Monday, October 8, 2012

Bouchercon 2012

Wow!  That’s about all I can say right now.  I’m sitting at a crowded gate at the Cleveland airport, trying to find a way to sum up Bouchercon 2012, my first ever writer’s conference.  But seriously, B-con was so much more than that. 

It wasn’t just a convention for writers and authors, but for readers and fans of all types of crime fiction, as well.  So while I was in absolute heaven being surrounded by other writers who truly understood me and my passion for writing and my genre, and I learned an incredible amount of information at the panels, I also had the opportunity to chat and socialize with the very people who might buy my book when it “hits the stands” next week.

But before I get into all that, let me first fill you in on the personal side of this big excursion.  As most of you already know, I was planning to meet my bff, Lisa Regan, in person for the very first time.  She didn’t get there until my second day, so I met my other bestie first, Jennifer Hillier, author of Creep and Freak.

Jenny and I

I hadn’t seen Jenny since she moved from my neck of the woods last December.  Though she was suffering from some back pain, she managed to make the trip, and we had a grand time catching up, eating and drinking, and attending panels.  And when Lisa finally arrived, Jenny was there to capture it all on video.  But that’s a private moment I’m keeping to myself right now. I do, however, have a couple of photos Jenny took.

Lisa and I

The three of us spent no small amount of time partying it up at The Renaissance.  This newly renovated hotel, a grand dame dating back to1915, was opulent and conveniently located at Tower City, another beautifully revitalized structure also housing The Ritz Carlton, an entire shopping mall, food court, and cinemas, plus the RTA or local rapid transit train, which delivered me from the airport for only $2.  Everything we could ever want was right at our doorstep.  We never even had to venture outside. 

Me, Lisa, and Jenny

The Renaissance at Tower City at night

...and in the morning

The grand lobby staircase

Tower City entrance

The Renaissance lobby fountain

The street view out our room window at The Renaissance

But, of course, we did since the opening ceremony took place at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.  That was a fun event with wine, beer, and hors d’oeuvres.  Best of all, it was emceed by famed master author, John Connolly.  We did have an incident where a close-talking stalker fan latched on to Lisa, but we managed to shake him, thank God.  Then it was back to the hotel bar for a nightcap where we were constantly surrounded by famous authors like Lee Child and Chelsea Cain.

The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame

Lisa, me, and Jenny out front of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame

Author John Connolly was quite the comedian emcee

Inside the reception hall at the museum

Author Charlaine Harris of the Sookie Stackhouse mysteries (True Blood)

Jenny and  Chelsea Cain

Author Will Lavender and Jenny

Friday and Saturday were again chock full of wonderful panels.  They were moderated and debated by panelists such as John Connolly, Chelsea Cane, Charlaine Harris, Linwood Barclay, and countless other rock stars of the genre and industry. I learned more than I ever thought possible on subjects such as morally challenged heroes, adapting novels into movies and television, crafting thrillers, character development, avoiding the unbelievable, and serial killers, the last of which was paneled by Jenny herself.  And all that barely scratched the surface.   

I met so many wonderful people, especially other writers and a few debut authors like myself.  One in particular was Mark Pryor, a friend of both Lisa and Jenny and author of The Bookseller, launching tomorrow, Tuesday, October 9th from Seventh Street Books and As She Lay Sleeping, true crime from New Horizon Press and already available on Amazon.  I found Mark incredibly charming as he spent an entire evening regaling a group of us women with stories of his job as a prosecuting attorney in Austin, Texas.  

Mark, Lisa, and I were all on the New Authors panel where we were unexpectedly instructed to stand before the crowd and speak about ourselves and our books.  And although it was intimidating as hell, the moderator, legendary author Val McDermid, was so hilarious, she put us all at ease as we belly-laughed at her early morning Scottish humor.  

 Val McDermid

Lisa and I after our New Authors panel

At the Museum party, we met a group of women—readers and librarians from Lisa’s neighborhood in Philly—and just like so many of the attending fans, they were thrilled to learn that Lisa and I were launching books this year and were anxious to read and possibly share them.  How cool is THAT?!!

Seriously, Even though Jenny was wracked up and I had some weird eye infection the whole time, we had a blast, and I could go on and on about how wonderful and fulfilling this trip was, but with all I have to say, it would take 5000 words, at least, and to be honest, I drank more alcohol in last 4 days than I have in the last 4 months, so I’m a tad exhausted what with getting up everyday before 6am.  But I know so many of you were cheering me on here and on Facebook and Twitter, so I at least wanted to give you a glimpse into the most spectacularly fun 5 days of my life!

Have you ever been to a writer's conference like this?  


Siv Maria said...

Thanks for sharing such a great time with us. Loved the pictures! Afraid I am a bit far away to attend writers conferances in a language I am comfortable with, but I love hearing about them!

Natalie Aguirre said...

Sounds like a really awesome conference. That's great you were able to see your friend too.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Look at all the pictures! Glad you had an awesome time with Jennifer, Lisa, and the whole Con. I really appreciated the photo you sent me.
And don't you guys look adorable?

JeffO said...

Sounds like a great time was had by all. Close-talking stalker, yech. And being put on the spot like that? A little scary, but I'm sure you handled it well.

And that is quite the opulent hotel. Glad you all enjoyed yourselves.

Donna K. Weaver said...

Sounds like you had more than a little fun. I'm so glad.

L.G.Smith said...

What a special weekend for all of you. I love going to conferences. So much fun. But it must have really been a blast to be there with two of your best buds...oh, and as a soon to be published author. :))

Melissa said...

What awesome pictures! Too cool! :D
(I'm jealous. :P)

Lisa Regan said...

What you said! LOL. Was it the alcohol that is making me so exhausted now?! :) I'm going to do a Bouchercon post probably next week when I've caught up. I can barely function right now. But it was so worth it. What an amazing weekend. I was so happy we finally got to meet in person and that I got to meet Jenny in person too! And Mark and so many others! I learned a ridiculous amount of stuff that I'm still trying to process! Definitely one of the best weekends ever--being surrounded by so many brilliant writers and doing it all with you guys!

Peggy Eddleman said...

So. Much. Fun. It looks like you had a blast! So happy for you!

Dana Mason said...

I'm so glad you have such a good time! Thanks for sharing your trip with us. Get some rest...then share some more. :)

Andrew Leon said...

I haven't been to any conferences, so I have envy.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Wow, what a place to hold a conference!

Joylene Nowell Butler said...

Looks like you had a blast, Nancy. I'm so happy for you. I'd love to meet my critique partners. What a thrill for you. Can't wait to hear more. Especially the juicy stuff~!

Livia said...

I'm so happy for you, Nancy! I'm glad that you had fun with Jenny Hillier and Lisa Regan! I can only imagine what you had felt in those past five days. Great pictures and awesome memories! You're making your dream come true and you amaze me when I think about you. You're doing it, girl! *hugs*

otin said...

The only thing I can say is that I am totally jealous. lol. Looks like a great time.

Eva Gallant said...

The conference sounds fantastic and the hotel was gorgeous. Glad you had a good time and learned as well!

Chuck said...

Sounds like you had a great time...including the alcohol! That hotel looks unbelievable for Cleveland!!

I am going back to Ohio for Christmas and you reminded me I have not been to the R&R HOF since it first opened so I am emailing my sister to put it on the agenda.

Great post Nancy...hey, that's my sister's name too!!!

Angela Orlowski-Peart said...

Sounds like a really great conference, Nancy. So glad you had a good time with your friends!

Carrie Butler said...

1. Sounds like you had a blast!
2. I'm jealous.
3. My happiness for you outweighs my jealousy. ;)

Thanks for sharing the photos!

Heather Gardner said...

Good for you! So glad everything came together and worked out!
Great pictures too.
Keep smiling about it!

Mark Pryor said...


You are gorgeous and funny and smart and I had so much fun hanging out with you.

Let's all do it again soon, okay?


Lisa Regan said...

Look at that. He's even ridiculously charming in blog comments too! :)

Nancy Thompson said...

Good thing I'm old & married. And a long way from Austin!

klahanie said...

Hey Nancy,
That's awesome and you folks sure had some fun. Party time, indeed!
Penny the Jack Russell dog and modest internet star went to a writer's conference and gave a bunch of human writers some very handy writing tips....
See ya, Nancy :)
Your starstruck fan, Gary

Jennifer Hillier said...

These pictures are making me miss you and Lisa even more than I already do! Thanks for a great 5 days, babe! Hope we do it again next year.

Mark Koopmans said...


Aren't Writer's Conferences just awesome :)

It's soooo nice being around a bunch of strangers and *not* having to tell peeps what you "do."

So glad you had fun :)

Carol Kilgore said...

One of my goals is to attend B'Con one year. Color me officially green in your honor :)

Anonymous said...

How very exciting... loved the photos.

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