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8 October, 2012:  I just returned from the Bouchercon Convention in Cleveland, Ohio and it was an eye-opener, a party, another big learning curve, and yes, exhausting.  I went in cold, as neither my agent nor my editor attended this year. The first panel of the weekend was "new writers" at 7:30 a.m. on Friday morning. My flight out from Burlington, Vermont was delayed and I ended up sitting in the airport for hours on Thursday waiting to get out. Luckily, I ended up with a direct flight, but didn't arrive in Cleveland until eight or so, and missed the opening night at the Rock 'n Roll Hall of Fame. 

I was up early on Friday, of course.  Val McDermid offered to introduce the "newbies," and she, we discovered, has a wonderful dry wit (evident in her books).  We each had two minutes to get up and tell the audience of fifty to seventy-five about our recently-published, or about-to-be-published novels.  I would like to read all of them.  I returned with a handful of bookmarks and business cards and after I go through them, I'll introduce you to some of the authors I met. 

Mystery writers, I find, and this is a huge generalization, like to hang out in the bar (this is the focal point of the convention) and gab (and drink, of course).  New novelist Tim O'Mara and I sat doing just that Saturday night, and were joined by long-time novelist Thomas Cook. It turns out that these two gentlemen live within a couple of blocks of each other in Manhattan. Time, a school teacher on the Upper West Side, had the enthusiasm of ten, and is full of stories. Can't wait to read his new novel. I will be in New York a week after his book comes out (promise to add title), and am sure we will get together. 

I met two stars:  Julia Spencer-Fleming, who was up for an Anthony Award for her extraordinary novel, "Once Was a Soldier."  I was rooting for her.  She endorsed my book, and is as warm and wonderful as I thought she'd be (so is her husabnd, Ross).  I have a brief couple of minutes with Linda Fairstein, whose new novel, "Nightwatch" I'm reading, set in France and New York. Loving it! 

Paris was a keyword of the convention.  I am in a trend, and didn't know it!

Panels, with topics that range from "sex in novels" to "serial killers" run all day each day, and I found some of them stimulating. I particularly liked listening to some top mystery bloggers, and thought the folks from "Criminal Element" so articulate and smart, especially Clare Toohy and Laura whose card I will have to find.  

Having never attended a convention, I was stunned by the number of fans. I heard there were 1,500 people attending, and around 800 of those were mystery fans (someone told me that 15,000 attend romance conventions). Some of these people read eight to ten books a week, and what I found interesting after talking to many of them was that their taste is eclectic.  They read everything!  I think that must be the greatest luxury in the world. I can see myself writing all the way to my deathbed, and telling the Grim Reaper that I need another day in order to meet my deadline.

That's it for today, but more coming soon.  I will also be writing a blog on Poisoned Pen Press.