By R.J. Harlick
Bethesda MD was the happening-est place this past weekend. The hotel was rocking with all the murderous deeds being plotted. But since it was Malice Domestic, these deeds were being hatched over cups of tea and biscuits, with a decidedly genteel touch to them.
It’s become a rite of spring for me to climb into a van with three close friends, Vicki Delany/Eva Gates, Mary Jane Maffini/Victoria Abbott and Linda Wiken/Erica Chase and make the long ten hour drive south to Bethesda. This year we split it into two days, with stops at various bookstores to do book signings along the way. The van bubbles with our nonstop chatter and laughter. Since we are mystery writers, we can’t stop ourselves from wondering if that curious rusted out oil drum lying in the middle of a field contains a body or whether the hunched over driver in the SUV streaming past us is fleeing a murder.
What fun it is to arrive at the front door of the hotel or walk the halls to be greeted by fans and fellow writers not seen since the last conference. For me, Malice, is all about people. Sure I attend the odd panel and interview, but I get more enjoyment out of reconnecting with old friends, meeting new ones and finally being able to chat with FB friends in person. Being a writer I mustn’t forget the thrill of a fan rushing up to say they love my books.
This year’s Malice was particularly memorable for it was the first opportunity I had to meet many of my fellow Criminal Minds in person. Seven of us were there. Meredith, Paul and RM were the only ones who couldn’t make it. So what did we do, but have a photo taken.
From left to right, we are, myself R.J. Harlick, Art Taylor, Alan Orloff, Cathy Ace, Catriona McPherson, Susan Shea and Tracy Kiely. We even managed to co-ordinate our colours.
The biggest thrill of the conference was to watch our very own Art Taylor receive the Agatha for Best First Novel. Super congratulations, Art.
So until the next conference, happy writing and blogging.