So last weekend (October 4-7) I attended my very first writers' conference, The Anthony Boucher World Mystery Writers Convention or simply, Bouchercon. It was held in Cleveland and open to both writers and readers of the mystery/suspense/thriller genre.
It was fabulous.
As most of you know, my best friend and writing soulmate is Nancy S. Thompson (whose amazing book, The Mistaken comes out on 10/18/12). Her Bouchercon post is here and it's got some great pics! As most of you know, Nancy and I "met" online, have been besties for 2 years but never met in person. So my real reason for attending Bouchercon was to meet my best friend in person for the first time. As Nancy promised, it was epic!
You'll have to forgive me. I tried to make this post short but it just ain't happening. So here are some highlights!
1. Meeting Nancy S. Thompson!
There we are, moments after meeting in person for the first time!
2. Meeting the lovely and brilliant Jennifer Hillier in person. If you haven't read her books, Creep and Freak, you're definitely missing out. Get them now. Creep was great. Freak was even better. As I told Jennifer when I saw her there, Freak is a walk-off.
Me, Nancy and Jennifer outside the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame on Thursday night
3. Meeting two of my idols, Karin Slaughter and John Connolly. So you know those people who get all shaky and incoherent when they meet their celebrity idol? Yeah, that's me. Apparently. John Connolly was the toastmaster and on Saturday afternoon, Karin Slaughter was slated to interview him. I had actually run into John Connolly in the hall hours before the toastmaster interview and told him how great I thought he was which went pretty well. Later, when it was time for the interview, I was waiting for Jennifer in the ballroom when Karin Slaughter walked up and stood right beside my chair. Then John Connolly appeared and they started talking. Before I passed out from being that close to the creators of so much writing awesomeness, I found Jennifer who encouraged me to go over and talk to them. Unfortunately for me, I have no idea what I said. There was a lot of babbling and gushing and I'm pretty sure by the time I left, Karin Slaughter was looking at me in horror. I probably came off as one of those people who should be wearing a sandwich board that says: MENTALLY UNSTABLE. If I could have that moment back to do over again, I'd walk up, shake both their hands, say quite simply, "I'm a long time fan of both your work. My first novel comes out this year and you've both been huge inspirations to me. Can I get a picture with you both?" Yeah, that totally didn't happen. I was an idiot. I'd like to say for the record that I was simply overwhelmed by meeting Karin Slaughter in person (and John Connolly who I've long admired). I've been reading her books as long as she's been writing. She's a big influence on me--what I aspire to as a writer. So it was overwhelming. She was quite nice though in spite of me making a total fool of myself. So yeah, would like a do-over on that one but regardless, it was a huge thrill. Here's the pic.
Can you tell I'm about to pass out?
4. Meeting Mark Pryor of DA Confidential and having dinner with him and several other lovely people! As you know from my last post, Mark's first book came out on October 9, 2012. As I said in my last post, he is ridiculously charming. He's a prosecutor from Texas with a British accent who writes books. That alone makes him pretty darn interesting. But WOW did he have great stories. And the British accent doesn't exactly hurt. Pretty much everyone around him at any given time is rapt with attention, listening to his tales.
5. Meeting two of my other favorite writers, Meg Gardiner and Linwood Barclay. I really enjoyed hearing them speak on the panels I saw them on and they were both exceptionally nice. I managed to keep my cool with them at least!
Me with Meg Gardiner
Me with Linwood Barclay
6. Meeting a group of ladies from my own neighborhood! They are involved in book clubs and libraries in my area and they were so kind and funny.
7. Getting a giant bag of free books.
8. Speaking on a new author panel along with Nancy and Mark (*pauses to do happy dance, looks around to make sure no one saw it, returns to computer*). Nancy and I had no idea we actually had to speak but sure enough, we had to stand at a podium and talk about our books for exactly 2 minutes and not one second more. Nancy and I were in great company and the legendary Val McDermid moderated our panel which was pretty awesome. She is hilarious. I have no recollection whatsoever what I actually said while I was up there but I'm assured it was good. I was in pretty damn great company so pretty much I was just thrilled to be there at all.
There we are with our new author panel placards!
9. Generally being surrounded by hundreds of people whose minds work a lot like mine, who have the same interests as me and who just get it. Everyone I met was wonderfully kind and funny and I learned a lot.
10. Taking a nap when I got tired. (No one knocking on the door or standing beside the bed asking when I would be getting up. No minor emergencies that only Mom could possibly manage. Just me and a dark room and a big old comfy bed.) I think it was Saturday afternoon I suddenly became very sleepy and Nancy and Jennifer said, "Go take a nap." And I did. Well sort of. I was so excited about actually being able to take a nap, that I couldn't sleep. Moms the world over will know exactly what I'm talking about.
Tags: "nancy s. thompson" "the mistaken" creep freak "jennifer hillier" "mark pryor" "the bookseller" bouchercon "karin slaughter" "john connolly" "meg gardiner" "linwood barclay"