Wednesday, February 3, 2021

Bouchercon or bust

This week I’ve asked Dana King, a friend and a very talented author, to sit in and tackle this week’s question. 

For the few who may not be familiar with his work, Dana’s the author of the awesome Penns River and Nick Forte series, as well as the standalone Wild Bill and numerous short stories. He has twice been nominated for a Private Eye Writers of America Shamus Award, in 2014 for Best Independently Published Novel (A Small Sacrifice); and in 2016 for Best Paperback Original (The Man in the Window). His short fiction has appeared in Thuglit, the late, lamented Spinetingler Magazine, New Mystery Reader, A Twist of Noir, Mysterical-E, and Powder Burn Flash as well as the anthology Blood, Guts, and Whiskey. You can find out more him and his writing at his website.

Many thanks to Dietrich for this opportunity. I’ve been outspoken about the virus, with good reason. Two Christmases ago I passed the good old-fashioned flu to my wife and ex before realizing I was sick, bringing home the potential of infection by asymptomatic people. My daughter is a resident at Tulane Medical School. She worked with covid patients during the post-Mardi Gras surge, and is again now. If those aren’t enough, the virus took my mother in August. I have strong opinions and I have not been bashful about expressing them.

For me, this week’s topic is a bit of a trick question. The first three things I intend to do at the first conference I attend (which I hope will be Bouchercon in New Orleans) are

  1. Unpack.
  2. Lie down for a few minutes.
  3. Go downstairs and get my badge and schedule before cruising the site to acquaint myself with everything’s location.

Basically, the same things I always do.

I say that because if I don’t feel it’s safe to go to a conference relatively unencumbered, I’m not going. My pre-conditions include:

  • A vaccination.
  • Dr. Fauci’s guidance for such events. Whatever he tells me will make it safe to go, I’ll do. If I feel observing those guidelines will too severely detract from my conference experience, I’ll stay home.

Not that I’m insisting things to be as they were. If I should wear a mask, I’ll wear one. If I’m not comfortable with dining arrangements at a restaurant, I’ll order carry-out and eat in the room. I’m not much of a drinker, so I can live with wearing a mask and not drinking at the bar; I can leave if I feel too many people aren’t with the program. 

Whatever the standards are, and as much as I want to go, I’ll make the decision knowing I am an overweight 65-year-old man with sugar concerns. Bouchercon is the highlight of my year, both as a writer and socially. It ain’t worth dying for.


Frank Zafiro said...

a) great post, Dana! Good to see you at 7 Crim!

b) I hope that things are such that we can all attend conferences soon... B'Con and LCC are the highlights of my social year.

Dana King said...

We had planned to do LCC this year because Albuquerque is drivable for us. Them pushing it back a year was much appreciated, as we would not have come in April of this year.

Brenda Chapman said...

Hi Dana - your precautions sound good to me too!

Susan C Shea said...

I'm with you Dana. Nice to hear your voice on 7CriminalMinds.

Dana King said...

It's a treat to have been asked to contribute.

Catriona McPherson said...

Dana, It's a highlight of my year too, but it's not worth losing you over. I'm so sorry to hear about your mother. Thanks for the straight talk and for putting a mention of Big Tony (as we call him in this house) into the day.

James W. Ziskin said...

Good post, Dana. Welcome!