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Edith/Maddie writing from north of Boston and just home after a whirlwind of activity in North Bethesda.
Yes, I’m stealing Julie’s term from her post a couple of weeks ago about being with writers and fans in person – in 3D! She wrote about being at Left Coast Crime, a conference I had planned to attend but then canceled out of anxiety about the travel and people-contact, despite how much I love New Mexico.
I was determined not to miss Malice Domestic, though, and Barb graciously offered me a seat in the car she and her husband planned to drive south and back. Avoid a round-trip train or plane ride with strangers? Yes, please!
So here’s my report.
The four Wickeds at Malice, plus Barb’s husband, Bill, kicked it right off Wednesday night with dinner at our favorite French restaurant in Bethesda. We were delighted to have this year’s Fan Guest of Honor, our beloved Dru Ann Love, join us!
I had a relaxed Thursday morning and was able to take good walk along the Bethesda Trolley Trail. Goodness, spring in Maryland is way ahead of Massachusetts.
After helping a crew of dedicated volunteers stuff the conference bags all afternoon, I met up with a few of my Mystery Lovers’ Kitchen fellow bloggers for dinner.
We adjourned to my room and were joined by Tina Kashian to assemble recipe card swag packets from all twelve of the bloggers – and drink wine, of course.
Friday the conference started in earnest.
I lunched with more friends, all of whom have been guests on the Wicked Authors. Eating is a big part of Malice!
The afternoon was full of panels celebrating this year’s Agatha Award nominees for Best Novel, Best Historical Novel, and Best Short Story.
The Guppies (short for the Great UnPublished) is Sisters in Crime’s largest chapter, and it’s all online (they let published folks like me stay on…). We had a delightful pre-dinner gathering Friday evening. So lovely to put faces to names!
Saturday morning Barb and I talked about keeping a long-running series fresh with Dru Ann moderating us and three other other authors. Dru asked great questions and it was a fun panel!
I sat in on a lovely interview chat between Guest of Honor Julia Spencer-Fleming and Vermont-based author Sarah Stewart Taylor. When talking about characters, Julia said something like, “Make things really hard for them” – great advice.
Julie moderated a panel that afternoon titled “The Place of Cozies in a Non-Cozy World.” What a great idea for a conversation, and Julie guided it expertly.
I missed the interview with Guest of Honor Rhys Bowen, but loved Kellye Garrett’s chat with Lifetime Achievement Honoree Walter Mosley.
The Wickeds met up for our traditional pre-banquet drinks and solved all the problems of the publishing industry. We all missed Liz and Jessie not being with us. Hopefully next year they’ll be here.
I was honored to host a table at the banquet that evening.
Up at the podium I thanked the Wicked Authors and others for helping me win the Best Historical Novel award for Charity’s Burden two years ago – and I finally received my teapot!
I was delighted to see good friends nearly sweep this year’s Agatha Awards: Alan Orloff for Best Children’s/YA, Mia Manansala for Best Debut, Shawn Reilly-Simmons for Best Short story, Lori Rader-Day for Best Historical, and Ellen Byron for Best Contemporary Novel!
Sunday morning, Barb and I stayed for Sherry’s panel on Sleuths with Unconventional Careers, then we packed the car and headed north.
It was a weekend full of hugs, learning, and so much celebration at being together in 3D again. After two years of being quiet, it got a little overwhelming at times, but breaks in my room helped.
Now I’m looking forward to writing quietly again, plus taking a COVID test in a couple of days to be sure I didn’t bring the virus home with me.
Readers: Where have you bravely ventured out recently? I’d love to send a commenter a copy of Batter Off Dead, which I gave to my banquet guests.