In October 2016, my FB newsfeed was full of posts about Bouchercon. It was in New Orleans that year, and it was apparently the best time any writer I vaguely knew had ever had and I missed it. I didn’t know much of anything about Bouchercon, but according to the website it’s the World Mystery Convention, the premier annual event for readers, authors, and all lovers of crime fiction. Since I am all three of those things, I immediately registered for the 2017 Bouchercon (held in Toronto) and talked my friend Libby into doing the same.
We loaded up my Jeep and made the trek to Toronto in October 2017 while discussing how to make the most out of our first Bouchercon experience. I was scheduled for a one-minute pitch at the debut author event. The thought of it made me wanted to vomit, so Libby listened to me go over it so many times she could have done it for me, and I probably should have asked her to. We had both registered for the Sisters in Crime breakfast, but otherwise we were going in without much of a schedule. Libby had a single focus: make the most of our first Bouchercon. She made sure we introduced ourselves to other authors, and met people for drinks and dinner. She even snagged LA Chandlar and her friend to go to lunch with us. LA is so nice I couldn’t tell if we were holding them captive or not, but I was thankful for Libby’s drive. The call of an empty hotel room is hard to resist when you have young kids at home. If Libby hadn’t have been with me, I would have spent most of my time ordering room service and watching pay-per-view movies. Libby’s a mom, too, but somehow she had enough push for both of us. When I stood wide-eyed and overwhelmed, she would grab my hand and direct me to a group of authors that she felt we had to meet.
This year’s convention is in St. Petersburg, Florida. Libby is going with me again. We registered early enough to get a room at the hotel that is housing the convention. Last year we had to walk back and forth between hotels. It was only a few blocks, but it felt like miles after the third or fourth time in one day while carrying a laptop and books, and wearing shoes that were comfortable until I decided to walk a lot in them.
We both got panel assignments this year, something that didn’t happen for either of us last year. I’m moderating my panel, so I’ve spent the last few weeks reading books by the authors on my panel and preparing questions. One of the authors became a friend of mine at last year’s Bouchercon.
My favorite panel last year was the LGBTQ (Reading the Rainbow) panel moderated by Kristopher Zgorski. When I got the news that I was moderating a panel this year, I immediately reached out to him for advice. And he did not disappoint. People like Kristopher are what make Bouchercon so great. I have a larger network of people I can go to for advice just because I showed up. I can’t wait to see what this year’s con will bring. Maybe I’ll stay out of the hotel room without Libby prompting me to!