Jungle Reds Malice Domestic 2015 game panel...
HALLIE EPHRON: What a time we had a Malice Domestic 2015!
with LOTS of help from our friends!
Photo by Robin Templeton
Lucy and I met in the airport and took the Metro to the hotel. Here's us decked out in our Jungle Red pashminas, our READ RED buttons, and armed for bear...
We had dinner with Rhys and Hank, and we were laughing like crazy about how fun it would be, and secretly worried that the audience would be smarter than we were… And then we realized, that's exactly what we hoped! Where else could you play a game where knowledge of the Mystery world makes you a star!
The next morning we pow-wowed with Charlaine Harris whom we'd inveigled to be our moderator. You want me to what? she said when she realized what she'd signed up for. She was completely amazing. And having Dru Ann Love and Nikki Bonanni to help calm us. (HANK adds: We needed pals who could keep score under pressure. And a moderator who could wrangle us. Good choices, huh?)
HALLIE: And then, like a great party where you're the host, whoosh it was happening. Everyone was screaming with laughter as we brought up audience members to join us in humiliating ourselves. Bluffed answers. While Charlaine got off some of the best one-liners.
HANK: You remember the game, right? We chose two members from the audience (they had to be wearing Jungle Red buttons)
to join Hallie and Rhys versus Lucy and me--and name, in twenty seconds as may examples of a mystery category given by Charlaine! It was awesome. Here's a photo taken by the fab Kristopher Zygorski--who joined me and Lucy for one of our (many :-) ) winning rounds!
HANK: So we're hoping that many of you were there--say hi in the comments, and let us know, okay? It was absolutely standing room only! Wow. SO happy to see you here!
HALLIE: Pause to catch our collective breaths, get gussied up for the banquet. Hank and I had to honor of sitting at the head table with Sara Paretsky who is just exactly as nice and opinionated as you imagine her to be. Here's us and a very glamorous Dana Cameron.
And then, TA DAH! They started to announce the Agatha Awards. Hank! For
best nonfiction (editor of SinC's WRITES OF PASSAGE.) Rhys! For best historical for QUEEN OF HEARTS. And Hank (again!) for best contemporary novel TRUTH BE TOLD. We were all over the moon.
HANK: Whoo hoo. May I just say. Rhys and I were beaming all the rest of the weekend. And we are so grateful!
HALLIE: Below, here's Hank with some of the wonderful writers (including me!) whose essays are in WRITES OF PASSAGE.
Handing it over to Rhys...
RHYS BOWEN: My memories... Apprehension about looking a complete fool during the game. Brain going blank.but I think it was a big hit and we all knew enough and bluffed in a funny way.... I mean B. F. Goodrich wrote books?
HANK: Hey, it was a perfectly good idea. I mean--the category was "authors who use their initials." And after we'd used PD, and JK, and GH and SS and JJ--I was--under pressure. And then I realized--Charlaine never said MYSTERY authors! Right? And BF might have written a tire manual. And I still insist that Beowulf is a fine good answer for a mystery that takes place before 1915. I mean--am I wrong?
HALLIE: My favorite was Rhys' bluff for a Scandinavian author... and Lucy and Hank got off some great bluffs, too.
RHYS: Charlaine was the perfect MC.
Malice for me is meeting and reconnecting with so many lovely people. It's like high school reunion only better. And winning the Agatha with my editor and agent there was the icing on the cake. Speaking of which the dessert was to die for.
HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN: Even though I spent the whole next day today thinking of authors who use initials. (And my wonderful agent was there, too. It was such a joy to win with her! We stayed up way too late celebrating.)
LUCY BURDETTE: I sometimes feel a little lost at conferences, but not this time. Spending two days with friendly writers and readers and planning that zany game show with the other Reds--I had a blast. Though I'm going to be honing my bluffing skills for the next 12 months...
Thank you planners of Malice Domestic--we know how hard you work to put this conference on. And it was terrific!
HALLIE: And boy did we get to see old friends from Jungle Red. Here's Keenan Powell who won a Malice grant! Karen from Ohio was there with proverbial bells on. Edith Maxwell who was nominated for an Agatha for best short story served time on Hank and Lucy's team and distinguished herself. Kristopher (waving) from BOLO Books. Molly Weston (with her signature flowered purses). Brenda Buchanan with her new book QUICK PIVOT! Robin Templeton (writer/photographer!)
And loads more.
As a final question on shoes at Malice, and YES there will be a prize given...How well do you know your reds? Rhys, Lucy, Hank, Hallie - whose shoes is whose?