Bouchercon 2013, Albany NY

Site of Bouchercon 2013

You might be thinking this looks more like the site for Dragon*Con, and if you know anything about Bouchercon, you may be thinking there is a cool mysterious bar at the top of the egg, and a rocking hotel at the base. You’d be wrong. On both counts.

 All weekend, my running joke when coming up against obstacles, odd/poor planning or just easily remedied stuff that slipped by -all of Albany- was, “That must be the mystery part.”

Main floor of convention center. Note. No bar in sight.
Main floor of convention center. Note. No bar in sight.

 

Laura Lippman, Jennifer McMahon, Megan Abbott. Best panel with so many good tips, ideas and encouragement
Laura Lippman, Jennifer McMahon, Megan Abbott. Best panel with so many good tips, ideas and encouragement

So, here’s the deal. I’ve been to enough of these conventions and conferences and workshops to know what works and what doesn’t and to know that what isn’t working can be fixed with a good sit at the bar. Or a short respite in your room…. both of these were missing, so I’d have to say ALBANY  was a fail. Book sellers and fans in the signing lines assured me there were equally screwy problems in Austin, in Monterey , in… yep, the list goes on. But that said, this is non profit and run by volunteers.

So, what’s a girl to do? Make the best of it. I let the older fans and folks with troubled knees and legs have the chairs, and the buses. Though I had failed to pack any flat street shoes, I forged on. Even made a wonderful new talented friend, Nancy Bilyeau, when I chimed in on her Twitter whining Day 1. She not only managed to turn it around, but ended up looking like a rock star in my eyes.  As did all the new authors out there, and some– who were only new to me. Apologies to Charles and Caroline Todd, and Margaret Maron- for not knowing your work.

Books I brought to have signed, then shipped home with even more books!
Books I brought to have signed, then shipped home with even more books!
Best idea EVER. Fan/ writer had these Ipad backs signed, and will frame at home
Best idea EVER. Fan/ writer had these Ipad backs signed, and will frame at home
I did not pack this.
I did not pack this.

 

I did pack this. You may have seen me now.
I did pack this. You may have seen me now.

 

I did not pack this, though it would have fit right in with the badasses I met. Including the UK dude who writes about a Cia guy who boozes and does drugs, then told me he couldn't have another drink or anything stronger because... then showed me a badge. If I had been able to read it, i would have found it to say he's an ADA and writer, not a cop. Course I read his reviews-- no comment.
I did not pack this, though it would have fit right in with the badasses I met. Including the UK dude who writes about a CIA guy who boozes and does drugs, then told me he couldn’t have another drink or anything stronger because… then showed me a badge. If I had been able to read it, i would have found it to say he’s an ADA and writer, not a cop. Course I read his reviews– no comment.

 

 

Historical Albany is also pretty dirty and gang filled and beat up. I walked past this on the way to a bar one night. The full moon made for even creepier feel.
Historical Albany is also pretty dirty and gang filled and beat up. I walked past this on the way to a bar one night. The full moon made for even creepier feel.

 

Crashed a Crimespree Magazine party without even knowing it. So glad too, 'cuz I met a Corleone. Question of the night Southern Comfort or Lemon Drop shots?
Crashed a Crimespree Magazine party without even knowing it. So glad too, ‘cuz I met a Corleone. Question of the night Southern Comfort or Lemon Drop shots?
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Day two of lemon drops. In magnified shot glasses=not much vodka, folks.
No restaurant or bar at my hotel. I bought this, sealed from barmaid, got back to room and had no opener- or key. Toenail clippers. Do. Not. Judge.
No restaurant or bar at my hotel. I bought this, sealed from barmaid, got back to room and had no opener- or key. Toenail clippers. Do. Not. Judge.

 

MEGAN ABBOTT!  I loved, loved, loved DARE ME. She is a fireball in a teeny package, but on the page? Larger than life.
MEGAN ABBOTT!
I loved, loved, loved DARE ME. She is a fireball in a teeny package, but on the page? Larger than life. And oh so kind, asked me to walk and chat with her, as she didn’t want to be rude. Turns out we are connected sorta via ex and agent.

Before this night began, I was invited to join some amazing writers at the Beer Hall. Thank you, Nancy,for including me. I have so many new and established writers to follow now. What a great deal on pizza, right? Wish I had known about the panel at 2pm next day. Sorry to have not spent more time with y’all.

Pistol Pete tries to make the moves on the bar mannequin. Bitch had the best seat!
Another night, another bar. This ended in pizza!  Pistol Pete tries to make the moves on the bar mannequin. Bitch had the best seat!

Heather Graham sang her heart out. Killer WHITE RABBIT. And loads of people played and sang. Writers, multi talented. Though the harmonica playing Daniel Palmer never took the stage...
Heather Graham sang her heart out. Killer WHITE RABBIT. And loads of people played and sang. Writers, multi talented. Though the harmonica playing Daniel Palmer never took the stage…

 

 

I ran across the wide hall, up a bunch of stairs and grabbed this man, LAWRENCE BLOCK. J'adore.
I ran across the wide hall, up a bunch of stairs and grabbed this man, LAWRENCE BLOCK. J’adore.

 

Worst lighting ever in this whole place, all the photogs had to carry bounce lights and screens.. not good. Plus, I always get the person behind me who doesn't know how to use an I-phone. SIGH.
Tess Gerritsen. Such a wealth of knowledge and energy. You can feel positive energy roll off her. How does she stay “on” day after day? Hate the cropping, but seems I always get the person behind me who doesn’t know how to use an I-phone. SIGH.
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Pretty terrible lighting here- all over, but Sue Grafton- who arrived early and stayed late to sign everyone’s books, was more than accomodating. To the point she said, “Let me see the picture. Oh no, that won’t do. Come with me. Move over here.”
cool interior, made a comment about the giant hook as a murder tool, and the guy at he bar suddenly had to go.  Glad my high school partner in crime could drive in to see me!
cool interior, made a comment about the giant hook as a murder tool, and the guy at he bar suddenly had to go. Glad my high school partner in crime could drive in to see me!
Awesomely fun night, Dinner and dancing and lots of laughs. I was barefoot on a dance floor and ended up with black, sore and cut feet.  Bars open until 4AM btw.
Awesomely fun night, Dinner and dancing and lots of laughs. I was barefoot on a dance floor and ended up with black, sore and cut feet. Bars open until 4AM btw.

There were so many great memories, and so little sleep. I wish I had been able to see more panels, and hope that the people I met, however brief, will reach out and connect, and stay connected. As someone said, this is a very large community, but at the heart, very, very small, and we all need each other.

 

 

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6 responses on “Bouchercon 2013, Albany NY

  1. Clair Lamb

    Great recap, and thanks for the kind words about our panel! That’s the best photo of it I’ve seen; can I borrow it with attribution? Sorry we didn’t meet in person.

  2. Jon Jordan

    I’m glad you ended up at our Crimespree party! I remember bumping into you while you got your I=pad cover signed. It sure looks like you had fum, and if you went home tired, you did it right

  3. Linda Post author

    Hey Clair, sorry for taking so long to reply. Your comment was lost in cyber space! I do hope you used the photo. 🙂
    Linda

  4. Gayle C. House

    This was the origin of this thread of origins. I will be asking science writers around the world to do what they do best – tell a story – about the thing they know best – themselves. This will be a perpetual thread that I hope will act as a lasting resource for the writers of tomorrow to take inspiration from.