From the Booking Desk:

There will be no new book review this week, as I am still catching up from a busy conference weekend.  You can see my recap of the Festival of Mystery here.  And below are some impressions from my one day at Malice Domestic.

This year, I decided to only devote one day to Malice Domestic, since I was heading up to Oakmont for the Festival soon afterwards.  So, on Saturday morning, I rose early and traveled to Bethesda, MD with my friend Sharon.  It was an easy trip to the wonderful Hyatt Hotel and registration pick-up couldn’t have gone any smoother.  The folks at Malice really have this conference running at peak efficiency.

Then it was off to the first panel of the day.

Sharon and I choose to attend “Making History: Our Agatha Best Historical Novel Nominees.”  As the title suggests, this was a panel featuring most of the authors nominated for that award.  This included:  Rhys Bowen, Victoria Thompson, Caroline Todd (half of the writing team known as Charles Todd) and Catriona McPherson (who would go Dandy Gilver and an Unsuitable Day for a Murderon to win the award later that night).  It was a lively panel with discussions of the role of women in the various time-periods and methods of research when writing a historical novel.

Next up was “Tea, Scones, and Death: Mysteries Set in the United Kingdom.”  Several of us going to this panel were late to arrive because the location of the room was not really that well marked.  I mainly attended this panel to hear Peter Robinson speak and that was worth it.  I also discovered another author, Jeanne M. Dams, who I hope to read at some point in the future.

Then it was off to the Book Dealers Room to make some purchases.  This room was a bit claustrophobic for my taste, so I just picked up the books I needed and headed out without much browsing.

And When She Was GoodThere were some signings happening in the Hospitality Suite, so we picked up signed copies of Laura Lippman’s And When She Was Good, Charles Todd’s latest Inspector Rutledge novel and Peter Robinson’s Watching The Dark.Watching the Dark

This was followed by the first of two official signing sessions in the Atrium.  Malice Domestic does this differently than Bouchercon.  Here, all the authors from the morning sessions sign at one time.  This has both benefits and problems, as does Bouchercon’s method of holding signing directly following each panel.  All in all, they both work.

The afternoon started with the annual lecture by Luci Zahray: “The Poison Lady Presents Arsenic, Strychnine and Cyanide.  Even though I had heard this particular lecture previously, it was still filled with wonderful information and lots of laughs.  If you have never heard Luci speak before, you must find the opportunity.

Our next panel was unexpectedly the best of the whole day.  “Double Trouble: Authors Who Write Multiple Series At Once” was moderated by Aimee Hix (who did a stellar job) and had authors Maggie Barbieri, Joelle Charbonneau, Kaitlyn Dunnett and Denise Swanson trading barbs and generating all kinds of hilarity.  As I understand it, this was the first time this collection of women were together on a panel, but you would never have known it. And if you ever have the opportunity, ask Denise to tell you the story of a fan e-mail she received with the subject line: SPAWN OF SATAN.  You won’t believe it.

The last panel I attended was the “Twenty-Five Years of Murder and Cup of Tea CoverMayhem,“ which covered memories of the Malice conferences over the years, as well as, a discussion of how mysteries have changed since the first Malice Domestic.  The panelists: Donna Andrews, JoAnna Carl, Earlene Fowler, and Sujata Massey all had insightful comments to make as led by moderator Verena Rose.  What was most exciting for me, however, was news that Sujata has a new book called The Sleeping Dictionary (set in India) coming out later this year.

The TestingAnother signing session in the Atrium ended a perfect day at Malice Domestic 25.  It was a great pleasure to see the delight on Joelle Charbonneau’s face when I asked her to sign my ARC of The Testing.  She is very nervous about the release of this book, the first in a YA Trilogy, and was excited to hear how much I loved the book.  Look for a review of the book and interview with Joelle in the coming weeks.

I was thrilled to connect with some author friends and meet others for the first time.  Among the highlights were Ann Cleeves, Hank Phillipi Ryan, Frankie Y. Bailey, Catriona McPherson, Dana Cameron, Toni L.P. Kelner, Sara J. Henry, Joelle Charbonneau, Michael Stanley, Caroline Todd, Frances Brody, Tammy Kaehler, and Maggie Barbieri.  No doubt, I am leaving people off this list and I will chalk that up to conference fatigue.  It was an honor to meet both the readers and authors at the conference.

Lookout_Avatar_2And exciting for me, on a personal level, was how many people recognized my name, logo and Avatar.  Word of the blog is spreading and I have all of you to thank for that.

See you in Albany!