When we last met two weeks ago I was in New Orleans. In the interim I returned home for a couple of days, put out some fires, and then travelled up I-71 North for two hours to attend Bouchercon 2012 in Cleveland. Bouchercon is an assembly of mystery writers and fans of same, so, like, how could I not go, with it being so close and all?
I was glad I did. If I had stayed home for three days, I would have done nothing but work. I worked at Bouchercon, too, but also 1) reconnected with friends I had not seen for a few years; 2) made some new friends; 3) became better friends with some folks; 4) reconnected with a guy that I worked with some forty years ago; 5) took award-winning author Kelli Stanley and British crime journalists Ali Karim and Mike Stotter — three of the finest folks you will find on this earth —to Mike the Hatter in Broadview Heights, where they each and all found lids that looked wonderful on them; 5) visited the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame; 6) had breakfast with my editor and BFF Carol Fitzgerald, and three members of the original Bookachino internet chat room from way back when the internet was in its cradle; and 7) was the target of an attack by a drunken troll in the men’s room of a theme restaurant near the host hotel. And how was your weekend?
I have to tell you though that one of the best parts of Bouchercon was beginning it and ending it with fellow Killzoner Jordan Dane. If Jordan ever raffles off a dinner with herself, buy up the tickets. She is wonderful company. We had dinner with author Bev Irwin Wednesday night, before the conference really got rolling, and Jordan is unbelievably funny. She was even funnier after dinner, when I was back in my hotel room, and she began texting observations about this, that and the other to me. Hilarious. And yes, Jordan, you can borrow my gun any time you want; just leave me a bullet so that I can take a shot as well.
Saturday night I was blessed by joining Jordan for dinner once again. I found myself seated with about ten million dollars’ worth of talent in the form of Jordan, Rick Mofina, Linda Castillo, and Julie Kramer. It was a celebration of wonderful news for Rick and Linda: they announced their engagement that evening. Just kidding. What was their news, really? Rick that morning had just received the news that his wonderful new novel, THEY DISAPPEARED, entered the Canadian book lists at Number Two. He learned of this from Linwood Barclay, whose own book, TRUST YOUR EYES, remains at Number One on Canada’s list. There is excellent taste up north, all the way around. As for Linda, her Kate Buckholder series, set in the Ohio Amish country about an hour’s drive from me, is on track to be a television series. Linda, if you hear that the producers are looking about for someone to play a rotund English, please tell them that Sweet Joseph is available.
Seeing Wonderful Jordan, however, was not my only encounter with Kill Zone participants. San Francisco’s Michelle Gagnon was in the house for the William Morrow party. Michelle, besides being an incredible wordsmith, has a fashion sense that any and all would envy. I don’t know anything about such matters, but she somehow always seems dressed to the nines without even trying. Everyone gravitates toward her, and rightfully so. It was wonderful to see her again and to get to spend a little time with her. And what conference would be a conference without Kill Zone alumnus John Gilstrap? John, who is always worth being seeing with and listening to, was in the “Cool Kids Corner,” outside of the hotel with the smokers, even though he doesn’t smoke. I was privileged to spend some quality time with him and Matthew Clemens and get several updates and down dates on the state of the industry. I also hear that Kill Zoner Boyd Morrison was in the House, but somehow failed to meet up with him. Boyd, you evaded me this time, but your luck will not last forever.
There’s more, of course, but that should be more than enough to persuade you to attend Bouchercon the next time it’s in your area. It will be in Albany, NY in 2013; Long Beach, CA in 2014; and Raleigh, NC in 2015. You gotta go. And if you do, say hey.
Joe, it sounds like it was a great conference and terrific time had by all. I haven’t been to B’Con in a few years. Got to make plans for Albany. Hope to see you there!
I didn’t know Kelli went lid hunting with you. Love her. Saw her at my breakfast with Monette Michaels & we caught up a bit.
Meeting you was a highlight for me too, Joe. Spending Saturday with Linda Castillo (my TX girl) & catching up with Rick Mofina was a blast. Love Bouchercon.
Have a good Saturday, buddy. Everytime you see a plant in a hotel lobby, think of me.
Wish I’d been there too! Everyone please plan to come to the one in Long Beach California in 2014–it’s my neck of the woods, and we’ll have a TKZ get-together!
I’ll be there next year.
That’s it! I’m coming to LB in ’14 for sure, with bells on and eBooks to sell (or give away). Well, long as Alligent Air still has those $39 flights from Missoula to LA. Hey!
And Joe, did you pick up any of those $4 cigars outta that big box in the hat store??
Sounds like fun! Just out of curiosity, how did Bouchercon get its name?
Joe, I plan to be at Bouchercon 2013 in Albany showered, shaved, and tap-dancin’ when the doors open. Hope that you are right in step next to me! And Amber, that would be great if you could come. Please be sure to come up and say hi to any TKZers you see!
I’m still laughing about the plant text and the picture that went with it, Jordan. Let’s talk early next week.
Kathryn and Jim, I’m not sure if I’ll make 2014 — heck, at my age I’m not sure if I’ll even still be around in 2014! — but that get-together sounds like a plan. And Jim, no, I did not purchase any of the cigars. Are you a stogie man? There’s a shop in New Orleans where you can watch them being hand-rolled while a lector reads. Very authentic.
It is fun, Sechin! You should attend if you can. The convention is named in honor of Anthony Boucher — a pen name for William Anthony Parker White — who was an influential mystery author and reviewer as well as a science fiction editor. Maybe at some point we’ll have a “Penzlercon” or a “Karimcon.” Sign me up!
WOW! An actual “lector” sitting on a high chair? Talk about a lost art.
The main factory, Jim, is on Decatur. There is also a store on Bourbon, but I think the Decatur property in where you want to go http://www.cigarfactoryneworleans.com/