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    Getting Ready for the Big One

    Sara Rosett Icon

    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.

    10 Responses to “Getting Ready for the Big One”

    1. Great minds, Sara!

      Even now I’m weighing shoe options.

      by Diana Killian on September 20th, 2006 at 11:25 am

    2. Diana, that’s too funny.:) I love your cow/cheese/mystery tie-in.

      by Sara Rosett on September 20th, 2006 at 1:02 pm

    3. I hope your trip to the great white north is enjoyable and profitable. I am looking forward to your next book. Your cute.:D

      by Glenn on September 20th, 2006 at 4:05 pm

    4. Thanks, Glenn. I hope it won’t be snowing in Madison just yet. It would really throw off my packing if it does.

      by Sara Rosett on September 20th, 2006 at 4:55 pm

    5. Sara,

      Last year was my first Bouchercon. It was definitely big, definitely a little overwhelming. At first. But it was great fun and I met so many really nice people whom I can’t wait to see again next week.

      And, of course, the Good Girls will be getting together…

      by Laura on September 20th, 2006 at 7:06 pm

    6. I think it will be a blast! I’m looking forward to seeing everyone. If you’re a GG blog lurker, be sure and say hello at the con. We’d love to meet you face to face.

      by Sara Rosett on September 20th, 2006 at 10:59 pm

    7. My first B’con was last year, too, and we had a blast. I’ve been to several since, and I can say it’s true: Panels are often interesting and fun (and it’s always good to show up and support your buds on their panels. There’s nothing quite so calming as a friendly face in the crowd). But the best part is hanging out with other writers and fellow mystery fans and tlaking with smart, literate people about not just books, but everything under the sun.

      See you there! I’ll be…well, you know where I’ll be.

      by JDRhoades on September 21st, 2006 at 6:54 am

    8. Don’t over-think Bcon.

      It’s not what it used to be, by any means.

      And 1200 fans? Bcon would be very happy if that actually happened. You can see where this con is headed by checking the numbers. Vegas had something like 2500 fans, and each year since the numbers have dropped.

      I believe TFest is going to become the premiere con for crime writing.

      There’s too much negative junk surrounding Bcon and its creative financial numbers, in-fighting, and I think people are ready for a change.

      by guyot on September 21st, 2006 at 9:15 am

    9. Gee, Guyot, be a buzzkill, why dont ya?

      by JDRhoades on September 21st, 2006 at 4:09 pm

    10. Interesting perspective, Guyot, I can’t compare the two because I haven’t been to either yet (I am still SUCH a babe in the woods about this author thing–but getting savvier everyday).

      Let’s wait and see how the actual con goes. I, for one, am prepared to have a great time and I’m sure many posts across the blogosphere (Good Girls included) will rehash the pros and cons post-Madison.

      by Sara on September 25th, 2006 at 9:36 pm

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