Monday, April 07, 2008

"What is it, a website?" Bouchercon Memories

Today's Memory comes from Rae Helmsworth. Rae is someone who found Bouchercon more recently than many who have posted on the blog so far but has the bug just as badly as anyone who's ever attended. Maybe someday she'll share the secret of how she looks just as refreshed on Sunday as on Thursday.

This year I’ll be attending my fifth Bouchercon, and have the privilege, thanks to the wonderful Jordans and the fabulous Judy Bobalik, of helping a bit. Or at least they’re letting me tell myself I’m helping.

Bouchercon appeared on my horizon in 2003. I had stumbled into Lee Child’s Forum earlier that year, and had found the regulars there to be nice, intelligent, and, well, normal. And then they started talking about this thing called Bouchercon. I had no idea what it was: A website? A book store? A club? I finally figured out that it was a gathering of crime fiction fans, and that it was to be held in Las Vegas that year. It looked to be pretty interesting, but I didn’t have enough nerve to attend. Afterwards though, I started hearing about how much fun it had been,
and decided that, darn it, I was going to Toronto in 2004.

I registered, and immediately started regretting it. What if it wasn’t fun? What if the people weren’t nice? Ack!

Then, a few weeks before I boarded the plane to Toronto, Janine Wilson, an ORC (Original Reacher Creature) and bookseller extraordinaire (Seattle Mystery Bookshop) emailed and asked if I’d like to join some of the Reacher Creatures for dinner one night. I began to think it might all be OK.

And it was. As a matter of fact, it wasn’t just OK, it was great. I met people who have become real friends, and have loved every Bouchercon since.

I have a mental scrapbook full of wonderful B’Con memories; the conversations, the panels, the dinners, the special moments that will stay with me forever: that dinner with the Reacher Creatures in Toronto; sitting with Cornelia Read on the patio of a bar in Chicago; lunch with a gang of people in Madison; seeing Alaska’s governor give a humor-filled welcome speech in Anchorage.

Every Bouchercon is different; each one has its own distinct personality. But every Bouchercon is also the same; hosted by dedicated volunteers; attended by book enthusiasts who are ready to play;
inclusive, exhausting, and exhilarating.

I can’t wait to get to Baltimore.


Anonymous M'Lou said...

Just today, someone asked if I could describe Bouchercon for a friend who is thinking of attending. My only one (so far) was nearly seven years ago... still a wonderful memory!
So I was thrilled to find this blog, and this post in particular, to share -- these stories are an excellent way to explain what it's all about!

Monday, April 07, 2008 12:49:00 PM  
Anonymous Rae said...


It's so sweet of you to say I look refreshed on Sunday....if there's a secret to it, it's lots of beer ;-)

Monday, April 07, 2008 2:18:00 PM  
Anonymous Cozy Crime said...

That sounds like so mcuh fun! I wish i could go.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008 1:40:00 PM  
Blogger Ruth Jordan said...

How are you? It is a crazy and wonderful thing isn't it?
And Rae, I'm not sure what it is but I know it's not the beer.... or red wine....I don't think it's Red Bull either..... I think it's just you,

Wednesday, April 09, 2008 6:48:00 PM  

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