As I may have mentioned, I attended Malice Domestic this weekend. As the only other Mystery writers’ conference I’ve attended was Bouchercon in Madison, comparisons were inevitable. The verdict: Malice is a much more laid-back conference. It’s not quite as big and not quite as hectic. It feels like a conference geared more toward the fan, as Bouchercon felt like it was as much for the writers as for the fans, and Sleuthfest seems to be at the other end of the spectrum, geared more toward the writer. There was a lot of fun, entertaining and educational stuff. Like:
- Malice-Go-Round: Dozens of authors have 90 seconds each to sell you their book. They'll give you a totem to remember it by. It'll be available in the book room.
- Theater of the Air: Live mystery radio is back in this silly sketch performed on stage by the authors.
- The Poison Lady: She'll tell you she can kill you with just a few drops. And how long it will take.
- Lifetime Achievement interview: Even I've read a book by Carolyn Hart. It's always fascinating to hear about the history and work practices of someone who has achieved both success and longevity. Gracious woman, fascinating interview.
- The Agatha Awards: I'm glad I brought the black jacket. That way I didn't feel too underdressed as the fans celebrated their favorites of the year. My votes went 3-for-5.
- Charles Benoit: If he's on a panel, and especiall if he's moderating one, you've got to be there. It will be a fun time, you'll get something that is not your standard panel and meet interesting people in the process, and there are usually prizes involved.
- Panel on Diverse Characters: Rochelle Krich moderated this panel on people who write characters that highlight a diversity in crime fiction. The panel included Laura Lippman, SJ Rozan and Frankie Bailey. Really good stuff.
My mood as I left the conference, got lost in and around DC for about an hour, and started the 7-hour trip home, however, was dark. It was no one's fault but my own, and this is the only time I'll bring it up. But I didn't fit in. I haven't read enough of these authors to be able to appreciate everything that was going on, and I wasn't exactly an author yet. I knew some of them and talked to some of them, but I wasn't one...yet. I was angry at myself, because no one can control that situation more than I can myself. I have to write to have something to sell. I have to write to improve my writing.
I have to write...