Con Report: Malice 2012

Hello folks! This weekend saw me in beautiful Bethesda for my first ever Malice Domestic. It was amazing!!!

The best part was seeing my good friends Juliet Blackwell and Sophie Littlefield. We gossiped, kvetched, gave sage advice (well, they gave sage advice to me), drank bourbon and KEPT DRESSING ALIKE:

It was totally on accident, but the best part was how we not only didn’t care, but secretly loved it. Which brings me back to why I adore these ladies: despite everything we’ve done, we’re still basically fourteen. AWESOME.

The above picture, by the way, was taken by Kate Carlisle, who writes one of my absolutely favorite cozy mystery series, the Bibliophile Mysteries. They’re about a book binder, and they’re not only super smart and fun, but they also have this great edge I adore. Anyway, long story short, this very nice lady whom Juliet and Sophie knew was being very nice and very smart, and I very much liked her. Then I bothered to pay attention to her name tag, and I was like, “Wait a minute.” I asked her what she wrote, and then I totally fangrrrrled on her. We’re talking full on squeal as I yelled “I LOVE YER BOOKS!” She was very gracious. Also INCREDIBLY smart, and of the very smart things she said over the course of our conversations was this gem about paranormal romance: (to paraphrase) “Paranormal romance allows contemporary novelists to recreate the unreconstructed alpha heroes of yore.” BRILLIANT! And so true! “Yes, I’m a bit of an alpha asshole who orders you around, but it’s because I’m OLD. That’s WHAT WE DID.”

Obviously, many romance writers are aware of this convention and openly engage with it, using heroines who say, “Listen, buddy, that might be how they did in Wallachia, but…….”

Anyway, BRILLIANT. And she was brilliant. And I continued to squeal at her at various inopportune moments and she was very gracious about it. And I bought her next book and I’m really excited to read it and GAH. I love loving books!

And speaking of fangrrrrling, then there was ELIZABETH PETERS. I saw her! She spoke! Not enough, but she spoke! And she is adorable and tiny and kept talking about her facilitation of camel related shenanigans when guests would visit her in Egypt, and so basically she became Amelia Peabody in my (already addled) brain. But yes, she’s amazing and it was a total kick to see her in person and see the love pouring out at her from the room. I was sitting a few rows behind Charlaine Harris (who was, of course, as kind, generous, and wonderful as always), and it was such a treat to see someone of her stature ALSO fangrrrrling over Elizabeth. It was a great reminder that we all got into this biz because we love books, and never to forget that fact because it’s that love that keeps us fresh.

In many ways, that’s what Malice was to me–a giant love fest. Granted, I was running on finals exhaustion and Bourbon (“I love you guys!”), but there was just a lot of appreciation floating around Malice. Paradoxical, considering the name, as this was the least malicious con I’d ever been to. It renewed me in so many ways, and was just the thing I needed to kick start my summer.

I also had a fab time moderating my panel, and I received a lot of compliments for my moderation skillz. I obviously have quite the leg up due to¬† my teaching, but I’ll be sharing with you some of my tips on moderating in a blog post for Friday. So stay tuned if you’re interested in that subject.

But right now it’s back to grading research papers. I hope you all have a great week and see you back here soon. ;-)

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