Tuesday, October 21, 2003

Here is my report from Bouchercon -- if you don't like name-dropping, you should probably skip it.

What is Bouchercon? Basically it's the best place in the world to be if you love mystery books. Billing itself as the "World Mystery Books Convention," Boucheron is a 4-day festival of books, books, and more books.

As you might expect, I had a blast. I don't know if I've recovered yet or not. Fortunately, I was able to order a new liver on Ebay, so I should be my old self in short order.

Bouchercon is a great convention because you actually have the chance to meet and talk to so many great writers, fans, agents, editors, etc. And they're all so nice!


*meeting and making friends with people who really, really love books

*having drinks with legendary crime writer James Crumley

*long conversations with people I'd only talked to before through email, including Gayle Lynds, Barry Eisler, Eddie Muller, Denise Hamilton, Julia Spencer-Fleming and Elaine Flinn

*chatting and having drinks with Mike Connelly, Laura Lippman, Ian Rankin, C.J. Box, Gary Phillips, Kent Harrington, Dennis McMillan, Jonathon King, Jason Starr, Peter Clement, David Corbett, Rick Demarinis and Otto Penzler

*sitting by the pool with Joe Gores and talking about Bob Ludlum and Donald Westlake

*the incredible interview of James Lee Burke by Mike Connelly

*meeting Earl Emerson, Steve Hamilton, Gar Anthony Haywood, G.M. Ford, John Connolly, Richard Barre, Mark Billingham and Ridley Pearson

*talking about the Myron Bolitar series with Harlan Coben (he's very tall!) Harlan said he's pleased that people love Myron & Win and want them to return -- and he'd like that, too. But he's waiting for the right story and isn't going to force it just because people want it. Sounds wise.

*moderating a panel with gambling expert James Swain, who later showed me some awesome card tricks. Also on my panel were Richard Moore, Carole Nelson Douglas and Steve Brewer. All in all, I think it was a success, although I had no idea what the hell I was doing.

*talking to James Lee Burke as we both exited the men's room (he initiated the conversation); it was the 1st Bouchercon for each of us

*semi-drunkenly telling Karin Slaughter that I'd just reviewed her new book for the Chicago Sun-Times...and realizing later that I'd panned it

*crashing parties given by the Mystery Writers of America and a bunch of publishers

*being interviewed by April Smith (Good Morning, Killer) for the L.A. Times

*walking by Gregg Hurwitz and then doing a doubletake when I saw his name tag -- he looked like he's about 18 years old! very handsome, too

Wow...first Bouchercon and it was a trip. I urge everyone to try to attend one some time if you ever have the chance.