Monday, May 9, 2011

The Conference, the Festival, and the Inheritance

The Conference
Me and Louise Penny
Photo by Avery Aames
Despite being sick (sinus + ear infection), I had a blast at the Malice Domestic conference. So fun catching up with old friends, making new ones, and hanging out with people who love books as much as I do. I was up for an Agatha award this year (the wonderful Louise Penny won), so it was always nice to get random congrats in the elevator, and I can’t tell you how much it means when people go out of their way to tell me how much they love my books. There is no better motivator to keep me writing! I was able to meet with my agent and my new editor, spend some quality time with Wendy Watson, Dru Ann, and Aimee (three of my favorite people), buy a little glass bowl for my collection from one of the Malice dealers, and generally soak up a wonderful atmosphere. If you love mysteries, this is truly a conference you should consider attending. So worth it. A big thank you to the Malice board and all the volunteers who make it possible.

The Festival

Me and Wendy
Photo by Alan Orloff
The Festival of Mystery is one of my absolute favorite events every year. It’s sponsored by Mystery Lover’s Bookshop in Oakmont, PA (free shipping on orders over $10!) and is held in a huge hall. About 40-50 authors attend, and book lovers come in droves. I’ve been going so many years that I’m starting to recognize some of the locals. This year was really special for me.

First, longtime loyal reader Judi from Ohio came and brought my first three books ever –hard to find historical romances—for me to sign. These are kind of the forgotten books, and it was just so nice that she went out of her way to track them down. Then, a mom and two teen daughters made a return appearance from last year. They are the sweetest (hi Kiki and Alice!). The whole family read and loved Truly, Madly and one of the girls even wrote a book report on it. It doesn’t get much better as an author than that. Then I met Liz and Casey and Mandy, who are teachers in the area. They came to meet me. How cool is that? They’re aspiring writers, too, and I can see the passion they have for books. An absolute joy to meet them. Then of course, there’s Lisa D. Next year I’ve wheedled a promise from her to meet for dinner the night before the event. She’s just the nicest person ever (and shares a love of Little Debbies). And this is just the tip of the iceberg. Everyone who attends (hi Paula, Superfan Jen, and Doreen!) is so supportive, warm and welcoming to all the authors. Warm and fuzzies all around. And a huge thanks to Mary Alice, Richard, and the entire staff of MLB for putting together such a wonderful event.

The Inheritance

Baby Girl has been going through some medical testing, trying to find a diagnosis for symptoms that have been plaguing her for years. Finally we got an answer last Friday. I have to tell you, I almost cried right there in the doc’s office. From relief. You know how sometimes you just know something’s wrong but the docs just can’t figure it out? And they think you’re nuts for continuing to push for testing (the test she had done on Friday was at our suggestion, not his), and they kind of give you THAT look? It was so nice to finally have the diagnosis so now she can get better. And it was a little vindicating, too. Kind of an I-told-you-so moment (though Baby Girl says I’m not allowed to say that to the doc—she’s a better person than I am.)

Long story short, she has a condition that requires her to be on a strict sugar-free, gluten- free diet for the foreseeable future. It’s not a fun diet in any way, will be a learning curve for all of us, but hopefully she will start feeling better. And that's what truly counts.

The inheritance comes in the form of her Easter basket. I get everything left in it. (Silver lining? LOL.) Unfortunately, she’s already eaten all the pink jelly beans. Drat.

Moral of this story: You MUST be your own medical advocate and do not give up if you know something is wrong. That and sneak some pink jelly beans before they’re all gone. Just sayin’.


Currently reading: Glitter Baby by Susan Elizabeth Phillips (started it as an audio book for my road trip and then bought it for my Kindle so I could finish it).


  1. My daughter Kate would have done a book report on Truly, Madly in a heartbeat. As it was, she did hers on Sarah Strohmeyer's first, Bubbles Unbound.... Glad your little one is going to be feeling better soon! Kate is starting a strict anti-migraine diet today, and she can only eat about 20 things (seriously).

  2. I'm so glad you persevered - sometimes we are our best advocate.
    Hugs to daughter.

    aaawww, thanks. You're one of my favorite people as well.

    Pink and black jelly beans are may favorite and I usually pick them out before putting the other colors out.

    Have a good week!

  3. *sniff* You like me, you really like me. ;)

    Right back at you, babe!

    I'm sorry it took so ling for your daughter's issue to find resolution. I know how horrible it is not being able to fix your child's pain. It's the worst feeling in the world.

    I wish every medical school in the world had a course on trusting mother's instincts.

  4. Very good news on your daughter (hope she can stand the restricted diet). Hope you're feeling all better now. And I'm glad you had a great time at Malice.

    Shall I send you a bag of pink jellybeans?

  5. Congrats on your nomination and on persisting until you got an answer that made sense.

    I know I met Dru Ann (and I think Aimee too) at this Malice, and they are terrific! What good taste you have in friends, and congrats again on the nomination! One thing about the Agathas: a nomination means your work really is well-loved by lots of readers, and that's wonderful to know!

  6. Joni, I'd love to read a Bubbles book report, too. I bet it was fun, fun, fun! And good luck to Kate with the 20 item diet. That's so hard. I had horrible migraines until I went gluten-free (I'm now gluten-reduced). Amazes me the effect food can have on us.

    Thanks, Dru! The black jelly beans usually get set aside for the kids' grandfather--he loves them and no one in our house likes them at all.

    LOL, Aimee. You're just so darn likable. And I totally agree with you--a course in listening to mom's instincts would be invaluable to doctors.

    Hi Linda! So far, so-so with the diet. Trying not to overwhelm her all at once. And don't tempt me with those jellybeans!

  7. Thanks, Clare! It is wonderful to know. Keeps me at the keyboard every day. Okay, most days. :)

    And I agree--I have some great friends. Not sure what I'd do without them.

  8. Aaawwww thanks so much. So happy that you made it to the festival of mystery. We are definitely on for dinner next year. It's so nice having a Little Debbie Snack Cake partner in crime.

    Hugs to daughter. Sometimes we are our own best advocates when it comes to medical issues.

  9. Glad to hear you and your daughter finally got answers to her health problems. I know what it is like to have doctors not listen to you. I have a condition called chronic daily headache syndrome which means I literally get a headache every day of my life. I had so many doctors tell me it is impossible to have headaches that often. Well, finally I had a doctor tell me the others were wrong and she gave me a diagnosis. I still struggle with them but they are much better now. I will keep you & your daughter in my thoughts and prayers that she will feel better soon and be able to stick with her diet!

  10. Bless your daughter's husband went through the same thing last was brutal the first week and then things got easier for him. Now he is able to have limited breads and most fruits...the interesting thing is however that he just feels better without the offending items!! I will keep you both in my prayers and sending healing thoughts to you both!

  11. Breaunna, headaches everyday? Wow. I hope you've found a good treatment. Hang in there.

    Nanc, I really hope she can start to add things back in. We go back to the GI this week and will get more info. I hope your husband continues to do well!