way down in the hole.
First things first. Thursday's panel assignments are being e-mailed to the prospective panelists. Judy and Jon will be finalizing each day before sending out assignments for the next. The plan is that by doing it this way if someone has forgotten to mention availability problems they will then be able replace the individual and hopefully find another time slot for the person who is unavailable. This is Bouchercon and the pool of potential panelists is mind boggling to me. I'm glad I delegated this job. With 90 time slots and 450 people asking to be on a panel there's a lot of integers before they can get to the final equation. So if you hear that somebody has received a panel assignment and are wondering where yours is do not fret. Also note that certain folks will be asked to be on more than one. So you may not be done yet even if you have received a request. These two people are doing a great job. They can also be harsh when need be....... I was the first person to sign up for Bouchercon, I'm available all four days, actually had fiction published last year as well as helping with Crimespree and writing a couple of non Crimespree pieces and for the first time in five years the panel chairs informed me that I don't get a panel. I had no say at all, I was simply struck off of the list. Of course I did put them in charge of panels. They may have me on their s*#t list.
That said and leading into my final paragraph some folks have been very good to us. For the past several years, beginning in Austin, Mark Billingham, John Connolly, Laura Lippman and Karin Slaughter have delighted everyone on what has become one of the membership's favorite panels. In Toronto, Ian Rankin was with them. This year the wonderful Chris Mooney is participating. When you ask? 8:30 on Friday morning. That's right a panel featuring two of our guests of honor and five of our favorite people will be held first thing in the morning. When asked, all of the panelists just said, "whatever you need!". Bless you, everyone. "Would I Lie To You" Friday morning at 8:30 am.
Last Sunday, I spent the afternoon on the phone with one of my favorite people. Mark Billingham and I were plotting out opening ceremonies and the Anthony Awards. The great thing about doing this over the phone rather than through e-mail was feeding off of his enthusiasm. When you don't see people for awhile you forget why you love them. So Sunday was a refresher course for me in Billingham 101. Mark is in the middle of a killer tour for the new book, IN THE DARK. The book is out now in the U.K. and will come out here in the U.S. the week before B-Con. IN THE DARK is Mark's first Stand Alone Novel. While many of you will certainly miss your yearly fix of Tom Thorne do not miss this book. The plot is full of the twists and turns that thriller readers love while the characterizations within the novel encapsulate the realism of the noirest of books. That one of the most real and charming people I know can go to places this bleak and horrifying is a conundrum of our community. The fact that all of you, like myself, equate evil and murder with entertainment is another story, one we can mull over together in Baltimore.