Sunday, March 16, 2008

Sunday Serenade- Bouchercon Memories

The Mystery Community- By now everyone who visits this blog knows I'm a fan. I was introduced to the community via the internet. Bouchercon was my first Convention. But the people who kept me coming back were undoubtablly the Wisconsin Contingent. In our state we have a group of people so special and encouraging once they pull you in you will never get out. Beth Fedyn is one of those people and today she's sharing her memory with us. See you tomorrow,

I was the Auction Chair for the 1999 Milwaukee Bouchercon. Maggie Mason,San Diego book dealer, one of the Fan Guests of Honor that year, and a good friend, helped me to get a script as an auction item from Bill Fitzhugh, a relative unknown in the mystery community at the time. His second book -and my personal favorite - Organ Grinders had come out the year before so we also asked him for a character donation for the auction. Bill was reluctant because he didn't think anyone would bid. Of course Maggie and I
assured him that there would be lots of interest.

And there was. Not only did the script bring in a pretty penny but the character item auction evolved into a ferocious bidding war between two fans. As the bids went higher and higher, Ted Hertel (Bouchercon co-chair) leaned over and whispered to me, "Who IS this guy?" When the bids got up over $600., Gary Warren Niebuhr (Bouchercon co-chair and auctioneer) remarked that Bill Fitzhugh was standing in the back of the hall. He was indeed and very graciously offered TWO character donations to accommodate
the battling bidders. This resulted in over $1200. for our charity and Bill(and Sandy) Herron and Frances Neagley found immortality in his next book Fender Benders.

Maggie and I have attended many more Bouchercons and Bill Fitzhugh has gone on to write more wonderful books - most recently The Adventures of Slim & Howdy by Kix Brooks and Ronnie Dunn with Bill Fitzhugh, which comes out in May 2008.


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