Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Malice Domestic

I tried posting this early this morning but a curious thing happened: my computer had been wiped of its "cookies," and Killer Hobbies didn't recognize me! While I was in Washington, I couldn't get online from my hotel room, and ended up calling an 800 number. The person who answered walked me through all kinds of places I didn't know my computer had, trying to fix things. It didn't work, I never got to the Internet from my room. So now, back home, the changes I made dis-enabled my ability to get onto Killer Hobbies with a post. But now it seems to have fixed itself, so here I am.

Wow, has Malice Domestic grown! Many more people in attendance than back in the early days. I had a lovely time. I had planned to go out Sunday afternoon to an art gallery or the Smithsonian, but something rather good happened: The muse struck. I actually wrote two chapters of Thai Die during that weekend. This is most unusual, normally I get caught up in things and leave my laptop sitting lonely in my room.

Not that wasn't plenty going on, panels to attend, my editor to breakfast with, and a little bit of shopping. We were given a large red-canvas tote full of books, but that didn't stop me wandering the book sellers' booths. And there was a double booth selling jewelry and wonderful things like netsukes. Ivory is the traditional material used to carve these Japanese ornaments, but now they use rosewood. I bought three of the tiny ones, ojime they're called, used to hold the knot that ties the netsuke to the sash. Those for sale were shaped like tiny animals, and were about an inch high. I bought a hen and rooster and, for my sister-in-law, a rat standing on his hind legs and holding a scroll in one forepaw – a litter rat, I guess. She collects small rat sculptures, and this guy is maybe an inch and a half tall, and complete down to microscopic claws.

The panel went well, lots of good humor and intelligent comments – and we worked on our little craft items during the panel as planned. I'm stitching a fox to go in an obscure corner of the chicken quilt I will finish someday, and I got some more of his red-brown body stitched. I don't have a proper counted cross stitch pattern to work from, just a color photo of him finished. I decided to work him in outline first, following the stitching as best I could, which isn't by any means perfect. But people looking at him recognize him as a fox, so it's okay.

The speeches given the night of the banquet were deep and inspiring, I was touched and inspired by them.

I bought a copy of the book that won an Agatha for Best First, "Heat of the Moon," and started it on my way home. I'm a bit surprised at its dark mood and one fairly explicit sex scene (so far) – the Agatha is supposed to be for the traditional or "cozy" mystery. Of course, seeing what's out there in the noir sub-genre, this could be considered tame, even cozy. It's very well written, in any case. The author has an interesting understanding of the injured human heart.

The final event of the convention was the tea and hat contest. It was a very nice tea, with cucumber sandwiches, egg salad sandwiches, and lots of cakes and pastries. And tea or coffee. Then the hat contest. They had two categories, beautiful and creative. The creative ones were fun. A straw hat with Crime Scene tape for a hatband and assorted models of murder weapons hanging from it won the creative contest. And (modest blush) I won the beautiful hat contest!! I think it was the whole costume that did it: a white wool suit, pewter shoes, green shell and green hat with a narrow brim cocked up on one side with a big silver clip and a big, flat "brush." And a long, fringed scarf in green, gray and white with long fringe. I noted that I was invoking Charlotte McLeod, who was a staple figure at the early Malice Domestic conventions, and who always looked beautiful in carefully matched suits and hats. That drew a soft "Awwwwwww" from the audience, many, if not most, of whom remember her as fondly as I do. And I do use her as inspiration, and I've come to love dressing up for these events and for signings.

1 comment:

Maggie Blue said...

Monica, I'm so glad you won the beautiful hat contest! You are 'the hat lady.'

Please respond to my email about the quotation for DEATH OF A RED HAT LADY. I can't leave you out!
Sincerely, Maggie Blue