Posted by: Karen (Betty Bear) | October 27, 2012

Bouchercon 2012

I’m home from Bouchercon and it’s a week three weeks later. My parents came to visit right after I got back so I haven’t really had a chance to post until now. Plus all that other stuff going on in the emo info dump post.

Anyway, Bouchercon is the Mystery Writers of America annual convention and is geared to writers and readers. This is the third time I’ve gone to the convention. And how I got there in the beginning goes like this: once upon a time about 7 or 8 years ago one of my favorite authors, Laurie R. King and a fervent fan and savvy internet person, Vicki VanValkenburg, decided to start on online book club, first reading through all of  Laurie’s books and then moving on to others. A group quickly formed and internet friends were made. Then plans got made for us to meet up at B’con in Baltimore. And so we did. And it was good. I think I scared another of my favorite authors, Vicki Lane, when I squeed at her in the elevator as we were going up to our rooms, babbling incoherently about how much I love her books and it was so exciting to meet her in person. Although it may not have come out quite like that.

Two years later, I went when it was in San Francisco and Laurie was the guest of honor. That was totally fun, particularly the cable car tour of San Francisco concentrating on the various spots where Laurie’s main characters, Mary Russell from the Russell and Holmes books and Kate Martinelli from the eponymous books, had various of their adventures.

And then this year the conference was held in Cleveland, home of the Rock and Roll museum. The opening ceremonies were held at the museum which meant we got in for free – otherwise I think it’s $22 for an adult! The building is a glass pyramid, and the courtyard out in front has two rows of painted guitars about 10 feet tall each. Okay, I just looked them up and found out there was an auction for charity for them all last weekend. They were only on display at the museum for two months. It was totally fun walking around the museum looking at the exhibits – hand written lyrics (that was the coolest for me – like that’s John Lennon’s handwriting right there!!), guitars and other instruments from various artists, Michael Jackson’s glove, a Supreme’s gown, a Sgt. Pepper’s outfit, and listening stations everywhere.

The conference was fun and interesting and gave me many, many books to go look up and add to my TBR list. One of the things they do is give you a nice book bag stuffed full of books and I was not going to check luggage so I had to leave many of them behind. There is a drop and swap table where you can leave the ones you aren’t taking home and I dropped mine and an hour later they were all gone. So at least someone is benefiting from them.

I went to panel on: senior citizen sleuths, paranormal and mystery, the enduring popularity of Sherlock Holmes, cozy mysteries, authors’ inspirations, sex, creating characters, the effect of the world wars on books set during them, and I think one or two others. My brain kind of overloaded. The last panel I went to on Sunday was the one about the world wars and Sarah Shaber was there who I tackled afterwards to gush at about her books. She has two series – one is the Professor Simon Shaw mysteries and her new one is set in Washington, DC during WWII – Louise’s War and Louise’s Gamble. I can definitely recommend them.

I heard the guest of honor interview with Robin Cook. He was very articulate and quite impassioned in his dislike of big pharmaceutical and insurance firms and his conviction that the the richest country in the world should certainly provide basic healthcare for its citizens. I heard the interview of Elizabeth George by Deborah Crombie. I really love Deborah Crombie’s books and it was a fun and interesting interview. There was another interview of Mary Higgins Clark looking very grande dame-ish by her daughter. (She also was on my plane back, sitting in first class of course!)

Then there were the good times with what my family insists on calling my internet friends. We had a fabulous dinner with the entire group at an excellent restaurant – The Greenhouse Tavern – which I can highly recommend. Some of us had lunch twice at a noodle place – Noodlecat – nom, nom, nom. A few of us had dessert at The Chocolate Bar, swoon. And the last night we were all there we hung out in the lobby of the convention hotel eating pizza and drinking beer and having a lovely time just talking. The group consists of ages 25-ish to 75-ish, mostly women, and we all love to read. People from all over the country belong to the book group, well, actually there are people from all over the world, but I believe we only had US and Canada attendees from the book group. We’re already  making plans for next year in Albany.

One of the members of the group, John, is a fabulous photographer – I felt like Scarlett Johansson or something – and posted an album of pictures on Facebook with public access here. I took very few pictures and they didn’t turn out very well so I’m just sending you there instead if you want visuals.



  1. Woot! Books, internet friends, rock and roll, good places to eat and talk….. what’s NOT TO LIKE ?!

  2. […] Bouchercon 2012 ( […]

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