Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The Coast, Conference, and Cuisine-- Bouchercon Part 2: Conference

Bouchercon 2010 in San Francisco was already two weeks ago?  Got to get this post up.  This is the "conference" part of my three-part Bcon experience. Part 1 is: The Coast--Big Sur. The third and final part (coming soon) is Cuisine. You can't go to the Bay Area and not give props to the food. 

So here are my conference observations, in no particular order:

  • Bcon is like a giant cocktail party. Make like a hummingbird--dive in, suck the nectar, move on.
  • It was terrific. Well-organized, great panels and fun events.
  • The best part was seeing friends, of course.  Too many to mention! 
  • I saw a lot people I know only enough to say hi to, but I'd really like to sit down and have a conversation with these folks some day.
  • Priceless as Daniel Woodrell drolly explained in his slow drawl that there are some places in the U.S. where you can still buy a house for fifteen thousand (speaking of his Missouri Ozarks).  "The foundation's maybe slipped or the roof might slope a little. Most of the meth labs have moved out of my neighborhood, except for the house next door."
  • My panel rocked! It was "Crossfire: Putting Your Protagonist in Jeopardy" with me, Lori Armstong, Karen Olson, James Rollins, James Thane, and moderated by Randal Brandt. SRO and we had a lot of laughs.
  • I can't wear high heels as long as I used to at cocktail parties.
  • I love wearing high heels.
  • Lee Child's remarks about researching places for his books were funny and revelatory. He set a book in Georgia. Instead of traveling there, he rented "My Cousin Vinny" to get an idea about Georgia, even though the movie was set in Alabama.  "Close enough."
  • I need some of Lee Child's guts.
  • Loved seeing writers I know from crime writers' organizations and other conferences who were then unpublished and are now sitting at the signing table with me. Yay! 
  • Lots of cat talk in author bios. Made me think, "Whoa, those cat people are crazy into their cats." Then, "Yikes, that's me!"
  • If someone points a camera at you, especially if you're sitting behind a table, straighten up.
  • Smile!
  • Before we left, driving from SoCal, I grabbed my husband's vintage red and navy Madras plaid jacket from the closet. Wore it Saturday, sleeves rolled up over skinny jeans with a Kangol felt hat, navy blue with rolled brim. Retro fun. Hey, it's Frisco.
  • Loved the "Me too!" moments with other authors that make me feel that I'm not alone out there.  An author told me he likes media escorts and staying with family when on tour except for the endless talking.  "I just get tired of talking." Me too! Or the author who revealed he always wanted to be included with the group, chosen for the team, one of the popular kids. Hey!  Me too!
  • Missed several panels because of stopping to chat with friends in the hallways and the bar.
  • LOL hearing the banter between Val McDermid and Paul Levine talking about writing a sequel to Treasure Island. "John Paul Silver--The Return."
  • The badges listed name and state. No city. Just state. There were many Californians.  I thought it was humorous to ignore California's geographic chauvinism and throw us into one pot. Some Californians couldn't bear it and hand wrote their city.
  • There's always talk of splitting up California. Some years ago, the L.A. Times asked for suggested names for the new states. Someone suggested these names for the three states of Northern, Central, and Southern California: Super Ego, Ego, and Id.  This has nothing to do with Bouchercon. I just think it's funny.
  • My first Bouchercon was in 1991 in Pasadena,CA. I'd just sold my first books to Simon and Schuster. I met my editor, Dana Isaacson there. Dana and I had a lot of fun then and we're still having fun. If this was your first Bouchercon, hope you took away something magical.
Soundtrack on the drive into San Francisco: Genius Loves Company.

Food is always at the top of my agenda any time I travel to the Bay Area. Next, I blog about the third part of the journey: Cuisine.