Sunday, the final day of Indianapolis Bouchercon 2009. I signed up to volunteer for set-up of what they called the "book bizarre." As with anything else at Bouchercon, I had no idea what to expect. However, this was a brand new concept and no one else really had any idea what to expect either. I was supposed to be there around 8, but since I got up early to take care of packing my car and checking out, I actually showed up around 7:30 thinking I would have to sit and read awhile before anyone came. WRONG! They put me to work right away.
I helped haul out tons of boxes of books from a storage area. We had to take the boxes out of the storage area, then put them in the area that had been marked for the author. I should have taken some pictures of this so you could have seen, but we were so busy there just wasn't time. But the whole lobby area was filled with long tables; six rows of long tables, and each author was assigned to half of a long table.
Alright, once we got all the boxes out, then we unpacked the books. All of that is great, but here's where things got a little icky. We kind of had to stand guard, for lack of a better term, to keep people from coming in and taking the books or anything like that. The head volunteers had determined a place for people to start a line for the bizarre and only the volunteers and authors were allowed inside the bizarre area.
This is when you find all those fun people who think all the rules should apply to everyone but them. And I'm not a good enforcer. I don't like to be mean, and I especially don't like people who put me in a position where I have to be mean. I ran into a handful of those kinds of people and that was icky. But otherwise, it was fine, and I enjoyed helping. And the authors who were giving out their books filtered in to find their places.
The point of the bizarre was to give authors a chance to give away their books - provided the publishers donated them to do so. And I have to say the publishers were really quite generous in this bizarre. Michael Stanley was giving away hard covers of their A CARRION DEATH, Craig Johnson was giving hard covers of his THE DARK HORSE or trade papers of his ANOTHER MAN'S MOCCASINS. Sean Chercover had some hardcovers of his TRIGGER CITY. Tons of authors were present. Some weren't present but the publishers still sent books to give away.
When people had picked up their registration packets, they got five red tickets that they would use at this bizarre, trading a ticket for a book. Now, given all the loot that's hanging around this joint, you know people got a little crazy. The hope was that people would all move around the tables in the same direction - there wasn't a lot of room down the rows between tables. However, the "all moving in one direction" down the rows, didn't work very well. People just went where ever. They let the set-up volunteers go first, so I just kind of got my books and got out of the way. I wanted to wait around a grab pictures with a few authors before everything ended, but I stayed clear of the masses. So, I know you're wondering what I came home with. Uh huh! My prizes were awesome!! I picked up Tom Schreck's second Duffy Dombroski, TKO, Marcus Sakey's first novel, GOOD PEOPLE, Libby Fischer Hellmann's Ellie Foreman novel, A SHOT TO DIE FOR, Shane Gericke's CUT TO THE BONE, Andy Gross's THE DARK TIDE, Rebecca Cantrell's A TRACE OF SMOKE, two Sniplits CDs of audiobook short stories and two books that are completely new to me. (Sorry, don't have those titles because I already loaned them to my dad.) So, yeah, I cleaned up. There is one book I regret not picking up, but I don't need to be a book hog!
So, after collecting my loot and my bag runneth over. I collected a few more pictures. Here is my beloved friend, Kaye Barley:
And here's Sean Chercover and I. I had the pleasure of meeting Sean's wife and she was kind enough to take the picture for me. Both incredibly nice people. Such a pleasure to have had the chance to meet them.
And Rebecca Cantrell. Simply can't say enough about her either. Are you seeing a pattern here? This is why I'm not a writer. I can't come up with the words to articulate my joy. I'm not a person who can easily strike up a conversation, and I'm terrible with small talk. But when I me Rebecca, I didn't feel like I had any trouble having a conversation. It just came natural. That's how she makes you feel.
And I absolutely couldn't leave Bouchercon without having a picture with Marcus Sakey. If you encounter Marcus and have a chance to talk to him you will experience something few people are really and truly skilled at. When he talks to you, you feel as though you are the only person in the room. That is no exaggeration. You never doubt that he's paying attention to you and you feel as though he is genuinely invested in your conversation.
This weekend was truly a gift for me. I had the chance to meet so many people I admire and respect. Now I admire and respect them even more. As I've sat throughout this week, recapping my experiences, I've smiled all over again. These memories are precious and I thank each and ever person who helped me build them at the Indianapolis Bouchercon.
After my picture with Marcus, I found Kaye one last time and ended my trip the way I began it - with a hug and a smile from her.
Thank you, all, for giving me the chance to share this with you. I'll get to work now catching up on my reviews; lord, am I behind! But today, I'll leave you with some sample shots of the scrapbook pages I had signed at Bouchercon. Each page is 8" x 8". I plan to add pictures to this album as well. So, come visit me in person some time and I'll share the whole thing with you. Happy Reading!