If you are interested in blogging or want to promote your book next year, please contact E. B. Davis at writerswhokill@gmail.com

Our April author interviews: Perennial author Susan Wittig Albert--4/5, Sasscer Hill, horse racing insider--4/12, English historical, cozy author, TE Kinsey--4/19, Debut author, Susan Bickford--4/26.

Saturday Guest Bloggers in April: Heather Baker Weidner (4/1), Christina Hoag (4/8), Susan Boles (4/29). WWK Saturday bloggers write on 4/15--Margaret S. Hamilton and on 4/22--Kait Carson.

Julie Tollefson won the Mystery Writers of America Midwest Chapter's Holton Award for best unpublished manuscript (member category) for her work in progress, In The Shadows. Big news for a new year. Congratulations, Julie.

Congratulations to our writers for the following publications:

Warren Bull's new Lincoln mystery, Abraham Lincoln In Court & Campaign has been released. Look for the Kindle version on February 3.

Shari Randall's "Pets" will be included in Chesapeake Crimes: Fur, Feathers, and Felonies anthology, which will be published in 2018. In the same anthology "Rasputin," KM Rockwood's short story, will also be published.

Margaret S. Hamilton's short story, "Once a Kappa" was published as a finalist in the Southern Writer's Magazine annual short story contest issue. Mysterical-E published her "Double Crust Corpse" in the Fall 2016 issue. "Baby Killer" will appear in the 2017 solar eclipse anthology Day of the Dark to be published this summer prior to the eclipse in August.

Linda Rodriquez has two pending book publications. Plotting the Character-Driven Novel will be released by Scapegoat Press on November 29th. Every Family Doubt, the fourth Skeet Bannion mystery, is scheduled for release on June, 13, 2017. Look for E. B. Davis's interview with Linda here in June!

Cross Genre Publications anthology, Hidden Youth, will contain Warren Bull's "The Girl, The Devil, and The Coal Mine." The anthology will be released in late November 2016. The We've Been Trumped anthology released by Dark House Press on September 28th contains Warren Bull's "The Wall" short story and KM Rockwood's "A Phone Call to the White House." KM writes under the name Pat Anne Sirs for this volume.

James M. Jackson's 4th book in the Seamus McCree series, Doubtful Relations, is now available. His novella "Low Tide at Tybee" appears February 7 as part of Lowcountry Crimes: Four Novellas, which is available for order.


Tuesday, September 20, 2016

One More Post about Bouchercon 2016 in New Orleans

by Paula Gail Benson

My blog for today is late. I’m circulating it for peer review at the last moment. Actually beyond the last moment.

Po’ boys and red beans and rice
Why? Because I spent the last week celebrating my birthday in New Orleans and attending Bouchercon 2016. When organizer Heather Graham made the bid to host the mystery conference after Hurricane Katrina, she said she wanted to help rebuild the city one party at a time. I’m still trying to count the number of parties initiated and enjoyed at this year’s B’con. It truly exemplified the phrase “Laissez les bon temps rouler” (“Let the good times roll”).

Since it was my birthday, I arrived two days early. On the Airport Shuttle, I heard about the Dixieland Jazz at Preservation Hall. Once I arrived at the hotel, and enjoyed my view of the Natchez paddleboat, I took stock of the locations of all the restaurants a friend had recommended. I started out at Felix’s where I had shrimp and oyster po’ boys, red beans and rice, and bread pudding with whiskey sauce.
Bread pudding with whiskey sauce
Then, I walked to Gumbo’s, for an appetizer of Oysters Rockefeller dip with fried bow tie pasta before waiting in line for tickets. The time spent was well worth it. I met a delightful couple from Poland who had been at the Hall every night of their vacation to listen to the music. We sat together on a wooden bench beneath swirling fans as the band (trumpet, trombone, sax, bass, piano, and drums) thrilled us with “Sweet Georgia Brown,” “Ain’t Misbehaving,” “Babyface,” “Summertime,” and “Shake and Bake.” I returned to the hotel, walking up Bourbon Street, but it felt more like floating on a cloud.
Oysters Rockefeller dip with fried bow tie pasta

The next day, I explored Decatur Street, finding Beckhams, a second hand bookstore with a resident cat; several praline establishments; and many souvenir and specialty shops. At Jackson Square, I went into St. Louis Cathedral for mass. My literary introduction to New Orleans was reading Julie Smith’s Skip Langdon novels. I remembered so well the scene from New Orleans Mourning where, after Mardi Gras’ Fat Tuesday, Skip goes to the cathedral for Ash Wednesday service. The cathedral has extraordinary frescos and statuary.

On either side of the cathedral are two museums: the Cabildo features the city’s history while the Presbytère has one floor dedicated to information about the hurricanes that have struck New Orleans and another floor that showcases the costumes, floats, and memorabilia of the Mardi Gras celebrations.

Beignets and Cafe Au Lait
At the edge of Jackson Square is Café Du Monde, which serves beignets, coffee, and hot chocolate twenty-four hours-a-day. I sat there a while, enjoying my treat and people watching before walking to the river overview and listening to the calliope on the Natchez.

Once Bouchercon began, I felt as if I were in a whirlwind, being tossed from one wonderful experience to the next. Rather than packing the souvenir bags, the organizers created a book bazaar and gave participants six tickets to select the reading they wanted to take home with them. Breakfasts and afternoon snacks were available in the hospitality room. At the opening ceremony, we dined on New Orleans cuisine (muffulettas, boudin balls, shrimp cocktail, egg roll, King cake) while the honored guests, dressed in Mardi Gras costumes, rode into the room on mini-floats. A day later, the crowd walked up Canal Street in a parade led by a brass band and stilt walkers to see Lee Child’s interview with David Morrell and hear the announcement of the Anthonys at the Orpheum Theatre.

Opening Reception
The programming and interviews were very well done. I learned a great deal about “Doing Diversity Right” at the Sisters in Crime pre-conference. A shout out to our own Linda Rodriguez, who along with other experts, gave excellent advice about how to write with respect for different cultures and persons with disabilities. The keynote, given by Walter Mosley, was a rousing way to start the event.

I thoroughly enjoyed Michael Connelly’s interview with Harlan Coben and Ace Atkins’ interview with Julie Smith. The celebrations for the 30th anniversary of Sisters in Crime, the 75th anniversary of Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine, and the 6th anniversary of the writing group of Donna Andrews, Ellen Crosby, John Gilstrip, Alan Orloff, and Art Taylor all included champagne.

As always, the best part of any gathering of writers was the opportunity to reconnect and hear the news. Being in a city that offered history, mystery, fabulous food, and the possibility for parties on every corner only made it more wonderful. There are so many people I met (another shout out to our own Margaret Hamilton and Linda Rodriguezhusband Ben, among others), greeted, and truly enjoyed seeing. I’m very grateful for the time we had together.

Thanks to everyone responsible for the planning and to all who attended and made it such a grand success.

I can’t end this message without saying a very special thank you to Dennis and B.K. Stevens who hosted a wonderful birthday dinner for me at the Meauxbar Bistro. As Art Taylor pointed out on Facebook, somehow we had seven desserts for six people (including Debra Goldstein and Riley Miller). We were all initially dubious about the Jalapeno Melon Mint Cheesecake, but delighted that it tasted very much like a Mojito (my favorite cocktail and a very literary drink if you consider Hemingway’s preference). And, how can you go wrong with Almond Joy Chocolate Cake?
Birthday desserts
Did you go to Bouchercon this year? What was your favorite experience? Has this message been a little too preoccupied with food?


Margaret Turkevich said...

New Orleans: the food, the music, the heat. Can't wait to return for Thanksgiving.

Jim Jackson said...

I was not at Bouchercon, but with everyone's report I feel as though I might have been there. So glad everyone had a good time.

Julie Tollefson said...

Oh my. I just finished breakfast, yet I'm craving crawfish po'boy, beignets, etouffee... I so wish I could have come to B'con this year, but thank you for letting me live it (and taste it) through your report!

Art Taylor said...

Oh, wow.... Like Julie said, I'm suddenly hungry! Those pictures were great, and I enjoyed your tour here through both New Orleans and Bouchercon itself. So pleased to have been part of these experiences and getting the chance to spend time with you!

Carla Damron said...

this post makes me hungry! Glad you had such a great time.

KM Rockwood said...

You make me even sorrier I missed Bouchercon this year!

I love your pictures.

Gloria Alden said...

Paula, I'm sorry I missed Bouchercon, although I feel I wouldn't have been able to fit in an airplane seat after eating all that wonderful food. I would have enjoyed the music, too. Of course, walking the streets sightseeing maybe would have balanced out the calories I took in.

Grace Topping said...

Thank you, Paula, for a taste of New Orleans and Bouchercon. It all sounded delightful, and now I'm doubly sorry that I missed all the fun.

Karen S. said...

Happy belated birthday! Thanks for sharing all the fun and food.

Paula Gail Benson said...

Margaret, it was so good to meet you in person in New Orleans.

Jim, we missed you. I'm glad you've had a "vicarious" journey.

Julie, I'm still struggling with it and trying to think of places in my neighborhood where I can find similar dishes!

Art, it was great to see you in New Orleans. Thank you for the Sazerac recommendation!

Carla, Kathleen, Gloria, and Grace, you have to plan to go next year to Toronto!

Karen, thank you! Congratulations to you and Art on the Anthony Award for Murder Under the Oaks.

Annette said...

This was my first ever Bouchercon, but it won't be my last. I had a fabulous time. I enjoyed our lunch on Saturday and your stories of Pat Conroy. My favorite things about Bouchercon, 2016 were meeting all the wonderful authors and friends of my sister. Also, being from the Nola area, I was so pleased to see how much everyone enjoyed the sights, sounds and food of the city I love so much.

Paula Gail Benson said...

Annette, it was grand to meet you and to have lunch with you and Ramona. Please convince her to come to Malice. I know you both would enjoy the experience!

Shari Randall said...

Thank you for sharing this, Paula - what a wonderful trip and how fun to celebrate your birthday in such a cool place. Now the ball is in Toronto's court - it will be hard for any place to match New Orleans.