Friday, May 8, 2009


As most of you know, last week I attended the Malice Domestic conference in Arlilngton, Virgina, and on Monday, the Festival of Mystery (hosted by Mystery Lovers Bookshop) in Oakmont, PA.

6a00d8345202e069e2011570749756970b-500wi This year's malice was my favorite for a number of reasons. First, I got to meet my editor. We've been corresponding via e-mail and the occasional phone call for three years now. I'm happy to say I like him a lot and we had some very interesting conversations. (We're both HUGE Star Trek fans, but see the series in different ways. We decided it's best left as a topic not discussed in future meetings.)

Leann & Sheila The second reason is I got to spend a lot of time with two of my blog buddies from Writers Plot, Sheila Connolly and Leann Sweeney. (Leann and I hung out a LOT.) Another member of our group blog was there (Jeanne Munn Bracken), but she moved so fast and rarely stood still, I never even got a picture of her!

Leann and I were on a panel about animals in mysteries. (Leann's new book is called "The Cat, The Quilt, and the Corpse.") Leann and I were on the cat side, while authors Peggy Webb and Judi McCoy were on the dog side. (And the panel was deftly moderated by Sandra Parshall.)

This year I went to the banquet for the first time. I know some people think banquets are tedious, but I actually enjoyed it, probably because I sat between author Mary Jane Maffini and Berkley editor Sandy Harding, both charming women. Also at the table: Shiela, our friends Krista Davis, Janet Bolin, Daryl Wood Gerber, Deb Baker, and my editor. The chicken wasn't rubbery (in fact, it was quite good!), and the dessert was layered chocolate to die for. (And I didn't think to take a picture. Bummer.)

Sunday things were winding down and Leann and I left early, heading for Oakmont. We paused for lunch, and then headed to Breezewood, where we stayed for the night. (Much cheaper.) It also gave us some time to wind down from the conference.

Rosemary Harris Monday, we were on the road again, heading for Oakmont. Our first stop (after checking into the hotel and having lunch) was a library reception sponsored by the Allegheny County Library Association. Here we pitched our books to librarians and friends of the library. I'm not good in these situations, but my friend Rosemary Harris is. She took me around the room and introduced me to people she'd only just met, and set me up for my pitch. Can you say: ETERNALLY GRATEFUL?

The Festival of Mystery, sponsored by the Mystery Lovers Bookshop, brought together 40 authors from the US and Canada. Several hundred faithful mystery readers attended and, more importantly, bought 1804 books in about four hours. I sat next to Rhys Bowen, who has a LOT of books in print. (I felt like a piker with my three books.) I got to see a bunch of people, but there wasn't much time for talk, as we pitched and sold our books to faithful mystery fans.

Naturally, I didn't take as many pictures as I would've liked. If you'd like to see more of my pictures, they're posted here and here.

It was an exhausting five days. But boy, was it fun!