Earlier this September, I drove from Key Largo to St. Petersburg to attend my first Bouchercon.
Wow. There were 1600 people there - authors, readers, industry pros, and super-fans. A very different experience from my SleuthFest conferences (although, hands down - you want to learn to write or seriously improve your craft? You go to SleuthFest.)
From having run SleuthFest for four years and being an MWA member for fifteen, I already knew a great many people in attendance, so it was great to see familiar faces in that huge crowd. I also met lots of folks I'd only heard of, and that was exciting, too.
I was honored (and thrilled) that they asked me to moderate two panels. One on Thursday morning - Sunshine & Crime - Local Florida Authors. The authors on the panel were terrific - Marty Ambrose, Janet Heijens, Susan Klaus, Christine Kling, and Paula Matter. They were smart, witty, and prepared (a moderator's dream . . .) Each of them had such interesting premises for their books.
At 8AM Sunday (the worst possible panel time - after 3 days of intense talking and drinking) I moderated the morning after panel - The Mystery Machine - Amateur Crime Solving. Again, I was blessed with great panelists. (Thank you, BCon Gods.) Frankie Y. Bailey, Edwin Hill, Naomi Hirahara, Cathi Stoler, and Tina Whittle. I was so impressed by their bios and subject matter.
So, of course, now my to-read list is a mile longer, but I'll get there.
I was also lucky enough to be chosen for the Saturday morning Author Speed Dating event. Sue Cox (The Man on the Washing Machine) and I partnered up to visit 17 out of 26 tables full of readers who wanted to hear about our books. It actually worked, too. I gained a few new readers from that. And it was a blast. Loads of fun.
I came home with boxes of books. They give away so many, and I bought quite a few as well.
All in all, if you love books and reading, go to Bouchercon. It is a blast. 2019's is in Dallas.
I believe the only way to get through the slings and arrows life throws at all of us is to find the humor.