Tuesday, May 3, 2011
I had a great time at Malice Domestic in Washington, DC, this past weekend. I renewed some acquaintances and discovered a couple of new ones. I attended panels, listened to newly published authors talk about their books, and ate much more than I should have – the Daily Grill, attached to the hotel, has excellent food but serves too-big portions. The Poison Lady, Luci Zahray, gave a terrific talk on pigments as poisons. My panel went well, it was noted that of the authors at the table I write the most cozy ones. The panel was Hup, Two, Three, Four, Mysteries Affected by War. My current mystery, Buttons and Bones, is involves a German POW who walks away from a camp set up for them in northern Minnesota during World War II. He was never found, and now a skeleton with his dog tag is discovered in the forgotten root cellar of an old log cabin. Evidence points to murder. Other member of the panel were Frankie Y. Bailey, Dana Cameron, Michael Dymmoch, and the female half of Charles Todd. Jack Bludis did a good job as moderator, asking some intelligent questions. I remember being surprised that I was selected for the panel; somehow I didn’t think my book was about World War II, because it’s set in the present day. But being on the panel made me realize it was about how the war affected the lives of many of the characters in the book. Even, maybe especially, the dead ones.
Jeanne Dams and I had several opportunities to talk at Malice. She’s another Hat Lady and one of her hats was a spectacular blue-green number that would have been appropriate at the recent Royal Wedding. I got glimpses of the wedding between events at Malice and was thrilled at the gorgeous hats the women were wearing. Okay, a couple of them were ridiculous. But most were beautiful, and worn with the air it takes to carry a brilliant hat off. The picture is of her and me sharing stories.
Remember last week when I was kvetching about the turmoil and trouble that occurs when you have misplaced your wallet? And how I had done that very thing? Well, after calling around for replacements for my driver’s license and medical cards and membership cards – the thing turned up in the bottom of a grocery bag. It’s the kind of bag you reuse and I can’t imagine how it got in there and how it was overlooked. I had prayed to St. Anthony, who finds lost things, and was a little disappointed when I went back to the grocery store twice to see if it had been turned in and it hadn’t. I needed to do some grocery shopping before I left for Washington, and when I was filling up the bags, there it was. Appropriately, it was in the bottom of the blue canvas bag my church had been selling as a fund-raiser. I just stared at it in amazement. Then delight – I wouldn’t have to take my passport along as a photo ID to pick up my plane tickets and get on board. Such a relief! But it’s a little embarrassing, too. All that emotion wasted on complaining about how the wallet was, I thought, stolen, and it wasn’t. I came home to find some new cards already waiting for me, so I burdened other people as well. But my wallet is back and you can bet I’ll be a lot more careful with it in future – at least for several months, or however long it takes me to fall back into old habits.
By the way, my web site is being worked on and will be updated soon.