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Sunday, September 16, 2018

Bouchercon, St. Petersburg

Two weeks ago, I blogged about my memories of previous Bouchercons. Since then, I’ve returned home from Bouchercon 2018 in St. Petersburg, Florida, where I spent almost a week playing dual roles of professional author and reader fangirl.

Let’s face it, writers are readers too. I still stand in awe and feel like I should salute when Lee Child enters the room.

The convention was also an opportunity to spend some time with dear friends I only see once or twice a year. My first night there included a fun dinner out with Dru Ann Love, Paula Matter and her husband Dave (AKA The Saint), and my travel buddy, Liz Milliron, at a quaint and quirky seafood restaurant. 

Dru Ann Love, Annette, and Liz Milliron
The food was fabulous, but the company was even better.

And the hotel? If you ever get a chance to stay at the Vinoy, grab it. The place is ultra luxurious. I thought I’d hit it big with hotel room karma again, but from what I’ve heard, all the rooms were huge.
The Vinoy

The room I shared with Liz 

After a leisurely morning on Wednesday, I participated in a marketing workshop put on by Sisters in Crime and Dana Kaye. I took pages of notes and still need to digest all the fabulous information presented.

Bouchercon officially opened Thursday morning and my panel (Doctor Doctor! The Medical Panel) kicked things off. I had to control my inner fangirl in order to act like a  professional with Lisa Black seated at the same table. Thankfully, I don’t think I embarrassed myself.

One good thing about getting my panel over first thing—I got to relax and enjoy the rest of the convention.
With one of my wonderful fans, Marla Bradeen
Hamming it up with my good pal, Martha Reed

Liz Milliron and Paula Matter nervously waiting their turn at
the New Author Breakfast

With Jack the Ripper AKA Daniel Dark AKA Daniel Hooberry

With the beautiful and amazing Lesa Holstine
Always fun to run into fellow Pennsylvania girl,
good friend, and awesome author Lisa Scottoline
With Reavis Wortham and Liz

I did have one last item of business to tackle Saturday morning when Liz and I teamed up for Author Speed Dating, a fun little bit of madness in which authors pair up and have two minutes each to talk about their books to a table of readers. Then when the horn blows, the authors move to the next table and repeat the process. I confess I went to the wrong table at one point. My apologies to the other pair of authors whose pitch I messed up in the process.

Author Speed Dating with Liz Milliron

With that done—and with only a little bit of laryngitis from all the talking—I was free to slide back into reader fangirl mode.

The highlight of my weekend happened outside, on the Vinoy’s veranda where I spent almost an hour chatting with one of my absolute favorite authors, Julia Spencer-Fleming. (Yes, there is another Clare Fergusson/Russ Van Alystyne novel in the works!)
Fangirl moment with Julia Spencer-Fleming

And tourist mode.

The marina across the road from the Vinoy

Keeping company with a heron

The view from the veranda

My deepest thanks to Erin Mitchell for organizing this year’s Bouchercon AND my most joyful congratulations to all the award winners.

Next year: Dallas!

I know we had a few other Writers Who Kill in attendance. Debra? Nancy? Tina? Shari? Care to share your favorite moment?


Paula Gail Benson said...

Annette, it all looks and sounds perfectly wonderful. Thanks for sharing your memories with us!

Annette said...

My pleasure, Paula. I was just sorry you weren't there!

Jim Jackson said...

At a Malice a few years back Jan and I spent considerable time with Julie Spenser Fleming and her now deceased husband. Bouchercon is large that it’s tough for introverts to not feel overwhelmed, but it sounds like you've thrived.

~ Jim

Annette said...

So true, Jim, about being overwhelming. I've learned that it's okay to slip away and explore on my own or go for a walk ALONE to recharge. I don't feel the need to schmooze every single minute but I've made so many good friends over the years, I really enjoy visiting with them and making new friends.

KM Rockwood said...

What great pictures! Sorry I missed this one!

Margaret S. Hamilton said...

Sounds like a successful B'Con. I enjoyed your photos.

Annette said...

I missed you too, Kathleen!

Thanks, Margaret!

Liz Milliron said...

Next year in Dallas we can do it all over again!

Annette said...

Yee HAW!

Gloria Alden said...

I can tell you had a great time. I've been going to Malice Domestic for twelve or more years now and always enjoy it. I've always enjoyed Julie Spencer Flemings' books, but I haven't heard that she's still writing in years now. As for Bouchercon, I only went twice and can't afford to go to more than one conference and I enjoy Malice the most. There aren't as many people and everyone is so friendly.

Annette said...

Gloria, I was thrilled when Julia told us she was writing again. She's been through so much the last couple of years. It's great to see her coming out the other side.

Tina said...

I missed you, Annette, in all the crush, but I enjoyed seeing your face (along with so many other familiar and dear faces0 in the photos. Thanks for sharing them! That's actually my favorite Bouchercon moment -- the memories, the emails after, connecting more deeply with all the folks I only saw in the hustle.

Annette said...

I love all the retrospectives too, Tina. Sorry I missed you too. I fully intended to come to your panel but got waylaid as so often happens at these things.

Grace Topping said...

I knew I would be missing a terrific conference, but your blog makes me realize it would have been even better than I imagined. But it was a toss-up: daughter's wedding or Bouchercon? Next year--Dallas. Looking forward to it.

Annette said...

Haha, Grace! I think you'd have been in BIG trouble had you chosen Bouchercon! Definitely next year in Dallas. See you then if not before.