Friday, November 21, 2014

Reds take Bouchercon again: BALDERDASH!

HALLIE EPHRON: The Reds panel at this year's Bouchercon last weekend -- another game show -- packed the house and laughter rang to the rafters. My only regret was that I wasn't there to enjoy the hilarity and watch my fellow Reds nimbly come up with definitions to fool the audience.

Over to you, ladies! Please, tell us the highlights...

RHYS BOWEN: The first thing I can tell you is that the audience was super smart and really knew their mysteries. They didn't blink at the real name of John Le Carre or that Harriet Welch was really Harriet the spy. And this in spite of the fact that our Red team were really convincing liars.

Well, actually they didn't believe Hank's definition of the word ABSQUATULATE.  And the more she tried to explain it, the more than audience howled with laughter.

I think the only time we really fooled them was with the definition of the word CALLIPYGION...which really does mean having great buns, a shapely rear end.

The only disappointing part of the weekend was that Julia and Hank didn't win the Anthony, but I don't think they were unduly surprised. Kent Kruger's book was truly spectacular.

I thought it was a terrific Bouchercon and was pleased to see so many old friends there. Especially mega stars like Lee Child who don't have to come to these things but still choose to connect to the mystery community. 

And I've come away super-fit as my hotel was half a mile from the convention site. I forgot the books I needed one day and had to put in an extra mile's walk.

JULIA SPENCER-FLEMING: Yes, it's hard to feel bad about losing out to a book like ORDINARY GRACE. However, at the Anthony Awards reception, I did manage to flip the bird to the two writers who have swept their respective categories this year: Kent Krueger and Daniel Stashower.

The best part of Bcon is always seeing old friends: Cara Black, Terri Bischoff, John Maddox Roberts and his wife Beth, Jessie Chandler and her partner Becky, Tim O'Mara -- and meeting new ones: Julia Dahl, Mette Ivie Harrison, Ellen Byron, Lauren-whose-last-name-I-forgot... way too many to recount.

The best for me? Reconnecting with my dear friend Denise Hamilton, whom I hadn't seen in person in many years.
I didn't talk with as many folks as I usually do because Ross and I brought Youngest on this trip, and we stayed at the amazing Queen Mary Hotel. It was perfect for a trio of history buffs. Ross and Youngest roamed all over the ship, she and I took the Princess Diana tour (which was as much about the royal family from King George V on as it was about Diana) we ate at the Promenade Cafe and had cocktails in the Art Deco Bar with Vicki Doudera and her husband Ed. And while our stateroom walls were thin, and the lighting was either period-authentic-dim or fluorescent, the view could not be beat.

HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN: Yeah, and there's a certain calm to the certain knowledge that it's fabulous to be nominated but know that there is no way that anyone but Kent Krueger is going to win.  It makes attending the awards ceremony less stressful--in a "looking at the bright side" kind of way.

Bouchercon is so overwhelming--and there's no way to see everyone. My highlights were hanging out with Meg Gardiner, and Linwood Barclay, and Sue Grafton, and Kim Fay and Michael Sears and Clare O'Donohue. And so many more.

I was the Bouchercon auctioneer with the always-droll Simon Wood and raised a total of $10,000 for charity. I was part of the Women Kill at Mystery Panel, an array of 60 authors (men and women) each of whom got to recommend a book by an unknown or unsung author. I moderated Kick Ass Women which included Meg and my fellow SinC pres Laura DiSilverio. (And Sue Grafton was in the audience of our panel!).

Les Blatt
moderated a really good panel on journalists as authors--and that was a fun one to participate in. The Sisters in Crime breakfast allowed me to chat with Sara Paretsky!  And the SinC Forensics day (with the amazing Jan Burke) taught me about Locard's Principle and serial-killing nurses.

And of course, the amazing Jungle Reds Balderdash event, where people believed my story that David More Cornwell was the real name of Linwood Barclay.   And I really fooled them with my definition of deuteragonist. Yay, Reds.

 All in all, an amazing and EXHAUSTING event.

DEBORAH CROMBIE: Last chiming in here--still recovering!  But it was a fab Bouchercon. Well organized, relaxed, and oh, did I mention it was WARM in Long Beach????

I always have fun at Bouchercon but this one was truly super. One of the many highlights was meeting so many wonderful debut authors: my buddy Karin Salvalaggio (that does exactly count as meeting, but it was HER first B'con...), M.P. (Martha) Cooley, Julia Dahl, Glen Erik Hamilton, and Leslie Budewitz. The future is bright, I guarantee.

And of course, our brilliant (if we say so ourselves!) Jungle Red version of Balderdash! Next time we will have to try harder to fool the audience--but then I think the audience really liked winning. I only wish Lucy, Hallie, and Susan had been there to share the fun.  Next year???

HALLIE: Here's peek at what we missed. What's the right definition for...

Deuteragonist?Debs: Someone who reads the Bible intensely
Hank: The second most important person in a book
Julia: From the same root  as Deuteronomy, meaning someone who focuses on numbers

Julia: Another word for flashback
Hank: The medical term for the body's reaction to arsenic poisoning
Debs: The use of two  of ellipses in one sentence

BUT BUT BUT... Hank, dying to know, what was your definition of ABSQUATULATE?


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  2. It sounds like Bouchercon was a great conference. Thanks for sharing all the highlights and the pictures.
    absquatulate --- leave suddenly???

  3. So sorry to miss Bouchercon! I'm going with Julia's definition for both (and no, I didn't google them first - although I will now...).

  4. Edith, you're half right, but I won't tell you which half!

    More guesses? No Googling first...

  5. It was so good to see you all there! I can't believe it'll now be another whole year.... Get working on that next panel, Reds!

  6. I have heard nothing but raves about this Bouchercon, AND about the Jungle Reds Balderdash. And I was sad to not be there. BUT - next year! See you all in Raleigh.

  7. Absquatulate: From the same root as postulate, but the opposite meaning. When a person postulates, they are suggesting many possibilities. When they reach absquatulation, however, they have decided on one conclusion.

    It's detrimental for a detective to absquatulate, because that means they have ignored many possibilities. A false absquatulation has lead to many an incorrect arrest.

  8. The Jungle Reds Balderdash panel was the best way to end Saturday. So much laughter and camaraderie.

    I still can't believe Hank fooled me on deuteragonist. It was the part about the third most important character in s story (tritagonist) that really had me doubting this definition. Perfect way to employ subterfuge.

  9. Julia!!!!!!!! It was so wonderful to see you and Ross at Bouchercon too and to catch up and to meet your youngest. Much love to you all.

  10. This was my first Bouchercon, and I absolutely loved it. Hank, it was a highlight spending time with you. And I got to catch up with so many friends who live on the east coast. I was unable to make the Jungle Reds panel and am heartbroken, especially after hearing how much fun it was. But overall I left happy and inspired and already saving my money for next year :)

  11. Hank, I'm buying it! Did you make it up or is that for reals the definition of Absquatulate... and where has this word been all my life?

  12. Moderating (or trying to moderate) a Reds panel s such fun. I had to try hard not to laugh at definitions so that I didn't give the wrong ones away, but the Reds were so creative, and funny. Loved it.

  13. Our panel was next to yours and the laughter through those thin walls almost drowned us out :) I wanted to sneak over but had a great panel moderated by Erin Mitchell who I met for the first time and Sara Blaedel a Dane who is my new discovery. Hey Debs, just saw you in passing but you look wonderful!

  14. Sorry I missed it. Next year in Raleigh, hopefully.

  15. It was an absolute blast, even if my loyalty to Trixie made me vote for the wrong Harriet. (You owe me one, Hank.)

    And, like always, when I play Balderdash, I can't remember any of the real definitions, just how much I laughed and had fun.

  16. Oh, the JRW panel was hilariously good fun! Rhys played straight cop so well!

    I am so BUMMED that I forgot to take a picture with Deb -- total fan girl here, loved her books before I started writing, and there we were chatting and having dinner and the camera was in my bag the whole time!

  17. Thanks, Cara! Same to you! I only wish I'd seen Denise Hamilton...

    And Leslie!!! So happy I got to meet you!!! We'll get a pic next time.

    I was the one who fooled the audience with Callipygion. Who would have thought it meant "great buns?" No one believed me!

  18. This was my first Bouchercon and it was as fabulous as everyone said it would be. All of the panels were terrific and every author I spoke to was so friendly and gracious. And the books . . . .

    I wasn't going to miss The Reds panel. Balderdash was a surprise and we couldn't stop laughing. No matter what the real definition was - Rhys is just too funny and Debs, Hank and Julia are such convincing liars!

  19. What a great Bouchercon! I'm so glad I got to say "hi" to Debs and Julia (and get pictures!). I'm sorry I missed Rhys and only had a chance to wave to Hank from afar.

    The Balderdash panel was hilarious. I realized how uneducated I am about mysteries! There are some smart readers out there!

    I'm still recuperating too! See you in Raleigh -- or LCC?

  20. Your Balderdash panel was excellent--I was surprised the four of you could pronounce all the words, never mind read out the definitions with a straight face. It was wonderful to see Hank and Rhys, and meeting Deborah was a big highlight for me. Thanks to all of you for being so welcoming to the debut authors!

  21. I was so disappointed that I couldn't attend this year's Bouchercon. Last year was my first one, where I met all of you fabulous Reds and had such a great time at your panel. Ross and youngest were handing out book prizes and I got one. So, missing the Reds' panel was especially hard. It's wonderful to have the four of you share it with us here. I can imagine just how much hilarity filled the room with your Balderdash game.

    I already have my room for next year's Bouchercon in Raleigh, so I hope that all of the Reds and many of the other authors and commentators here attend. I will be there rolling around my suitcase of books. LOL!

  22. I can't believe I missed such a fun panel! I wish I could have been everywhere at once :)

  23. Callipygion: having great buns. Really... From the Greek, kallipygos for buttocks. Adjective. Synonym: Jo Lo.

  24. Wish I could have been there; I love to "collect" words!

  25. And did you all notice the difference between the two reds photos???

  26. Oh, no, I made up that definition of absquatulate! :-) (I think it means..abscond.)

    And I said "callipygian" means the result of a flawed handwriting examination." Some people believed me!

  27. It was my first Bouchercon and I loved it so much I'm already planning on attending the 2015 event in Raleigh, North Carolina. Deborah Crombie was an amazing guide, introducing me to everyone she knew and generally making me feel at home. I met so many wonderful writers and readers and feel that I formed friendships which will last a lifetime. I participated on my first panel (with Deborah) - Women Wearing the Badge. I was nervous but everyone was very supportive. I have to say that Balderdash with Jungle Reds was a highlight! After spending so much time hanging out on their website it was nice to see the team in action. They had me howling with laughter!

  28. Hoping all of you will be at the next Bouchercon in my back yard!!

    Jim Collins in Durham

  29. ~MDM - LOVE THAT! Come to Bouchercon and we'll make you an honorable Red!

  30. Jim Collins - I'll be there! Love that area of the world. Mmmm barbecue and fried chicken and banana pudding.

  31. And here I thought "an ellipsis" was just those annoying ... that writers overuse. What a terrific panel. I laughed myself silly AND won a Royal Spyness book! Sadly, back at home now, where it is freezing and the closest I will come to callipygion is baking well shaped dinner rolls. I must absquatulate now and get on with the Thanksgiving prep. Thanks for so much fun, Reds!