Monday, November 11, 2013

Things I Learned at Bouchercon 2013

1. Trains beat planes hands down. This was my first trip on Amtrak, and I am spoiled. You walk onto the train — no body cavity searches, no surrendering your liquids, no x-rays, no shoe removal — and then you take your seat. And if you have a roomette — like I did — then you have your own private little lounge with a comfy chair, table, electrical outlets, your own sink-potty combo. Plus an ever-changing view and a steward to bring me coffee with seven creamers. What more could a writer ask for?

2. Albany, New York, has an enormous hill at the middle, and Empire State Plaza — our convention center — is at the tippy-top of that giant hill. You need calves like a Russian dray horse to get around this city. But it was beautiful this time of year -- blue skies with autumn-tipped leaves.

3. Some of my favorite fangirl moments were the in-between bits. The conversation about how to be a good moderator with one of my favorite moderators (the ever-gracious Nora McFarland). Catching the bus with Rhys Bowen. Missing the bus with Margaret Maron. Stalking Sue Grafton when her back was turned.

4. Panels require lots of water, especially if one has had to run up a hill to get to the meeting room.

5. Serendipity rocks. On Thursday, I ended up chasing the shuttle bus across the parking lot only to have it leave me in its exhaust. I stopped running when an authoritative gentleman explained that it wasn't coming back. He also offered to remedy the problem by driving me to my dinner. Which he did. As it turns out, he’s in charge of the transportation for the entire event; he’s also the former Albany chief of police, now CEO of a private security company. The owner of the restaurant he’s driving me to is his former undercover detective in narcotics. He gave me his card, his friend's card. Said they would be happy to answer any questions I had about security companies and police and dope. Score!

6. The mystery writing community is one of the most gracious, inclusive, smart and generous bunches of people I've ever met, and I'm proud to be among them.

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