Two weeks ago, I wrote about being confined to Book Jail. I’m thrilled to announce I successfully completed my first draft of the eighth Zoe Chambers Mystery! Having been sprung from incarceration, I head to St. Petersburg, Florida on Tuesday for Bouchercon!
Mystery conventions are always fun. Seeing old friends. Making new ones. Chatting with readers. Meeting favorite authors. I’m equal parts professional writer and giddy fan girl at these things. The two conventions I most frequently attend are Malice Domestic, which is always in Bethesda, Maryland, and Bouchercon, which sets up shop in a different city every year.
My first Bcon was 2008 in Baltimore. I traveled and roomed with my good pal, Joyce Tremel. I remember the amazing crab cakes from the hotel restaurant, and I got to meet Lee Lofland, Kelli Stanley, and the awesome Hank Phillippi Ryan (all now good friends) along with lots of other favorites!
|Michelle Gagnon, Lee Lofland, & Joyce Tremel|
|Pals Joyce Tremel, Paula Matter, & Rebecca Drake|
|Dinner and drinks with writing friends including Bill Cameron,|
Shane Gericke, Kelli Stanley, & Joyce Tremel
|Joyce, the awesome Hank Phillippi Ryan,|
Joyce and I also played hooky one afternoon for a walk to the harbor.
Another reason I love Bcon with its varied locales—visiting places I might not ever see otherwise!
I missed a few years due to budgetary constraints but returned in 2012 for Cleveland, an easy road trip. As a lifelong Pittsburgher who’d been trained to think of Cleveland as the “Mistake on the Lake,” I learned what a lovely city it really is. The Chocolate Bar with its amazing chocolate martinis became my favorite haunt.
I got to meet and shake hands with Mary Higgins Clark (squee!) and of course, we went sightseeing.
|Mary Higgins Clark being interviewed|
|Sightseeing walk through Cleveland|
And then there was my hotel room. Somehow, I benefited from good hotel karma (or someone at the front desk mistook me to be “Somebody”) and I ended up with a huge room on the Concierge Level, complete with a view of the lake.
I skipped 2013, but there was no way I was going to miss Bouchercon 2014. In Long Beach. California. In November. For one thing, it was my first time attending as the author of a published book. For another, it was Long Beach. In November. As opposed to 20 degrees and snow here at home. I played hooky. A lot.
|Long Beach decorated for Christmas|
|My first time at the Pacific Ocean|
|My first time with a published book in|
the Bouchercon Book Room!
|Couldn't miss Hank's panel|
In 2015, Bouchercon moved to Raleigh, North Carolina where I lucked into one of the best panels ever. Janet Reid was our moderator. Need I say more? I don’t think I’ve ever laughed so hard. And of course, I played hooky to take some walks through this lovely city.
|Sightseeing walk through Raleigh|
|And of course, chocolate martinis at the bar|
Along came New Orleans in 2016.
The food was amazing.
The sightseeing was amazing.
The bourbon was amazing.
|Martha Reed at The Bourbon House|
As a country gal, I would never have gone to New Orleans had it not been for Bouchercon, but it was one of the best times I’ve ever had.
|Going out to dinner with good friends|
Susan Thibadeau, Annette Gavigan, Karen Maslowski,
Ramona Long, Martha Reed, Kim Gray, & Mary Sutton
Last year, I had to miss out on the fun. But in TWO DAYS, I’ll once again be venturing off to a new location to make new friends, to play hooky, and—oh, yeah—to be on the Medical Panel on Thursday morning and participate in Author Speed Dating with my pal and travel buddy Liz Milliron on Saturday.
If you’re attending, be sure to stop me and introduce yourself!
Are you going to Bouchercon? Have you ever been to one? Or to any mystery convention? I’d love to hear about your experiences.