For those of you who love to read mysteries but don’t indulge in the marketing aspects, I thought I might share some photos from my first book conference called Malice Domestic. It is one of several conferences that happen all over the country each year, and each conference draws different kinds of authors. Some conferences are mostly for writers, and others are called “fan conferences” because readers and fans can go and meet their favorite writers. Malice Domestic was the latter kind of conference with 225 authors and another 375 fans. It was held in Bethesda, Maryland from May 1-3 this year. For a new person like me, it could best be described as three-day sensory overload.

134This was the scene upon arrival at the Hyatt Regency Hotel.elevators at Hyatt

We were on the 10th floor and enjoyed scenic rides up and down on the elevators.

The honored guests this year were Charles Todd (Caroline and Charles Todd write together), Ann Cleeves, and Sara Paretsky.


As a newcomer, I enjoyed meeting lots of other authors, including a sizable group who, like me, are writers for Five Star Publishing. I listened to panels, had two breakfasts (Sisters in Crime and New Authors), enjoyed lunch with the Guppies (a subgroup of Sisters in Crime), visited the dealer’s room to buy books and then have them signed by authors, and went to the Agatha Awards Banquet. I also interviewed Hallie Ephron for an article for the Guppies newsletter, First Draft. My own editor, Lourdes Venard, was also there with her husband Dave, and we finally met face-to-face. Here are some of the highlights:

003This is my editor, Lourdes Venard, who is the best thing to 001happen to my writing career.

We met in the dealer’s room where they were selling books,

including mine.


009They also had a hospitality room where authors displayed bookmarks010 and various marketing items, and you could see items that would be auctioned off later in the conference.



There were panels….and panels…like best historical mystery with D.E. Ireland (Meg Mims and Sharon Pisacreta), 005Victoria Thompson, Harriete Sackler (moderator), Rhys Bowen, and Charles Todd.




The panel I was on was titled “School for Murder: Academic Mysteries,” and it only fit a couple of our books well….



You can just see part of Lori Rader-Day whose book, The Black Hour, has recently been nominated for an Anthony Award.


And this is our whole panel with me, Lori, panelDebra H. Goldstein (the moderator), Triss Stein, and Neil Plakcy.




The Jungle Red Writers panel was a popular hit. They did a quiz show where they had to name as many authors or books as they could in so many seconds. A typical question might be to name book titles that had a pair of married sleuths. They could also try to fake an answer, but often they were caught.



This photo includes members from the audience who played at various times. The authors are Nora Ephron, Rhys Bowen, (team one) Charlaine Harris (moderator), Lucy Burdette, and Hank Phillippi Ryan (team two).

Breakfast and lunch meetings, chats with authors in the lobby bar, and book signings filled a lot of hours.


With Gigi Pandian, USA Today Best-selling author of the Jaya Jones series boasand the Accidental Alchemist series.

The feather boas of the Guppies group of the Sisters in Crime. These are Ellen Byron, Gigi Pandian, Diane Vallere, and Kendel Flaum.



Terrie Farley Moran (the 2015 Best First Novel Agatha winner), and Debra Goldstein, a fellow Five Star author.




Guppy lunch COLLAGE Malice 2015


Lunch at a deli across the street called Booeymongers with other Sisters in Crime members. My editor, Lourdes, is on my right.








My friend, Mary, with Margaret Maron, one of Mary’s favorite authors.








With Hallie Ephron.  She is an author of multiple mysteries, and she reviews mysteries for The Boston Globe. Her latest is Night Night, Sleep Tight, and it has a thriller of an ending!  She was gracious and clever, and I enjoyed talking with her about writing and especially about her own travels in this career. I’ll be doing an article based on this interview for the Sisters in Crime Guppies newsletter, First Draft. 

All in all, it was an amazing, exhausting, learning experience at Malice Domestic. I should have taken photos from the banquet, but I was too busy talking to people and staring at authors whose books I’ve loved.