I've had the time of my life, and so have a hundred or more other writers and about 1500 amazingly sweet and patient fans.
Yes, this is Bouchercon, the annual gathering that brings together the blood- and ink-stained wretches who produce the annual reams of crime fiction, literally hundreds of thousands of copies' worth, and the brave souls who read it. And if this is 2012, this must be Cleveland.
What happens in Cleveland, as they say, stays in Cleveland. So I have no real photos to share with you. Michael Sears took a zillion at Leighton's orders during the Murder Is Everywhere panel, and I'm sure he'll be putting them up.
So what happens at Bouchercon?
Fans meet writers. Writers meet fans. Writers become fans when meeting certain other writers. In addition to the MIE writers, all of whom I admire, I met half a dozen people whose work turns me to soup and many others whom I deeply enjoy. And I had the uniquely writerly thrill of learning that writers whose books I've devoured have also devoured mine. Two or three exchanges like this are enough to have me walking on air.
I had two fans seek me out just to tell me that my books had meant something special to them as they navigated the treacherous shoals of raising adopted children. Hearing this particular sentiment is like being microwaved gently until I am perfectly done. Never having raised a child, adopted or otherwise, this just boggles my mind.
It was a good conference for all the MIE writers who attended. Stan and Michael won the Barry for Death of the Mantis and were also nominated for the Anthony. Here they are with their richly deserved swag.
Yrsa told us officially that she's a best-seller -- the top-selling writer in Iceland at the moment, and burning up the charts in other countries, too. Jeffrey got a chance to talk about his phenomenal sales in Greece (and in Greek translation, too), which is a unique distinction for a non-Greek writer who's writing about Greece.
My wonderful publishers at Soho Crime had plastered the place with a little red book called THE JUNIOR BENDER READER containing the first three chapters of the first three Junior Bender books. Here's a shot of one of the stacks. (There were thousands of these things.)
Cara, sadly, had a death in her family and had to cancel at the last moment, and Leighton had business elsewhere, although that didn't keep him from cracking the whip. One of the most frequently-heard sentence-openers among us was, "Leighton says that . . ."
The Murder Is Everywhere panel, masterfully moderated by Peter Rozovsky of Detectives Without Borders, was an apparent success, by which I mean it did not seem to last several lifetimes, there were more questions than there was time for, the answers were thoughtful, and there were a lot of laughs. Some of them came from Stan and Jeffrey and Lisa Brackmann, sitting in for Cara, but Yrsa got the biggest laugh when she explained that crime fiction came a bit late to Iceland because Iceland doesn't have any crime. Last year there were exactly two murders. Things have changed, though, she says. Iceland now has its own Hell's Angels. There are three of them and they're presently in jail for pulling out someone's hair extensions.
Mean streets indeed.
My Soho colleagues were here in force: Stuart Neville, whose new novel, RATLINES, was a focus of the convention; Martin Limon; and James Benn; plus publisher Bronwyn Hruska, chief ediitor Juliet Grames, communications/marketing maven Paul Oliver, and marketing associate Rudy Martinez..
After three days packed into rooms with mystery writers, publishers, editors, and fans, I can say with total confidence that murder and mayhem attract some of the biggest-hearted people in the world.
So. A great time, and congratulations to all my friends who won awards: Stan and Michael, Jeffrey Cohen, Thomas Perry, and the others. I can't wait until next year.
Tim -- Sunday