Welcome to Day 2 of my adventures at Malice Domestic! Today, we'll talk about volunteering at a convention and also about the panels that I attended. There was one thing I learned at the previous mystery convention, Left Coast Crime - as much as you would like it, you won't be able to get to everything or see everything or participate in everything. Just too many events. I took that to heart this time and so, I didn't see, experience or attend every panel. I did spend some unstructured time in the book dealer room, looking for books that I had pre-selected to perhaps buy and get signed. I also spent some time in the 'Silent Auction' room and a bit of time in the 'Hospitality Room', where one could get refreshments and sit for a bit.
By the way, in this post, the narrative that goes with the picture will be below the picture. Just to change it up. Ha!
|Volunteer table - envelopes signed out and in again|
As the time approached for the convention, attendees got various emails, one of which was an appeal for volunteers. These conventions are all-volunteer events and so it's important for some of the attendees to help out. Since I didn't have a 'buddy' this time (and I did miss Cathy from Kittling: Books a lot!!), I decided to tell them I'd be glad to lend a hand. I sent the volunteer coordinator a list of the panels that I planned to attend on Saturday and Sunday and told them that I was available where there was the most need. Well, I received an email back that said - 'You got all the panels you requested!'. Ha! Yes, I helped at every single panel I attended. Some back to back and on different floors. It was a bit of a race.
I was a 'monitor' and it was planned that there be two monitors at each panel. Most of mine had a partner, but two did not. All was well though. The job consisted of picking up and signing out an envelope (see above) filled with nameplates for the authors, signs that said 'Microphone' and '10 minutes' and '5 minutes', and a sheet where the monitor listed the room count. Another sheet to hand to the 'Moderator' and a further instruction sheet.
The monitor gets to the room as early as feasible, sets out the nameplates, makes sure there is water and cups for the panelists, hands the moderator their sheet, retreats to the back of the room to 'count the house' after 15 or 20 minutes, makes sure the door doesn't bang as people come in and out (which they did a lot), holds up the signs when needed. Finally, the envelope is signed back in, with all the stuff filled out. After a couple of rounds of this, I had it down pat. A big positive was that the 'monitor' gets to meet each and every author on the panels personally, though not for long. A negative is that with people getting up and down, etc., one might lose the gist of the panel's conversation or some of it. It was all good though. I monitored 7 panels and here's the scoop on all of them:
Murder in Foreign Climes
Maria Hudgins - Moderator
I had selected this panel because of Tracee de Hahn's participation. Her mystery series is set in Switzerland and the first is called Swiss Vendetta. I also had a copy of Matthew Iden's new book, The Winter Over, on my Kindle to read soon. It's set in Antarctica, a location that I am fascinated with.
Just Die Laughing: Humor in Mysteries
Karen Cantwell - Moderator
I love funny mysteries and since Donna Andrews was one of the panelists here, my selection for this time was a given. I also wanted to meet and greet Nancy West, who lives in San Antonio. Loved this panel - so, so funny. They shared many funny stories and at one point, Jessie Chandler got so tickled telling about a mishap that her partner had been involved in, watching her snort and laugh was funnier than her tale. It made me add her books to my list. Great panel!!
Stephanie Jaye Evans - Moderator
I had selected this panel because Anne Hillerman and Shannon Baker were panelists. Our mystery group had read Hillerman's first book in the series she continued from the one her father, Tony Hillerman, wrote. We enjoyed it very much and I was anxious to meet her and tell her so. I also had met Shannon Baker in Phoenix and was excited to relate to her that I had bought the first book in her new series, Stripped Bare, set in the Nebraska Sandhills. Then I found that Stephanie Jaye Evans was a Texas gal and her series is set in our state too.
Murder with a Hint of WooWoo: Paranormal Mysteries
Maria Lima - Moderator
I was excited about this panel because all these authors have books that I've planned to read, but have not tried as yet. I also found that Maria Lima lived in my area of the world, Central Texas, for a long time. Connie di Marco writes a series using the Zodiac, Gigi Pandian has a treasure hunter and the Accidental Alchemist series (with a gargoyle, no less), and Leigh Perry has Sid, the family skeleton. Fun, fun, fun!!
Doris Ann Norris - Moderator
I may have been most interested in this panel, for let's face it, most of what I read would be considered suspense. Doris Ann Norris is a retired librarian and I remembered her name and her self-given moniker from the DorothyL list that I read years ago. Doris called herself, 'the 2,000 year old librarian'. I enjoyed meeting her. I was already signed up to sit at Lori Rader-Day's table at the Agathas Banquet, but I wanted to hear her talk about her new book, The Day I Died, which I had already read. Lori and I got to visit several times. I also had Eileen Rendahl's new book as an advance copy, but I bought a copy for her to sign as well - Cover Me in Darkness. And I have several of Sarah Shaber's Louise Pearlie historical mysteries too. I also sat with Judy Penz Sheluk at the 'Malice Go Round' and I was anxious to hear about her books and writing. Whew! This was an interesting panel.
Death for Dessert: Sweet Murder
Dorothy St. James - Moderator
I had picked this panel because of a couple of authors that I was already familiar with too. Ellie Alexander, who writes the Bakeshop series, set in Oregon, also writes another series that I love. It's also set in Oregon and involves Meg Reed, who writes about 'extreme' travel adventures, though she's not adventurous at all. I had met Ellie/Kate in Phoenix and enjoyed catching up with her and telling her that I fully intended to visit 'Bakeshop' land. JoAnna Carl, whose series has all these lovely chocolate titles, has been a favorite of mine for years and years. I originally read her Oklahoma series, written under her Eve K. Sandstrom name. I had a good time talking with her about it.
Peter Blau - Moderator
This may have been the most interesting panel that I attended. I picked it mostly because Vicki Delany would be a panelist and I wanted to hear about her new series, set in a Sherlock Holmes Bookshop. The first book is Elementary She Read and the book room sellers had sold out of it by noon the first day. I meant to buy it there and get Vicki to sign it, but had no luck. I've met Vicki several times and enjoyed catching up with her too. The rest of the members of this panel are serious Sherlockians - really serious. Peter Blau, the moderator, is part of The Red Circle of Washington DC and he is 'Black Peter'. Dana, Carla, and John Gregory are also serious Sherlock scholars. Dana Cameron, an archaeologist by profession, writes the Emma Fielding series, which has just been picked up by the Hallmark Channel and will be a movie. Emma will be played by Courtney Thorne-Smith. Very exciting! It was fascinating to listen to these panelists discuss Sherlock and company. A fitting end to my panel experiences.
Come back Friday when I'll show all the books that I acquired - so many that I had to ship them home. Plus, the silent auction and the live auction as well.