BEST OF TIMES... WORST OF TIMESby Clare O'Donohue
My first convention was Bouchercon, San Francisco. Shout-out to Robin Spano! I guess we were newbies at the same one. Like Robin, I was deer-in-a-headlights overwhelmed. Which is the same as everyone at their first mystery convention - especially if it's Bouchercon. It's big and full of people who all seem to know one another. The new person standing on the edge unsure of how to join in.
Luckily for me, for everyone, who goes to Bouchercon, no one is alone for long. My first convention friends were our own Catriona McPherson and Ellen Crosby, who were fellow panelists early on Friday. After that, I met a few more people, and then a few more people. And now Bouchercon feels like home. I can't pick a favorite so I'll say all of them have been my best convention experiences.
My worst? That's easy and has absolutely nothing to do with the convention itself. It was Malice Domestic several years ago. After several amazing Bouchercons, I was spreading my wings and trying to hit all the conventions. Problem was, I was also working a lot, tired, and not feeling myself. It was my first Malice and I didn't want to miss it. so I went - and arrived knowing I didn't have the energy for a full weekend of activities. I did my panel, said hello to a few friends, and retreated to my room. When I got home my doctor determined I was anemic. Lesson learned. I was taking on more than I could handle and not paying attention to my body.
This year I'm going back to Malice, but feeling healthy and ready to hang out. If you're there (and especially if you're a newbie) come over and say hi.