Sunday, September 25, 2016

Bouchercon and Beyond -- New Orleans to Cape Cod

Zoë Sharp

On the road -- the road from North Truro to Provincetown, Cape Cod, in fact.
As I write this blog, I am still on the road after Bouchercon in New Orleans. My mind is a jumble of impressions, both good and bad. Mainly good, it has to be said. Here are a few of them I'd like to share with you.
The French market in New Orleans, a short streetcar ride from the convention hotel and well worth the experience, despite the humidity and the heat.
New Orleans street, down near the French market. Why can't a terrace of houses in the UK look this cool?

The downside of New Orleans was the homeless population, who at times seemed to outnumber the tourists.

The upside was coming across characters like this one, although I'm pretty sure the cat had use of its legs ...

I always look sideways when I'm walking down any street, because you never know what treasures are lurking in side alleys, like this, not far from Bourbon St.

Buggy rides were available, drawn by some of the most patient-looking mules I've ever seen. This one was a beauty.

Not sure where this is, but it's lovely. Pic courtesy of Cara Black
Part of the joy of events like Bouchercon is running into blogmates, past and present, such as Cara Black and Yrsa Sigurdottir. Pic courtesy of Cara Black
Yrsa's fabulous convention shoes. Pic courtesy of Cara Black

I was lucky enough to be on two great panels. One on vigilantes, with (l to r) Joseph Finder, Stuart Neville, moderator John Gilstrap, Reavis Z Wortham, and ZS. Pic courtesy of M'Lou Greene

I was moderator for the violence panel, (l to r) myself, E.A. Aymar, Melinda Leigh, Thomas Pluck, S.G. Redling, and Taylor Stevens. Strangely, nobody took me up on my suggestion to turn it into a practical ... Pic courtesy of Jodi Dabson Bollendorf

Signed with the other contributors to the CRIME + MUSIC anthology, including editor Jim Fusilli (front row, second from left) Pic courtesy of Three Rooms Press
Was over the moon to learn that last year's Bouchercon anthology, MURDER UNDER THE OAKS, won the Anthony Award. Was honoured to have my Charlie Fox short story 'Kill Me Again Slowly' included. Pic courtesy of editor Art Taylor

Lovely to catch up with friends from the UK (l to r) me, Kirstie Long, Caroline Raeburn, John Lawton at the Soho Press party. Pic courtesy of Cara Black
The sun finally set on New Orleans and it was time to move on to Texas! But before we left NOLA had one last bolt to fire at us ...
... in the form of a rip-off cab driver. As state law decrees dire things if you do anything nasty to  cab drivers in real life, I may have to take my revenge strictly in print!
It's been a good few years since I was last at Murder By The Book in Houston, TX, so it was wonderful to be back.
The Wild Detectives in Dallas was a very cool place to talk and sign with fellow Brit author John Lawton. A lot of fun.
Downside of this part of the trip? The US SIM card I bought in NOLA gave me a day's working time and allowed one solitary phone call before dying. H2o Wireless customer service was dismal. (Artistic rendering of what I felt like doing to my phone after spending some time trying to get the problem sorted out.)
Heading north-east. Changing planes at La Guardia on the way to Boston had the upside of a fabulous view of Manhattan island as we came in to land.
After 20 hours travelling, we finally arrived on the evening fast-cat ferry in Provincetown, Cape Cod just as the sun was going down. Is it just me, or does the Pilgrim's Tower look strangely Florentine ...?
Great poster produced by Tricia Ford at North Truro Library for the talk there by John Lawton and myself. I definitely need to get a blow-up done of this one!
Run aground. Little boat embedded in trees just outside Truro, Cape Cod.
Beautiful doorway in Provincetown, Cape Cod.
Provincetown Public Library was worth a visit just for the architecture, never mind the books.
The locals were friendly.
last word ...


  1. Just a few quick thoughts, Zoë:

    1) In the US, we drive on the right side of the double-yellow lines, not over the top of the them.

    2) I've never known Jeff to pull a buggy, patient, mulish, or otherwise.

    3) Really? La Guardia is now offering plane changing while still in the air???

    4) Remind me to never let you drive my boat.

    5) Not sure if that's yellow glasses or a bicycle sculpture that ran away from Washington D.C.

    (But thanks for the vicarious tour!)

    1. Hi EvKa
      I'm sure I read an instruction that said 'tear down dotted line', which is how I usually drive in the UK ...

      I never knew Jeff was a red-head? Well, a chestnut, anyway.

      Changing planes in mid-air is a doddle. Have you never seen a James Bond movie?

      You have a boat?!?

      Lots of similar yellow bicycles in the UK after they held part of the Tour De France there.

    2. No real reason for me to respond to the attempted slur on donkeys, as I think Zoë handled it nicely by simply raising the concept of hair in relation to EvKa.

    3. Ah, a mule is a very different animal from a donkey, Jeff, as is an ass. No comment implied or inferred, one hopes ...

    4. I know, but I prefer being considered a breeder...even in a slur. :)

  2. Tricia Ford's poster is frightening. Lawton as an evil overlord plotting his takeover of the western world. Zoe as his senior henchwoman, ready with her list of those first against the wall ( I can give you a few names if you are short...) And the obligatory Bond villain cat, sitting aboard its sedan chair. And then I thought, why not? They can't make it any worse can they - at least they would invest in libraries. Can I suggest Jeff and Evka for policy writing - that would cheer things up a bit.

    1. LOL, Caro. I do actually have one of those Ernst Blofeld G-Plan swivel chairs at home. All I need now is the fluffy cat.

      Invest in libraries? They'd become mandatory.

    2. Me thinks me needs a word with ye, Caro. Policy writing in the US means either insurance policies or slang for "numbers" writing...numbers being another form of gambling (slightly) less respectable than the insurance gambit. Yet somehow, I don't think you're suggesting EvKa and me do either.

    3. 'I' as in Roman numerals, Jeff ...?

  3. So sorry I missed you in NoLa, Zoe! That's the only problem with Bouchercon -- so many friends there that it's impossible to see everyone or spend as much time with people as one would like.

    Lisa (Brackmann)

    1. Hi Lisa
      I was sorry to miss you, too! There seemed to be so many people there this year who I never even passed in the hall. Next time!

  4. Gee Zoe, I hardly saw you at B'con and iI wasn't here in Manhattan to wave as you flew overhead. PLEASE come back to NYC. We have a LOT of parts that are better than LaG.

    1. Definitely planning on a return visit to NYC, Annamaria, as soon as I can manage it. And Florence, too ...

    2. Let's plan on Florence as your first stop.

  5. Fantastic Photos!! Thank you for taking us on the journey with you - I had a fabulous time in New Orleans, and though I only saw you for a moment, hopefully we can say hello more properly next year in Toronto!

    1. Hope so, Susan. It was just so big, and so spread out -- two bars in the same hotel, with Hal-type elevators to navigate between them -- that I was disappointed not to bump into more old friends I knew were attending.

  6. What great photos of a great time, and I feel like one of the lucky ones, I actually got to see you several times, hug you twice, and never get shot at once!

    1. No need to add the 'at' after 'shot' Jeff ...

    2. Yes, Miss No Miss. lolololololololol

    3. Somebody's waved the wand of wit in your direction today, young sir!