Looking Back on Bouchercon

A Mystery-Lover’s Paradise

Today I’ll be looking back on Bouchercon, the trade name for the World Mystery Convention held every year in a different city around the English-speaking world. It’s a three-and-a-half day celebration of the mystery genre (the overarching name that includes thrillers, suspense, private detective, police procedurals, and other forms of crime-related fiction). This year, Bouchercon was held in Minneapolis, so of course, I had to go. And I was glad I did.

To give you a taste of my schedule and activities, here are more photos and captions.

A popular event on Friday evening was “Noir at the Bar.” Selected readers read excerpts from (usually) their latest work as listeners ate and drank in a casual atmosphere.

B-Con Noir at the Bar
The crowd at the “Noir at the Bar” reading event.
“On the Silver Screen” panelists (L to R): Moderator Kate Malmon, Dennis Lehane, Jeffrey Deaver, Karen Dionne, and Jo Nesbo.
One of my all-time favorite writers in any genre, Dennis Lehane.
Mystery Superstars (and hilariously funny) Catriona McPherson, Lori Rader-Day, and Jess Lourey.

Saturday was an exceptional day for me both for what panels I attended and the “performances I gave.” One panel, one 7:00 am Author Speed Dating marathon and a Hygge-style MN Author Tea.

author speed dating poster

Me with my B-Con speed dating author partner Susan Baginskie
Me and my speed-dating partner, romantic-suspense author Suzanne Baginskie.

Author speed dating consists of forty authors, more than a hundred interested readers, and two minutes per author to talk to a table full of potential readers in groups of 4-8 per table. Eighteen rounds, two rest breaks, and lots of swag passed out. Whew! I was exhausted after two hours of selling myself, but gratefully, I didn’t lose my voice (until that night and the next morning. Even then, it just drops an octave, and it turns into my “James Earl Jones” voice. 🙂

Dennis Lehane, SA Cosby
Dennis Lehane in conversation with rising star SA Cosby
Humor in Mystery Writing panelists
Humor in Mystery Writing panelists (L-R) Jesse Chandler (moderator), Charlaine Harris, Catriona McPherson, Matt Goldman, Rob Osler, Craig Johnson

Live conventions and conferences with other writers are always exhausting for most authors, who are generally introverts. But we get energized meeting with, talking to, and listening to each other. Bouchercon is unique in that it also invites readers of mysteries to attend. I only sold one book (and bookselling was not my goal), but I met dozens of potential new readers/customers and felt their energy and enthusiasm for the genre too. And finally–knock on wood–I didn’t catch COVID!!!!

All in all, an exhaustingly fun weekend. If you’re a mystery fan, consider attending next year’s Bouchercon 2023 convention in beautiful, spectacular San Diego!

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