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.
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.