I thought of titling this “Bouchercon and MIE,” because without Bouchercon there would be no Murder is Everywhere. You see, our genesis was a panel moderated by Leighton Gage at Bouchercon 2009 in Indianapolis, through which seven renowned mystery writers from around the globe, united in common cause and dissolute bar behavior, created MIE.
Yes, but for “Bouchercon: The World Mystery Convention,” Leighton, Cara Black, Tim Hallinan, Michael Sears, Stanley Trollip, Dan Waddell, and Yrsa Sigurdardottir would not have come together to form MIE and give those of us who follow in their footsteps (Annamaria Alfieri, Lisa Brackmann, Caro Ramsay, Zoe Sharp and moi (Jeff Siger)), a place to welcome our readers.
|Long Beach, CA|
But this is not about MIE it’s about me, and how I grew to love Bouchercon: that completely volunteer, fan-driven organization which each Fall offers all segments of the mystery world the big daddy of opportunities to band together in a different locale for four days of nothing but crime. This year it’s November 13-16 in Long Beach, California in what’s billed as the “Murder at the Beach” version of camaraderie among the crime writing community. And by community I mean fans, writers, editors, publishers, agents, and booksellers of every crime writing genre, participating in a plethora of panels and special events embracing virtually all aspects of the mystery world.
It’s a family reunion-like atmosphere filled with up close and personal opportunities to interact with all who attend. Everyone is approachable, fair game for striking up a conversation or perhaps even sharing a meal. After all, authors come to Bouchercon to interact with fans—and, of course, the legendary bar scene.
Even if you don’t drink, the Bouchercon bar scene is an experience not to be missed, for that’s where everyone comes together in late night revelry, and even later night shared confessional moments among folks who just hours before were but perfect strangers.
Which brings me around to my own life-changing Bouchercon moment. Drum roll please. It takes place at Bourchercon 2012 in Cleveland.
To set the scene, think of the urban legend about an innocent rube who walks into a bar in a Mexican border town, meets three enthralling beauties, and wakes up the next morning in a bloody bathtub missing a kidney.
Now, back to Cleveland.
As innocent as a new borne babe I strolled into the convention hotel’s bar and noticed three ladies sharing a booth. Not wanting to be rude, I smiled and said hello. They lured me over by smiling back. We fell to talking (and drinking) and before I knew it they’d pried my past right out of me—down to the part about being a former New York City lawyer involved in various pro bono organizations. Here comes the kidney part: The next day I woke up and found myself nominated for a position on Bouchercon’s National Board.
At least I still had my kidneys. Okay, all kid(ney)ing aside, I found myself in a “what-am-I doing-moment” for I’d consciously opted to exchange the responsibilities I’d felt as a lawyer to any organization I served, for the solitary (not lonely) independent life of a writer. Now I was back on a board.
But a strange serendipity came to pass: I found satisfaction in a way I never expected; for Bouchercon allowed me to give back to the mystery community a measure of thanks for all the good fortune I’d found through the writing life, and brought me many new wonderful friends in the process.
And speaking of friends, at the top of the list sits the three ladies from that Cleveland bar who will forever have a place in my heart but whose names shall never pass my lips, unless of course, Ingrid, Karen, and Sue allow me to so.
See you all in Long Beach at Bouchercon 2014. But first, you must register. You can also find information about programing, attendees, how to volunteer, and much more at this link.