|Laurie R. King, Dana Cameron, Sean Chercover, Ed Lin, Toni L.P. Kelner|
This past week I attended Bouchercon 2012, the world's largest and longest running mystery conference. It was started in 1970 and named for Anthony Boucher, a writer and critic. Every year it's in a different city, and this year Cleveland was chosen. Fifteen hundred people registered in advance from five continents, plus on Friday and Saturday 100 additional day passes were offered on a first come basis. Although I've been going to mystery conferences for the past six years, I've never attended anything this large.
Because I live in NE Ohio 50 to 60 miles from the conference site, I drove back and forth. I'd offered a room in my home to Barbara Emrys for the conference so she came and went with me each day.
There were many big name authors like Lee Child, Michael Connelly, Charlaine Harris, Elizabeth George and Sara Paretsky, to name just a few ot of the 118 mystery authors attending. Many authors attending Bouchercon I've seen and met before, but I didn't see them here unless I was able to attend one of their panels. With five panels in each time slot, it was hard to decide which one to attend.
The first panel I attended was late Thursday morning; "CLEVELAND ROCKS AND SO DOES MURDER; What makes this Midwest city so popular for killers?" Les Roberts moderated and the panel included Casey Daniels, Amanda Flower, two of my Cleveland area Sinc sisters, as well as Robin Yocum and John Billheimer. I enjoyed hearing their take on Cleveland and why they used it for their settings.
I attended another panel on true crimes and then worked the hospitality lounge until the panels ended for the day. Since Barbara and I hadn't signed up for the Rock n' Roll Hall of Fame tour, we headed back to my house hoping to miss some of the evening rush hour traffic. We didn't, but it was better than the following evening.
Friday we had to leave much earlier since the panels started earlier. The first panel I went to was "MYSTERY MATURES; Sleuths in the prime of their lives . . . and on social security." Barbara Allen moderated and Dave Whellams, Daniel Friedman, Elizabeth J. Duncan, and Gale Borger were the panelists. It was an amusing panel.
Next I worked at the registration desk for several hours. I enjoyed it even more than the hospitality room. The perk for volunteering was a cool, long, yellow scarf with the words "Crime Scene; Do Not Cross" on both sides of the scarf. I had a lot of people ask me where I got it.
Afterwards I went to "Cozy in Cleveland: A Tastemakers' Luncheon" and free for those invited which included my NEOSINC group, librarians and certain authors. Katherine Clark, who has made an extensive study of the cozy genre, moderated a panel consisting of Cleveland cozy writers Casey Daniels, Shelley Bloomfield and Amanda Flower who informed and entertained us while we ate.
Amanda Flower and Casey Daniels
I attended two panels in the afternoon. The first was "OUR INSPIRATIONS; What books/plays/films/TV sows/music made us the writers we are today." Laurie R. King, one of my favorite authors, was the moderator, and the panel consisted of S.J. Rozan, Dana Cameron, Sean Chercover, Ed Lin and Toni L.P. Kelner. It was an interesting discussion. Following that one I went to "GIRLS JUST WANT TO HAVE FUN; Who will win the Jungle Red Writers Family Feud?" Hank Phillippi Ryan was the funny and delightful MC while Hallie Ephron put up the questions and highlighted the correct answers. One team had Julia Spencer-Fleming, Lucy Burdette/Roberta Isleib and Deborah Crombie. The other team was Rosemary Harris, Rhys Bowen and Rhys' husband. The whole audience was laughing and shouting out answers throughout. It was hilarious. There were questions pertaining to cozies like; "What weapon is used most often in cozies?" They were rated from one to five. The Jungle Red Writers got their answers from a survey taken on their blog in advance.
Saturday morning the first panel I attended was excellent. ELEMENTARY MY DEAR CLEVELAND; How Sherlock Holmes is still influencing fiction today" moderated by Leslie S. Klinger with Michael Robertson, Dan Andriacco, Laurie R. King (of course) Daniel Stashower and Sara Paretsky on the panel. Sara insisted she didn't belong on this panel. Her only connection to Sherlock Holmes was a short story she wrote for the anthology Leslie S. Klinger is putting together with each story including Holmes in some way. It was a great panel; funny and yet informative.
(Laurie R. King not pictured) Daniel Stashower, Michael Robertson, Leslie S. Klinger, Dan Andriacco, Sara Paretsky
My next panel was "WHAT A CHARACTER; How do authors create their characters; real people or made up?" Don Bruns moderated and panel members were Charlaine Harris, Elizabeth George, Brad Parks, Daniel Palmer and Alison Gaylin. It was an interesting panel with a good discussion. Charlaine is always delightfully funny.
The Guppy luncheon followed in Sans Souci, the hotel restaurant. It was nice to meet so many fellow Guppies, some I'd never met before. I sat between Barb Goffman and Harriette Sackler. I knew them slightly from Malice Domestic, but it was nice to get to know them better. I also got to talk to Gigi Pandian, and had her as well as Susan Boyer and Yves Fey sign their books.
Barbara Emrys, Daryl Woods Garber (Avery Ames), Harriette Sackler
A turkey club sandwich and all the mental stimulation had me tired so I rested in the hotel lounge and read until the next panel which was an interview with Elizabeth George conducted by Deborah Crombie. Elizabeth George is one of my very favorite writers so I thoroughly enjoyed the interview and so did the extremely large crowd that started filling the room far in advance of the interview. Just as enjoyable as the interview was meeting our former co-blogger, Linda Rodriguez and her husband both before and after the interview. It was so nice visiting with her.
Barbara and I didn't stay for the evening's Anthony ceremony nor did we go back on Sunday. The more than two hours round trip didn't seem worth it for only two panels since the conference ended around noon.
It's over now and I enjoyed it while it lasted, but I'm glad to be home in my own quiet world. I got a dozen or so free books in the bag we were given, and I also bought ten more from authors I like or want to try. Since I have yet to finish all the books I bought at Malice, I'll have plenty to read over the winter months. It's one of the reasons I love winter.
Have you ever been to Bouchercon or another conference? What did you like or not like about them?