My Bouchercon 2014 adventure began early Thursday morning. One of my roomies, Patricia Coleman (aka P. R. Morris), suggested we volunteer to hand out book bags. We had signed up for an early shift - 7 am - so we would be free the rest of the day.
When five volunteers arrived, I was certain we had too many people. Within minutes, I realized that assumption was incorrect. We needed every hand.
The Bouchercon bags are really nice! I know I’ll use mine for years. The bags had already been filled with books and schedules, but many were missing the program book. We quickly divided the labor.
My hand and wrist are still encased in a fluorescent pink cast. I begged off the task of pulling bags off the mountain, unzipping, tucking a program book inside, and re-zipping. Instead, I sat at the table and handed out bags.
In the two hours I volunteered, I met countless Bouchercon attendees, and connected with at least a dozen friends.
At shift change, award-winning author Rex Burns showed up. Fangirl moment. I may have squealed. Rex writes short fiction for Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine, and multiple novel series. He joined in the volunteer effort, after I had a photo taken with him.
At the first session I attended - Bouchercon 101 - Ingrid Willis and Janet Rudolph explained to newbies and experienced attendees alike how to get the most out of the conference.
Next I wandered around the conference, learning the lay of the land. When I went to the Silent Auction room, I saw that my publisher had indeed included my novel in a tempting two box offering of hardcover books.
My intention was to go to another session. There were several workshops and talks that would have been great, but when I left Colorado, the temperature was four degrees. I had to get outside and enjoy the southern California weather!
A brief stroll outside the hotel was refreshing. Long Beach is a lovely place for a conference.
Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine editor Linda Landrigan attended the Short But Mighty panel in the afternoon. Moderator Travis Richardson led a lively discussion of the short story with authors Craig Faustas Buck, Barb Goffman, Robert Lopresti, Paul D. Marks, and Art Taylor.
The final event of the day was the "Hollywood Premier" Opening Ceremonies. The venue was a cavernous room extravagantly lighted with colors that made me feel I was inside an aquarium. Co-presenter Toni Kelner and I had difficulty finding each other, even though her blouse sported sequined skeletons, and I had on a fluorescent pink cast. We finally met, and waited on the front row for our turn, after nominees for the Anthony Award were announced, and other prestigious awards presented.
I was honored to present the Derringer Award on behalf of the Short Mystery Fiction Society. Here's the text of my speech:
2014 Derringer Award Winners
Henry David Thoreau said, “Not that the story need be long, but it will take a long while to make it short.” Writing short fiction requires precision. Every word must count. The Derringer Award honors authors who have mastered writing short.
The Short Mystery Fiction Society was founded by Margo Power in 1996. This vibrant group shares insight on everything from the finer points of grammar to newly discovered short fiction markets to submission requirements and response times. Our current membership is more than 1,500. Membership is free. Publication is not a requirement. To join the Short Mystery Fiction Society, simply go to our website and sign up.
Tonight I am representing the SMFS on behalf of president Jan Christensen, vice president John Lindermuth, and awards coordinator Tony Rudzki.
In July 2008, with permission from Patricia Hoch, the SMFS renamed its Golden Derringer Award for Lifetime Achievement in honor of her late husband, Edward D. Hoch. With more than nine hundred published stories at the time of his death, Hoch was considered the most prolific writer of short mystery fiction ever.
Golden Derringer honorees are considered by a five-member selection committee. This year’s recipient of the EDWARD D. HOCH MEMORIAL GOLDEN DERRINGER FOR LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT is: Ed Gorman
The Derringer Award is determined by a vote of the Short Mystery Fiction Society membership. The four story categories are Flash Fiction, Short Story, Long Story and Novelette. Recipients of the Derringer receive a plaque documenting their accomplishment, but until the official award is delivered, this year’s winners will be presented with this certificate.
This years Derringer Award winners are:
For Best Flash (Up to 1,000 words)
This concludes the Derringer Award presentation.
Toni and I did not take photos that evening, but we caught up with Toastmaster Simon Wood, and Best Short Story winner Robert Lopresti - later in the conference.
My learning experience of the day was seeing author Rex Burns volunteering, and realizing that folks like AHMM editor Linda Landrigan actually attended events like the panel discussions and workshops. They were learning and giving back to the community alongside us newbies. And that was Day One at Bouchercon!
Bouchercon 2014 attendees were a mixture of newbies like me and folks who had been fans of the international event for many years. I met readers, fans, authors, editors, agents, reviewers, and booksellers. Bouchercon welcomed anyone involved in creating, publishing, and reading mystery fiction.
The event officially began Thursday, November 13, but activities related to the conference had started earlier in the week.
Author Patricia Coleman and I arrived early Wednesday morning. The temperature in Colorado was four degrees above zero. Stepping out of the airport into sixty degree temps and palm trees was a pleasant shock.
I was concerned that we were not in the main conference hotel. The Renaissance Hotel was four blocks away. When we checked in and looked out the window, we saw a wide brick pedestrian walkway extending from Ocean Boulevard to the conference venue. The well-lit walkway became quite familiar.
Wednesday evening the conference had arranged tours of the ship the Queen Mary. We learned the history of the ship as we journeyed through several floors. After the tour, we had a delicious snack of fish and chips on the ship with author Liesa Malik. (Queen Mary photos in a slideshow below.)
When we returned to our hotel, our third roomie, poet and author Maria Kelson had arrived. There was no late-night chatter. We were all exhausted from our travels, and the excitement of finally arriving at Bouchercon. I’ll tell you about kicking off my conference experience with volunteer duties in next week's blog.
Patricia Coleman - http://www.prmorris.com/
Liesa Malik - https://liesamalik.wordpress.com/
I am working on my NaNoWriMo novel, struggling to achieve 50,000 words in the month of November. I am also preparing to attend the Bouchercon mystery conference for the first time. So I'm taking a break to blog about something totally unrelated to writing - Podzilla!
My mother recently moved to Colorado. My siblings loaded all her belongings into a PODS – a portable storage unit. This was then delivered to my driveway. I eagerly anticipated the arrival of the PODS because it was to be dropped in the driveway using a Podzilla. I had to see this oddly named bit of machinery. My expectations were met. Half the neighborhood came out to watch the amazing device deposit the storage unit. Note the bunny, who just had to watch, along with the humans. Spoiler Alert – if you plan to hire the use of a PODS, and don’t want to have the excitement of the Podzilla delivery ruined, don’t view the slideshow!
I decided to participate in National Novel Writing Month again in 2014. NaNoWriMo is a global event where writers attempt to create novels in the mere 30 days of the month of November. I use it to write drafts of new novels, then spend the next several months editing and rewriting.
While my energies are directed at NaNoWriMo, I'll post articles I wrote in advance, heavy on the photos, knowing my brain would be mush this month. Enjoy the fall colors!
We saw spectacular fall colors when we took friends visiting from out of state on an ATV ride in the mountains near Woodland Park the last weekend in September. See the slideshow below for more.
To learn more about National Novel Writing Month, go to - http://nanowrimo.org/
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