Sunday, October 18, 2009

Back from Bouchercon

I arrived  back home tonight from Indy and Bouchercon XL. This was only my third trip to the World Mystery Convention, but as with the others, it was quite an experience. The morning function today was a departure from the past called "The Bazaar."

Around 80 authors were lined up in six rows of tables, each with 50 of their backlist books to give away. Registrants received five tickets to swap for books of their choice, and they could buy five more for $5. The space between rows of tables was not enough to accommodate the rush of readers and got quite hectic at times. One of my signing neighbors said, "They've turned loose the hounds." My always raunchy signature  got more scrawly toward the end, but it was fun.

The only trouble with Bouchercon is you can go four days and never encounter people you intended to seek out. Luckily, Kaye (Barley) from Boone, one of the mainstays from the DorothyL listserve, came by near the end of "The Bazaar" and we got to meet face-to-face.

There were several interesting venues for convention events. One was the Thursday Night Extravaganza at Gameworks in the Circle Center Mall. It was a hundred-yard stretch of game machines usually played by kids. Plus buffet tables with the likes of hamburgers and nachos with chicken or beef. With the cold, rainy weather, we were lucky that the Mall and Convention Center (where Michael Connelly was interviewed) could be reached by skywalks from the hotels. Toastmaster S. J. Rozan presented the Anthony Awards at the Hilbert Circle Theater, where the Indianapolis Symphony plays.

The various panels and presentations were interesting and informative, at least the ones I attended were. One I really enjoyed was "The MWA Celebrates Adgar Allan Poe," marking the 200th anniversary of Edgar's birth. Michael Connelly, Sue Grafton, Peter Lovesey, John Lutz, and Sara Paretsky bandied about their views on how Poe influenced their writing and the mystery community in general. Though taking issues on several points, all seemed in agreement on the major influence Poe had on the direction of mystery writing right up to the present.

My panel, "GEEZER LIT COMES OF AGE, The graying of the genre," was well received. I had a great time discussing the ins and outs of characters "of a certain age" with fellow panelists Mike Befeler (moderator), Naomi Hirahara, Mary Saums, and Patricia Stoltey. One audience member later told me she doubted I was truthful about my age. Actually, she was right. I won't be 84 until next month.


Anonymous said...


The Bazaar sounds like fun. Did you have to furnish the books or did your publisher send them?

I remember the signing room at Bouchercon-Las Vegas, with a couple of authors just sitting there because their books didn't arrive. Bum luck!

Pat Browning

Anonymous said...

This sounds like a great way to run a convention and move some books. Chaos of that sort is always welcome at a book sale and signing!

Chester Campbell said...

Hey, Pat. I had to provide my own books. The publisher doesn't have a budget for that sort of thing. I thought it would be worth it, though.