Monday, May 4, 2015

Exit laughing! Three Agathas and a Boffo Game Panel with Charlaine Harris!

Jungle Reds Malice Domestic 2015 game panel...
with LOTS of help from our friends!

Photo by Robin Templeton

HALLIE EPHRON: What a time we had a Malice Domestic 2015! 

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? 


  1. Captcha is cranky this a.m. Keep trying!

  2. This sounds like an absolutely amazing weekend. I wish I'd been there to see the game and to see Hank and Rhys receive their Agatha awards --- congratulations again . . . can you say that too many times???
    Thanks for sharing all the Malice Domestic details and pictures.

    Shoes? The only one I am certain of is Hank's black heels . . . guessing the rest. Rhys at the top in the khaki-colored shoe; Hallie at the bottom in the Mary Jane-type shoe and Lucy opposite Hank????

  3. I was so thrilled to have my name drawn to be an accomplice team member, even though my brain went BLANK during some of the questions. And maybe if I'd said "Death by Black Carrots" instead of just Black Carrots my bluff wouldn't have been called? That session was the most fun all conference. By the way, Rhys - my farmer son grew black carrots last summer. Just saying.

    The shoes? No brainer (I think, but I already showed I don't have a brain, so...). Lucy with the tennies. Hank - pointy toes, obviously. Hallie has the comfortable pair with the ankle strap. And Rhys with the cream-colored slacks and matching shoes.

  4. Luckily all our brains went dead Edith, so no one looked silly alone:)

    And congrats to you again for the short story nomination--what an honor!

  5. I do believe in black carrots, I do believe in black carrots...

  6. Hearty congrats, Rhys and Hank! Shoes — Lucy with sneakers, Hank with black pump, Hallie with ankle strap, and Rhys in beige. Right?

  7. Oh, what fun you guys had!!! and oh how sad I was about not being there. But, you know, I stayed home and colored, so fair trade off, huh?! (Pffffttt!)

  8. Someday I'll make it to Malice. But hopefully I'll see many of you at Bouchercon in the fall.

    Shoes: (clockwise from the top) Rhys in the beige flat, Hank in the black heel, Hallie in the Mary Jane-esque flat, Lucy in the sneaker.

  9. Pfffft indeed, Kaye! We'd have made you join us!

  10. Malice was so much fun, and the Reds panel was certainly a highlight. Congratulations to Hank and Rhys on your Agathas - well done!

    On the How Well Do We know Your Feet Contest, I say, clockwise from 12 o'clock, Rhys, Hank, Hallie and Lucy.

  11. That was the best panel ever. I never stopped laughing!

  12. It just occurred to me that these conferences could "charge" for the REDS panel and really clean up!! Don't tell the organizers, though!! Sorry I missed Malice but will catch you all at Bouchercon!! By the way, congrats to Hank and Rhys.

  13. Oh, I am still laughing too--I te was such a great way to meet everyone--=even though we were so embarrassed about our collapse under pressure. Continuing in that vein, I must say I did get some wonderful reassurance that Hopalong Cassidy WAS a cowboy detective.

    But that's okay.

    Plus, I can confess her I made some stuff up that you guys didn't catch. But I will never tell what.

  14. ALSO!

    The Professor REALLY is a book! But the more I tried to convince you it was, the more no one believed me. I'm happy the author, who, okay, is Robert Bailey, not David Bailey as I said but whatever) wasn't in the audience to hear you all hoot that there was no such book!

  15. And thank you to the FAB photographers Robin Templeton an Kristoher Zygorski for those photos!

  16. Wish I could have been there, what fun.

    The shoes? Start at 3 o'clock with the black heels because we know only Hank can wear those for more than 5 minutes, and clockwise it's Hallie, Lucy and Rhys at the top.

  17. That must have been a great time. You REDS are always fun to be around. Congratulations Hank and Rhys!

  18. I am so sad that I wasn't there!!! You guys are all fabulous, and I'll bet Charlaine was terrific.

    I got the shoes right, too:-)

  19. Sounds like it was a fabulous time. Wish I could have been there and congrats to Rhys and Hank (twice)!

  20. My shoe guesses:

    The person whose shoes match her pants - Rhys

    Pointed toe shoes - Hank

    Running shoes/sneakers/whatever they're called wherever you live (the ones with the velcro straps (personally I prefer the laces that you don't have to tie but that's me) - Hallie

    Last but not least - Lucy

    Congratulations again to Hank! It was good to see you at Malice.

    I'm hoping the prize is Hank's black leather jacket. Did anybody besides me notice how soft the leather is?


  21. First, while it's fresh in my mind, I'll do the shoes. Starting at the bottom and moving clockwise--Hallie, Lucy, Rhys, and Hank (Hank's heels were the easiest).

    Oh how I would have loved to have been at Malice to participate in that crazy fun game! However, I know that there will be something with great fun at Bouchercon next fall, which I am attending. I volunteer to help in any way I'm needed for the Reds' Bouchercon panel.

    And, then there was the beautiful sight of Hank and Rhys winning their Agatha Awards that would have been heaven to see in person. Being a part of the daily Jungle Reds blog and a fan of their books makes me one proud relative of these brilliant ladies. I'm wondering what sort of special case you two must have to accommodate all your awards.

    So, congratulations to all the Reds on all your successes. Love you ladies so much!

  22. It sounds like hilarious great fun! Congratulations on awards and standing-room-only panels . . . and that wicked dessert! Hugs!

  23. No doubt that Hank's feet are in those heels!! And I think it's Rhys in the southwestern adobe/sand colored comfort shoes. Hallie in the Mary Jane's that look pretty sporty. And I say Roberta ready for a hike in lace-ups.

    Can we order "I read red" buttons?

  24. The Reds always host the best panels. Your game show was so much fun, I can’t remember when I laughed so hard. You were all brilliant, the bluffs and challenges were fantastic. Congrats on the well-deserved awards. Malice is my favorite conference and they threw another great party this weekend.
    My shoe guesses are Hank in heels, Rhys in beige, Lucy in the lace up sneaks, and Hallie in the Velcro ankle straps.

  25. FABULOSA!!!

    Okay. Shoes. Clockwise—

    12:00 — Rhys
    03:00 — Hank
    06:00 — Hallie
    09:00 — Lucy

  26. Congratulations to Rhys and Hank! I've read the books and they are quite deserving of the awards!

  27. I've been away from the internet for two days and just found out the Agatha results this morning!

    Many, many congrats to Hank and Rhys, and I'm SO sad I couldn't have been there! I know from experience there are not many events in life as fun as being on a Jungle Reds Game Show!

  28. From 3 o'clock: Hank, Hallie, Roberta, Rhys.

    It was so much fun to see you all (and to finally meet Roberta!), but I can't remember when I laughed so hard as at the 50 Shades of Red game show panel. I was so excited to get chosen for Hank's and Roberta's team, and very grateful for Hank's new book. But I totally blanked on having you sign it.

    Brenda Buchanan, I looked for you the rest of the weekend to introduce myself, but never saw you again. Best of luck with the new book

  29. Julia, too bad you and Ross couldn't be there this year. I owe you guys a drink!

  30. We stayed an extra day to go in to DC. And when we got back, the hotel was SO QUIET without all the Malice people. Great weekend, lots of fun,lots of wine, sensory overload, no time to read BOOKS. Sigh.

  31. It was so great to see you all. And the JRW panel was a hoot as always. Was so much fun to participate, even if I did crack under pressure.

    Congratulations to Hank on her TWO Agatha Awards. Whoo Hoo.