No, I’m not posting about earthquake preparedness this week. I’m talking about Bouchercon. It’s the big one, the granddaddy of all mystery gatherings. The Capitol News reports that the convention will bring 1,200 mystery fans to Madison, Wisconsin next week. I’ve taken quite a bit of ribbing from a certain family member who can’t believe I’m going to Wisconsin for a convention.
Florida or Colorado would have gotten a thumbs up. If the destination had been Las Vegas I know I would have heard, “Let’s take the kids out of school. I’m going with you.” For some reason Madison is not at the top of this person’s travel wish list, but I’m a mid-west girl at heart and I’m game. Give me those flat-lands and I’ll feel right at home!
Of course, most of the time I’ll be in a hotel. It’s not like you get to see much of the “host” town when you’re at a conference or convention. How many beaches did I see at Sleuthfest? Zero. The palm trees did look lovely and topical even though I was seeing them framed in the window of the cab as I rode to and from the airport. Malice is another locale (Washington D.C.) that should be great for sight-seeing, but I was so busy during the last Malice that the only monuments I saw were in the travel brochure that the hotel conveniently placed in my hotel room.
I’ve never been to Bouchercon and I’ve heard two things about it. The advice seems to fall into two camps: “Go. You won’t regret it,” and “Forget it—it’s a waste of time. Too many people, too many books, and they don’t even like cozies.” Since I’m going you can see which set of advice I followed. I’ll let you know my take on B’con after the convention. (I may not have attended before, but I do know the lingo, thanks to the DorothyL list). I’d love to hear what you do to get ready for a convention. Have any travel tips or hints for a good convention experience?
Whether I’m going to a writer’s conference or a fan convention, I’ve got this pre-travel ritual. First, I have to squash the tiny bit of guilt I feel about going out of town for several days. It’s hard but I manage to do it. Then I print the schedule and mark the panels I want to attend. With B’con this is tough.
Without question, the top of my list is the Writers Unwrapped panel at 9 on Sunday. The Good Girls along with Alex S. will be there to kick off the last day of the convention. But after that it really gets hard to choose.
I mean, take a look at Friday at 1. How can I pick between Keeping the Bodies Fresh: How authors keep their readers—and themselves—fascinated throughout their lengthy careers and the director of the Wisconsin State Crime Lab on Real Life Forensic Labs? Real authors on keeping a series exciting (something I really want to do with the Mom Zone mysteries) or real CSI guy? Then at 2:30 I’m faced with another quandary: the reviewers panel or the publicity panel? I need to them both.
I’m probably over planning. I have a tendency to do that. I discovered at the last Malice that it was way more fun to skip the panels and yak with readers and writers in the Hospitality Suite. So despite my carefully highlighted panel grid, you’ll probably find me in the Hospitality Suite. Well, I’ll be there until we adjourn to the bar. But that’s a different blog.