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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 don’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 Honor Kathy Lynn Emerson is a talented writer and a gracious person.

Liz: 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 I 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!

Sherry: 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?)


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