Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Again, With Feeling

The wind woke me up an hour ago. Fall moving in all in a rush. It really is time for Bouchercon. First though one last day at work.... I have to thank all of my co-workers. They have carried me here. For years they've been great about switching weekends for my "book life" but the last three months they've gone above and beyond. Yesterday I think I spent an hour of on the clock time on the phone. A no no, to me and to them. They'll be happy when this is over. In the meantime, they've ohhed over the program book, ahhed over the book bag, and been my biggest cheerleaders. Amanda's taking care of the Cats for me while I'm gone. Ricky and Cathy will be working in overdrive, two weeks with no wiggle room in their schedules and extra weekends at the job. Alan has been just a great boss. So they'll all work together to take care of our store, and when I get back I'll do my best to try and take care of them. Because after eight years, We Are Family (you're welcome for the really bad song now going through your mind). 60th & Vliet.... HOME.

I've news for you dear members, I've sent Judy and Beeg the most current registration list and the names will be on the web shortly. Registrations are down to a trickle but I wanted to let all who intend to use the Pay Pal Option and want to be on the web attendees list...


You will still be on the main list. That I can update daily, but we are all on the road as of Friday and there will not be a chance for Beth to take care of this again after tomorrow morning's update is passed on. So register today. It looks like we might as well spend it now.

So, 12 hours until I punch out for the last time. 28 hours until Sean Chercover comes to visit. 36 hours until the Dennis Lehane signing. 48 hours until Amanda and I go to breakfast, 60 hours until we're in the air and I'm pretty sure 72 hours until I am packed,

BTW, the countdown clock is set to Central standard time..... so what ever it says; subtract one hour.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

The Countdown Continues and Maigret comes to Baltimore

Are you a fan of the great French Detective? Bouchercon 2008 is very proud to present the following for the membership. The film will run 90 minutes and therefore this does require a larger than normal time commitment but by Saturday..... 2 hours in a nice dark room might be just the ticket. We will be presenting Maigret at the Majestic at 8:30 am on Saturday in the Pratt Room.

[from Les Caves du Majestic, 1942, translated as Maigret at the Hotel Majestic, 1977]

Bad enough that there’s a corpse found at the ritzy Hotel Majestic, but then she’s the wife of a visiting American business man [played by Harrison Ford’s brother, Terence]. Director Goretta previously twice won prizes at the Cannes Film Festival.
Directed by Claude Goretta, 1993, 1992, color, French with titles, approx. 90 min

This series stars the award winning French actor Bruno Cremer and will be a treat for Americans..
The adaptation will be presented by Michael Jeck, shown in it's entirety, and he will be available to answer questions afterwards. There are now 41 of the 52 Maigret Films available for Home Sale. Mr. Jeck will have more info.
Michael Jeck is the former Programming director for the American Film Institute and is renowned for his knowledge of foreign film. An expert in Japanese film, this presentation will be a highlight for film fans.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Bouchercon at the Movies

All Movies will be shown in the Pratt Room….. follow the red carpet..

Let the Right One In- Friday at 7:00 p.m.

Terrorized by bullies, lonely 12-year-old Oskar befriends a new neighbor, a mysterious young girl whose arrival coincides with a series of gruesome deaths and attacks. Though Oskar realizes that she's a vampyre, his friendship with her is stronger than his fear.

“Adapted for the screen (from his own award-winning novel) by John Lindqvist, Let the Right One In is not only a truly excellent horror movie, but it's also a bizarrely touching and personal little movie. It's clear that Lindqvist and director Tomas Alfredson are using vampirism as an accessible metaphor for the myriad problems that face today's teens -- but the movie also feels a lot like a smart horror flick combined with a slice of one of John Hughes' better movies. Whether the film is focusing on the carnage, the puppy-love romance, or a few side-stories with the local townsfolk, Alfredson presents the movie with an appreciable sense of humor, confidence, and sincerity. And while I was initially a bit skeptical about the flick's 114-minute running time, once it had ended I found myself wishing it had been just a little bit longer. Surely that's the sign of a successful movie.”

Jar City - Friday at 9:00 p.m.

A murder opens up a bleak trail of long buried secrets and small town corruption for a worn out police detective and his squad.

This Movie has made a lot of noise in Europe. Starring Ingvar Eggert Sigurdsson and adapted from the novel JAR CITY by Arnalder Indradason, this is a film not to be missed by fans of Noir.

The Shovel- Saturday at 12:30 p.m.

When weekender Paul Mullin discovers his neighbor digging a hole in the middle of the night, he writes it off as simply a bizarre encounter. Until the neighbor... and his cheating wife... disappear. Worried he’s stumbled upon more than he’s bargained for, he calls on the local sheriff to help unearth the truth. And finds out that, in a small town, some secrets are better left buried.

A Short Film by Nick Childs adapted from Steve Hamilton’s Plots with Guns short story A SHOVEL WITH MY NAME ON IT. Starring David Strathairn(Good Night and Good Luck), Neal Huff (The Wire) and Tim Guinee. Winner of the Best Narrative Short at the 2006 Tribecca, Woodstock, Wood Hole and HD Fest Film Festivals, this is a great opportunity to watch a film and talk to the collaborators.



In the tradition of our youth Saturday Night will feature two Bouchercon Premieres for the Price of one.

The Grand Inquisitor-

Legendary blacklisted Hollywood actress Marsha Hunt, 90, makes a stunning return to the screen in this haunting short film that writer-director Eddie Muller describes as "a noir fairy tale, based on actual events." A young woman (Leah Dashe) discovers a cache of used books that she believes holds clues to the solution of decades-old crimes. When the authorities dismiss her, she takes matters into her own hands, ringing the doorbell of Hazel Reedy (Hunt), a lonely recluse who may or may not be the widow of America's most notorious serial killer. Their cross-generational confrontation, played out in real time (20 minutes), leads to an unexpected and shocking conclusion. Adapted from Eddie Muller's short story of the same name, published in A Hell of a Woman: An Anthology of Female Noir (Busted Flush Press, 2007).

The Last Lullaby

Price, a former hitman, is struggling to cope with retirement. He left the assassination business to live the "easy life." However, retirement arrived with its own agenda. It was not the instant peace and calm that Price expected. Rather, it was emptiness, boredom, and, worst of all, restlessness. The Last Lullaby plummets Price back into his old life and forces him into a corner from which he may never escape. Price's old ways no longer work for him when his heart opens, and he finds life beyond his profession. The tension finally comes to a head as Price must decide to close himself off again or open himself up to a world beyond his control.

Tom Sizemore (Saving Private Ryan) and Sasha Alexander (NCIS) head the cast in this mystery-filled love story. Co written by Mystery’s own Max Allan Collins, he’ll be on hand to view it with you Saturday night.

a real countdown

We are getting close enough to countdown on just 2 hands. Ruth and I will be in the air Thursday this coming week and on the ground that night. So the scramble around the Jordan house to make sure we have all our ducks in a row is as you might imagine rather like prepping for the D-Day invasion. It's been a long time since I packed for a trip of two weeks. I think it was camp.

A couple of things.

If anyone is in the Baltimore area, or more specifically the Westminster area and have some time on Sunday the 5th and may be interested in helping us load a truck with all the goodies for the book bags could you get in touch with us before Wednesday? You can reach me at

We have four people so far, but another two or three would make this go a lot quicker.

There are a lot of really cool books that have been donated.
In addition to the book bags there will be some panels that give out books as well.

A number of people have asked about how to dress for different things. My thought is to dress comfortable. I'll be dressing up a bit for the Anthony Brunch on Sunday but other wise I'll be dressing casual.


We have Bouchercon t-shirts, one design, two colors to chose from. They will be available for $20.

The program books are done and we got a sneak peek. I have to say the Jim Barker out did himself on the cover, they really look nice. A special thanks to those who contributed and to Martine for doing such a great layout. And Digital Graphics for printing so fast and so well.

Ok, I'm off to pack. See you soon!


Friday, September 26, 2008

Another Short Story!!!

Hello Everyone,

Steve Hockensmith has given us a link to his Anthony Nominated Short Story DEAR DOCTOR WATSON, take the jump.

And from member V.M. more places to eat.

I spent 6 weeks in Baltimore this summer and would love to share some places to eat. The reading taking place over at the Johns Hopkins Barnes & Noble is right where I lived. The area has wonderful restaurants - Donna's, Tambers, and my favorite a block away on Charles Street the Baltimore Museum of art. The museum is free the restaurant is great.
The museum has the Cone collection which is the largest Matisse collection in the U.S. The two sisters were childhood friends with Gertrude Stein and they collected Picasso, Matisse and others.
No one has mentioned Little Italy in the Harbor, the neighborhood behind the National Aquarium. Great food.
Nancy Pelosi was born a Delassandro. Her father and grandfather were Balto. mayors.
The G&M restaurant (a stones throw away from the airport) has the BEST crabcakes I have ever had. Maryland crabcakes being backfin and almost no filler. Crabmeat, chopped parsely, a little grated bread, mayo, mustard and 1 egg. Refrigerate to get it to hold together before pan frying or baking. Obryicki's downtown is the traditional crab place. - "welcome to Balt'more Hon"

Obryicki's gets a vote from me. This Baltimore tradition still allows you to get down and dirty with your soft shells.


Thursday, September 25, 2008

I have a present for you....

Two more of this year's short stories are now up on the Charmed to Death WebSite.
Read Rhys Bowen's Watch Your Step from the spring edition of The Strand Magazine and Toni L. P. Kelner's How Stella Got Her Grave Back care of Ace Hardcover and editors Toni Kelner and Charlaine Harris. All five nominees are great stories and we're happy to continue to bring them to you.

Special thanks to Andrew Gulli and Toni Kelner for making my desire for on line availability of all stories so much closer to an accomplishment. You guys Rock.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Why Hosting a Bouchercon is Cool

So a few things to present for a membership. First Ken Bruen is coming. It was looking unlikely but he moved hell and high waters and will be here for us this year.

I got an e-mail from an author today. I will not embarrass him but he’s new and registered via paypal today and he’s so excited. And that was such a great e-mail to read.

I have the program book in my hands (well actually to the right of my hands). I never got to see this early before.

It all seems so real now...

So, anyone else out there getting excited?

(and for the record, and to avoid unnecessary shuddering, I have already packed Jon's underwear)


Tuesday, September 23, 2008

All Dressed Up?

So we’re now 15 days out…. Stomach just flipped. On the phone yesterday with a friend who had a very bad week (son’s appendix ruptured)she asked how I was doing and I said , “Getting ready to leave for Bouchercon next week” Her response was, “It’s here? Finally….” Over the past two years it’s become rather like the Holy Grail to those close to me near to home. Mythic, unattainable…. Perhaps not even existing at all. And soon it will be just a memory. A series of blog posts, shared experiences , and an unworthy song title or two forever etched in my brain.

Still, I’m calming down…. Things are shaping up, contracts coming in furiously, party invites galore, so….

I experienced girl panic yesterday. It’s time to pack and I have nothing to wear…. Girl panic.. How does one dress for opening ceremonies when you need to talk in front of people? When packing for 15 days is there even room for accessories? Do I have time to find new black shoes? What will the weather be like? So when you see me at the Anthony awards in jeans and a Crimespree T Shirt, you’ll know I gave up and moved on, in the meantime it’s kind of fun to be in touch with this part of me again, she’s been missing for awhile….


Monday, September 22, 2008


Hi all,

First, I'm very excited by this news. Busted Flush Press with Megan Abbott and Daniel Woodrell has made the short story UNCLE, one of this year's Short Story Nominees, available to the entire membership for reading you can find it here in PDF downloadable format.... at the top of the page . So enjoy.

Judy B is constructing the volunteer list right now and has tried to be in touch with everyone who said they'd like to help. If you haven't heard from Judy and want to help please e-mail her.

Also from Judy, there are still spots open for the Karaoke Bar portion of our programming. Contrary to popular belief you do not have to sing (but you can) . This is Author's choice where you can talk about anything you'd like to for 1/2 an hour. Hey, I know everyone out there can do better than they did at the Emmys last night. For this you can e-mail either Judy (see above) or my very own better half, Jon Jordan

We have now sold out for the Sunday Anthony Brunch. Thanks everyone,


Saturday, September 20, 2008

Metallica or ACDC

So Metallica is selling music. But I'm a bigger fan of the new tracks by ACDC and if I had to go with just one would definitely hang on for the later which feels fresh rather than a retread of an old tire. I'm way too in to the whole programming with song titles part of this year's Bouchercon.

Ruth here. With a jumbled list of messages for the membership.


Still Register, that is. There are two ways left to register. You can Pay Pal from your puters until October 4th. If you choose this option please also send a registration form which is available on the Charmedtodeath Website. And at the convention itself you may register with a check or use the paypal option. We will ask you to fill out a registration form at that time. I am still getting inquiries into day passes and I regret it but we will be unable to accommodate folks with day passes this year. For those local to Maryland the good news is the dealer room will be open to the public, so come on down, take a look around and if you like what you see, remember Indy is just a year away.

On Refunds.... if you requested a refund after the cut off date of Sept 1, we will be addressing it at the conclusion of the convention. At that time if there are any left over monies, you will of course be reimbursed.

The programming has been updated.

Please go to the blog Your Charmed to Death Programming for the new daily lists.

Of note:

Author Ace Atkins will be ably filling the shoes of Ken Bruen at the Saturday at the Pratt- Govan's Branch Event Saturday October 11th.

George Pelecanos will still be joining Bouchercon 2008 but has had to move his signing time from the previously posted Saturday to Friday, October 10th at 11:00 a.m. in the Carroll Room.

Frank Wydra who was a friend to many of us lost his battle to Cancer in August. A true fan and author of mystery, Frank will remain on the Charmed to Death Web Site. Our best wishes go out to his family and friends. For more on Frank visit here

The MWA table will be opening on Friday afternoon after the Business Meeting.

Once again, the standing committee STRONGLY encourages all of our membership to attend this meeting. It's our Bouchercon, please be a part of the future.

We are showing a variety of films throughout the con. Some are already on the schedule but I'll be back with a full list soon as everything is firmed up.

There will be a "So you want to put on a Bouchercon" panel Thursday morning at 8:30 am. If you and your community are interested in possibly hosting a con, you may want to attend. This year I'm bringing in people from the Tourist & Hotel Industry specific to my own history but who also can help you find the people in your own area to make this process easier along the way. 8:30 on Thursday morning? I told you Judy and Jon were harsh.

William Kent Krueger is great. Here in Milwaukee last night on tour for Red Knife the latest in the Cork series, he once again reminded me of why Mystery, the community, is such a wonderful place to be.

And of biggest note today, because I just don't say it enough ..... Judy Bobalik is one of those very special people. I cannot imagine my life without her in it. With a Dorothy Parker wit and heart larger than the Grinch's after little Cindy Loo get's to him..... I, like many, am forever in her debt..... and entirely relieved that three weeks out I still mean this from the bottom of my heart.


Thursday, September 18, 2008

A Shamus Award Update!!!

Tickets Are Still Available

I got this message from Bob Randisi and am sharing with the membership. Please consider attending this event. Marthayn has found Baltimore's best venue for a mystery gathering and take another look at this year's nominees. A Who's Who of Detective Fiction.

I understand people think the PWA banquet in Baltimore is sold out. Not true! We're going to have a great event and we still have tickets available. Email me at RRandisi@aol.com for more details, or for an invitation to be sent to you.

Monday, September 15, 2008

8 Days a Week

hi all,

A Note for Authors:

Please note, the deadline is Sept 22nd.

We are adding a Karaoke Bar. (Usually known as author’s choice.)

12 sessions per day. Right now just Friday and Saturday. We may add Thursday if necessary.

Half-hour each. Same time as regular panels. Signing in the karaoke room.

Half hour is self-contained to do anything (except break the law)

Groups okay, it’s your half hour.

We need a song title, brief description and who will be doing it.

First come, first serve.

Contact Judy at bcon2008@comcast.net

Must sign up by September 22, 2008.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

"Quality of Life"

Yesterday I got my paperwork at work. For this year's Bouchercon I'm taking a quality of life leave. I am now officially excited. 12 more work days and we're in Baltimore.
Yeah! So no more second guessing or trying to throw more into the mix. There's some things I'm looking really forward to but I want to know what you all think is going to be your high light at Charmed to Death.....

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Comings and Goings

Morning everyone!!

I have some very good news. Best Selling and Award winning author George Pelecanos will be making an appearance at Bouchercon and will be in the signing room to sign your copies of this year's THE TURNAROUND or any other book you might need signed Saturday at 12:30 p.m in the signing room.

Also on the roll now, authors Ace Atkins and Scott Phillips. Two of my generation's best and brightest have taken the plunge and are coming to Baltimore.

I believe in good news first so mark these announcements on your dance card.

Unfortunately, I've also found out this week that Author Stephen Hunter will be unable to attend. We're very sorry. I was looking forward to welcoming Hunter to Bouchercon. One of this generation's premier Thriller Writers as well as about my favorite Movie Critic of all time Mr. Hunter will be missed. For those of you in TX. however you can talk with Mr. Hunter on Oct. 7th in Dallas and on Oct. 8th in Houston.

Also withdrawing for personal reasons is the Irish novelist Ken Bruen. He asks us to assure everyone he is okay and that life simply came up.

The withdrawal of these two individuals may affect your programming choices and so I share. I've had other withdrawals that have affected me greatly over the past two years. People who because of their health, or family's health, or financial constraints have to give our celebration a pass. They all intend to come next year though and that's heartening. One of the best e-mails I got this week was from Philadelphia native Lou Boxer. You know Lou. First the dreaded, "I have to withdraw", and then the reason, a great reason, his son is in a Soccer Tournament that weekend. Parents don't get very many years of these experiences and Lou has taken the dread out of opening the header, "Unable to attend" at least for a little while.

Oh I promised a report on "COLD IN HAND" .... to use an English phrase... it's a fuck off book. Charlie Resnick remains one of fiction's best police but as we all know author Harvey never stays in the same place for long. "COLD IN HAND" is another look at contemporary times wrapped up in police procedural where the stakes will become as high for the reader as they are for Resnick himself.


Friday, September 05, 2008

Where did the Week Go?

Hey everyone,

I'm getting a little busy. But I realized I haven't been on the blog for a week and wanted to stop in to say hi and give you updates on a few matters.

First, for all of you who haven't read Ms. Laura Lippman's Letter this month, there is additional dining advice supplied for attendees by our American Guest of Honor at the end of a very good piece on writing itself. And be sure to check out her serialized story in the New York Times this Sunday.

Going, Going ...... I have two folks who need to withdraw from the con but are willing to release their rooms to individuals. Are you homeless? Be in touch. Quickly.

Today, I got John Harvey's new book in the mail, looks like I'll be reading tonight. I promise a report, Resnick on the weekend, what could be better? So no e-mail please (just kidding).

I'm going to ask everyone to continue to check the the attendee list. We've had some great additions to the list as well as a few withdrawals that have me deeply saddened. It is the nature of things that life happens and I know this is going to be great, but it's very sad not to share Bouchercon with everyone you've been planning on sharing it with. I'm making Jon take his Birthday off. Hell, I'm making myself take his birthday off. I cannot remember the last time we had a non-Bouchercon conversation....

I have sent out the last batch of refund checks... all those who withdrew by the 1st of September should be receiving a check.

And now it's story time. This is a great Story so I hope you don't mind me sharing.
My family is great and entirely supportive of this journey Jon and I are on. They've given up their daughter, granddaughter, sister, niece, cousin, until October 13th. But, on Wed I got to hang with sister Paula and brother Pete for the first time in months. And as it happened writers Marcus Sackey and Joe Konrath were in town. Now, Jon and I had known that Marcus and Joe were coming for awhile, and we ended up hooking up with them for drinks and dessert after their signing at Mystery One. My brother had never seen Jon and myself in the mix as it were, and Peter went into this with god-given Irish skepticism. And as we all compared recent reads, talked about movies and baseball and music, rehashed old stories and just caught up with one another, I saw Peter visibly relax. The little brother who's always been overly protective of his "Chick" and has accused me of being too much of a joiner since I was eight and had a bad experience with the Brownies, for the first time, was able to comprehend that my "Mystery Community" isn't just something I give to, but something I receive from. So special thanks to Richard, Dave, Joe and Marcus. A night to remember in the Flannery Clan. My brother, the fantasy reader, has given mystery his seal of approval.

And everyone in Baltimore, good luck with the weather this weekend.