Posted by Lorraine Bartlett
As Sheila mentioned in her post yesterday, she recently attended Malice Domestic--the cozy (or traditional) mystery conference.
I did not.
Mind you, I bought a ticket, but as the conference approached it was painfully obvious that I did not have a "new" book to promote. Not that I haven't had any sales since Malice Domestic 2006. In fact, I not only sold the sequel to MURDER ON THE MIND, my first published novel, but I have a contract for three books (under the name Lorna Barrett) about a New Hampshire bookseller named Trisha Miles.
But those books are a year away and I have two leaky roofs and an elderly dishwasher to consider. So, being prudent, I canceled my membership.
I would've had a terrific panel, sharing the dais with the wonderful Charlaine Harris, among others. I would've had lunch with 30 members of my Sisters In Crime Chapter (The Guppies); I would've been there to witness two members of that chapter win Agatha Awards: Sandra Parshall for best first novel (The Heat Of The Moon) and Chris Roerden, for best nonfiction book (Don't Murder Your Mystery), and the announcement that a third member of our chapter, Meredith Cole, had won the St. Martins/Malice Domestic best first traditional mystery contest. (I finaled in the contest a few years back.) This is a very big honor, as it means a $10,000 advance and publication by St. Martin's.
I would've been able to connect with Sheila, whom I first met last year at the very same conference, and since then our friendship has blossomed. I would've been there to cheer on Terry Hoover at Malice-Go-Round, where authors have 60-90 seconds to tell a table of readers how wonderful their books are. (And Terry's book, Double Dead, is indeed wonderful!) I could've watched my friend Charles Benoit in the Malice radio play (which was apparently sensational).
I would've heard my name called out at the Sisters In Crime breakfast by our president Rochelle Krich, thanking me for my service to Sisters In Crime (national).
I would've attended the dinner welcoming me to the Berkley Prime Crime fold. (Although I was later told my editor did not attend. Damn.) I would've had the opportunity to meet with my agent and talk about my writing future. I would've attended the end-of-conference tea and seen the wonderful hat contest.
All these things were denied me because I was prudent.
I promise you, next year I won't be.