Thursday, June 14, 2012

The Stiletto Gang welcomes Aimee Hix!

There is an adage that you never ask a question you don’t know the answer to already. I posit that sometimes it is a bad idea to ask a question even if you do already know the answer.

I was recently asked to be the moderator for an author panel at Malice, Dirty Little Secrets: An Inside Look at the Writer's Life. A friend of mine, the lovely and talented Laura Bradford had the idea for a fun new panel that would shake things up a little and allow a group of fans a little deeper into the minds of authors. I instantly said yes because … who wouldn’t?

I spent reading up on the panel authors. I sent emails introducing myself. I drafted bios. I crafted a set of questions so numerous that I could host this same panel for five more years with no extra work. I was determined that this panel would be the funniest, most fun, most uproarious panel ever in the history of Malice. The night before I swapped the order of the question cards so many times it’s a wonder I didn’t show up to the panel with my hands swathed in yards of gauze to protect my paper cut laden hands. I settled on just the perfect seven questions I thought we could get to before time ran out.

The morning of the panel dawned … well, I am not sure how it dawned because I was so focused on not screwing up the panel that a zombiepocalypse could have occurred and I would have been oblivious. Plus I was severely sleep deprived from the socializing the two previous nights. Punch drunk on caffeine and nerves, hyperventilating is just really not the way you want to head into a public speaking engagement is all I am saying. Had just one of my handicaps not been in play I might have noticed that Question Number Four was a bad idea.

Question Number Four is a question I love. You should use Question Number Four in your own life and you’ll see firsthand why it’s such a good question to learn about someone’s character.

“What is the kindest thing someone has done for you in your life?” The words were out of my mouth, amplified through the microphone, out in the crowd and up in the recording being made in the bowels of the hotel when I realized I knew what Laura could answer. What she then did answer.

A few weeks before, I had done the MS walk to raise money in Laura’s name. I know that she considers this a kindness but what I did was very selfish. I did it for no nobler a reason than I want this special, wonderful person around, happy and healthy for a very long time. She makes my world better.

During the telling, Laura gets choked up and then with a prickling of tears in my eyes, frantically, I look for something, ANYTHING that isn’t one of the crying people I am sure is in the audience filled with our friends and lovely strangers.

My boisterous laugh riot panel has now become the panel where people cried. My heart fell. This was not what we had envisioned or planned. People wouldn’t remember Jeff Cohen’s schtick or Robin Hathaway recounting that 17 people is really too many to kill off in chapter one. No, people would remember our panel as the one with the crying. Which … is actually better, I think. They got An Inside Look at the Writer's Life which is what I was hired for, after all.

Aimee Hix is a wife, mom, a friend and a professional Statistician (sadly, it’s not as sexy as it sounds).  She is the rare breed of Northern Virginia native that has live there all her life, much to her chagrin.
Aimee is a pre-published author and a movie reviewer for the Flixy Mom blog ( proudly providing family movie reviews for parents by parents.


  1. I am so sorry that I missed this panel. After having met you at Malice Domestic (one of the highlights for me), I'm sure it was an excellent panel. And you're right right, that is a great question to ask people. Sorry that it brought tears, but it goes to show what a great question it was. Very touching.

  2. Yet another reason I'm sorry I missed this year's Malice!

  3. Welcome Aimee.

    Lovely question -- and lovely story.


  4. Aimee, thanks for stopping by! I was at the panel and you were amazing. The questions were great, the panelists of the best panels I've ever seen. Maggie

  5. I'm crying now! What a wonderful question to ask the panel. And a touching story. You must have been a super moderator. I'm sorry I missed that panel. There was far too much to do and see for this little newbie at Malice.

  6. She WAS a super moderator! I was there and loved every minute of it. Great hosting, Aimee, and lovely post! (((HUGS))) to you!

  7. WOW! Thank you all so much.

    I hope I am invited to do this panel at future Malices. It was so much fun and I had such wonderful panelists who were really into the theme and just did such a wonderful job.

    I know that recordings of the panels will be available on the Malice webpage some time soon so if you'd like to catch up on any panel you missed, you will be able to listen to them.

  8. It sounds like you really did your homework to be a wonderful moderator. Sounds like everyone was glad to attend. I wish I could make it back to Malice one of these years.


  9. You are perfect, Aimee Hix. That's a great question, too--it gets right to the human side of it all. I'm going to borrow it for a panel I'm moderating Saturday.

  10. Laughing, crying. I don't care which. If you provoke reaction from the audience (other than yawning or leaving the room), it's good with me. Thanks for being such a great moderator for Malice!

  11. Oh, Aimee, I so identified with your post. Oh, not the poignant crying stuff because of your generous gesture for Laura, but the preparation to moderate a panel at Malice. Did my first this time around, and like you, I really overdid the prep. I'm sure my panelists were sick of me by the time I finished making them all introduce themselves by email ahead of time, discuss the questions ahead of time, and meet in the Green Room so we could prepare more. You described that process so perfectly and humorously! Sounds to me as if you made a fabulous moderator.

  12. Aimee was a great moderator as she got the audience involved as well as the panelist. It was one of the best I attended this year.

  13. I loved how prepared you were for your panel. The notecards were awesome! You rock!!!

  14. I loved this. My favorite part, other than your devotion to your friend, is: "Punch drunk on caffeine and nerves, hyperventilating is just really not the way you want to head into a public speaking engagement is all I am saying." It sounds like it was a good event; crying makes everything better. -Molly