Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Off to Malice

If you read this blog on a regular basis, you know that I spend an inordinate amount of time in my attic. My office is located up there, a little alcove that is filled with books, manuscripts, and shoes (we’re short on closet space in this almost one hundred year old house). But for the first time in my writing career, I’m heading to Malice Domestic this weekend with the northern half of Evelyn David, my good friend Marian Borden, who has schooled me in the ins and outs of attending the convention. And thank god she did, because I had no idea what to expect.

As she mentioned in Monday’s post, we have both been invited to participate in Malice Go Round, a mystery convention version of speed dating, where we have the opportunity to do a two-minute presentation on our latest books—mine being Quick Study—to groups of fans. I was told by the person chairing the convention that it is nice to do a little giveaway, a bookmark, post card, some candy. Well, suffice it to say that BJ’s needs to restock their candy aisle because I bought more candy than I’ve ever bought during the Halloween season, and still didn’t make my goal of making it last through one hundred bags. I’m on eighty, with a goal of preparing one hundred and fifty. So it’s back to BJ’s this week. I hope they’ve restocked.

Marian and I had a quick lunch to go over the details of the convention. My concern? That I’ve been in the attic so long that I’ve forgotten how to behave in polite society. If your day in the “office” starts at eight and ends somewhere in the vicinity of twelve hours later—after brief interludes of making sandwiches, doing laundry, NOT cleaning the bathroom, and preparing chicken cutlets for the fifth time in a week—and you’re by yourself with only Bonnie, the very emotionally needy Westie, to keep you company and talk to, you’d be nervous, too. I’m guessing that mystery conventioneers don’t respond to the same verbal cues as Bonnie and won’t get all excited if I ask them if they want a treat. I’ve been practicing my convention small talk, and watching myself in the mirror as I introduce myself to someone else. (That hasn’t been going very well. I’m starting to look like someone who needs anti-anxiety medication. When you introduce yourself, I guarantee that your smile shouldn’t include ALL of your teeth. Molars shouldn’t be part of the introduction equation.)

Marian and I are looking forward to the opening night reception (see previous paragraph on small talk, introductions, and smiling) and the banquet on Saturday night, though I am in a dither as to what to wear. If I wait long enough to pack, that will become a non-issue and I’ll just throw something in my suitcase that will have to do. I have a longstanding aversion to packing since my editorial job where I had to travel three months a year. Packing meant leaving and leaving meant not seeing husband and child number one for at least a week, if not longer. I’m trying to think through what I need, but know that I’ll be throwing items in a suitcase on Thursday morning, moments before I’m supposed to leave, confident that there is an underground mall beneath the hotel for anything I’ve forgotten.

I expressed all of the anxiety I was feeling about traveling down to the convention in a recent post. But something recently dawned me: I’ll be in a hotel room, by myself, for three nights. That, in itself, sounds fabulous. And if I do have any anxiety about mixing and mingling, I only have to remember the inimitable words of fellow poster, Marilyn Meredith: “Everyone’s in the same boat. Just smile and start talking.”

I’ll do that. I’ll just have to make sure that I keep my molars to myself.

Maggie Barbieri


  1. Oh, Mags, don't worry. You will be great at the conference! You have always had a charm and style about you that wins people over and your smile is great. Plus, you are representing REALLY good books of a genre that the convention goers already LOVE. This is your kind of crowd, is what I'm saying.

    Just be your sweet and sassy self and nothing will be a barrier too high for you.

    Good luck and do enjoy the luxury of a private room for a few nights. Hope to hear more about it when you're back.

  2. Vick: You're the best. I wish you would write a mystery so that you could come with us! We could call reviewers while we're at it and make it feel like 1986/Macmillan Publishing Company times. I've been packing so I'm getting excited; am bringing way too many shoes and Marian and I don't wear the same size so I'll have to wear them all myself. Maggie

  3. Relax and enjoy, Maggie! You will be fabulous! Being out of mystery, I miss going to Malice. So give us all the scoop when you're back and have a blast!


  4. you're going to be FAB - HELL you talk to me all the time and I find you quite engaging and frankly you could speak to the dead and NOT make their ears bleed - THAT'S A COMPLIMENT BY THE WAY!!!!
    All you need to pack are those hooker shoes.....that's it....

  5. Hi Maggie,

    You and Marian should be sure to send in some updates (not photos from the bar) from Malice - I'll post them to the blog over the weekend.

    the half of Evelyn David who is staying home this weekend