Sunday, September 18, 2011

Bouchercon 2011: And Now Our Wrap-up

I had a great time. Met so many new people including Les Blatt who writes his Classic Mysteries blog and Peter Rozovsky who created Detectives Beyond Borders. Both Les and Peter have covered their personal experiences at Bouchercon on their blogs. Les was a fan attendee and Peter was a moderator for a few panels - one of which I attended. Check out their blogs for other insights on this fantastic convention. Les attended all the panels that discussed classic and vintage mystery fiction. I was more interested in the new writers this year and skipped all of them. But apparently I made a mistake by not attending the panel on Agatha Christie. Val McDermid was on that panel and she was as usual both informative and hysterical.

My favorite two minute exchange with the many authors with whom I briefly talked was with Megan Abbot. I asked her if she had seen The Prowler. And her eyes lit up when she said "Yes! I loved it. Those characters are so sleazy." "Now that's noir, right?" I said. "Very noir, " she replied. We both rhapsodized over the movie noting our favorite scenes. I also asked her if she could help me track down her mother Patti who is our host for Friday's Forgotten Books. Her somewhat exasperated reply: "Everyone is asking me about my mother." Oops. And I never did meet up with Patti no matter how hard I tried looking.

Also missed Jeff Pierce of The Rap Sheet. I spotted Gerard Saylor (one of the Friday's Forgotten Books crew) for about two minutes and then he was gone before I had a chance to introduce myself. There were a few moments like that. But for the overall weekend I was impressed with myself. Ordinarily I avoid people and huge social gatherings like this. That I managed to overcome my solitary nature and social awkwardness was a huge step. That I was successful in meeting as many people as I did went beyond my expectations, frankly.

This brief weekend getaway holds the all time record for the most money I have ever spent on any vacation in my lifetime. Convention registration, rental car for four days at a weekly rate, two full tanks of gas, two hotels split between the four nights, three days of parking fees in a self serve lot, splurging on room service (which I never do), and breakfast in the hotel (four times the cost of an equivalent meal just down the street) added up to a hefty bill. And of course books. I won't tell you the jaw dropping total for this extravagant trip plus book purchases, but I will say that several years ago Joe and I went to Costa Rica for five days and we each spent $500. For everything. That amount of money didn't even cover the three nights at the Westin Hotel. Looks like I'll be having an intensive book sale to help pay for this trip.

Speaking of books... Here's what I picked up in the book room at Bouchercon. I paid for these, too. There was one book I picked up that I didn't pay for and was I ever surprised to find it in my bag. I promptly returned that book and apologized to the bookseller saying that shoplifting is not one of my hobbies.

Anyone interested in signed first editions by Eoin Colfer, Sara Paretsky, Max Allan Collins, Val McDermid, John Connolly, and other writers who were in attendance at Bouchercon 2011 should tune in later this week. I intend to sell many of the books I had signed. All will be reasonably priced. A special page with a list of the books available should appear within the next two days. Check the right hand side of this blog for the PAGES section, then click on the "Bouchercon Signed Books for Sale" link.


  1. John, it was good talking to you (even if it WAS only briefly) at Bouchercon. Sounds like we hit different panels from each other, but that's fine, too - I enjoy reading about them here. Hope to see you at another of these extended parties! (And, yes, Val McDermid is incredibly entertaining AND insightful!)

  2. I looked for you everywhere, hoping you might turn up in the book room. But no luck. I am so sad about this.

  3. Les -

    I'll make sure to leave a comnment on yoru blog or email you if I happen to be going to another convention next year. I may hit Malice Domestic again and Bouchercon since it'll be in Ohio.

    Patti -

    No worries. We both tried.

  4. After reading your Bouchercon posts, John, it definitely sounds as if the money was worth it. :)

    I had a grand time the one time I went and I'm glad to see that you had a great time as well. It's such a special coming together of mystery and thriller people, readers and authors and other types. Such fun.

    I'm glad you bought tons of books!

    Welcome back to blog-landia. :)

  5. Oh, I'm sorry we didn't get together at some point. That would've been fun.

    I have found that the only ways to ensure a meeting during Bouchercon are (1) to arrange a date and time even before heading to the convention, and (2) to swap cell phone numbers, so that if you don't see each other in the heat of the convention, you can still establish contact and firm up meet-up details.

    I hope to see you next time.


  6. Hi, John.

    I wanted to thank you again for joining Bente and me for dinner on Thursday. I enjoyed meeting you and hope to see you again next year in Cleveland. Sorry I ran off so quickly the last morning; I'd left my purse in the lobby, and it had all my cards, money, and ID in it.

    Love your swag! Great covers.

    Jaden Terrell

  7. John: I envy your trip to the convention. I hope to attend it one of these years.

  8. John, I have shamefully neglected your blog over the past week or two (while I was busily repainting my room, which took much longer than anticipated when my desk fell apart). So I apologize, but these posts you wrote about Bouchercon are really great! They make me feel sad I wasn't there.... Ah, well, if it's ever in Toronto again...

  9. Thanks for the mention and for the cool covers. I bought a Dell edition of Hammett's "$106,000 Blood Money" (published as "Blood Money) just for its wonderful map on the back cover. Someone should bring those back.
    Detectives Beyond Borders
    "Because Murder Is More Fun Away From Home"