Bouchercon 2014: Murder on the Beach
Location: Long Beach, California
Date: November 13 – 16, 2014
Monday, November 10
Arrived in Long Beach in time to watch Castle marry Beckett and off to bed I went.
Tuesday, November 11
Met for the first time Judy B. (we were both still on our respective time zone hours) for breakfast at the hotel’s restaurant, Tides. We spent most of the breakfast laughing our hearts out and decided that we are sisters from another mother. Next it was time to meet with Ingrid W, who was taking me to her local nail salon to get my manicure/pedicure. Enroute, I got to experience small town Long Beach and its colorful buildings. Back at the hotel and to the book room to help fold papers, and stuff book bags.
Then Susan B and I had our traditional pre-conference dinner at PF Chang.
Facebook status: The tech came and fixed my thermostat and left me a card giving me a complimentary meal at the hotel’s restaurant.
Wednesday, November 12
I signed up for the Hollywood Stars tour and the Haunted Tour at the Queen Mary. The tour was lots of fun with the tour guide pointing out sites that included the building they use to simulate the Empire State Building; saw that streets that is supposed to replicate NY’s Fifth Avenue. We arrived at the Hollywood sign and I took a few pictures; he even pointed out Steven Spielberg’s compound and the house that Mel Gibson knocked off its stilts in one of the Lethal Weapon movies. Next stop was the drive towards Beverly Hills and Rodeo Drive before we ended at Grauman’s Chinese Theatre, now known as TCL Theater where I took lots and lots of pictures of the stars that adorn the sidewalks. We even saw them putting in the star for Matthew McConaughey. On this tour, we saw Marilyn Monroe house and the courthouse where the OJ Simpson trial was held.
Back to the hotel that was ablazed with authors arriving. I was invited to the VIP tour of the Queen Mary and dinner to follow. Oh the guide was telling us about the ghosts in the first class pool when I looked in the corner and saw something. Yep, those ghosts know how to find me.
Dinner was at the SKY Room and the first thing I noticed when I put my bag down at the first empty table I saw, was the place setting for J.A. Jance. J.A. Jance! OMG! I love her work and was thrilled to be sitting at the table with her, her husband and her editor. We had such a good time getting to know Judith and what a glorious time we both had. She told her the backstory on her novella that comes out at end of November. You should have seen me and Shawn Simmons Reilly…we were in heaven. Dinner was salad, salmon, spinach, potatoes and instead of crème brulee, I had three small scoops of vanilla ice cream. After dinner, it was back to the hotel and the bar where the drinks were flowing and laughter was heard throughout the universe.
I know I’m forgetting a lot but I was in my element enjoying myself.
Facebook status: First celebrity (author) sighting today was Cathy Pickens and then Catriona McPherson.
Facebook status: I’m at dinner sitting next to JA Jance
Thursday, November 13
Thursday was the first “official” day of Bouchercon and it started with Author Speed Dating; Murder, We Wrote with Donald Bains and Renee Paley-Bain, moderated by Tom Sawyer; If I Knew Then What I Know Now with Brett Battles, Jessie Chandler, John Connolly, Elaine Viets, Martyn Waites, moderated by Marilyn Beebe; Mixing Murder With Food with Connie Archer, Leslie Budewitz, Daryl Wood Gerber, Karen MacInerney, Ovidia Yu, moderated by Kate Carlisle.
Then it was off to attend the “Hollywood Premier” Opening Ceremonies Hosted by HarperCollins. This was held at the Long Beach Convention Center. I went with Sparkle Abbey and we got good seats near the front. I was asked to help pass out the books to the author as the signed and guess who I assisted. Yep. J.A. Jance! Again, how cool is that? So I’m sitting behind the curtains with a bevy of HarperCollins authors and it was too cool. I was a smiling person during the entire time backstage. I got to see Wendy Corsi Staub, Kristi Belcamino,
Facebook status: On the agenda today: Author/Friend Sightings!
Facebook status: Met Kristi Belcamino.
Facebook status from Hank Phillipi Ryan: How cool is this? Dru Ann is helping Bouchercon 2014 – Murder at the Beach guest of honor J.A. Jance Author’s Page sign her new books. They were chatting like the best of pals…this a pretty plum assignment, I must say! What a treat to see.
photo of me sitting next to J.A. Jance, courtesy of Hank Phillippi Ryan
Friday, November 14
photo courtesy of J. McKinlay
Today was the day I’ll be sitting on my first even panel. I was a bit nervous but my fellow panelists were cool. (There goes that word again). But first I went to the 7am Meet the New Authors Breakfast hosted by Mike Befeler; and then it was time for my panel: Super Fans and How They Got Involved – Al Abramson, Kerry Hammond, Me, Doris Ann Norris, Janet Rudolph, moderated by Brad Parks. It went well and I even told my Sue Grafton story. It was great to see my friends in the audience and that relaxed me more than they know.
Then I had one of the best opportunities ever, a meet and greet with the writers and cast of TNT’s Major Crimes! Major Crimes. How awesome was that and I enjoyed the intimate session where we got some great scoops and insights into this wonderful show. After the meet and greet, we followed the cast and writers to the Major Crimes panel where the spoke to the larger Bouchercon audience with Q&As.
photo courtesy of D. Lacy
Then it was onto the Berkley Cocktail Reception in the Sky room – but this time we were on the lower floor.
Back at the hotel’s rotunda was the Dessert Reception & Live Charity Auction hosted by Hank Phillippi Ryan and Simon Wood.
Facebook Status: Two of the highlights of my day is meeting Kristi Belcamino and helping pass the J.A. Jance’s new book to sign for readers. The other highlights is seeing all my old friends and making new friends.
Facebook Status: The panel I was on went well. I was so nervous.
Facebook Status: The coolest highlight was the meet and greet with the writers and cast of Major Crimes. Thanks Deborah Lacy!
Saturday, November 15
photo courtesy of S. Brannan
Today was the day I moderate my first ever panel at a reader/author convention. Yes, I was a bit nervous but not as anxious since I survived the panel I sat on. Barbara Graham and I were in the room and since it was an early panel, we were hoping no one showed up and we would have it in the back of the room with us. Little by little, the attendees grew until it was time for us to sit on the dais. My panel was Add Spice to Your Crafts: Murder With your Favorite Hobbies with Barbara Graham, Sybil Johnson, Author Jennifer McAndrews, Camille Minichino, Clare O’Donohue and moderated by Me. From various comments, the session went well. There were laughter here and there. The best part was finally meeting Sandra Balzo. And the funny part was once I met her, I saw her at least 4 times that day.
Obviously the day got away from me as I can only recall attending the Jungle Red Writers panel with Deborah Crombie, Hank Phillippi Ryan and Julia Spencer-Fleming moderated by Rhys Bowen.
Then it was onto the Long Beach Performing Center where the presentation of the Anthony Awards were given out. I was happy to hear my friend Judy announced as the winner of the David Thompson award and to hear Joelle and Catriona name announced as an Anthony Award winner. I later discovered that my friend Brad won a Shamus and Art and Terry won a Macavity. Congrats to all the winner.
Facebook Status: Another highlight…I finally met Charlaine Harris! How cool is that?
Facebook Status: Yesterday was a good day. My panel, according to eye witnesses and passerby, went well. Received a nice twitter note from Alex Segura.
Facebook Status: From the “you did good” to “it went well,” sounds like the panel I moderated was good. We had a few chuckles and that’s always a good thing. I like to thank Clare O’Donohue, Camille Minichino, Author Jennifer McAndrews, Barbara Graham and Sybil Johnson for making it so easy. Thanks guys!
Facebook Status: One of the highlights of the day is seeing Sandra Balzo.
Facebook Status: Another highlight is meeting Dianne Emley
Facebook Status: I’m on a mission to get one more book signed.
Facebook Status: Alas I’m so bad in taking pictures
2014 Anthony Award Winners
Robert Galbraith – Best Audiobook for The Cuckoo’s Calling
The Blacklist Pilot – Best TV Episode
Jolie Charbonneau – Best Children Or YA for The Testing
Daniel Stashower – Best Critical / Non-Fiction for The Hour Of Peril
John Connolly – Best Short Story for The Caxton Private Lending Library & Book Depository
Matt Coyle – Best First Novel for Yesterday’s Echo
Catriona Mcpherson – Best Paperback Original for As She Left It
William Kent Krueger – Best Novel for Ordinary Grace
Judy Bobalik – David Thompson Award
2014 PWA (Private Eye Writers of America) SHAMUS AWARDS
Grant Bywaters – St Martins / PWA Award: for The Red Storm
Max A Collins – Best PI Short Story: SO LONG, CHIEF
Lachlan Smith – Best First PI Novel: BEAR IS BROKEN
M Ruth Myers – Best Indie PI Novel: Don’t Dare a Dame
PJ Parish – Best Paperback Original: HEART OF ICE
Brad Parks – Best Hardcover PI Novel: The Good Cop
Sue Grafton – Lifetime Achievement
2014 Macavity Awards
William Kent Krueger – Best Mystery Novel: Ordinary Grace
Terry Shames – Best First Mystery: A Killing at Cotton Hill
Art Taylor – Best Mystery Short Story: “The Care and Feeding of Houseplants”
Daniel Stashower – Best Nonfiction: The Hour of Peril: The Secret Plot to Murder Lincoln Before the Civil War
David Morrell – Sue Feder Historical Mystery Award: Murder as a Fine Art
Following a lovely Post–Anthony Awards reception hosted by Grand Central Publishing, the day came to an end.
Sunday, November 16
Now it’s time to say goodbye to all and the highlight of the day was going to the Concierge floor and checking out the view of the Queen Mary in all its glory and the Carnival cruise ship.
Until the next reader/author convention…I’ll see you soon.
Thanks to all who made this a memorable Bouchercon.