As a writer, there are many days that I sit at my computer alone. If my writing is going well, I feel great. And if it’s going slowly, I feel frustrated. But this past weekend I had not just one sweet experience, but countless. So I have to do a little bragging.
If you have never attended Bouchercon, a mystery convention, then you have missed out. Imagine roughly 1,000 people gathering: readers, writers, publishers, librarians, reporters, booksellers, etc. They all have one thing in common—they are fans of the mystery genre and love good writing. They also buy books–lots and lots of books. So many that quite a few of the attendees have to ship them home.
This year the conference was in Baltimore, MD. It skips about the country and lands in a different place each year—next October it will be Indianapolis, and the year after San Francisco. I’m looking forward to both.
This was my first Bouchercon, and I was lucky enough to be put on a panel four months before my book, Posed for Murder, came out. I was very happy to have two friends on the panel with me: a fellow debut author, Peggy Ehrhart, and experienced writer, moderator, and comic, Chris Grabenstein. I went in nervous about how many people get up at 8:30 AM on a Sunday to attend, and hoping I wouldn’t sound like an idiot.
Just after we sat down (the room was about ½ full), the fire alarm went off in the hotel. At first, some audience members dismissed it, but Chris and I (New Yorkers who lived through 9/11), leapt up. You never have to tell us twice to get out of a burning building. We held part of the panel on the back patio of the hotel, gathering more people, and when we returned to our room and microphones, the place was standing room only!
Some of the highlights of the weekend for me were hearing for the first (or third or eighth time) “I’ve heard of you” when I introduced myself (Wow! Name recognition already!). Several people told me “I can’t wait to read your book” (I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of that one!), and I was asked to sign chapbooks, posters and even sign an autograph book (it made me feel famous!). I also got to meet some of my favorite writers and had a chance to say how much I liked their writing—Laura Lippman, Lawrence Block, Lee Child, Laurie King, and so many others.
Now I’m back home with my family and feeling satisfied and happy. But also ready to go back to the computer and bang out another a book. After all, the fans are waiting!