Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Adventures at Bouchercon

That "Check Engine Soon" light turned out to be a killer. We stopped in Peoria – on our way to Indianapolis for Bouchercon – and the next morning asked our lovely new GPS how to drive to the car dealership at the address we entered into it. I was so grateful we had the device, as the way there was long and complicated! And it turned out the problem was serious. It cost us a lot of money and many hours of waiting for it to be fixed.

As a consequence, we arrived in Indianapolis hours later than we intended, continuing a series of misadventures by stopping at the wrong hotel – the Conrad (as in Hilton) instead of Embassy Suites. Wow, it was great to be treated as celebrities for a brief while. Polite and efficient men descended in a small horde, unloaded our trunk, signed us up for parking, and guided us to the hotel’s check-in counter. Where the clerk had, of course, never heard of us. But the horde was as efficient as reloading us as they had been in unloading, and our actual hotel was only half a block away. Where we had exactly one person come out with a cart to help us unload our suitcases and my four fancy hats – which, when I think about it, is one person more than we usually get at our motel stops. And he was very nice. Funny how fast we get used to first-class treatment, isn’t it?

The misadventures continued when Ellen slipped in the shower and slammed her forehead and nose into the toilet tank, releasing a large amount of blood and scaring both of us half to death. Over the next few days – including up to the present – a beautiful black eye formed, changing shape and color as time advanced.

Meanwhile, the convention went on. I taught a class on how to cross stitch a bookmark with an argyle pattern. I was SO NERVOUS before it started. I had never taught a needlework class before, what if they couldn’t understand my instructions? Worse (better?), what if nobody came? Well, they came, nearly thirty of them, and they understood my directions. I spent the whole class on my feet, walking among them, answering questions and making suggestions. It was great fun, and the students seemed to enjoy it, too.

My panel, Retail Murder, was likewise very well attended, and the audience seemed appreciative. Other panels I attended made me head for the dealers’ room to buy books by authors I had not previously heard of. Which, of course, is one of the reasons authors scramble to be on panels.

Here’s another misadventure: I couldn’t keep track of what day it was and so managed to miss the Berkley Reception given for its authors on Friday evening.

The great Bazaar, at which about 200 authors gave away hundreds of copies of their books, was a jam-packed success.

But one memory I'll always treasure from the convention is of the fan who caught up with me in a hallway to say she gave up stitching when her vision started to fail, but then read one of my books and it so strongly re-awakened the desire to do needlework again that, even though she can only do the simpler patterns, she has taken up her needle and is rediscovering the pleasure she once knew. Now isn’t that nice?


Julie said...

Ohhhhh! I'm so glad there was some good to counterbalance the bad. Is Ellen okay except for the black eye? I hope you got to see some of Indy while you were here, and I was out of town due to spectacularly bad timing. Wish I could have come to the craft room for all of you. Next time, maybe fly? (I do understand the Conrad is reeeeeeally nice, and priced to match. Would make a nice splurge.)

Sheila Connolly said...

Great panel!

And there are lighted magnifiers (magnifying lights?) that will help those with vision problems. My grandmother had one (I still have it) decades ago, for her needlepoint.

Terri Thayer said...

Those lovely stories from the fans make it all worthwhile.

Too bad for your tablemates that you missed the Berkley dinner. Being at your table at Malice was a highlight of the conference for me. You're a great dinner companion.

Joanna Campbell Slan said...

You know, Monica, my attendees were so excited about their crafting that they, too, just took a little direction from me before they were off to the races.

Ellen's black eye sure was colorful! Maybe an inspiration for a new hat? I was glad she seemed in good spirits despite the fall.

I wonder if fans have any idea how much they give back to us? I just got the cutest email from someone who cried about Kiki's love life in Cut, Crop & Die. How sweet that she would care so much!

Betty Hechtman said...

I had the same feelings about teaching the crochet group. You certainly had an adventure at Bouchercon. It's nice that it was capped off with a nice conversation with a fan.

I agree with what Terri said - your stories both at the Malice dinner and our panel were great.

Monica Ferris said...

Julie, Ellen seems to be just fine now, except for the eye, which is just starting to fade.

It's so nice when a fan just walks up and says how much one of our stories has touched her, or inspired her, or made her happy. Some talk about our characters as if they are real people -- and since I think of them that way, too, we gossip about them!

signlady217 said...

Glad to hear Ellen and the car are both doing ok! I love the Needlecraft books, Monica. Keep 'em coming! My mom can't believe how many times I've reread them. And yes, they do seem like real people and I would definitely hang out with them!