May 06

My first Malice

Oh, y’all. I had no idea there were these things called fan conventions for books, and wow have I been missing out!

So how did this baby author (to borrow a fun phrase from Kelly Justice at Fountain Bookstore in Richmond) fare at Malice 25? I had a blast. An absolute blast.


After staying up waaaay too late gabbing with my friend Chris, who graciously booted her fourth-grader from his room so I’d have a place to sleep Thursday night, I zipped down the street to Dulles airport and found the fab Larissa Reinhart. I feel like I’ve known Ris forever, but we actually “met” last fall, online, since she’s in Georgia and I’m here. She writes the Cherry Tucker Mysteries for Henery Press, and I was SO excited to meet her in person Friday morning. I’m happy to report she’s as adorable and sweet in person as I thought.

We got to the hotel and after some finagling, we found a parking spot in the garage and got our room keys. We registered, got our goody bags (and found our friend Gretchen Archer‘s new book DOUBLE WHAMMY in them!!!) and grabbed lunch just in time to hear the head of the Washington Crime Lab speak at noon. Not only was Max really helpful, he was funny! A great program.

We paused in the hallway to ponder our next move (panel or coffee) and were stumbled upon by our amazing editor at Henery, who neither of us had ever met. She is just as nice in person as she is on email and the phone. She also looks waaaaaay too young to be so successful. I am desperate to know what kind of moisturizer she uses.

Me and Larissa with Dru Ann Love!

We also met the ever-amazing book blogger Dru Ann Love, and fellow Henery authors Diane Vallere, Susan M. Boyer, Gigi Pandian, Christina Freeburn, and Wendy Tyson. We bumped into Hank Phillippi Ryan in the hallway, and she stopped to talk to Ris and Susan, then hugged us all and complimented our writing! I got to see some of my idols, including Laura Lippman and Harlan Coben, from afar at the opening ceremonies. The publishing house took us to a lovely, yummy dinner, and then I headed down to the cocktail reception.

Me and Hank Phillippi Ryan!

Larissa Reinhart, Gigi Pandian, Susan M. Boyer, and Kendel Lynn at Friday’s Henery Press dinner.

The elevator doors opened and I almost walked right into Laura Lippman! I stammered. I said “I can’t talk to you, you’re Laura Lippman!” She smiled and said “sure you can! Come over here. What do you write?” We talked about reporting, Texas, life, and writing for almost an hour! She was lovely and gracious and gave me wonderful advice, and I love her more now than I did before.

She is SOOOOO nice!


I slept in a little and Ris and I found a Starbucks a few blocks from the hotel for breakfast, then watched Gigi interview Aaron Elkins (AARON ELKINS!!! And he was charming and funny and so nice). Then we bumped into Dru Ann and crashed her group for lunch (best cheeseburger ever. I think they killed the cow in the kitchen). We ran downstairs to watch our pal Susan dazzle on the New Kids panel, because she was nominated for an Agatha for Best First Novel. Such fun!

Gigi did a great job interviewing the iconic Aaron Elkins Saturday.

No Donnie or Jordan, but here’s Susan M. Boyer, Mollie Cox Bryan, and Duffy Brown on the Agatha Best First Novel panel.

I met: Maggie Barbieri, Liz Lipperman, and Shelley Giusti, among others.

Wait, it gets better. At the cocktail reception before the banquet, I turned away from the bar to find myself staring straight at Harlan Coben! He smiled, put out a hand, and said “Hi, I’m Harlan.”

“I’m a little starstruck,” I said.

He whipped his head back and forth. “Why? Who’s here?”

He then proceeded to get a beer and talk to me and Ris until they opened the dining room doors! We had drinks with HARLAN COBEN. I may have pinched myself. A few times. He was funny and charming and taught us some colorful new words my hubby will love, and also gave great advice.

Me and my new friend (no, not really, but it’s fun to say) Harlan Coben on Sunday.

I have to say, it’s wonderful to meet your heroes and find out they’re great people, not just great talents.

We thanked him and excused ourselves to go into the dining room and find our nervous friend. Dinner was great. Dessert was awesome.


Susan M. Boyer and her Agatha Award! Go, Susan!

The Hen House after party migrated to the bar, where Harlan came over to congratulate Susan. She was starstruck, too.

Starstruck. See?


This was our busy day, with a very early breakfast, followed by Ris’ panel, my panel, and our signing.

My table at the new author breakfast on Sunday. EARLY Sunday.

The new author breakfast was a lot of fun, and big thanks to all the fans who sat at my table! I hope you enjoy Nichelle!

Ris was great on her Arts of Death panel, and I tried to sound awake on mine, Cozy in the City, with Con Lehane, JJ Murphy (who writes Dorothy Parker SO well I thought he was a she) and Triss Stein.

Larissa (far right) on her Arts of Death panel.

I signed some books, and also a tote bag, programs, and an iPad. I talked to Harlan and Laura (who wrote the nicest note in my copy of Life Sentences) again, and then met a friend for lunch, listened to Laura’s interview, and packed up to head south. I was glad to see my family, but I have a weekend of amazing memories I’ll hold dear forever. Thanks so much to everyone who had a hand in it!

O-M-G. Worth every calorie.

Larissa dolled up for the banquet. Pre-Harlan Coben. She was a little red after. 🙂


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  1. Dru

    Thanks for sharing your first Malice with us.

    1. LynDee

      Thanks so much for being part of my weekend and showing me around, Dru! 🙂

  2. Anna L. Davis

    Love this post, LynDee!! So nice to hear about your adventures at Malice. Almost like being there! Alicia and I went to a writer’s conference here in Dallas (DFWCon.org). We enjoyed sharing about you and the rest of the Hen House with local writers. Also, I must admit I gushed a little about Susan’s win. All around, a great weekend for Henery. Now, back to regular life. Laundry, specifically. And dishes. And oh dear, grocery shopping. (*bites nails*)

    Anna L. Davis
    Editorial Intern
    Henery Press

    1. LynDee

      Thanks, Anna! My cupboards looked like Old Mother Hubbard’s when I got home, too. I spent a good while yesterday at the store. The laundry is still waiting. 😉 I’m so glad you ladies had fun this weekend, too! Looking forward to getting to meet everyone in person soon!

  3. Larissa Reinhart

    Wait a minute. Why is there such a height difference in my picture with Harlan Coben than in yours?!!!
    Great wrap-up, LD! You thought fast on your feet in your panel. Such an excellent speaker.

    The best part was hanging with you all weekend. I have not giggled so much in a long time! … who are we fooling? I don’t giggle. I laugh hard and snort. And thank you for introducing me to the light water, blueberry oatmeal at Starbucks.

    1. LynDee

      Shoe lifts. 🙂

      And ha–I was trying so hard not to laugh at you girls!

      I agree, the best part was getting to run around with you all weekend. Look out, Nashville!

  4. Tina Moss

    Awww. It looks amazing! So glad you had a great time. And love the recap. 😀

    1. LynDee

      Thanks, honey! 🙂

  5. Maggie Barbieri

    So great to meet you! All the best to you and everyone at Henery Press. Maggie

    1. LynDee

      Likewise, Maggie! I had such a great time!

  6. Gretchen Archer

    Love this round up! I know you had so much fun, LynDee. Jealous!

    1. LynDee

      Thanks, G! It’ll be even MORE fun next year, because you’ll be there!

      Look out, Nashville! 🙂

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