Thanks to the kindness of Canadian cousins, I was able to attend my fourth Bouchercon World Mystery Convention, riding from Long Island to Toronto last Tuesday. Due to timing on particular days, I was not able to attend all the panels I wanted, but attended others I thought I'd miss.
More important to me was catching up with old friends and making new ones, which at Bouchercon is as spontaneous as exploring the hotel. I still value being in the moment more than live-tweeting or taking photos, but I did use the free wi-fi to document more of the con than I have in the past. See my tweets tagged #Bcon17 and #Bcon2017.
The highlight for me was meeting Kevin Burton Smith. I worked eight years for Kevin as fiction editor of his Thrilling Detective Web Site. Looking back, I suppose it was one of the first electronic publications, and I hope you find the stories hold up, or you have fond memories of them.
Kevin and I emailed and played Twitter tag to plan on seeing each other, but finally shared a late breakfast Saturday because we ran into each other in the hall. We got along as well as I hoped.
I'd gone to lunch the day before at the Sheraton Centre's Shopsy's Deli with thirty-four fellow members of the Short Mystery Fiction Society as arranged by Madeleine Harris Callway. My table came to include John Dickson Carr's granddaughter Shelly, 2017 Best Flash Derringer Award winner Herschel Cozine, Jim O'Keefe, Josh Pachter, and Gigi Pandian:
|Me and Shelly Dickson Carr (courtesy Gigi Pandian)|
|L to R: Herschel, me, Shelly (courtesy Shelly Dickson Carr)|
|Gigi Pandian and Josh Pachter (courtesy Shelly Dickson Carr)|
A final fun surprise of the con came when John McFetridge, whom I befriended on the last day of Bouchercon 2008, said I was mentioned in this year's Bouchercon short story anthology, Passport to Murder, which he edited. Having received a rejection for the story I submitted, I had to inquire further, and John explained that working on the anthology reminded him of a story he wrote for a flash fiction blog challenge I helped put together with Patricia Abbott and Aldo Calcagno years earler.
That's something, and I'm flattered, but there's no better feeling than using my words to achieve just the effects I aim for, that also resonate with editors and the general public. That's why I keep writing.
The best thing about Bouchercon is being among people who not only know and appreciate each other's writing but also their efforts off the page.