Wednesday, May 2, 2007


I'm leaving tomorrow for Washington, DC, to attend a mystery convention at the Crystal Marriott in Arlington. I went to the very first one of these conventions, which was at a terrible hotel with an indifferent staff. Now it's at a very nice hotel and I assume the staff is of the same high quality as it was last time I attended Malice Domestic a few years ago. They have some great features: a hat contest (which I will enter, naturally), solid panels, a fancy tea, and The Agatha, awards for best first, best, best paperback original, best non-fiction, etc. The prize is a hand-thrown teapot, which DOESN'T mean they toss it at you as you approach the podium, but means it is hand made by a real potter.

I've been making lists for over a week, trying to find a meeting place between wanting to bring all my fancy clothes and hats and knowing I'll have to get all that stuff on the plane and carry it out of the airport. I want the white suit and green hat, the blue suit and blue hat, the gray suit and gray hat, and the black dress and the gold hat. But I may have to leave at least one outfit behind. I'll try to get someone to take pictures.

I'm going to be on a panel about the "craft" of murder, meaning with fellow authors who mix crafts into their mysteries. And I'm going to have breakfast with my editor, whom I have never met in person. And I'm going to buy some books and have them autographed.
These events are fun, but they're important, too. An author gets to meet potential fans and try to make them want to buy her books. Pre-published authors try to meet agents and publishers, to make a connection. Agents and publishers meet their clients to see what they want next – and sometimes potential clients. Fans get to meet authors they like in person. The panels can be very useful, giving information and techniques to bring back to your own keyboard. Besides all this, they're fun.

I took a shorter trip last week, to St. Peter and New Ulm, Minnesota, looking for sites to write about in the next book. The trip was more than I expected, I may be doing a How To Write a Mystery seminar at a bed and breakfast in New Ulm this year, or next, in conjunction with a stitch-in with the owner of Nadel Kunst, a needlework shop. And I found a mysterious bed and breakfast in St. Peter, one that doesn't advertise, not even a sign by the road. A beautiful mansion, built in the 1870s, now called the March Hare Inn and Gallery. The owner is still putting it together, but he rents rooms.

I'll report on the convention next week.


Monica Ferris said...

I forgot to mention the worry that starts in about now. I've forgotten the questions we discussed for the panel. My shoes will hurt my feet. I'll be overdressed. I'll forget something important, like underwear or earrings. I'll be stupid on the panel, talking too much or too little or forgetting a point I wanted to make. Etc., etc., etc.

Mary Ellen Hughes said...

I can't wait to see what outfits you decide on, and what hat you'll wear to our panel. I have all the same worries you're having - only double! I'm counting on you - Deb and the others - to cover for me!

Mary Ellen

Camille Minichino said...

I'd like to report on a very successful panel, during which all the killerhobbies bloggers were well-dressed, well-spoken, and a lot of fun! Congratulations Deb, Monica, and Mary Ellen.
Camille Minichino/Margaret Grace