Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Malice Domestic 26, Conference & Fun

In my short writing career, I've been to five writers’ conferences. Malice Domestic was the fifth. “It’s more about networking than selling books,” a colleague told me. He was right. I sold exactly one. But I thought I’d go and try to make good use of my people skills; a concept that went right out the window the second night.

Friday started things off with an introduction for first-timers like me, followed up by The Malice Go Round, a speed dating clone where authors moved from table to table introducing themselves, dropping business cards and the like, and pitching their latest efforts to fans and others. The rest of the day included a crime lab talk by the very entertaining Max Houck, Director of DC’s Forensics Lab, and other sessions geared toward the conference, and Agatha Christie.

On Saturday, things really kicked off. Authors began arriving, some from as far away as the west coast, Canada and the UK. They checked in and sat on panels that included talks on various aspects of mystery writing such as theme, characters, history, sexism, paranormal, and romance, to name a few. There were master classes conducted by experts in the fields of poison, forensics, and police procedure, anything and everything one would need to write a really, juicy, mystery. 

When the day began to wind down, authors assembled to sign their books for anyone who wanted autographed copies, and I began to notice the women filtering in, most wearing lovely evening gowns, to join their significant others for the cocktail hour that preluded the Agatha Awards Banquet.

Throughout the event I bumped into several authors I already knew; Allison Leotta, Tracy Kiely, and Penny Clover Petersen. But I also met many authors for the first time, writers such as Hank Phillippi Ryan, Brad Parks, Sasscer Hill, Kathryn O’Sullivan, and Anne Cleeland. You can imagine my delight when I introduced myself to Anne, and she said, “Yes. I know who you are.”
Absolute heaven for a new writer like me.
Anne Cleeland - Author of four novels, 
with her latest, Murder in Retribution, coming soon
Hank Phillippi Ryan
Author of Agatha Winner The Wrong Girl

Kathryn O'Sullivan
Author of Murder on the Hoof

So putting my people skills to work proved fruitful, until I was about to leave. I am a Field Engineer by trade. An IT Specialist. I fix things and answer questions. So when one of the women on the elevator pointed to a section of unoccupied elevator floor and said, “I don’t understand why the Concierge wouldn't let anyone else on,” I took it upon myself to provide her an answer. 

But it seems that instructing an elevator full of women on the dominant physics of weight-loading factors vs. power-lift ratios of a small box full of people, is not such a good ideano matter how well intentioned. 

They all turned on me like a pack of hungry jackals.

After that, it was like saying the F-word in front of a nun. Nothing good could possibly come of it.

Perhaps my next book should be on elevator etiquette ... and weapons to carry.

Best Regards,

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