Bouchercon Blast

Pretty sure I can't blog about Bouchercon without coming off all giddy and fan-boy, but here goes anyway.

I was a Bouchercon virgin until last week. Now, I'm hooked. Who wouldn't be? On the way to Albany, I tweeted a Robin Spano article where she advised kids to just go for it at camp. Adults could feel just as intimidated, I said, heading to a conference of their peers.

Well, that ain't gonna last when it's a crime fiction conference. Especially not if you travel with a wingman like the inimitable Tanis Mallow. (Thanks, pal. You really made it for me.)

When Steve Steinbock urged me to "consider Bouchercon" last year, I knew it came from the heart. "Just go, if you can," he said.

Now it's been three days since it ended and I'm still a-buzz. Pretty sure the bourbon's worn off and I'm well-versed in caffeine, so that's not it. It's just a bundle of memories fighting for attention as they layer into my worn-out brain. Memories like...

Hard to find these in Canada....stealing Glock bullet casings from the firing range at the State Trooper Academy during Julia Pomeroy's tour. (Then fessing up and getting permission from our armed tour guide.)

...being called on-stage by Terrence McCauley to read from Todd Robinson's legendary Thuglit with like zero minutes notice. (And loving it.)

...meeting Erica Ruth Neubauer when we crashed Eric Campbell's Down&Out dinner and knowing immediately why Ruth and Jon Jordan would have her write reviews for Crimespree. Talk about an interesting background for someone in crime fiction.

...having Les Edgerton say he caught me crying as I read "The Hunt" on video.

...learning how incredibly funny Frank de Blase really is.

...imagining what would happen if Jack Getze's fuse gets lit one day.

...hearing Ed Kurtz go on about...

Those eyes....or rather...

...when he said...

...shit, it's all XXX-rated.

...being surprised when Tanis told me Ron Earl Phillips, Chris Irvin, Jen Conley, and Erik Arneson were meeting face-to-face for the first time! (Shotgun Honey runs so smooth it didn't seem possible.)

...seeing Sean Chercover in the wee hours again and again and again...

...seeing Absolutely Kate pretty much everywhere!

...hearing Andre Frieden's first-person take on North Korea.

...being convinced by Josh Stallings I can wear a Tommy Bahama shirt on Yonge Street. In Toronto. In February.

...getting all political (or not) late at night with Anonymous-9.

...hugging Cara Brookins just 'cause her energy's great.

...catching the very end of D.J. McIntosh's 3:00 a.m. interview.

...having Owen Laukkanen mention my manuscript during his panel. Man, Owen, how big is your heart?

...holding up the bar with Johnny Shaw and Glenn Gray long past last call.

...talking ghosts with Andrew Pyper.

...missing coffee with Charles Salzberg just so I can head to NYC and buy him a drink later this year.

...being told I need sleep by C.J. Carpenter. (Yeah, we're talking dark circles here.)

...and hearing Stacia Decker share her desire for an unbroken string of Bouchercons. And already knowing what she means.

'Cause I'll be in Long Beach next November, and counting the words until then. Thanks everyone for a truly special few days and for welcoming me into the cabal.