From the minute you walk into the Hyatt Regency for Malice Domestic, you know something’s up. It might be the deerstalker hats on the hotel staff. It might be the question marks projected on the wall above the bar. Or it might be the electricity in the air that charges you like a solar panel, giving you the energy to laugh, mingle, chat, hug, listen, learn, and occasionally jump up and down with enthusiasm.
In a nutshell, that’s Malice Domestic.
Photos of the conference are popping up all over the internet, and I can’t compete because I have a not-so-fancy phone that I kept forgetting to charge (and people say it’s unbelievable when an amateur sleuth is caught with a dead cell phone).
What I have are a new batch of memories that include: time spent with the chicks in the Hen House (pun intended), staying up until 2 a.m. with BFF and roomie Kendel Lynn every night, catching Tracy Kieley with her wine glass in one hand and her bottle of Mad for Mod pills in the other, drinks with Agatha Award winner Art Taylor, Friday night dinner at Ruth’s Chris Steak House (where I was so embarrassed about being late that I inadvertently ordered the chicken), chatting about Mel Brooks movies with Jeff Cohen/E.J. Cooperman (I walked away with a list of things to add to my Netflix queue), Saturday cupcake party where Terrie Farley Moran blackmailed me into signing promo material for her upcoming launch, Saturday night banquet where we all showed off how well we clean up, Sunday morning for my panel with Christine DeSmet, Catherine Dilts, Penny Clover Peterson, and Leone Ciporin, and then to Author’s Alley to hear Tim Hall read from his funny cozy, DEAD STOCK. (I got one of his jokes a half a second after everyone else, providing evidence of my quick wit. Did I mention the up-until-2 a.m.-every-night situation?)
In ways, Malice is a blur of outfits and swag, of books I want to read and authors I want to get to know better. And in true mystery fashion, it triggers the excitement of discovery, whether it’s conceiving a new plot line during the banquet dinner (notes now scribbled on the back of my room key sleeve thanks to borrowed pen from Christina Freeburn . . . Dru Ann, you were a witness!) or making new friends who feel like you’ve known for years.
I’m still basking in that post-Malice Domestic glow. I don’t know how long it will last, but for sure I’ll be back again to try to capture the same feeling next year. Who’s with me?