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Guest Cheryl Hollon: Are you ready for in-person conferences?

By Liz, so happy to welcome my friend Cheryl Hollon back to the blog! Cheryl and I go waaaaaay back…one of my fondest memories of her is our impromptu pitch practice session at Sleuthfest 2008. And today she’s talking about the return of in-person conferences. Thanks for being here, Cheryl, and for making me feel like I was at Malice since I missed it!

It’s only been a week, but it feels like last night and last year! I went to my first post-COVID convention, Malice Domestic, from April 22-24, 2022, in Bethesda, MD. It was filled with happy squeals from mystery writers and readers who hadn’t seen each other in two years.

The first person I saw was the fabulous Dru Ann Love, the Fan Guest of Honor and CEO of Dru’s Book Musings, and Kristopher Zgorski, founder of the BOLO Books Blog. She volunteered to staff the registration desk on Thursday night and handed me my badge and bookbag. It was lovely to hug her first.

On Saturday morning, I was lucky to be on a panel moderated by Fan Guest of Honor Dru Ann Love. The subject was How to Keep a Series Fresh. The panelists were Amanda Flowers, me, Edith Maxwell, Barbara Ross, and S.C. Perkins. We had an absolute blast! Dru Ann’s questions were well-researched and kept us on our toes. We didn’t have a preview of the questions beforehand! We truly enjoyed being with our attendees and laughed like children.

After that, you can imagine my delight when I went to the Book Signing session and sat beside one of my mystery writer heroes. Maureen Jennings, the author of Murdoch Mysteries, an 1895 Toronto detective series, had a signing line to envy. I was a complete fangirl. Also in the picture is Risa Rispoli taking around her e-book cover to get signatures so she can frame them. What a clever idea!

It was sheer joy to see Edith Maxwell receive her long-awaited Agatha teapot for CHARITY’S BURDEN, the 4th book in her Quaker Midwife Series. 

My fellow Floridian and President of the Florida Mystery Writers of America, Alan Orloff, was awarded an Agatha in Children/Young Adult category for I PLAY ONE ON TV. 

What a fantastic return to a treasured conference. Even better was seeing all our online writer friends and reader fans in 3D instead of 2D. See you next year.


There’s a 3-book #giveaway and some lovely SWAG (Stuff We All Get)! Post a comment telling me what you look forward to and what might concern you as we inch into a new normal in the comments.

My Paint & Shine Mysteries are set in the Daniel Boone National Forest. My parents were born, raised, and now rest in the Adams Family Cemetary in Wolfe County, Kentucky. The characters spend a lot of time preparing traditional southern meals and creating moonshine cocktails. Please consider buying local. Our independent bookstores need your help during this challenging time. 

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