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Home » Books & writing

Bouchercon Adventures 2011

Submitted by on September 26, 2011 – 1:29 pm 20 Comments

There’s been a thousand Bouchercon posts already everywhere but I figured no two experiences are exactly the same, right? So, if you’re not tired yet of reading about it, below are my highlights.

For those unfamiliar with B’con, it’s an annual world mystery convention for authors and fans. And by “world,” I do mean people come from all over, such as Thailand and Scotland in the case of international guests of honor, Colin Cotterill and Val McDermid, respectively.

So much happened and some of it is a blur, but among the things that stood out:

Meeting authors I’ve gotten to know a little online and finding they’re just as charming and funny in person. It was a pleasure having tea with Laura Benedict, though I didn’t actually drink tea and just ate a cookie half standing up. Seeing her, as a panel moderator, handle an audience member who talked endlessly without actually asking a question was also quite satisfying.

Squeezing into a photo booth with Ben LeRoy (of Tyrus Books and F+W Crime) and my friends Christine and Lauren to take goofy pictures.Β Ben’s passion for life and efforts to make the world a better place neutralize the damage done by at least twenty a**holes.

Being packed into the Meshuggah Cafe for Noir at the Bar with some of the best crime writers working. They have sick, twisted minds, just the way I like ’em.

Eating Vietnamese food and sharing cab rides with Brett Battles, Meg Gardiner, and Lauren that threatened to turn into Noir on the Streets. Our driver Jill started talking up the local asylum to us and I couldn’t blame her.

Having breakfast—and coffee, and brownies, and nuts—while talking with Mike Cooper, who raised my IQ.

Hearing Matthew McBride, who writes brutal fiction, fret about his bowling skills, afraid he wouldn’t be good enough for the tournament. (He did just fine.)

Witnessing Hilary Davidson win her Crimespree and Anthony Awards for Best First Novel. I’m hoping she’ll wear the plaques as earrings at next year’s B’con.

Sitting next to Taylor Stevens at the Anthony Awards brunch and seeing S.J. Rozan and Laurie R. King come up to her to introduce themselves; gush over her book, The Informationist; and offer to blurb her future novels.

Chatting with Katrina Niidas Holm and observing her husband Chris‘s petrification when an idol of his, Daniel Woodrell, sat with us in a booth in the hotel bar.

Waving at Clare from Criminal Element at the auction and almost losing $300 because auctioneer Mark Billingham thought I was bidding on something.

Encountering Jonathan Hayes in the elevator and having him say, “I didn’t know you were Asian!” I also got “I didn’t know you were a woman” from some but let’s not go there.

Running into Robert Crais in the hotel lobby within minutes of my arrival. ‘Nuff said.

From L.: Naomi, Paulette, Michael, Christine, me. Not pictured--Jen and Carolyn.

Finally meeting super Craisie Naomi and her friend Carolyn, as well as hanging with the rest of the gang—Michael, Jen, Paulette, Lauren, and Christine—culminating in dinner at Mosaic. I shall think of you whenever I lick spicy ice cream. (For more on the Craisies, go here.)

Briefly spending some time with my friend Rae, one of the classiest people I know.Β (She chaired last year’s B’con.)

Meeting the extremely thoughtful Sabrina, who’s about to make someone’s day, if not month.

Rooming with the divine Christine, who is just beyond words as a human being.

The risk of doing one of these posts is that I omit someone, so I apologize if I got to meet you and failed to mention you. Please know I had an over-the-moon experience and you contributed to it.

Many thanks to Jon and Ruth Jordan, Judy Bobalik, Jen Forbus and all the other organizers for putting on such a fantastic show. I heard that some people thought they were paid; they were not. They did it purely out of love and isn’t that the best reason to do anything?

I’ll leave you now with a set of videos regarding the Joe Pike vs. Jack Reacher debate. At last year’s Bouchercon, Lee Child was asked who would win in a Reacher-Pike fight. I captured his answer in the first video. This year, Gregg Hurwitz asked Crais for a rebuttal, which you can see in the second clip. The video quality isn’t great because I recorded it on my photo camera, but I think his answer is loud and clear.

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