Monday, October 18, 2010

Bouchercon 2010: The Picture Book

Keith here.

Bouchercon 2010 was in San Francisco, 32 miles north of where I live in Palo Alto. The tariff for parking was $60 on a weekday, so I hopped a train on Thursday, October 14. I meant to go to panels that morning, but somehow I kept getting waylaid.


One of my favorite things about Bouchercon is a catch-as-catch-can lunch. I had no plans. I bumped into pal Carla Buckley and by the time we'd made our way to the restaurant next door to the hotel, eleven of us were sitting around a table. Clockwise from the left, that's me, Andy Peterson, Dennis Pozzessere, Sharon Rowse, Rebecca Cantrell (or is that Bekka Black?), Alex Sokoloff, Kelli Stanley, Heather Graham, Josh Corin, Carla Buckley, and Steve Steinbock. Next day the same thing happened. Went out with a dozen friends. Sat next to the very busy and talented Robert Gregory Browne and old pal Stephen Jay Schwartz whose terrific second book is just out.


Thursday afternoon I showed up at my assigned panel, "The Most Deadly Species: Female Protagonists." The room was chock-full.



They sure as heck weren't there for me. Cornelia Read moderated. Can you see her down there at the far end? Tasha Alexander, Ronald Tierney, Larry Light, Meredith Anthony, and I were the ones responsible for answering her probing questions. When I told my agent I was on this panel, he asked why. I pointed out that my Smasher had a female protagonist. He said it didn't count since she spent over half the book in a coma. Good point, Josh. Anyway, I put in a plug for the 1930s Nancy Drew as a great prototype for female protagonists. She packed a rod and sure as hell did not wait for Ned Nickerson to save her.


Here's a photo from Thursday night's welcome reception that includes three glamorous crime fiction award winners and some balding joker. (From left, that's G.M. Malliet, Baldy, Hank Phillippi Ryan, and Lee Child.)


I went to Friday's panel on ancient Greek and Roman mysteries to meet Lindsey Davis. I came up with the name of my Child #2, now 18, when reading The Silver Pig, first in her Marcus Didio Falco series. I didn't ever get the chance to say hello, but hey, Lindsey, thanks!


I love the people who love to read crime fiction. Mary Jane Sheffel stopped me to tell me how much she loved my books. So shocked to hear this were fellow scribes Sharon Rowse (far left) and Shane Gericke (far right) that they joined Mary Jane and me in a photo.


Friday night Lori Armstrong (left) and Karen Olson (right), whom I met three years ago at SleuthFest in Florida, left the hotel looking for a bite. We discovered that in the Financial District not much was open on a weekend night. After wandering hither and yon for half an hour, we found ourselves at bar/cafe about two blocks away from the hotel. The three of us had a ball reminiscing and catching up. Only hope that what's said in San Francisco stays there.

. After dinner, we joined the raucous crowd at Lee Child's party for all Bouchercon attendees. (Lee is one generous guy.) That's IPPY winner and fellow Silicon Valley denizen Mark Coggins on the right with New York super-agents Josh Getzler and Donna Bagdasarian.


I wanted to see the panel on East Coast versus West Coast mystery writing, which quickly turned into a comparison of New York City and Los Angeles as settings from crime fiction. In the photo above, flanking one of my mystery-writing idols, Walter Mosley, are old pal Naomi Hirahara on the left and S.J. Rozan on the right. During the question period, I asked the panelists how show business in LA and the financial business of New York City influenced their books. I managed to get into a little verbal sniping with Mr. Mosley who didn't like my question at all. Naomi helped bail me out.


Saturday night I watched the Giants-Phillies game in the bar. Marcus Sakey didn't much care who won, until I promised him a drink of whatever he wanted if he'd root for the orange and black. So now he had a strong interest in the outcome and I had a lot of faith in his powers of persuasion. The Giants won. Gentleman that he is, Marcus tried to explain that his cheering did not affect the outcome. Bullshit. I bought him some old single malt. Best investment I ever made.


After the game was over, I hung with Midnight Ink's Terri Bischoff, the aforementioned Josh Getzler, Tyrus Books' Ben Leroy, and Denver's Linda Hull.

Damn. I drove in on Saturday and the garage where I parked closed at midnight. I left the bar (sober) at an early 11:45 and left Bouchercon behind. There were a couple of more panels on Sunday morning as well as the awards breakfast; however, my brother was visiting from Ohio....

It was great hanging out with old friends and making new ones, but the three days of camp were over. Sigh. Back to the salt mines.

15 comments:

Elizabeth Spann Craig/Riley Adams said...

So nice that it was close to your house! Now *that's* an inexpensive conference. :)

Love the pictures, Keith! Thanks for sharing.

Vicki Doudera said...

Great commentary to go with your photos. Looks like alot of fun and I'll shoot for next year.

Meanwhile the sweet 16 celebrations for my "baby" daughter were great.

Alan Orloff said...

Looks like you had a fabulous time, Keith. Dining, drinking, and books--right up your alley!

Lisa Bork said...

Glad to hear you had a great time and saw lots of friends, Keith. If all the camps were only 32 miles away from home...

Lois Winston said...

Wish I'd been there. If only I could find some way to be in two places at the same time...Thanks for sharing, Keith. Definitely looking forward to next year. No more kids to marry off, so no conflict.

Keith Raffel said...

Elizabeth/Riley, being 32 miles away was in some respects a pain. Yes, it was cheap, but there's something to be said for being able to take an elevator back up to the room after the day's festivities.

Vicki, Lois, what your saying is that you put your kids before Bouchercon? Interesting.

Alan, Lisa, where the heck were you?

Sue Ann Jaffarian said...

This was a fantastic B'Con! Until now B'Con was always my least favorite conference. I didn't attend one single panel, except for my own, but had a blast networking with readers and writers the entire time. I ate too much, drank too much and laughed till I near split. Terri Bischoff rocks! And Steven Pomije's Midnight Ink table in the book room grabbed tons of attention.

Keith Raffel said...

Sue Ann, Great seeing you! Next time I won't forget to snap a picture of the hardest working writer in mystery-dom!

Darrell James said...

Keith- I'm sorry I missed this one. Association with all our writer friends is always the best part of any conference. Thanks for the recap.

Carol Grace said...

I was there for a party Friday night. Beautiful night, big stars (both inside and out). Sorry to miss the fun with Midnight Inkers.

Kelli Stanley said...

I'm so thankful for serendipity, Keith, and our Thursday group lunch!! Just wish we could have had more time--the weekend flew by in a flash!

xoxo

Keith Raffel said...

Carol, you were there? Sorry I missed you. I did get to meet Jessie Chandler though.

Darrell, not only were you not there, but neither was Diana!

Kelli, sorry we didn't hang out more but we'll have chances soon.

Beth Groundwater said...

Thanks for the photos, Keith. For those of us who didn't go, it was great to see them and dream about being there.

As for me, I was writing up a storm during the week so I could enjoy Breckenridge, CO's "Still on the Hill" craft distillery festival over the weekend. I'm glad the Saturday tasting was walking distance from my second home up there! ;-)

Kathleen Ernst said...

Keith, now I know why our paths didn't cross! You were already surrounded by the adoring masses. I had a great weekend as well, although I had hoped to at least say hey to all the MInkers there. I spent a little time at the MI booth, and it sure was gratifying to see & hear so much interest!

Keith Raffel said...

Kathleen, sorry we didn't meet up. As for the adoring masses, they were for the people I was hanging with.