I'm sure most of you have heard by now, but "just" in case you missed it - here's a list of the 2011 Agatha Award Winners:
Three-Day Town by Margaret Maron (Grand Central Publishing)
Best First Novel:
Learning to Swim by Sara J. Henry (Crown)
Books, Crooks and Counselors: How to Write Accurately About Criminal Law and Courtroom Procedure by Leslie Budewitz (Linden)
Best Short Story:
"Disarming" by Dana Cameron, Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine - June 2011
Best Children's/Young Adult:
The Black Heart Crypt by Chris Grabenstein (Random House)
Best Historical Novel:
Naughty in Nice by Rhys Bowen (Berkley)
It was a thrill for me to be sitting at the awards banquet when the Agatha teapots were handed out to the winners.
This was my first Malice Domestic convention, and I had a wonderful time. The people who put this convention on deserve a round of applause along with a chorus of "Thank You's."
If this is a mystery convention you've missed, let me encourage you to attend. The dates of next year's con, along with the Guests of Honor, are already posted at the Malice Domestic website. Another terrific line-up!
Since I really hate the whole flying thing these days, I decided to ride up on Amtrak. It's the first time I've been on a train since I was at Brandywine College.
Donald and Harley took me to High Point where I boarded.
|Harley Doodle Barley|
The conductors were delightful and accommodating, which I found to be quite refreshing.
When we pulled into Raleigh, I was joined by Margaret and Joe Maron, and Bren Bonner joined us a couple stops down the line.
|Bren Bonner Witchger and Margaret Maron|
|Kaye Barley and Joe Maron|
We started running into folks almost the second we walked in the door of the hotel. Including Dorothy Cannell and Malice Guest of Honor, Jan Burke.
|Dorothy Cannell, Jan Burke, Margaret Maron and Bren Bonner Witchger|
And I couldn't wait to hit the dealer's room!
|Kaye Barley and Margaret Maron|
In case you don't recognize the fella behind Margaret, that's Don Longmuir who owns the wonderful Scene of the Crime Books. It was at his booth I was lucky enough to find a hard back, first edition of Barbara Michaels' "Ammie,Come Home." Was I excited?! Pfft! I guess! I had brought my much loved, many times read, beat up, rag tag paperback copy with me for her to sign. I was thrilled to have this copy instead.
I always love the dealer's rooms at the mystery conventions. I always think they're great, and I always seem to give everyone in there a good bit of my money.
I also got to visit with Kathy Harig from Mystery Loves Company in Oxford, MD (one of the most special small towns on God's green earth - for real).
And I came home with not only something for myself from Mona Betz's Frozen Light, but something for my mom too.
And - - - you never know who you're gonna bump into in the dealer's room, which is always fun.
|Jan Burke and Kaye Barley|
Friday morning I got to see Toastmaster Dana Cameron interviewed by Hank Phillippi Ryan.
|Hank Phillippi Ryan and Dana Cameron|
and the honored guests (Dana Cameron, Lee Goldberg, Simon Brett, and Jan Burke) chatting with Malice Chair, Verena Rose about some of the fan mail they receive.
|Dana Cameron, Lee Goldbery, Verena Rose (Malice Chair), Simon Brett and Jan Burke|
Later that day, I sat in on the Best Novel Nominees panel. The nominees were: Margaret Maron, G.M. Malliet, Krista Davis and Donna Andrews. I'm going to confess to squeaking out loud when Krista mentioned Meanderings and Muses. wow. How sweet was that?!
|Margaret Maron, G.M. Malliet, (moderator ??), Krista Davis, and Donna Andrews|
The evening was capped off with Opening Ceremonies, a Charity Auction, a Welcome Reception and dessert.
Saturday there were, of course, more terrific panels, a lot of milling around visiting with friends, time in the dealer's room, and getting books signed. A very full, very fun day.
One of the panels I sat in on was one moderated by my friend MollyWeston (recent Edgar Raven Award winner - Yay!!!!). Panelists were: Claudia Bishop (who scooted out before we could get her in the picture), Hank Phillippi Ryan, Sophie Littlefield, Elaine Viets, and Sarah Shaber.
|Molly Weston, Hank Phillippi Ryan, Sophie Littlefield, Elaine Viets, Sarah Shaber|
|Dana Cameron, Dorothy Cannell and Charlaine Harris, standing|
|Avery Aames aka Darryl Wood Gerber and Barb Goffman|
|Lucy Burdette aka Roberta Isleib|
|Dean James aka Miranda James and Kaye Barley|
|Deborah Sharp and Joanna Campbell Slan|
|Charlaine Harris and Carolyn Hart|
|Deborah Sharp, Margaret Maron, Kaye Barley and Frankie Bailey|
|Doreen Weaton and Karen Kiley|
|Ellery Adams, Kaye Barley, and Hallie Ephron|
|Karen Kiley, Hank Phillippi Ryan and Kaye Barley|
|Christie Fifield and Kaye George|
|Lee Goldberg and Chris Grabenstein|
|Maryglenn McCombs and Kaye Barley|
|Kaye Barley and Liz Zelvin|
|Alan Orloff and Katherine Hall Page|
|Sara J. Henry and Ann Hillerman|
|Sarah Shaber and Kaye Barley|
And then we gathered together to pay homage to the incredible Elizabeth Peters/Barbara Michaels
|Julian Cannell, Margaret Maron and Joe Maron|
It was, without a shadow of a doubt, one of THE funniest skits I have ever witnessed. Ms. Peters was joined by Joan Hess, Dorothy Cannell, Parnell Hall and Daniel Stashower (with a special appearance by Ammie from "Ammie, Come Home")
|Elizabeth Peters aka Barbara Michaels aka Barbara Mertz|
|Joan Hess and Elizabeth Peters|
|Dorothy Cannell, Joan Hess and Elizabeth Peters|
|Joan Hess, Elizabeth Peters and Parnell Hall|
|Ammie from "Ammie, Come Home," Dorothy Cannell, Parnell Hall, Joan Hess, Elizabeth Peters and Daniel Stashower|
|Joan Hess and Elizabeth Peters|
AND, I got to meet her. Margaret Maron made the introduction, and I proceeded to cry all over the gracious Ms. Peters (I wanted to die)
My thanks to Karen Kiley for this picture. Margaret also took one. The one Margaret took is a wonderful picture of Ms. Peters. I, however, look like a lunatic. Certainly not Margaret's fault - I just couldn't quit crying!!
Ms. Peters also agreed to sign books.
What a perfect day this was!
And it's not over yet!
Next comes the Agatha Banquet
I even bought a new frock for the banquet
|Joyce and Jim Lavene|
|seated - Sarah Shaber and Bren Bonner Witchger. standing - Margaret Maron and Kaye Barley|
|Avery Aames aka Darryl Wood Gerber, Kaye Barley, Liz Zelvin and Krista Davis|
|Maryglenn McCombs and Con Lehane|
|Sarah Shaber and Bren Bonner Witchger|
|Maryglenn McCombs and Kaye Barley|
And here's Margaret accepting her award for Best Novel - "Three-Day Town"
and a good time was had by all.
Sunday was a quieter day - some more signings, a few panels and saying a few good-byes.
|Lillian Stewart Carl|
|Jeff Cohen and Mindy Starns Clark|
|Kaye Barley and Molly Weston|
Next Stop - Union Station
Final Destination - - -
And as lovely as any trip is, there's no place quite like home.