Conferences, Conferences, Conferences

by Barb, on the train to Malice Domestic even as you read this

My business partner and I used to joke that anything anyone asked us to do, we would agree to, as long as it was six months away. It’s so easy to look past the craziness of the present and say, “Oh, sure. Things will have settled down by then. I can do that.” But when you get there, of course they have not.

So, last fall, I apparently thought it was a great idea to attend three conferences three weekends in a row. Last weekend, it was the Maine Crime Wave, sponsored by the Maine Writers and Publishers Alliance, where I moderated the debut authors panel. Since I knew that all the authors on my panel, Maureen Milliken, Bruce Coffin, Dick Cass and Brendan Rielly would be funny and informative, I didn’t have to stress about it. Instead, I got to enjoy the day, attending terrific panels and catching up with many fabulous Maine writers after the long winter away. I heard the craft sessions were excellent. I met people from Massachusetts, New Hampshire and even Missouri at the event. Maine CrimeMaster Award winner Tess Gerritsen and her agent Meg Ruley not only spoke on the morning panel, they hung out all day, attending panels and sessions, which I thought was remarkable and generous.

Debut authors panel at the Maine Crime Wave 2017 with Barbara Ross, Richard J. Cass, Maureen Milliken, Brendan Rielly, and Bruce Robert Coffin

This weekend it’s on to Malice Domestic in Bethesda, MD. Thursday night before the conference opens, my fellow Wicked Cozy Authors and I will squeeze in an appearance at the Bethesda Barnes and Noble at 6:30 pm. The store is 0.3 mile from the Malice hotel. We’d love to see you there.

Malice is a conference for fans of traditional mysteries, not a writers’ conference. My four-year-old granddaughter, Viola, calls it the “stinky conference,” because for as long a she can remember, Malice has fallen on her birthday weekend, hence, “Gram can’t come to my party because she’s at a stinky conference.”

It is not, however, a stinky conference. It’s a truly fun gathering of lovers of the traditional mystery. This is my sixth year going (not quite consecutively) and now for me it has a feeling of old home week. I can’t wait to see all the people who share my passion for novels involving murders, a closed pool of suspects, and a brilliant detective, professional or amateur. I’m a panelist at this one. Preparing for that is not difficult, though I have spent the last month or so making sure I have up-to-date bookmarks, and goodie bags for the people sitting at my banquet table and something to wear everyday. The fourth Maine Clambake Mystery, Fogged Inn, is a nominee for the Agatha Award for Best Contemporary Novel, which will be announced on Saturday night.

Next weekend (May 5-7), I’m teaching a class at Muse and the Marketplace, the annual craft conference for all types of writing sponsored by Grub Street, Boston’s premier writing center. I’ll be leading a class called, Four Lies People Will Tell You about Marketing Your Novel, which was born out of posts I wrote for this blog. This one does require a ton of prep since I’ll be standing and talking and taking questions for an hour, and I’ll have slides and a handout and all that stuff. I know what I want to say, but pulling it together is my job for the train ride to and from Malice.

In between Malice and Muse, I’m doing a panel and signing on May 3 at Breakwater Books in Guilford, Connecticut with my friends Liz Mugavero and Lucy Burdette, (Because I am crazy, apparently.)

At this point, I have no idea how I’ll survive, but I know I’ll look back on it all as a wonderful time.





About Barbara Ross

Barbara Ross is the author of the Maine Clambake Mysteries. Her books have been nominated for multiple Agatha Awards for Best Contemporary Novel and have won the Maine Literary Award for Crime Fiction. She lives in Portland, Maine. Readers can visit her website at
This entry was posted in Barb's Posts and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to Conferences, Conferences, Conferences

  1. Gram says:

    Someday I hope to make it to one of those “stinky” conferences as they sound like sooo much fun.

  2. Lea Wait says:

    Exhausting schedule … but, the way life is sometimes, especially for authors, who don’t have corporate backup (people to make reservations and put together presentations and … so forth.) Understood, all too well. This year I’m trying to cut back on saying “yes,” (so, among other things .. can write those books!) But it is hard. And — Malice is one of the most fun weekends. See you there! My plan leaves in about 3 hours …. got to be on my way!

  3. vy kava says:

    You sure lead a busy life.
    Congratulations on the Agatha nomination. Have my fingers crossed.
    Enjoy the “stinky” conference.

  4. Barbara, I’m glad you fit Crime Wave into your busy schedule! Loved being on your panel (and thanks for thinking we’re all funny and informative). I hope to make it to Malice one of these days, stinky or not. It’s always on my birthday weekend, too, but I couldn’t think of a better way to celebrate than with hanging out with a great bunch of mystery writers and fans!

  5. Sandra Neily says:

    Barb……cheering for your Agatha opportunity out here! Go Get ‘Em…..

    And thanks for the timely CrimeWave panel where you helped folks get “right to it.”

Leave a Reply to Lea Wait Cancel reply