I told you last week that I would be going to my first Malice Domestic conference in Bethesda, Maryland, this weekend and that I would tell you all about it on today's blog.
Three words --OMG!!!
Now mind you, I'm used to RWA conferences where there are about 2500 or more writers, editors, and agents. I’ve attended quite a few of these over the years and loved every one of them – – and learned a potload of craft information as well. Anyway since I decided I was actually a mystery writer (thanks to an agent who knows her stuff!) I have been to 2 Crime Bakes, and they were a blast. In February I went to Love is Murder in Chicago, and it was my first taste of a conference with mystery readers as well as writers.
That was a blast,also, and quite possibly was the reason I sold my paranormal mystery series to Terry Bischoff of Midnight Ink (see earlier blog.) But back to Malice, it was a much bigger conference than the Chicago one and probably had 300 readers attending with almost that many authors. And get this – – this one is geared to cozy mysteries only. Holy cow!
I arrived at the Baltimore/Washington Airport where I met my CP, Joni Sauer-Folger. We picked up our rental car and headed to Bethesda (about a 45 min. drive.) The Hyatt was already overflowing with all the conference folks, and I quickly began hugging old friends and meeting new ones. That night, Kari and I went to Ruth Chris Steakhouse with all the Berkley people, and I got to meet my editor, Faith Black, for the first time. She's just as wonderful in person as she is on the Internet. And God, is she ever fun to be around. It was a wonderful spread put on by the Berkley folks, and I got to rub noses with a lot of the authors.
After dinner the party ended up in the room I shared with Joni, Kari, and Christine (our agent!) I forgot to mention that both Kari and Christine drove to the conference and came prepared. We had snacks galore, fruit, veggies, sodas, water, Bailey's, vodka, coconut run, wine, and tequila, and to celebrate Joni’s sale we all did shooters. The party went on until 2:30 AM with all of us eating and drinking way too much.
Did I mention that Kari and I had to get up at 5:30 AM since we had to be downstairs for the debut author's breakfast? Crap! This old lady’s butt was dragging big time. Each of us hosted a table of readers and were supposed to have something small to give them. Being the clever gal that I am, I decided to make Crème de cocoa peanut butter fudge from a recipe in book 3 of my Clueless Cook series. I had made it a few weeks ago, and it was to die for. Somehow, this batch didn't want to get hard. (Get your minds out of the gutter!) So, again being the smart girl I am, I put the 10 individually wrapped blocks of fudge with their own adorably packaged units in one of the coolers to try to harden overnight.
You guessed it. The fudge got all wet and yucky, but it still tasted fantastic, so I gave it out anyway – – and promised all the people at my table that I would send them one of my bigger promotional items once I got back home. That stupid fudge ended up costing me a fortune (promotional items and mailings) and quickly got labeled F-Up fudge. Thankfully, people who drink a lot of alcohol will eat anything, and I managed to get rid of it all – – sending the final chunks with Jessie Chandler, a Midnight Ink author who obviously is a pretty big chocoholic
Saturday night was the banquet, and as usual, the food was mediocre. I don't know why conference planners all over the world can’t come up with a nice salad plate, or loaded baked potatoes or something equally yummy. Unfortunately, Kari didn’t win the best first novel, but she's a winner in my book just for getting nominated. I happen to know another debut author who didn't even make the short list – – and frankly, I'm still pretty ticked off about that!!
Anyway, the party again moved to our room where we attempted, without success, to finish off all the liquor. We went to sleep again at 2:30, but this time we slept until 10 the next morning.
The highlight of the conference was getting to party with both my editors. I’ve already mentioned how much I love Faith. Terry is just as fantastic.
Once again, I connected with Mary Lee and Anita, the writing team of Sparkle Abby, and we planned for them to come to Dallas to sign with me this summer. They write the Pampered Pet mysteries for Bell Bridge books, and they're both adorable.
Here's the T-shirt that Terry gave me to welcome me to the Midnight Ink family. I can't wait to wear it tomorrow.
But the very best thing was rooming with Kari, Joni, and Christine. We giggled like teenagers, told a few secrets, and giggled some more. As I predicted in last week’s blog, I slept with a girl – – girls – – and I liked it. I'm already planning for next year's conference. Anyone want to go with me?
And because I'm still feeling the love from both my editors, from all my peeps, and from the fans, I'm giving some back. All you have to do is comment and say hey, and you may win an arc of BSO. If you’re real sweet, I might even send some of my FU fudge – – just kidding—Jessie took it all!