Saturday, October 06, 2007

Bouchercon

This is Donis writing, Dear Reader.

Like Vicki, I haven't written a post in a couple of weeks, because I was up in Anchorage attending my first Bouchercon. I didn't take my laptop with me, so was pretty much computer incommunicado for four days. I had 455 e-mails waiting for me when I got back, but otherwise, it was rather nice to have to only deal with people face to face.

I live in the Phoenix, Arizona, area, only about seven miles from my publisher, Poisoned Pen Press, so when I found out that PPP was celebrating their 10th anniversary by taking all their press and bookstore employees to Bouchercon, I called them up and asked if I could tag along. I made my own hotel and conference arrangements, of course, and paid for my own plane ticket, but Rob, the publisher, was kind enough to include my plane reservation with the group's, and they allowed me to travel back and forth from the Anchorage airport with them. I used to travel by plane a lot, back in the day, but for the eleven years I owned a gift shop, I hardly ever left town. The last time I flew was in Feb. 2000, so I pretty much no longer have a clue, reservation and regulation-wise. Going with the group was an excellent way for me to get back into the swing of things.

I've been to several writers' conferences since my first book was published in 2005 (long distance driving), but this was my first Bouchercon, and my first trip to Alaska. It was an excellent experience, and gratifying, too, since perfect strangers would come up to me and tell me they liked my books. I was surprised that anyone had heard of me at all, other than my fellow PPP authors. It's very nice to know that you're not just writing in a void and that people do actually read your books.

I moderated a panel on historical mysteries, which went off very well. My fellow panelists were up-and-comers Clare Langley-Hawthorne and Sharon Rowse, fellow PPP author Ken Kuhlken, and Big Name Author Robert McCammon, who is very well known for his fantasy/horror novels, but has recently switched to historical mysteries. We panelists rather bonded during the event, and all of us showed up en masse at each other's author's choice events. In the end, we were pretty much having a party.

At the Poisoned Pen Birthday Banquet on Friday night I met many other Poisoned Pen authors for the first time, including Charles Benoit, Vicki Delaney, and Deborah Atkinson of this very blog. Vicki asked me to participate in the web-radio broadcast she did from Bouchercon, and I was very honored to do it. I did my bit after Charles Benoit and Dana Stabenow, and right before Barbara Peters. I had a great time, but I told Vicki afterwards that I kept thinking of that old George Gobel joke: "Did you ever feel like the world is a tuxedo and you're a pair of brown shoes?"

I didn't get to participate in the "Authors in the Bush" program, since I didn't have time to stay, but I'm very envious of those who did. (see Vicki's previous post) I haven't heard anyone who went say anything but wonderful things about it. The group I was travelling with left Anchorage at 1:00 on Monday morning, which meant getting to the airport at about 11:00 p.m. Sunday, which meant not going to bed at all on Sunday.

We couldn't have if we had wanted to, anyway, since we had to check out of the hotel at noon on Sunday. So several of us rattled around Anchorage in the rain and drizzle all day Sunday. Poor Charles Benoit got stuck going to dinner with a bunch of bored women who were desperately looking for some entertainment until it was late enough to go to the airport. And royally entertain us he did, and never for a moment acted like he wished he were somewhere else. Charles, you're a mench.
We left Charles getting ready for his own trip to the Alaska hinterlands, unsure of whether his hosts had quite decided where they were going to put him when he got there. I hope he made it out all right.

This post grows lengthy, and I should be preparing for an event in Scottsdale on the 8th, so I'll close. In a couple of days, I'll post more on my own website (www.doniscasey.com) about my B'Con adventures and all the many varied and famous authors I met.

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