Bouchercon 2009


Bouchercon, that magical place. This year was so fabulous and as Judy and I kept on proclaiming WE ARE NOT IN CHARGE!!…. which really is a lovely feeling…. much more so when you see the number of attendees grow over the one that was your child by two hundred people even though it is a city much harder to get to for most and a suffering economy. And Indy was magic because of the organization of Jim, Mike, Moni, Meg, Lynn and as SJ said at Saturday awards “I’ll not name names because there are so many I’ll forget.” They pulled off a beaut with a ton of effort. Being in the Midwest they were also able to acquire more space and tried some new things this year. A Crafts Room? (amazing success) YA programming? 500 school children met mystery writers on Thursday and Friday. Continuous Conversation? Brilliant.
There was more. The programming was marvelous. The GOH interviews not to be missed. Everywhere the eye could see there were new friends and old and I managed to take in a playoff game from the same pov as my very first Bouchercon.

I’ve been in this community for ten years now, urged to attend my first by none other than Robert Crais back on the old hard-boiled AOL board. It was in Milwaukee and he didn’t attend but perhaps my largest thank you to anyone in the mystery world is owed to him (and I owe a lot of thanks to a lot of people). Because there is nothing quite like Bouchercon in the world if you’re a mystery fan and without his gentle nudging I may never have discovered the live world of Crime-Fiction. I really look forward to seeing him at the next two Bouchercons (interviewing Lee Child in San Francisco) and as Male American GOH in St. Louis. In fact, I hope to raise a glass.

It is at Bouchercon where everyone who works, reads, writes Mysteries comes together and reenergizes one another with their shared fandom.

This year I got to go school girl on Katherine Hall Page and high five Scott Phillips. I spent a bit of time with Charlaine Harris and giggled and got to congratulate Dana Cameron for winning an award in the lower 48. (are you sitting?) I spent quiet time with Ali Karim. Lauren Henderson and I caught enough up that it will be at least a weekend until I miss her desperately again. I was able to to see my friend Nathan Singer and did not expect that at all.

My Ram family was there to represent and I suspect next year will be largest contingency ever. In fact I’m counting on it (I am not in Charge).

We had a great luncheon with Hector from Minotaur where Crimespree shared the scoop with what’s new and fabulous coming from their house. Little, Brown had a terrific party for everyone in their house and I was introduced to many of the editorial and publicity staff I did not know. Sadly I never did make it to Reagan Arthur in the crush. I still remember bombarding her like a whoo girl at an earlier B-Con when I found they were bringing Denise Mina’s books to the states (hmmmm…. maybe she was hiding behind Jonathan King and Harlan Coben for a reason). And Harpers, what can I say, their staff has always been great to Crimespree, and walking around the room at Mo’s on Friday I realized that almost all of their writers are family to me now.
Why, because we all get giddy at the idea of a good plot, the chance to put a mystery in another reader’s hand that we know they’ll enjoy.

Oh no, I’m not done yet Ben and Alison where there and so was Echelon’s Karen Syed. Soho had such a presence, bringing in a ton of their writers and I finally met Justin face to face. I did miss Leighton Gage but saw his lovely bride several times.

Jeremy Lynch being there with both Jill and his mom was wonderful for me and dear friends Penny, Denny, Cristy and Timm. We have Jaxson now too. What could be better?

The Midwest MWA family was there in full force and here I’ll forget names so I’m just going to say we were all proud to see Julie Hyzy get through two award speeches without passing out.

And the folks re-energizing Crime Fiction through their work as agents amazes me. I could wear buttons saying “I love Janet” and “I love David Hale Smith”. I’d do it for Mr. Able too but he’s just too classy. It would be crude.

Seeing them as excited as myself makes me know that there will always be this genre I love.

Deborah and Loren? You amaze me. Gayle, what can I say? You took a waif under your wings those many years ago in Vegas. And I cannot believe I wasn’t at the Shamus to see Reed do a two-fer and Bob get his lifetime achievement award. Marthayn is pretty damned good at keeping a secret.

I acquired new family too, and somehow found time to interact with the folks I have known I’d adore but never really spoken with, it’s truly all a blur. The difference between last year’s and this? I will remember this blur. Vividly. From the amazing Christa Faust to the dynamic Heather Graham, the spectacular David Morrell to the up and comers Jamie Freveletti and Matt Hilton It was so good to see you all.

Ten years ago when I walked into the Ramada Inn in Milwaukee I had no idea what I was walking into. If this was your first Bouchercon I hope you have that same feeling tonight. And if you’ve never been I urge you to take a look at the site for Bouchercon by the Bay.

Jon and I won the Special Service Award and I have to say a little about that. Thank you very much. We are touched. We are gratified. Everyone in this community helps us do what we do everyday. Whether you subscribe to our Magazine or contribute it, whether you support your local mystery community or buy books (and I don’t care, they can be print, audio, or electronic). Do you use your local library regularly? Have you suggested a mystery to a friend or relative in the past year? Did you buy a child a book? Did you write a book for me to read or make sure I got one you know I’d enjoy? I thank you then for your special service to us.
There is however a great and vast group of people who do more for this community than you can possibly imagine. Our fellow nominees both last year and this, the people who are running the websites that keep us all informed. Our fellow Magazine Publishers and the folks hanging on by their thumbs to the independent book stores. Mystery News is leaving us and that is not good. Lynn and Chris , along with George Easter, Janet Rudolph and Kate and Brian encouraged us in the endeavor of Crimespree more than anyone else in this community and have made our involvement explode. What they gave to us, we wish to give to you, or try. Mainly, Mystery gave us each other so we should be awarding you every year and we cannot afford 1700 plaques let alone the glorious award we received Saturday evening. So thank you

I have I final antidote. In Milwaukee, you will all remember a Chocolate Party. It was organized by John Cunningham formerly of St. Martin’s Minotaur. In Washington D.C. John and I almost broke the floor together jumping up and down when Val McDermid’s PLACE OF EXECUTION won the award. Eight years later he works for DC Comics as a senior VP and I have found a husband, started a magazine, put on a Bouchercon with the help of my Co-Chair Judy Bobalik and many others. On Saturday night, in the Bouchercon Bar we leaned against the wall in the very back of the bar , just taking it all in and grinned, “It’s always great, isn’t it?” came out of our mouths at the same time.
So thank you Mr. & Mrs. Moffatt for deciding to celebrate your friend Anthony Boucher 40 years ago. You are and have created the greatest community in the world.

Love is indeed an endless mystery!

(wedding photos were requested)