BOUCHERCON 2010 | Books and Booze by the Bay

Free books. Paradise!

If you haven’t heard of Bouchercon, it’s the annual trade show for mystery writers and their fans. This year it was held in San Francisco, the land of noir.

How could I not love riding the elevator with Laurie R. King and receiving a kind word in response to my desperate attempt at chit-chat? As I recall, I mentioned that I knew her long-time editor way back when.

Or Hank Phillippi Ryan. For a long while I’d only known of her through the Jungle Red group blog. In real life, she was gorgeous, and she was gracious with everyone, famous or not. I almost followed her around in true stalker fashion. I’m not kidding.

Or Heather Graham. Not quite knowing who she was, I babbled something inane (much alcohol consumed, very little sleep…you get it). She was perfectly nice in response. But why oh why was I going on about that old Prince song “Let’s Go Crazy”?

Or sitting with Bryan Gruley in the bar and thinking, This dude is such a cool dude. Anyone could comfortably put back a beer with him without realizing he’s a fabulous writer. (And he’s good-looking too.)

Or running into Gayle Lynds in the bathroom while she was primping. I asked her if I should know who she was — faux pas anyone? She responded with a twinkly little squint so I pretended to recognize her name when she said it. Here’s the thing: Now that I know Lynd’s name, I’ll look for her books.

Or chatting with nice-as-pie Harley Jane Kozak about her agent, whom I also used to know back in the day. Or introducing myself to Dana Stabenow because we were in that Elizabeth George anthology together…

Here’s the only “however”: I participated as an agent-less novelist, with no published novels under my belt. I noticed that a few attendees ceased to be interested in me when they discovered my lowly publishing status. Sad to see the networking gleam fade from their eyes.

BUT, here’s the “however” to the “however”: Librarians and other fans are the best! I don’t know how many nonwriters I met who were enthused to hear about my novel, who wanted to see me in print, who asked for my business card.

As an exercise in extroversion and schmooze-practice, I give myself a 3.2 out of 5.0, and most of that is for effort rather than execution. It’s all good, and I made a bunch of new friends, discovered dozens of new authors, and lookee here: I’m so enthused, have I started blogging again?

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