Wednesday, February 18, 2009

The Blog That Will Not Go Away

Bouchercon 2008 is closed for business and Judy Bobalik and Myself would like to give everyone an idea of where we spent money. The many places where we didn't spend any are what made this event so special for us. One last time from us to you, thanks for everything you did. Mystery is alive and well and racing towards Indy.

We had a final budget of $320,000 .

$240,000 from registrations
$2,500 from advertising in the program book
$4,300 from brunch tickets
$6,000 from Tee Shirts
$35,000 was passed on to us from Madison B-Con
$ 5,000 was passed on to us from Anchorage Bouchercon
and the Live and Silent Auctions raised just under $15,000 dollars (WTG Dave and Cindy)

You'll ask, "Did you spend the money on the attendees?" I'm happy to say that we certainly did.

That fab hospitality suite that was subsidized by Charmed and manned by SINC? $33,000
Food for Opening Night, Authors Without Borders & the Sunday Brunch? $70,000
We brought a lot of Guests of Honor from far away (and I think we'll all agree it was well worth it) so Charmed's travel and housing costs were perhaps higher than most years but we were payed back ten fold by the guests themselves and the international membership numbers. Cost? $34,000 (4,857 per guest)
The book bags and everything in them cost a total of $24,500
The Anthony Awards (mailings,ballots, supplies, awards and certificates) $3,400
Registration itself cost us $22,810 (pay pal fees, sales tax and supplies for registration table)
Audio Visual cost us $27,500 for both hotels
The Web site was $7,500
There was a volunteer dinner at the Pratt, that and a few meals paid for in the four years between inception and conclusion was all these people received for all of their work along the way. So you paid $5,000 to your staff.
We rounded up the Auction proceeds and donated $16,500. $15,000 to the Library and $1,500 to Viva House.

That brings us to a total of $244,210. YOUR DOLLARS SPENT ON YOU.

What of the Rest?

We've passed on; $10,000 to Indy, $20,000 to San Francisco & $10,000 to St. Louis. Note that our generosity is truly paying it forward as this is the same cash that came to us from Madison and Anchorage. We've also paid a few standing committee bills for the website (2,700) and We do have 9,000 in the bank and after we're sure there are no other bills that money will be donated to the official Bouchercon Charities.

I'm afraid the remainder of the cash went to the not so sexy infrastructure. Things like decorations, Window Office, office supplies, phone bills, advertising, signage, travel reimbursement, truck rental, tee shirts, security etc. And it all balances.

We're happy to make this report, happy to be working with the people who did this before us and who are planning both Bouchercon's future and future events. We hope we've taken some of the mystery out of the event for you. And While I'm very glad that we didn't need the money that was paid forward towards us, it was really nice to have that breathing space, to not go cross-eyed when I saw the coffee bill for day two or found out how much a digi-max player was going to cost us. So to the folks who took some of that financial burden off of us with sponsorships, donations, time and cash ..... forever, you are in our hearts.

Ruth Jordan

Thursday, October 16, 2008

"That's The Nicest Thing Anyone's Ever Done For Me"

If You know where this title comes from, I want you on my pub quiz team next time!

Was it the Bar, Was it the hospitality suite, was it the panels, it was you. Judy and I thank everyone who has thanked us and yes, you can keep them coming... but this thank you we needed to post, because the sender makes all the same points Judy and I have been making to one another. It was everything that made Bouchercon 2008 go well. If you receive an e-mail blast from either hotel and especially the Sheraton, please reply to it, and thank you, what a community we did this for.

And now, without further ado, a final goodbye,

I attended the 2008 Bouchercon in Baltimore and I have to admit, that after visiting eight of these events over the last nine years, this one was one of the smoothest, most polished Bouchercons ever. But I'm not certain that all the accolades being heaped on Ruth Jordan and Judy Bobalik are deserved.

I kept an eye out for the two ladies 'supposedly' responsible for this conference and the times that I did see them, they were almost always casually conversing with attendees, and just hanging out. The bar...often a scene of poor service and mass confusion at Bouchercon, ran almost perfectly. Plenty of staff, plenty of service, plenty of food and drink. I never once saw Ruth or Judy helping serve drinks, or buss tables.

The wide variety of exciting panels and discussion groups were well attended, and well monitored. Monitored by a very enthusiastic group of volunteers, there seemed to be no need for our two ladies to be involved. The registration desk was occasionally bombarded by the 1500 people who attended the conference, and again, even though I saw Ms. Jordan and Ms. Bobalik occasionally work the table, the volunteers handled the crowd very well.

The Sisters In Crime hospitality room was wonderfully stocked with coffee, juice and snacks and I never once saw our hostesses running in to re-supply the refreshments. The book room ran like a well oiled machine, with a generous selection of new and used volumes and it seemed that dealers and buyers all did business without any help from the organizers.

So, while everyone I talked to agreed that Bouchercon 2008 will go down in history as one of the best conferences ever, how much credit can we actually give to Judy Bobalik and Ruth Jordan? The only thing I really noticed was that they seemed to enjoy the event as much as anyone else.

It was a fabulous conference, ladies. Thanks.

Don Bruns

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Home at the desk top, cat purring at my feet.....

I'm reading all these great blogs and finally have been able to read the guest author posts at Read Street. If you missed this year's B-Con and are on the fence about next year's take a look at the boards, the news, and the web site... and then follow this link.

Jim and Mike and their team shadowed us from Tuesday on and next year will be just as FANtastic , if not more so,I'm sure.

Hosting one of these things is a bit different than my usual role of attending and so I missed a lot, but I also saw a lot. And I have to give out a ton of thanks. To everyone who stuffed bags with us on Tuesday, you guys rock. Registration desk volunteers worked every day and did a fab job.To the many who monitored, moderated and participated in panels, thank you all. I have received so many e-mails crediting me for your brilliance. And a couple of special shout outs. Stacey Cochran videoed the guest of honor interviews for us. Two are on the web site now and two more will be up shortly. And Heather Drucker of Harper Collins captured a live stream feed of the Billingham/Connolly conversation which I hope to put on the web site soon.

I heard that all the publisher dinners and cocktail parties were brilliant, unfortunately, I made none but next year if I'm lucky enough to be invited, I'll be there with bells on. And I cannot believe I missed my first Reacher Creature's party in nine years(sorry Jack and Lee). I also missed a brilliant event at the Library of Congress on Tuesday evening where one half of our Lifetime Achievement Award team, Robert Rosenwald gave a not to be missed speech on the future of publishing. It will be up shortly on the LOC site and I'll send everyone a link.

I did not miss the smiles on faces as they walked down the hall. Perhaps to visit the Hospitality Suite. I need to thank Sisters in Crime and Penny Clifton in particular. I came to them and told them what I wanted to accomplish with the space, gave them a budget and they executed my plan beyond any dreams Judy or I had.

The bookroom had the best representation of titles I've seen at a Bouchercon and they all worked hard to make sure that it happened. Each and every person in that dealer room deserves a shout out and consider this mine.

My thanks to everyone also who helped with bringing Bouchercon at the Movies to us. People were so happy to have a quieter, less kinetic evening event available to them. Kinetic was available too. Mark Billingham led us all through a lively opening ceremonies. The food was superb on that evening and the speeches brilliant. Followed by the presentation of the Crimespree, Macavity and Barry Awards there was no better note to go out on than George Easter so appropriately being awarded the Sandstrom Award for 2007.

Friday was Author without Borders and the Live Auction. Thank you to the four hundred or so people who bopped in and out for the hour long Authors event, and thanks also to everyone who came from abroad to play with us this weekend. The Live and Silent Auctions brought in just under 15,000 dollars and we're going to round it up. Thanks to Dave, Cindy, Beth, and all of their volunteers. I consider this a huge success, especially in last week's economic climate.

Saturday was pub quiz and those who joined us had a hilarious time. It was also the only time I got to spend with Fan Guest of Honor, Thalia Proctor... because I was so darned busy. So it was great on many levels thanks to the great team of Ted and Gary and the camaraderie of all who participated.

And to Sunday. What could we do but laugh when the fire alarm went off? Although I ran steadily that morning, as we all sat down for the brunch, the wonderful Mark allowed me to relax and he took over the end of the event. Judy and I had a few ideas, and Mark coordinated with Ben Leroy of Bleak House Books to make them happen.
A final toast to the forever to be missed James Crumley with a guest reading by George Pelecanos and a "shot on location" short honoring our Continuing Contribution to the Genre recipient, Lawrence Block. Thank You Larry. These were fabulous precursors to the presentation of the Anthony Awards but just as special to me was sitting with Bill and Toby Gottfried when they won the Sandstrom Award for 2008. Two heroes to everyone in our community and an inspiration to both fans and writers everywhere, I teared up as they went up on stage. The Anthonys were a celebration and then... it was over...

Baltimore gave us Sunny weather, both hotels gave us above and beyond service. The wait Staff and Management of both hotels worked hard to make all of us comfortable and everything go off with minimal hitches. And as much as we enjoyed them, they enjoyed us. Both hotels have said that we are fabulous and whenever we want to come back they'll be there for us. They thank you for your courtesy, patience, understanding, and the energy you brought to their hotels.

And my guests of honor . It's so hard to let go because from Meeting John and falling just a little in love (like Jon and myself he and his partner Sarah met one another through Bouchercon), to seeing Thal again, to having a lively discussion in Barbara and Robert's suite, To the sheer quake running through my body as I was able to introduce Lawrence Block and Charles Ardai to the membership, to Laura's radiance as she acted the role of hostess to the 1400 of us there and to Mark, who I knew would be brilliant and was an even better toastmasterer than I expected....I do not want to let you all go.

As I buzzed through the membership, I saw many faces and was unable to spend enough time with anyone, such a change from last year's cozy reunion feel. Some I said brief hellos too and some I missed entirely. Where was McKenna Jordan? And Joe Wallace, I know you were there but did I see you, even? Vicki Hendricks is one of my fav people and there was no time. But next year I'm free and clear and hoping for a lot of inspiring conversation, and cocktails.... lots of cocktails.

and now, back to the cat..... he needs pets from Mom,

Monday, October 13, 2008

Good Bye ,Farewell

the complete list of Anthony Award Winners...
Best Novel: WHAT THE DEAD KNOW- Laura Lippman Morrow

Best First: IN THE WOODS- Tana French Viking Adult

Best Paperback Original: A THOUSAND BONES P.J. Parrish Pocket

Best Short Story: HARDLY KNEW HER Laura Lippman- from Dead Man's Hand edited by Otto Penzler for Harcourt

Best Critical Work: ARTHUR CONAN DOYLE: A LIFE IN LETTERS by Jon Lellenberg, Daniel Stashower & Charles Foley Penguin

Special Services: Ruth and Jon Jordan

Best Web Site: Stop You're Killing Me: Stan Ulrich and Lucinda Surber

What a weekend and I think every one had a blast.
Judy we made it...
Judy Bobalik: hero, friend, traffic coordinator, and the best co-chair I could have ever had....
She's the one who did the heavy lifting, the panels (with Jon Jordan), the time framing, and well, kept me from being overwhelmed.

It all feels right and I'm about to go downstairs and begin clean up after passing out promptly at seven last night,

we'll have more on the web site shortly and the blog will descend into silence soon....

but please everyone who was able to attend share a favorite moment with those who weren't , Judy and I were both so busy we'd like to hear more about your Bouchercon.

Saturday, October 11, 2008


hey everyone, Ruth here and so sorry this is so brief. but Bouchercon? Baltimore? Fabulous. Busy. We do want to Share. So we'll have a wrap up for you tomorrow. and within hours.... Our first 2 GOH interviews will be on-line at the Charmed to Death Website. All four + the Anthony Awards will be available to you on the Charmed to Death Web Site. But today an experiment.... Live stream line video is coming up.... Toastmaster Mark Billingham's conversation with John Connolly will be coming to the web live at 3:oo p.m. So those of you at home join us 3:00 p.m. Baltimore time through either the Harper Collins or January Magazine websites.....
You don't have to miss everything! And please consider coming to Indy. I hate that my fellow mystery fans are missing this and wish everyone was here with us.

And thanks to Mark, John, Chris Mooney, Karin Slaughter, and Laura Lippman. They not only got out of bed for all of us... 12 hours before the live auction even began we had a substantial kitty because these five people are very good, or is it really bad liars!!

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Why I love Judy Bobalik

I cannot count the ways. From the ground B-Con....

Well, I'd hoped Jon and I could sneak away, we had a chance to see the Library of congress via the wonderful Barbara Peters. I've never been within those halls and I should have realized, but I had to send one half of my Lifetime Achievement Winner a
"I'm so sorry" e-mail when she probably isn't even checking e-mails.
But, the book bags are DONE and I mean finished, the carroll can now turn into the signing room instead of the room with all those boxes....

And you know, the folks who came to us today and agreed to help without any stipulation for anything.. I love you all, really... all book bags full as I lay my head down? Brilliant.

I have to say, and I've done book bag stuffing before.. it's a far different animal when you move the books from a remote suburb, to the truck, from the truck, to the loading dock, to the prelim stuffing room, to the main room , boxes broken down..
i THANK EVERYONE , my bruises are well earned and your help? Invaluable....

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Easy Like Sunday Mornings

What a day Yesterday was.... Work and Play...

The entire staff at this Kinkos/Fed EX are know amongst my local Baltimore Heroes. Above and beyond . This is the staff that will be packing my books.

I read the event contracts page by page yesterday (this is a different animal than the original contracts you sign). Every Mike,glass of water table and room is accounted for in writing. This is to assure going into set up the hotel and Judy and myself are on the same page. Pretty dry stuff. And then I get to the bar set ups.

"The last two years the bouchercon bars have closed early. This group enjoys a late night gathering. There were several complaints to both hotels and we should expect late evening spikes"

Thank You....

Bar Time is 2:00 people.

And I'd talk more but Ayo is dressed hungry and waiting... God, it's great to see her again.
More later....

Friday, October 03, 2008

Walk This Way

Remember this member name.

Penny Clifton...


At my first Bouchercon, I stumbled into a room they called the hospitality room. I found this room purely by accident. I’d been to a reading by the wonderful Boston writer Linda Grant. As we all exited there was a queue to the room just across the hall and Dove Ice Cream Bars were being dumped onto the table and quickly devoured by the awaiting masses. I met Shirley Kennett in that room and Anne from PA.

At every Bouchercon since then (and I’m sure the ones before), there has been a hospitality room. And they are normally not easy to find. And here’s the thing…. (I’m throwing that in just for you John) Even if the hospitality room is easy to find; for some reason people think it is not meant for them. Members, you are Bouchercon and most decidedly everyone is always welcome in any hospitality room.

So word up, come visit the hospitality suite this year…. Sisters in Crime is making it possible for everyone and that very special sister Penny Clifton has worked long hours to give our membership a sampling of some of Baltimore’s home grown treats.

We’ll save it all as a surprise but it’s going to be a great room. The Hall of Fame Lounge is an inviting and comfortable room. Our secondary bar in the evening, it offers leather sofas and comfy chairs. The Billiard Table has been re-felted. There are tables to gather around and we hope that folks will stop by to participate in the official Bouchercon Blog. You don’t blog? We’ll type It for you, share an experience that’s making the con special for you. So many folks who planned to be here cannot be. Others who think they may like to attend one day are wondering what the experience is truly like… Let’s let them know what they’re missing, let’s share. During the day you’ll also be able to find giveaways from authors you either already know or should. What arrives in the end is unclear, but a variety of bookmarks, postcards and even chat books is expected. So come and browse, have a cup of coffee or a glass of water and … the aforementioned surprises.

We are only putting food out periodically but help us to run out this year. We’ll share our info with all future cons and hope to grow this, one of my favorite parts of Bouchercon.

And back to the Sisters. They have selected the foods that will be there, they will be represented throughout the duration of the con, staffing the hospitality suite Thursday, Friday, and Saturday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. They are doing this as a thank you to our community. In 1986 a group of female writers were talking at a convention called Bouchercon in Baltimore Maryland and came up with a concept for a new organization. It would be called Sisters in Crime. 22 years later, I think we can safely say it was, is, and will be an important part of the mystery community forever.

And Judy and I thank you….. Sisters forever…..

Green on Green

A Couple of things. There will be a green room for panelists at this years Bouchercon.
Located in the POE Room on your maps, It is just across from the signing room, and around the corner from your panel rooms. Highly accessible, we hope you'll feel welcome to make use of this room. If anyone should need help finding it ask a volunteer. We're here to help!

And yes the Auction is starting at 9:00 p.m. on Friday the 10th. It will be located in the Calvert Ballroom of the Radisson Hotel, located at 23 West Baltimore Street. Supporting the Enoch Pratt Library System and Viva House this Event is open to the public as well as our membership.We would like to thank everyone for supporting Bouchercon's annual auction. It is a joy to give back to the community hosting our convention.

coming up next.... the hospitality suite. And thanks to my favorite Baltimorian for the lovely lunch today...


Thursday, October 02, 2008

So you

So you
thought you might
like to
come to the show.

Roger Waters everyone….

Our last short story nominee is up at Charmed to Death… Laura Lippman’s Hardly Knew Her from Dead Man’s Hand Harcourt edited by Otto Penzler now joins the others. Thanks to everyone for making this happen and Otto? Serious about the hero worship

We still Need Volunteers. If you can help e-mail judy at

Yesterday goes down as one of those extremely memorable days. I did not get everything I wanted to done. But let me tell you Any Day I get to giggle with Charlaine Harris is truly memorable. What a week she’s having. And I didn’t know. I’m so embarrassed, so deeply buried in Bouchercon, I didn’t even know, and if you don’t know go take a look at the New York Times Best Seller List. Back? Charlaine Harris everyone. Give it up. When someone who has written such great books for as long as Charlaine has, who has made all those tough choices that writers do, for so long, has a week like this it feels like a win for the entire community.

We still Need Volunteers. If you can help e-mail judy at

So I got to giggle with Charlaine. Pretty Great, right? Well then I got in the car and got to go to a book signing with Dennis Lehane. The Given Day is remarkable (and John P, I have your copy). But it was great just to see Dennis again. Three years is a long time, and the last time we saw one another was

at Bouchercon. In 2005

We’ve both had some remarkable years since then. And there was a store full of people at Richard’s . Folks who’ve loved his books from the very beginning and come back to every signing, and are as proud of Dennis as a parent could be. And with Every book he comes back to Mystery One to share with a room full of people who he appreciates so much, he comes to Richard’s store when there are any number of larger non Mystery stores who would love to have him. He does it for Richard and he does it for Richard’s customers. He’s truly one of the most fiercely loyal people I’ve met in my life.

In Vegas I remember sitting with Laura and Dennis and thinking to myself how remarkable the journey they had had since the first time I met them was. And now three years later? Wow.

So the last time I saw Dennis was at Bouchercon and the next time I’ll see him? Bouchercon 2008. See a couple of really good friends are guests of honor, and Dennis will be with us in Baltimore. Because that loyalty, that friendship it is fierce. I think it’s part of what makes him a great writer. I know it’s what makes him a great person.

We still Need Volunteers. If you can help e-mail judy at

And then there was the hug from Sean. It’s good to have hugs from my friend Sean. It’s a bonus that he just happens to write books and they’re great books. Trigger City, the second in his series hits bookstores near you a week from next Tuesday. Sean Chercover, Jon Jordan and I stayed up way too late last night, talking, drinking, catching up. We hadn’t seen one another in way to long…. And So a day of mystery heroes and friends ended.

We still Need Volunteers. If you can help e-mail judy at

I am at the airport, getting ready to leave. It’s been a long time coming. Stage two begins tomorrow bright and early. I’d like to let all the folks who were in contact with me anytime after 12:00 yesterday afternoon that I’ll be back to everyone by Saturday but these next few hours are for me and my husband, Jon. Do you know Jon Jordan? He’s the best friend, son, brother, husband and mystery champion I know. And he loves me.

We still Need Volunteers. If you can help e-mail judy at

Tomorrow: Auction News (it begins at 9 pm Friday October 10th)
The Hospitality Suite and An Angel Amongst the Sisters
And anything else I can think of……

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 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

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.