This year, Bouchercon (the mega-mystery conference for fans and authors) is in San Francisco. Hank and Rhys, who are there partying and schmoozing and working their fannies off, took time off to report back on all the fun --
**NEWS BULLETIN from HANK** Do I sound happy? I am! My short story "On the House" won the Macavity for Best Short Story. How amazing is that? Many many thanks to everyone, including the wonderful Janet Rudolph and Mystery Readers International. Whoa.
HALLIE: Congratulations from all of us!!
So, ladies, how's it going out there at the Hyatt in the Golden State near the Golden Gate?
RHYS: Bouchercon for me started with a breakfast for first time attendees. I was asked to be a meeter and greeter and one of the first people I bumped into was Hank. So that was a nice start. Then I never made it up the escalator. I stood at the bottom and everyone I knew went past and we hugged and chatted. So it seemed like a good plan. Stand at bottom of escalator all weekend and the world will come to me!
HANK: Bouchercon is like Disneyworld for mystery fans. Something like that. Around every corner is something wonderful--get on the elevator and there's--Laurie King, or Lee Child, or Val McDermid. (Or Rhys Bowen!) Endlessly charming, endlessly generous, endlessly talking to awe-struck fans. It's pretty hilarious, really--the people you see on book covers, suddenly come to life in the hallways of the Hyatt.
And then the news pals--people from Jungle Red--Hi Christine! People from Facebook. People from DorothyL and 4MA. Guppies and SINC members. It's a lovely reunion.
HALLIE: So how's the weather? It's dark and cold and rainy here in New England...
HANK: It's hot! 89 degrees today. I can hear cable car bells out my hotel window and see the Bay Bridge. San Francisco! Very cool. But I have no idea what time it is. Time zones.
RHYS: The weather in San Francisco could not be more glorious--perfect temperature, sparkling blue water--and we're stuck inside a hotel all day. That's the trouble with conventions. Luckily this hotel has an interesting atrium and an open feeling to it so it's not as bad as some.
The opening ceremony was long. It started with a brilliant compilation of snippets from every film shot in San Francisco, but then there were a lot of speeches, introducing all the guests of honor and then the MacAvity and Barry awards. I had to leave as I had to attend my publisher's party at a restaurant on the Bay, but I was delighted to come back to find out that Hank won for best short story. Way to go, sister!
HANK: I am still in shock. But grateful and smiling.
So, let's see. Panels everywhere--the hotel is sneaker-friendly and not made for high heels, let me say. RJ Ellory brilliant and thoughtful, Jackie Winspear charming, Brad Parks adorable, Laurie King introducing her beautiful daughter, Reed Coleman (who won the Macavity/ with a sincere and touching speech, Christopher Rice hilarious, Kevin Guilfoile and Bryan Gruley (two new writers who you must read) fun and enthusiastic. Julia Spencer Fleming is back--hanging out with her is like being with a rock star. Kate White oh so glam. Everyone missing David Thompson--McKenna is here--so brave.
So many people--I couldn't possibly list. Nancy Martin. Molly Weston. Jen Forbus. Heather Graham. Attica Locke. Harley Jane Kozak. Our own Maddee James. Cathy Pickens got the seal as the new President of Sisters in Crime--she's terrific, Marcia Talley emeritus--she's really worked hard.
RHYS: I have to confess that I didn't go to many panels. I mean how many times can one listen to the same thing? So I only go to show support to friends these days.
These conventions actually turn into one long schmoozefest--which is great for me. I love hanging out with people I like, and a lot of my favorite people are at this convention. Had a long chat with guest of honor Lee Child, bumped into Jacqueline Winspear coming out of the ladies' room (after she'd gone into the men's room by mistake and was a little flustered by this). We had a nice Sisters in Crime get together and I was invited to a small party honoring McKenna, David Thompson's young wife, or rather widow (David being a well-respected bookseller who died suddenly aged 38 a month ago). Strangely he had emailed Lee Child and Val McDermid literally minutes before he died. He'd sent Lee a picture of the dog, called Reacher, saying he'd just bathed him and here was a picture of Reacher all wet and bedraggled. When McKenna came home to find him dead, the dog was still wet. So strange and sad.
Tomorrow I have a breakfast--why do these things revolve around food and drink? And then I have to go across the Bay to sign at the bookseller's convention taking place in Oakland. But then in the evening it's the Reacher's Creatures party.
Saturday ends with a disco ball. I'm not sure many people who attend mystery cons are of the age and shape to disco dance! Then there's the Anthony brunch on Sunday. I'll try to report in again.
HANK: Big day tomorrow--more to come. And next year--St. Louis!