Dec 182014

The end of the year is fast approaching – and so are the deadlines for registering for some of next year’s great mystery conferences and saving yourself a bit of money, too.

Let’s start with Left Coast Crime, coming up in Portland, OR, March 12-15. Register by December 31 and the price is $175. Dawdle until January 1 and it goes up to $195. Also, early registrants (prior to January 23) will be able to take part in the nominating process for four categories of awards. Click here for their registration page.

Next up is Malice Domestic, that annual celebration of the traditional mystery held each year in Bethesda, MD. In 2015, the conference will be held from May 1 through May 3. Price varies (depending on whether you want to attend the Agatha Awards banquet, which you should), but all prices increase on January 1. Those who register before December 31 get to help select the final nominees for the awards. Click here for registration information.

And in the fall, there is Bouchercon 2015, the oldest and largest of the conferences, coming up in Raleigh, NC, from October 8 through October 11. The price for this one is $175 until January 1, after which it goes up to $195. Their registration page is here.

Never been to a mystery conference? Maybe this is the year for you to try one. Each of these conferences attracts hundreds of mystery authors and more hundreds of readers who want a chance to meet and mingle with their favorite authors – and to learn about new authors and books they might enjoy. There are entertaining and informative panel discussions, rooms full of book dealers, prestigious awards, well-known guests of honor, autograph sessions, welcoming bags filled with books to take home, and the opportunity to make a great many new friends. I attended all three this past year; in 2015, I’ll be missing Malice (much to my regret), but looking forward to attending all of them again in 2016. Try one. You’ll enjoy it.

Aug 022014

The Deadly Ink conference in New Brunswick, NJ, is nearing the end of its first day.


Guests of honor, Renee Paley-Bain and Donald Bain are interviewed by Toastmaster (or Toastmistress) Donna Andrews

This is a fairly small conference, but it has the advantage of giving everybody in attendance the chance of meeting and talking to just about any other guest. Still to come Saturday Night, the banquet and the David Award for the best mystery published in 2013. There may be some other surprises as well.

Mar 142013

The secretive (but friendly) cabal behind this year’s 25th running of the Malice Domestic conference has released the preliminary program schedule for the gathering, which will be held from May 3 through May 5 in Bethesda, Maryland.

It looks like another outstanding gathering for readers and authors of traditional mysteries – the kind personified, perhaps, by Agatha Christie, with little in the way of “on-stage” violence and even less of “on-stage” sex.

What you’ll find is a wide variety of programs and panels. (DISCLOSURE: my wife will be moderating one of the Sunday panels.) There will be one-on-one interviews with this year’s honored guests, including Laurie R. King, Peter Robinson, Aaron Elkins, Carolyn Hart and Laura Lippman. Author panels cover a wide range of topics of interest to fans and authors alike. Plenty of books to be read and plenty of authors signing their books. And there are regular features, including the wonderful Malice-Go-Round (described as being “like speed dating, with authors”) and, of course, the grand banquet featuring presentation of the Agatha Awards.

If you’ve never been, there are still some spaces available – check out the registration information. It should be a wonderful weekend. I hope to see you there.

Jun 162012

Well, that headline may have it a bit backwards: I am talking here about an excellent “forethought” on the part of the Malice Domestic board, the folks responsible for the annual conference for readers and writers of the “traditional” mystery – the organization that presents the Agatha Awards to books that carry on those traditions.

Malice Domestic has added another award to be presented at next year’s conference – to mystery writer Carolyn Hart, who has several series and a number of stand-alones to her credit. She will be honored next year with an award caled the Amelia Award, presented, as their e-mail puts it, to “someone we feel has contributed significantly not only to the Malice Domestic convention but to the Malice Community. Malice Domestic 25 is a milestone year for us and we felt that the celebrations would not be complete without honoring someone who has been a part of Malice from the very beginning.”

Next year is the 25th annual Malice Domestic conference, which will be held in Bethesda, MD, outside Washington D. C., from May 3 to May 5, 2013. Other honored guests at the conference will include Laurie R King, Guest of Honor; Laura Lippman, Toastmaster; Aaron Elkins, Lifetime Achievement; Peter Robinson, International Guest of Honor; Cindy Silberblatt, Fan Guest of Honor; and Malice Remembers Dick Francis.

It ought to be quite a gathering. I’m already registered, and I urge you, if you enjoy “traditional” mysteries, to consider joining us there. On-line registration is open; you can find full details at the Malice Domestic site.

Jun 022012

We’re just about four months away from Bouchercon 2012, the annual conference of mystery readers and authors. I believe it’s the largest such conference in the world, attracting enthusiasts of every sub-genre in the mystery-and-crime-fiction world. Traditional mysteries, cozies, thrillers, true crime, espionage, serial killers, paranormal – you name it, and you’ll find people there to talk about it.

This year, Bouchercon will be held in Cleveland; distinguished guests include Elizabeth George, Robin Cook and Mary Higgins Clark, with John Connolly as toastmaster. It runs from October 4 through October 7. There will be dozens of panels on just about every aspect of the writer’s and/or reader’s craft. There will be bags of books for readers and plenty of formal autograph sessions with favorite authors. There will be huge displays from publishers and from mystery bookstores, with both new and used/collectible books available for purchase (just in case you don’t have enough books in your To Be Read pile already). And parties. And the hotel bar – well, mystery readers have a well-deserved reputation for lively conversation and partying until the bars close.

You can get all the details at, including information about places to stay. The convention hotel, I believe, is sold out, but organizers say there are other blocks of rooms available in hotels very close by. I plan to be there, and I know several of my friends and blog visitors are going as well – and I hope you will be there too. It’s a great way to meet other fans of the world’s greatest game.