Friday, October 16, 2015

New Faces, New Crimes, New Challenges, Bouchercon 2015

by Paul D. Marks

Before I get to the question at hand, I’d like to congratulate Art Taylor and Catriona McPherson on their award wins! So...congratulations! Well done—though I prefer mine medium rarified.
Ah, thoughts on the recently deceased Bouchercon 2015 in Raleigh, NC.

To go or not to go—to this or that convention—that is the question. We decided to go, hoping for the best all the way. Of course you never know what kind of riff raff you’ll run into on an airplane. We ran into this guy—Kevin Burton Smith of Thrilling Detective (see pic below)—who had the seat right behind me on one leg of our trip, which gave him ample opportunity to kick my seat and heckle me. Winking smile

And we had a great time at the convention. Seeing old friends, making new ones. We saw people from this blog: Alan Orloff and his wife, Catriona, Susan. Art and his wife, Tara. Wish I could have met up with Meredith, but next time! And we hooked up with Amy’s parents and one of her sisters, who drove up from Georgia for dinner, the night before B’con started.

The Shamus banquet was a hoot, as always. And I recorded my story “Howling at the Moon” for Ellery Queen’s podcast. I ain’t no actor, so hopefully I did okay. I would have preferred James Earl Jones do the reading and he wanted to, but unfortunately he had a previous commitment.

Every convention has its challenges. My biggest challenge this time around was trying to figure out what my panel was all about. The panel was called “New Faces, New Crimes, New Challenges.” That could be about anything.

Of course, everyone wants to get on a panel, myself included. And I was excited to get on two panels this time. Unfortunately, both were skedded for exactly the same moment in time. And I really wanted to do some Star Trek thingy—excuse my lack of expertise in TrekTalk but I don’t know what the term would be—where I could split myself in two and do both panels, but alas there’s only so much of me to go around—so I was deleted from one panel, just backspaced out and asked to moderate the other. I got volunteered.

Now if you’re on a panel called “The Changing Face of Publishing for Writers and Readers” or “The Resurgence of the Traditional Mystery” or “Just the Facts: The Police Procedural,” it seems to me you’d have a pretty good idea what the subject is that you’re going to be talking about. But “New Faces, New Crimes, New Challenges” could be just about anything. So, I asked my panelists what they thought it meant and they couldn’t figure it out either. Anxiety grew exponentially: what will we talk about? Especially as not all of the panelists were really what I would consider new faces, including me.

So after much deliberation and consulting a higher authority—Yogi Berra—who said: “If you don't know where you are going, you might wind up someplace else,” so we wound up someplace else and I decided we should talk about new faces and semi-new faces, new challenges and new crimes and how one gets away with those in the age of CSI and DNA. But from all reports I heard it went pretty well. And I was happy that we got about 30 people there since Megan Abbott and others were paneling at the same time.

So I was very happy that the panel went well. And really everything at the convention and the whole trip went well. We had no major glitches, which is always nice. We stayed on a couple of days after Bouchercon ended to explore Raleigh. You can see more about that on my Sleuthsayers post at on Tuesday, October 20th.

We got home just a couple nights ago and, as my mom used to say, “It’s good to go and good to come home.” And when we pulled in our driveway the other night and saw our house and anticipated seeing our animals that’s exactly how I felt: There’s no place like home.


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Alan Orloff said...

Hey Paul, it was great meeting you and your wife in person! That's one of the best reasons for going to these conventions, to get to talk to so many great crime writers! I hope you had a nice time here on the East Coast. Next year in NOLA! (And again, feel free to use any material you see fit!)

Paul D. Marks said...

Ditto, Alan. Great meeting both of you, too. Always great to meet people you "know," but meet them face to face. We did have a great time and stayed on an extra couple days to explore Raleigh. I really seem to enjoy mid-size and small cities. We're planning to go to New Orleans unless something comes up. And as to using the material, your check is in the mail ;)

David Cranmer said...

Enjoyed your recap, Paul. And, next time, pick first class to avoid that Kevin dude.

Art Taylor said...

Hey, Paul --
I'm behind on everything (crazy week of school stuff!) but appreciated your round-up here and the shout-out to Catriona and me.

Great seeing you and Amy in Raleigh and fun having lunch together and then talking throughout the weekend. As I said before, just wishes y'all lived closer!

Great piece here. And hope to see you again soon!

Meredith Cole said...

Sorry to miss seeing you, Paul! Arriving Friday afternoon, I managed to miss Catriona, too. Next time!

Robin Spano said...

I'm glad your panel went well. Sam Wiebe is a friend and he loved everything about the conference. I couldn't be there this year, and I loved reading about Bouchercon through your eyes.

Paul D. Marks said...

David, I fear that Kevin Dude would follow me into first class. He stalked me the whole way! ;)

Great seeing you guys, too, Art, both at lunch and throughout the weekend. Wish we were closer too. Maybe we need to invent our own convention to have an excuse. :)

I know, Meredith. Would have loved seeing you. Hopefully next time.

Sorry you couldn't come, Robin. But I think you have a legit excuse :) . Glad you enjoyed my account and glad that Sam had a great time too.

Susan C Shea said...

We kept waving to each other but didn't have time to sit and talk. Next year? Although I expect everyone will be out the doors and partying in that AllPartyAlltheTime town (NOLA for those who don't already know that's where Bouchercon touches down in 2016).

Nice to read your rehash of a good convention.

Art Taylor said...

OH, and Paul, don't forget that we'll be out in LA late March/early April of next year—and planning to get together then (with Dash too!)

Paul D. Marks said...

Thanks, Susan. And yeah, I think New Orleans is going to be more fun than conventioning, huh? :)

Looking forward to it, Art. I keep trying to think of things to do with Dash. I know we talked about some, but I keep coming up with new stuff.