Monday, May 5, 2014

Malice, 2014

I spent the past four days, from Thursday to Sunday, at Malice Domestic in Bethesda, Maryland.. Officially, this is a convention for fans of traditional mysteries, but I consider it the best mystery writers’ conference around. Of course I haven’t attended every mystery writers’ conference to compare, but this was my third Malice and for me, they only get better and better.

I didn’t win a chance to do Malice-Go-Round on Friday morning—when pairs of authors go from table to table, to speak very briefly about their latest book or books. But Saturday morning I was on a panel with Erika Chase, Kate Carlisle, and Kylie Logan, which was wonderfully moderated by Becky Hutchison. Out subject was “Murder By the Book: Book-Themed Mysteries.” I got to talk about my latest mystery, Murder a la Christie, the discussions my book club characters have about Agatha Christie novels, and the parallels between my novel and some Christie novels.

The best part of the weekend for me was catching up with friends, writers I’m in constant touch with via email, listservs, and Facebook. In some cases, I was finally able to meet them in the flesh for the first time, people I’ve known “electronically” for years and years.

Going out Friday night for dinner with ten friends, old and new, was a highlight for me. Every year I’ve been to Malice I’ve gone out with Th
eresa Inge and her pals. This year I brought along a slew of my own. The hotel recommended a restaurant a few blocks away, and it was a winner. The food with great, the conversation nonstop.

There’s no way I can speak about Malice without mentioning the Guppies. This group of supposedly unpublished mystery writers has grown. I believe we’re over 500 strong. The thing about the Guppies is that even after members are published, they rarely leave the group. And so it was that two Guppies won an Agatha, as announced at Saturday night’s banquet: Leslie Budewitz for Best First Novel and Hank Phillippi Ryan for Best Novel.

I’m honored to be part of my mystery writers’ world. My fellow mystery writers are from all over the country and have held all sorts of jobs and positions. Some still work at their "day jobs," as they write their books. Among my friends are a rabbi, a retired judge, a retired member of the navy. And Saturday afternoon I had a long chat with a former nun. All wonderful, vibrant people who share my passion for writing mysteries.

16 comments:

Sharon Arthur Moore said...

A wonderful post, Marilyn. I have heard great things about Malice, but alas, between budget and distance, I'm not sure when--if--I will be able to attend. BTW, I am just after the death at the book club meeting. Very much enjoying the tale!

Marilyn Meredith a.k.a. F. M. Meredith said...

I've read several accounts of this past Malice and it sounds like a great time had by all. I've been twice--but since I'm on the Pacific coast and flying has become more difficult for me, I doubt I'll get there again. Fun to experience it vicariously.

Palmaltas said...

Sounds like a wonderful, rejuvenating experience, Marilyn. I've always enjoyed the book/writer conferences I've attended.

Marilyn Levinson said...

Sharon,
I'm delighted you're enjoying Murder a la Christie.
I hope one day you can make it to Malice. It's truly a wonderful experience.

Marilyn Levinson said...

Marilyn,
You get to go to conferences closer to you, and you're so busy as it is. I'm glad you had the "Malice Experience."

Marilyn Levinson said...

Pat,
In ways it felt like a college reunion.

marja said...

I've only had the opportunity to attend one Malice conference, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I hope, especially after reading your post, to attend again sometime. Thanks for sharing your experience.
Marja McGraw

E. B. Davis said...

I can't believe I missed you, Marilyn. I was there, you were there. Don't understand it. Take care, see you online--maybe next year!

Jacqueline Seewald said...

Marilyn,

It sounds like a wonderful experience. Glad you enjoyed going!

Stephanie Jones said...

Malice sounds like a wonderful experience. I have considered going for a couple of years, and plan on attending next year as a result of your, and others I now consider cozy friends, posts. I enjoyed Murder a la Christie, and would love to meet you and other favorite authors in person. See you next year!

Grace Topping said...

The highlight of the conference was getting to spend time with you. What a terrific reunion--some of the Sleuthfest Seven. I look forward to the next time we meet up.

Grace

Marilyn Levinson said...

Marja, Elaine, Jacqueline, Stephanie, and Grace,
Thanks for stopping by.

Grace, I agree. The best part of a writers' conference is spending time with friends.

Elaine--We'll chat in person next time.

Eileen Obser said...

So glad to read this, Marilyn. It sounds like you had a truly wonderful weekend a he conference. We'll talk soon!

Marilyn Levinson said...

We will, Eileen. Thanks for stopping by.

Polly Iyer said...

I had a ball, and I'm so glad I got the chance to meet you and so many others. That's why I went, so I accomplished my mission.

Marilyn Levinson said...

Polly,
That was one of my missions as well. I'm glad we got to chat a bit in person.