Saturday, October 6, 2012

Jungle Reds Rock at Cleveland Convention

RED RHYS: Greetings from wet, cold Cleveland where the Jungle Reds are currently enjoying a fabulous Bouchercon convenion. For those of you who don't know, Bouchercon is the annual world mystery convention at which the whole mystery/thriller-writing community gathers to feast, drink, learn and laugh. Many big names from our profession are here and it's a chance for fans to meet and mingle with their idols.

Last night the opening ceremonies were held at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. I have to say I was impressed with the glass and steel building and the giant guitars outside although the noise level inside was a bit much to take. But toastmaster John Connelly gave a good speech, guests of honor were introduced, including Mary Higgins Clark and Robin Cook, and the MacAvity, Dilys, and Barry Awards were presented.

There was a librarians breakfast that Hallie, Julia and I attended and at which Mary Higgins Clark spoke, then some excellent and diverse panels all morning.

But the central event of the convention was looming for us Jungle Reds. We decided that panels at these conventions can get a little serious and can repeat themselves, so we wanted to try something difference. We decided to hold our own game show--The Jungle Red a mystery version of Family Feud--and we weren't at all sure how it would be received, or whether we could pull it off. A brief rehearsal last night indicated it might be a career-ending moment for all of us. But Hallie had put in so much work, getting her computer to recreate the board, visuals and music from the game show. She had also endured embarrassment and possible jail when the game show buzzers went off in her bag while going through security. So we didn't feel we could plead a sudden case of the Black Death and not show up.

So dressed to perfection in our new jungle red pashminas that Hank had found for us, our nails painted bright Jungle Red and forced hopeful smiles on our faces, we showed up in the ballroom this afternoon. We were rather astounded to see that the ballroom was packed to overflowing, in fact some people had to resort to going up to the balcony. We were announced, one by one, came out from behind the curtains and the show started.

The other team (of Julia, Lucy and Debs) came up with great answers to what kind of evidence you'd find at a crime scene. Our token male Red for the afternoon, Julia's husband Ross, had to be restrained from claiming that "circumstantial" was a good answer. I also had to wrestle the buzzer away from him on several occasions but his high spirits delighted the audience. 

One of the questions that stumped us was who should play Reacher in the movie. One of the answers we didn't get was "anyone other than Tom Cruise." Liam Nissen was the number one answer, which made more sense than Lucy's suggestion  of Jack Nickleson or Dustin Hoffman (proving how long it is since she's been to the movies).

For every winning answer we gave out prizes. The audience laughed, shouted out answers and had a good time. And that is what it was all about. I think we'll all stick to writing mysteries rather than try and take Vanna White's job away from her!

Tonight it's cocktail parties and schmoozing in the bar. Tomorrow more panels and tomorrow night our own Red Lucy's short story is nominated for one of the Anthony Awards. It has been great putting names to faces of those of you who follow our blog and send us your interesting comments.

And those of you who are with us at Bouchercon, do share your experiences!


  1. I had such a great time at this panel. Julia's husband kept shouting out this person's name (I can't remember it)...too funny.

    Overall, I'm having a blast at my second Bouchercon and it's fun meeting the authors.

  2. Wish I could have been there for this panel!

  3. I can't remember having more fun at a panel! Yes, ridiculous. And I just loved some of the survey answers. Murder weapon in a cozy: Knitting needle. Where writers get their ideas: Thin air.

    And, just for the record, I **found** the Pashimas. Hank pounced on them.

    Lucy gets credit for the idea of a FF game show, and though I was ready to kill her for it, it came together fantastically well. My fellow reds were such good sports. And Hank was so funny ad libbing and keeping things moving briskly along.

    Did we look classy or what!?

  4. This sounds like great fun! You were SO brave to take on that crowd! I've loved the times I've been to Bouchercon - nothing on the planet like it!! Thelma in cooler Manhattan getting my LearJet ready for my virtual Bouchercon flight!

  5. The panel was insanely fun. Ross kept wanting to answer "Jean Paul Belmondo", who predates even Nicholson, I think.

    Hallie, your computer stuff was impressive! And wasn't Hank amazing as the emcee? Fast on the mark, and hilariously funny.

    Not to worry, no career killers there. And Rhys, it was just lovely to meet you!

  6. The above comment was from Karen in Ohio, by the way. The Nook does not play well with this blog format.

  7. Oh, this sounds fabulous! And I agree with the "anyone other than Tom Cruise" answer.

    I'm so glad you're having fun. Get inspired and get back to writing! Just kidding; I hope you all really enjoy the weekend.

    Thanks for sharing with us.

    And is it just me or has captcha been more kind to us lately?

  8. You guys were fabulous! Hank actually does have a career as a Vanna White,if she'd want it--or a stand-up comedian. Hallie played a great judge/coordinator/great leader/whatever. Ben and I loved the friendly (?) competition between Julia and Ross. My favorite part, though, was when Rhys told Hank she was playing favorites and didn't like the Rhys-Rosemary-Ross team and then said writers got their ideas by stealing them from other writers. And kudos to Dru Ann for sharp work on the prize patrol. It was all very fast-paced, but she kept up with the Reds.

    Ben and I are having a ball at Bouchercon. At the Reds event, we had a chance to meet Karen (in Ohio). Unfortunately, by that time, three days of driving and conference with little sleep was catching up with me, so I wasn't slick enough to give her my cell number. Karen, it's 816 and 824-2671. Let's try to get together again before it's over when I'll be more energetic.

    One thing I've never seen anyone mention is that the Reds are all more attractive in person than even their quite attractive photos lead one to believe. I'd seen that at Malice earlier this year and once again here. And loved meeting Ross, who's been as exuberant all through the conference as he was during the game.

  9. We are so pleased that everyone had a great time! We did, too, and Hank and Hallie were fabulous! I think best answer goes to Lucy for Jack Nicholson playing Tom Cruise:-)

  10. You guys are the stars of this con and I am soooo sad not to be there.

    off in a corner sobbing.



  11. We must get a pashmina for Kaye since she's a visiting Red once a month!

  12. I think you Jungle Reds are having so much fun. You get to meet fans and do panels! That fun panel you all pulled off sounds just hilarious. Can't wait to see the pics.

  13. So much fun to hear about your fun and games :) Thanks for your bird's eye view.

  14. Whoa--being Richard Dawson was a tough job! But yes, it was hilarious and fun-and yes, just a bit scary. More than a bit! But I am thrilled that everyone had such a good time. Yay. And--whew. Yes, Thelma, as it turns out, brave is exactly the right word.

    And of course I have a pashmina for you, dear Kaye!

  15. Hank Phillippi Ryan - I love you!!!

    you guys are THE best!!!

    Thank you, thank you, thank you!

  16. I enjoyed reading all the comments. Like Kaye, I am quietly sobbing,wringing out tissues, and feeling sorry for myself that I could not attend and meet you all in person. I am also going to play Mother Hen and tell you all not to burn the candle at both ends - I don't want any of the Reds or Red friends getting sick!

    Not sure about a kinder capcha; mine appears to contain a squiggle and I don't know if it's supposed to be a number or a letter!

    Okay...attempt Number Two. My guess that it was a number was wrong.

  17. So glad that the game worked!! You should patent it and sell it at the next conference!!