Malice). That was Julie. While we were talking the elevator stopped and Sherry got on. Made new friends that day.

  7. Thanks for the sweet shout out to Mystery Lovers Kitchen! We love our Wicked Cozy friends! My only complaint about Malice is that there is never enough time to sit down and have a chat with everyone. I wish I could have spent more time with each of you.


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