Sunday, October 18, 2009

Back from Bouchercon 2009

Just got home a few hours ago from Bouchercon 2009 in Indianapolis. Wow. What a terrific five days.

Bouchercon is a fan conference named for Anthony Boucher, hence it's Boucher's Conference, see? This year, my pal Jim Huang, from The Mystery Company in Carmel, Indiana, was the person in charge. Jim's a ball of fire, a great resource for the entire book industry. He really put a lot of thought and effort into the event. It was my first Bouchercon, so maybe all the rest have been super, but...I don't know how you could top this.

Of course, it's always super to visit with my mystery writing pals from around the country. Below is a photo of me and Deb Sharp, whose book Mama Rides Shotgun was featured on the Today Show. Here's a link:

We met before we were published mystery authors. I have to tell you, there's a special bond among those of us who met before publication. We were kind to each other then, so we're cheerleaders for each other now. And Deb's just the sweetest, smartest person. I think you can tell that from her eyes, right? Some of you will recall her post about doing research on a trail ride. She's promised that we can go on a ride together next time I'm down in Florida. Giddyup.

Below is a photo of the massive Book Bazaar, an idea floated by my friend Joe Konrath. (You gotta love a guy who comes up and says, "Give me some love," then presents his cheek for a kiss.) Joe reasoned that at many conferences, attendees get free books--but not necessarily the books they want to read. Instead, he suggested that at this conference, each attendee receive 5 tickets redeemable for books by participating authors. I went through 75 books in about an hour! That was a thrill for me! And I was able to autograph them for new readers, which made the event really special. Did I mention I was seated next to Alexandra Sokoloff? (We were alphabetically arranged. Lucky me!)

I think we're proof that naturally curly hair rocks! I can't wait to read her book The Harrowing. Perfect choice for Halloween, eh?

As you can see from the photo, the lobby of the Indianapolis Hyatt was a total mob scene of happy book-lovers exchanging red tickets for new reads. In fact, the event proved so popular that they ran out of red tickets (people could purchase more and the $$ went to charity), and the organizers were forced to be inventive. They used brown bits of yarn instead! How's that for crafty?

My "contribution" to Bouchercon was the idea that we have a Craft Room. More than 200 people participated, making dishclothes (Betty Hechtman), counted cross stitch bookmarks (Monica Ferris), and "flower"art ( Camille Minichino). Killer Hobbies sisters rock!
My project was a scrapbook page. My wonderful friends at EK Success donated more than $20 in craft supplies per person, as well as supplying that wonderful page design I posted earlier. Gosh, we had so much fun! And that was so very, very generous of EK Success.
My dear friend Jamie Freveletti showed up to learn to scrapbook.
Guess what? She took to it like the proverbial duck to water. Yep, you guessed it: Jamie and I met before we were published. Proof positive that when you run with good peeps, good things happen to you.
The women in my Craft Room group were just the sweetest, most creative people I've met in a long while. I gave them the basics about our page, and they were off, running and having fun. Gosh, their variations on the page layout were amazing. See them at "work" below:

I was followed in the Craft Room by my new/old friend Cricket McRae, author of Lye in Wait. I say "new/old" because we've met as Midnight Ink authors online, but we'd never met "in the flesh." What a delightful, fun person Cricket is! We chatted for hours. Check out her beautiful website
Cricket's protagonist Sophie Mae sounds like all sorts of fun. I hope that Sophie and Kiki can get together some day and have an adventure! I mean, after all, our heroines can do anything, right? That's why they call it FICTION.

Here's to Bouchercon--the most fun I've had in a long, long time. It was a joy and a pleasure to "come back home again in Indiana." For a little girl from Vincennes, Indiana, the whole event was a fantasy come true! Imagine this: I'm all-grown up, traveling the world, and writing books. It just doesn't get any better than this.


Camille Minichino said...

Joanna, you make it so hard to give excuses, like, I'm just back from Indianapolis, and I can't talk or blog or even think!

Thanks for setting things up for a Bouchercon reporting week. By Tuesday I might even find my camera full of photos -- mostly of the dollhouse museum I visited, however, and the wonderful fall foliage driving around Indianapolis and Carmel, IN.

The crafts room was a brilliant idea! More on this later!

K M Britt said...

Wish I could have gone.

Terri Thayer said...

Sounds like great fun. I'm so glad the craft room was a success. I wish I could have been there, but then I would have missed out on all the new quilting fans I met.

It was one of those weekends where I needed to be cloned.

Betty Hechtman said...

I'm dittoing Camille's thoughts. I stopped in Chicago on my way back from Bouchercon and it's taken all morning to get myself together to check emails. Joanna, you also deserve a thank you for the great job you did organizing our panel.

Another ditto about the craft room being a wonderful idea.