Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Prose and Cons

by Chris F. Holm

Okay, you want the skinny on crime-fic cons? The good, the bad, the ugly? Well buckle up, buttercup, 'cause I'm about to drop some knowledge, raw and unvarnished.

(Editor's Note: Chris is going to do no such thing. He's been to exactly one book conference in his life, Bouchercon 2011, and had an unqualified good time. No, really, here's proof. So any negatives he manages to muster up must have been plucked out of... let's politely say the clear, blue sky.)

The Bad: Like books? Maybe you even wrote one? Well, then, I hope you like public speaking, too, because there's a good chance you'll wind up on a panel. 
The lovely missus, alongside Donna Andrews, Rosemary Harris, Julie Hyzy, and Shirley Damsgaard (L to R).
Christa Freakin' Faust, S. J. Rozan, Jonathan Woods, Benjamin Whitmer, Scott Montgomery, John Rector, Scott Phillips, and, uh, me (L to R).
The Good: Once you get up on said panel, all your jitters will disappear in a crazy geek rush of HOLY HELL LOOK WHO I'M SITTING NEXT TO. (In my wife's case, comedic-crime-legend Donna Andrews, whose books Kat has read and loved for years. In my case, Scott Phillips, who showed up late, drink in hand, and told one of the filthiest stories I've ever heard to a crowd of hundreds, while sitting six inches from me. It was one of the best moments of my life.)
The Bad: Wherever you think you're headed, you're not. The bulk of your time will be spent in hallways. Gotta go to the bathroom? Feel like heading up to bed? Too bad for you. The hallway cannot be escaped.
Josh Stallings, Neliza Drew, yours truly, and the missus (AKA Katrina Niidas Holm), snapped by Sabrina Ogden (L to R).
The Good: The reason you'll spend most of your time in hallways is you'll keep running into wildly interesting people with whom you've loads in common, and at whom you wish to babble for hours on end.
The Bad: Say goodbye to sleep, because the bar closes late, and the programming starts early. For folks like me who barely keep from throttling strangers when they get less than seven hours' sleep, it can be brutal.
Me, Kat, Neliza "I'm totally pulling off this hat" Drew (and she was), Brad Parks, Joelle Charbonneau, and Sabrina Odgen (L to R).
The Good: You'll be forgoing sleep to hang out with lovely folks like those pictured above (taken at a 7:30 breakfast at which Charlaine Harris was the guest of honor.) Added bonus: CM alumnus Michael Wiley was our table's resident author. If possible, he was even more charming than his posts would lead you to believe, and all before his morning coffee, no less.
The Bad: After four straight days of drinking, dancing, and God knows what else, your supposedly ringer-heavy trivia team may not be all they're cracked up to be.
Hilary Davidson, moi, Kat, the almost always lovely and ever-charming Brad Parks, and my boo-in-law Lauren O'Brien (L to R)
And now, because the question of the week mentioned good, bad, and the ugly, I leave you with a few examples of said ugly... because even the most photogenic among us (I'm not) get tired, cranky, and/or caught unawares sometimes (with apologies to the 99% debonair Brad Parks for exposing his one fleeting moment of B'con exhaustion).
Bill Cameron and Blake Crouch looking on while I, presumably, uh, break cross-eyed into song?
In our defense, it was, like, hella early.
Lest you think I'm blowing smoke regarding my love of cons, I'd encourage any of y'all attending Readercon in Massachusetts 7/12-15, Bouchercon in Cleveland 10/4-7, QuebeCrime in Quebec City 10/25-27, or Murder and Mayhem in Muskego 11/10 to drop me a line; maybe we'll hang out in the hallway.


Meredith Cole said...

Now you're making me sorry again that I missed B'con last year... It's so much fun! But unless you're a time traveler, Chris, I do believe those are pix from Bouchercon 2011...

Chris said...

Ha! That's what I get for opening wine BEFORE I write my blog post. Fixing now.

Meredith Cole said...

Ha! Drinking and blogging can be very dangerous...