Today's post ignores this week's theme. For those of you who weren't able to attend Bouchercon (one of the biggest mystery/crime writer/reader conferences around!), I give you views and peripatetic notes in no particular order.
See how tiny the world-famous Arch looks from my hotel room? I couldn't bear it, so after a day of panels and a night of racous Noir at the Bar hosted by the very warm and inclusive Scott Phillips (Ice Harvest, Cottonwood), I strolled through the park and experienced its awesome bigness and chrome (steel?) shine.
The pictures you see of it on television must be taken from a helicopter, because they never show the clutter of the shoreline, which has a helipad, trestles running over the river next to the Arch, nor the Casino riverboat, or small ships that can push eight long flat transport barges at a time (empty, anyway).
It's very hard to communciate in a single photograph just how big this graceful monument is:
This is my favorite shot, it looks like a long, bright dinosaur neck:
Okay, I hear you. Enough about the Arch. What about Bouchercon? I hear that about 1500 people are in attendance, and I've been kept busy moderating a panel, attending a dozen more, and of course grabbing coffee or other beverages with the writers here. It's enough to make me want to spend every waking minute finishing my work in progress, so I can join the ranks of the well published. (My short story will be published in a Sisters in Crime anthology, but that's not until NEXT YEAR!!!!!!)
I committed an act of criminal absent-mindedness just before the panel I moderated, Depth of Character, with Sasscer Hill, Sparkle Abby, Joy Laughter, Sandra Parshall, and Victoria Laurie. I left my notes in my room, and had to dash back to get them. Dizzy and breathless, I arrived a few minutes late, but the charming women on my panel were all at ease, chatting with the audience, and Sasscer had commenced to introducing herself. These writers are as warm and funny as you could wish for on a panel, and the audience asked brilliant questions. Bouchercon was well begun!
I've seen Marcia Clark and Jonathan Hayes joke about forensics and the law, learned of new writers I can't wait to read like Doug Starr, and just generally breathed the perfume that a crowd of "book nerds" always generates. Sweet ideas, images, and a true love of literature, regardless of the form, haunt the halls of the Renaissance St. Louis this weekend. Plus drive-by waves by Simon Wood, Michelle Gagnon, and too many others to mention!
Here are two visions of loveliness, first Julia Goodson-Lawes and Victoria Laurie:
And here's Avery Aames and Juliet Blackwell on a panel about home renovation mysteries:
There was some talk over coffee about how spirits may show up as orbs in photographs--not sure if that's what's floating between Juliet and Avery, or just evidence of my less-than-professional photography skills :)
It's hard to believe there's another day and a half of panels, events, awards, gossip, and good fun left to go. And hard to believe no matter how hard I try, I'll only be able to catch pieces of it here and there before it's over.
No worries, next year's is set in Cleveland Ohio. Another exotic state I've never been too! And next year, I may have joined the other LadyKillers with a novel sold, if I'm lucky! Meanwhile, here's a shot of Ann Parker, our fearless leader, and myself at breakfast. Appallingly alert for 7:15 AM!!!!
We missed Michael Black and Sharan Newman who had to skip breakfast, and all the LadyKillers who stayed home this year. It just wasn't the same without you!!!!