Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Bouchercon: A look back

I arrived home yesterday from my very first Bouchercon. My head is still doing a bit of spinning. It was a rather large conference of about 1400 people. I could go on about the panels, of which there were quite some good ones, including one on Edgar Allan Poe (this year's con was held in Baltimore), and one on TV and it's place in the crime fiction world. Instead, much like author Louise Ure did today over at Murderati, I would like to talk about the moments that meant more to me (as an unpublished writer among some of the published). Let me just say that, I really felt so welcome among the crowds of readers and writers. Many have told me that there is such a sense of family among the crime writing community. That is certainly true.

Here are just some of the things that made my first Bouchercon such a wonderful experience.

* Meeting Ken Bruen on Wednesday night as I showed up for registration. I also got to meet his lovely fiancee Lisa. You could really see the spark in Ken's eyes when he was with her. And if you haven't read any of Ken Bruen's books yet, you're REALLY missing out on superb writing.

* Getting to hang out with Kelli Stanley. Kelli is the author of the book Nox Dormienda a brilliantly written crime novel written in what she calls "roman noir." It's basically done in the hard boiled noir style but just happens to be set around the time of Rome's conquest of Britain. Better than that though, she is probably one of the sweetest people you'll ever meet.

* Being invited to the Murderati get-together at the bar on Saturday and meeting the authors of the blog as well as two of the other regulars Will Bereswill and B.G. Ritts. I felt very welcomed among this group. Sadly, there were members who were not there: J.T. Ellison, Toni McGee Causey, Allison Brennan and Tess Gerritsen.

* Having a couple of drinks with J.A. Konrath. He may be loud and obnoxious (hey, he's told me this himself), but he is very generous with advice. Just check out his blog and you'll see.

* Going along with editors Gary Phillips and Chris Chambers as well as some of the authors of The Darker Mask anthology (a great book from what I've heard) to their signing at Red Emma's coffee shop and bookstore.

* Chatting with author Zoe Sharp and getting some good advice about some of my writing techniques (thanks so much Zoe). I also had the pleasure of getting to know her husband Andy. I even got to have dinner with them along with other U.K. writers Stuart MacBride, Sophie Hannah and Meg Chittenden.

* Meeting Karen Syed, president and publisher of Echelon Press.

* Discussing things supernatural with Alexandra Sokoloff, whose book The Price is a great read. For those of you who have not had the pleasure of meeting Alex in person, you can feel a certain energy when you talk with her.

* Being mentioned in some other Bouchercon blog posts. It's truly an honor to named in some of the blogs that I read and comment on on a regular basis.

* Once again seeing writer and fellow TV nut Lee Lofland. For those of you who don't know, Lee is a great source of information on all things law enforcement. His book Police Procedure and Investigation should be a standard in every crime writer's reference library.

* Though not part of the actual conference, I got to see Edgar Allan Poe's grave. There was however a great panel about Poe as part of B'Con.

These are only some of the things that will really make me remember this Bouchercon. I also got to meet a whole host of other writers including Jason Pinter, Eric Stone, Bill Cameron. Marcus Sakey, Michelle Gagnon, Jason Starr, Christa Faust and Troy Cook as well as agent Janet Reid.

If I have not mentioned someone that I've met (and I know I'm missing plenty) please forgive me. Just know that I enjoyed meeting you.

And finally, there are two sets of very special thanks that need to go out. The first is to Ruth and Jon Jordan and Judy Bobalik for organizing this wonderful event.

The second goes out to the staff of The Sheraton that hosted Bouchercon. Despite your troubles with Labor dispute, you all provided such wonderful and friendly service and for that you deserve much thanks. Know that your efforts were appreciated

Well kids, that's it. I had a great time and I'm looking forward to next year's Bouchercon in Indianapolis.


Wilfred Bereswill said...

Hey, RJ or is it Bobby? Great to meet you and thanks for the shout out in your blog. I've got a not to myself to email that picture of the Rati group in the bar.

Anonymous said...

You are truly a class act
What a true pleasure to meet you and get some time with you
You, are one of the reasons I love the Mystery community
Thank you so many different ways but most of all, for your sheer warmth and generosity of spirit
Ken Bruen

Ed said...

RJ, It was a pleasure meeting you. Wish I had more time to chat. Would love to see the picture you took of Edgar and the Poe panelists.


Ed & Edgar, my adventures in the cult of Poe

R.J. Mangahas said...

Will -- It was great meeting you too.And no rush with the pic. Send it whenever you get the chance.

Ken -- I'm very honored by your words. Thank you. Believe me, those words coming from you mean a lot.

Ed -- I'll be posting my "Traveling Poe" pics as well as the others from B'Con, so keep your eyes peeled.

Kelli Stanley said...

R.J., you are such a sweet, talented, and wonderful soul ... it was an utter pleasure to get to hang out with you, and I can't wait until we can swap fedoras in Indianapolis.

Best of luck with that terrific project -- it's going to be a great book -- take care and lots of


P.S. Say hi to Edgar for me! ;)

Michelle Gagnon said...


It was so wonderful finally meeting you in person after enjoying your blog comments...and I second everything you said, especially about Kelli's amazing book!

R.J. Mangahas said...

Kelli -- It was truly a pleasure hanging out with you. (But please, put away that damn hand held when we discuss pop culture ;) ). I'm definitely looking forward to Indianapolis next year, now that I'll know more people this time. And don't worry, Edgar will be up on the blog soon.

Michelle -- It was great meeting you too. Oh, by the way, I recommended your books to a friend of mine and she absolutely loved them.