Thursday, October 22, 2009

Bouchercon Diary - Day Two

Alrighty, let's return to the Bouchercon recap! Friday, Day 1 (for me), was outstanding. How did Saturday have a chance? mmm....

I got up a little on the early side, took care of the bothersome necessities (shower, dressing, etc). Then I wandered out to find some tea and the first panel I was going to attend. I went to the Kindle presentation, more out of curiosity than anything else - I'm not actually interested in getting a Kindle. Kindle/Amazon won't attend our organization's conference so I was interested to see what they would have to say. It was evident pretty early on that the content was directed at authors and publishers, so I quietly bowed out before the session was over. This little disappearing act enabled me to get in line 1st for Lee Child signing table. I wanted to have him sign his memoir scrapbook page. Honestly, had I not been in a position to do this, I probably wouldn't have gotten it signed simply because his lines were always so long and that turns impersonal. To me that's not fun. It's just a matter of how fast can we move people through this line, kind of thing. But, I did get in line first, and I snapped this picture - not so great, but it was all I got.

Then I got back into line, this time to see David Morrell and have him sign HIS memoir page.

By the time I had gotten both of those taken care of, the next round of panels had already gotten under way, so I decided to forgo a panel and wander around. That's when I found this handsome fella hangin' out:

And then I sat for a bit and chatted with this other handsome guy, Duffy Dombrowski's alter ego:

I did by the way get my requisite hugs from both of these fine gentlemen! ;)

Finally, I hooked up with a third handsome guy for lunch! Michael Lister - who in all my giddiness I neglected to grab a picture with - met me for lunch and we enjoyed a very nice conversation. I had the chance to congratulate him on Michael Connelly giving him a shout out about his new book in Connelly's interview from the day before. Michael Connelly and I share an appreciation of Michael Lister's DOUBLE EXPOSURE. And let me tell you how flattered I was that he made time to get together with me when he was flying out that afternoon after his panel. Super, super nice guy. If you ever have the chance to meet him, by all means, snatch it up!

After lunch I sprinted back to my room and reorganized my books in my bag and headed off to what turned out to be the absolute BEST panel I attended at Bouchercon. This panel was titled "IMBA and the Dilys Winn Award." Between the facts that the panel was opposite a panel with Harlan Coben, in a large room and I arrived early, I got a front row seat for William Kent Krueger, Louise Penny and Sean Chercover, moderated by Robin Agnew (from Aunt Agatha's in Ann Arbor). The chemistry of the folks on this panel worked amazingly. All three authors were laid back, candid, funny. They talked about starting out in the publishing business and funding their own book tours. They talked about both good and bad experiences at independent book stores - or in Louise's case, at a library. If you can see in these pictures, at one point Louise was embarrassed by something she said so she swapped name tents with Sean. I heard a lot of people talking about the panel with Harlan Coben that the fact that it was a good one, but honestly, I wouldn't have traded being in this session for anything! Well, maybe that's exaggerating a little - maybe there are a FEW things, but I definitely wouldn't have swapped it for any other session!

Afterwards I toddled over to have Sean sign my books - I'd managed to corner Louise before lunch that day. So Sean signed my books (on one he wrote "P.S. - see ya online" too cool!! O.k., geeky fangirl moment, give me a break!) and then I still had some time; I looked around and found LIBBY FISCHER HELLMANN!! Yay! I was looking so forward to meeting her. I only had to wait for one other person to finish up and I walked up to her table and said, "Libby, I'm Jen, can I come around and hug you?" So, I got to share a big hug with Libby and a little bit of chit chat. I truly admire her and it was a wonderful experience to get to meet her. But again, no picture. I WILL get one soon, though. More on that later. The other person I got to meet at this time, who I was very much looking forward to was Rebecca Cantrell. She's another of the Criminal Minds bloggers. Oh! She is just amazingly wonderful. Just like with Sophie, I felt as though I had known her my whole entire life.

Then the big moment was upon Hot Ticket session! With Michael Connelly! I truly admire him. He doesn't strike me as the kind of person for whom the spotlight comes easy, and that makes me admire him even more. Being in the spotlight constantly all weekend long has to be exhausting when it doesn't feel natural. But anyway, he was wonderful in our session, and answered everyone's questions. The MWA Midwest chapter that organized this did a very nice job and they made sure that everyone had a chance to ask questions and no one person dominated. This is where we found out the little tidbit about Robert Crais. Michael was explaining that both he and Crais had secretly stopped reading each other's work so that the same kinds of things didn't end up creeping into the other's books since they are both set in L.A. But, they concocted the idea to have each other's character cameo in the opposite's book. Each author would send the paragraph that the other's character was in to the other author for final approval. RC had Harry Bosch out behind the police station smoking...four books after Harry QUIT smoking! Michael sent Robert an email that said "BUSTED!" I just love that story. He talked about his feelings toward BLOODWORK, the movie, and the fact that he wouldn't be able to pick a Hollywood name to play Bosch because there isn't an actor that fits his image of Bosch that he's created in his mind throughout the years. I then asked him about audiobooks and if he's unable to hear them because they don't sound like what he believes Bosch should sound like. He said yes, that was exactly the case, but that he did listen to an abridged version of one of his books that Burt Reynolds did because someone told him to do that if he wanted a laugh. He said he didn't find what Burt Reynolds did at all funny!

What endeared me the most to Michael Connelly in this session, was when he said, "I know this is going to sound like I have an ego, and I do have an ego. I know I'm a good writer; I know I'm a talented writer. But there are a lot of good writers, talented writers in this business. I also had a lot of luck, more than any one person should probably be allowed to have." What he viewed as being entirely arrogant, I saw as incredible modesty. This man has made an amazing impact on the crime fiction genre; he has given back so much to the mystery community; and I was extremely humbled to be able to attend this session. It was wonderful. He still intimidates the hell out of me, though!

Afterwards Michael graciously signed our books (and my memoir page), I was able to chat a few minutes with Shannon Byrne, Michael's publicists and a great friend to Jen's Book Thoughts, and then I darted over to the book room to have Reed Farrel Coleman sign my books. He had a panel while I was in with Michael Connelly, so I wanted to make sure I grabbed him. On one book, Reed signed "To sixy Jen." Hehehe! He's so creative!

Alright! Now it was time for the Anthony Awards. I found Jon and Ruth Jordan and David Thompson and asked to follow along because once again, I didn't know where I was going. And we headed on over to the Hilbert Circle Theater. Very beautiful theater but none of my pictures came out thanks to the lighting. I'm sure that you heard about the Anthony Award winners already, so I'll just say that it was special for me to be able to congratulate Sean Chercover, Jon & Ruth Jordan and Chris Grabenstein in person. I was extremely happy for them all. I was also especially happy for Rosemary Harris who was nominated in the category of Best First Novel. S.J. Rozan was a magnificent toast master. What a witty character she is. And Michael Connelly was all class when he awarded S. J. Rozan her award for toast master. She was technically supposed to award it to herself, but he took it upon himself to bestow the award appropriately. Good guy!

After the awards there was a bit of a reception in the lobby. I finally caught up with Robin Burcell. I was so thrilled to have a chance to see her and talk with her and grab this picture:

I also snagged Hank Philippi Ryan so she could sign her scrapbook page. She cried. I didn't want her to cry, but I was also flattered that my project created that much emotion for her. What a lovely, lovely person she is. S.J. Rozan signed her memoir, as did Marcus Sakey and Jason Pinter. I met Megan Abbott in person.

Finally as I wrapped up my time at the theater, I met up with Robin Agnew and my friend Patti O'Brien and we went to dinner at a very nice brewery. Great dinner, great conversation. And the night still wasn't over!

After heading back to the hotel, I made my way to the Artsgarden for the charity auction. The auctioneers were Donna Andrews and Chris Grabenstein - thus, why I said Chris could make his living this way if he ever left writing. The items in this auction were way beyond my means, but it was fun to watch. A character name in an upcoming Sue Grafton went for a couple thousand dollars. Yikes! But, it was all for charity and that is wonderful.

I headed back to the Hyatt hotel bar after that, where I met up with Sophie Littlefield again. She and some others were headed over to Lee Child's Reacher Creature party and they invited me to tag along. So, off I went!

It was rather insane at the Slippery Noodle. The place was wall-to-wall people, so between the live music and all the people, you couldn't hear a thing unless you were right up against the person talking, and preferably with them talking directly into your ear! Plus, if you wanted to move anywhere, you pretty much had to shove your way through. I did get to see Reed Farrel Coleman dancing:

And snapped this picture of Brett Battles and Sophie:

But, I told Sophie I thought I would go; that wasn't really my speed. But, she and Brett left with me and we went to a gen-u-ine Hoosier bar, as Sophie called it! We had a great time there. Fun conversation, cool bartender, people watching. Juliet Blackwell joined us after awhile. Sophie really liked the deer heads mounted on the wall, and we all especially liked the poinsettia decorations which we decided had probably been up since LAST Christmas. But that's o.k., it was still great!

And finally, about 11, we headed back to the Hyatt bar where we met up with Rebecca Cantrell, Kelli Stanley, and I also got to snag Jason Pinter for a picture. I have to watch the scrapbook around him, though! ;) Jason's fun. I enjoy talking to him.

And that's where I called it a night, but lord, what a night it all turned out to be! Another awesome day at Bouchercon! Tomorrow I'll wrap up with the last day of Bouchercon and the scrapbook pictures. I hope you'll check back. Until then, happy reading!


Kaye Barley October 22, 2009 at 8:03 AM  

Jen - I'm having the best time reading your B'Con diary!! These are great memories and terrific times you had.

Corey Wilde October 22, 2009 at 8:08 AM  

I got tired just picturing everything that happened in one day! You must be on some mega-super vitamins. :-)

Jenn's Bookshelves October 22, 2009 at 9:48 AM  

I am beyond jealous! I have to figure out a way to attend Bouchercon next year!

♥Jen♥ October 22, 2009 at 10:00 AM  

Thanks everybody!

Corey, you have to do this with us in St. Louis. I'm definitely getting Michael out this way and Naomi is already making the requisite plans. As for me, I've already registered!

Jenn, if you can't do next year (not sure if I'll be able to in San Francisco - kinda pricey) definitely get it on your radar for 2011 in St. Louis!! Robert Crais guest of honor, Ridley Pearson toastmaster, and two of my absolute favorite folks: Jon Jordan and David Thompson are in charge of it. It's going to be a party to behold!

Lori L October 22, 2009 at 1:49 PM  

This is so cool! I can hardly wait for the rest of the story!

le0pard13 October 22, 2009 at 4:09 PM  

Your enthusiasm and joy with the event really comes through in this post, Jen. And, that's great to see, and read. The Connelly feedback on the Bosch audiobooks is interesting. The Bosch series has had a range of narrators. Dick Hill (1st six), Richard Davidson (7th), Peter Jay Fernandez (8th), and character actor Len Cariou for most of the rest (including the new one). If he's only listened to an abridged Burt Reynolds, he did the worst for his audio sample.

Thanks, Jen.

trish October 25, 2009 at 9:33 PM  

I've loved reading your Bouchercon recaps, but unfortunately I haven't had much to say except that I'm really excited for you. And then I got to Michael Connelly's picture. What a good looking man!

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