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The Other Side of the Mic


No evil here? (From left to right) Patricia Gaffney, Mary Jo Putney and Miranda Jarrett brought their own special brand of monkey business to the 2003 Washington Romance Writers Retreat in Harpers's Ferry, W.Va., April 25-27. (Photo by Jean Marie Ward)

We reporters are a shy, retiring lot.

No, really. Think about it. When we take up the tape recorder and the notebook, we consign ourselves to a life of peering into other people's keyholes. We record the good, bad and the Ethel-will-you-take-a-look-at-that stuff everybody's doing but us. We need the credentials -- or at least the blessing -- of some organizational entity to give us the brass to ask actors and politicians what everyone, including us, wants to know.

That makes it feel really strange when we find ourselves part of the story. At the Washington Romance Writers (WRW) 2003 Retreat in Harper's Ferry, W.Va., April 25-27, I swallowed a double dose of my own medicine. Not only did I announce the winners of WRW's 2003 Marlene Awards, but I found myself moderating the big editor/agent panel that opens the retreat's program.

People congratulated me on how well my two speaking parts went. Looking back, I wonder, how did they think I could screw up? But at the time, all that occurred to me was the colossal inconvenience of the situation. Try as I might, I couldn't figure out how to work the mic and my camera at the same time, and wouldn't that play bloody heck with the photo essay I plannedů

On May 2, that situation will reverse itself. Tom and Marie O'Day, long-time organizers of Malice Domestic, the premier traditional mystery convention, persuaded Greg Uchrin, my darling spouse and Crescent Blues associate editor, and I to augment convention photographer Betty Ford's hard copy photographs with our digital efforts. Well, I won't need to worry about the photo essay, but standing on a chair during the Malice Theater of the Air will probably make me a trifle conspicuous, and you all know how much I hate that.

Once you recover from your collective hysterics, be sure to check out this month's in-depth interview with fantasy writer/artist Janny Wurts. The story of how she prepared to write the story that became her Wars of Light and Shadow series approaches the scope of the novels themselves. And soon you can expect photos and features from the 2003 WRW Retreat and Malice Domestic.

Did I mention that reporters -- even embedded reporters -- are resourceful, too?

Jean Marie Ward

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