My Own Personal Grey

Finally Bouchercon!

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Yeah… I’m slow.

So here at last is the LOOOOONG blog about Bouchercon (World Mystery Convention) in Baltimore earlier this month.  Look below the cut for all the fab photos and nifty commentary.

First I have a transfer in Salt Lake City where I find my friend snuggled up side by side––on the shelf that is. This shelf is chest-height and five to six copies deep on each shelf, so… do the math on how many copies that is for Caitlin and Jeanne (yay!)

Then I get to Baltimore, stay at the lovely old Lord Baltimore Hotel, and go crazy with the convention. I don’t see much of the city due to conventioneering like mad, but I do make it to a mass booksigning event at the B&N in the Inner Harbor along with Charlaine Harris, Toni L.P. Kelner, Donna Andrews, Dana Cameron (my coolest new friend of the month nominee), and Joe (J.A.) Konrath. We sign a lot of books and Charlaine finds a dump bin! W00t!

The next day I get up and search for cheap breakfast, finding my way opened by two big guys wearing badge lanyards that read “BPD Homicide Squad.” I recall that “Charm City” has a ridiculously high homicide rate and I hope they are just going out for coffee….

Back at the convention, we have our Wolfsbane and Mistletoe panel with the addition of Alan Gordon, who may be the most underrated talent in historical fiction and a real sweetheart, who also writes a heck of a werewolf story (he’s currently working on a novel featuring the characters he used in the W&M short story, as is Dana C.) The audience is pretty packed in and that’s a super compliment, especially considering the competition for the prime pre-lunch spot.

The next day is my free day and somehow the idea gets started to get crabcakes and then visit Poe’s grave. By the time we start off, we have 17 people and are our own amazing Crab Cake Parade!

We make it to Lexington Market, crossing the Columbus Day Marathon, skirt the Chocolate Festival, and get a little lost until we find Faidley’s–home of Baltimore’s Best Crab Cakes (the sign said so!)

Some people prefer not to wait in the long line and go for the oysters

The rest of us wait patiently in line beneath the sign of the crab for the promised crab cakes , though there are lots of other tasty offerings

At last we have our crab cakes (the amazing and wonderful Sharon Rowse is represented by her celery-green sweater between Cathy F and Pari Noskin Taichert.) The iced tea is much too sweet, but the crab cakes are delicious!

Everyone loves crab cakes, right?

We all wander around a bit, get some chocolate, and then head for Poe’s grave. Which is only 2 blocks away.

Hi, Mr. Poe! Sorry we missed your birthday by 2 days… please don’t send your raven after us…

Mario, of course, flashes the crowd–well me, really– and the fellow behind him is really unsure about Mr. Acevedo… But he’s less interested once Mario shows his bollocks.

We discover iron stalactites or what becomes of old gave fences after a century and a half of rain.

Poe’s original grave before he got all diva and had to move to the front of the class.

We also discover a stairway to heaven I would have expected something grander….

And what happens to you when you don’t pay the crypt bills on time . You end up under the church porch. Better than repossesion, I suppose….

Then, our numbers diminshed by time and sleepiness, we head back to the hotel for more drinking and partying. And my buddy Sean Chercover wins the Shamus Award for Best First Novel! Yay! And Reed Farrell Colman wins one too! More Yay! And we all go out to celebrate with Lee Child and have far too good a time in spite of the really bizarre walk to and from the bar.

The last day was a bit marred by the arrival of the Fire Brigade! Which was a false alarm, but could have been more fun if there had been any buff firemen hopping off the trucks, but no…

And finally I was on my way home via the Baltimore Airport, where Baltimore gave me one more treat My book is gracing the shelves at the bookstore–the top shelf but still… yay!

And home again, at last.

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