The rain was coming down fast and hard, and the wind was blowing a steady stream of debris (I still say it was snow, but...) when I pulled up to the hotel in St. Louis to attend my first ever Bouchercon.
And blah blah blah blah blah...
I had plans, ya know. Plans to live blog nightly from Bouchercon just like I lived blogged my trip to New York for that Lee Child double book signing. But this trip was different. This trip had been planned an entire year in advance. I even had a list of people I planned to stalk, take photos with and eventually blog about, but...
Let's just say things didn't go exactly as I had planned. So instead of trying to rehash my day to day activities during my 4 day adventure, I've decided to share some of my most memorable moments. The moments that will stay with me always. The moments that will cause me to smile, maybe even make me giggle out loud. The moments that meant the most to me because they were spent with people that I've grown to love and care about from my time on twitter... or from one on one time at Bouchercon.
Meeting Andrew Grant *sigh*
Many of you know that after finding Andrew Grant's debut novel, EVEN in the wrong aisle at the grocery store that I fell in love with crime fiction. But did you know that Mr. Grant's decision to write a book changed my life forever? It did. People laugh at my story, but my close friends... the ones that have watched this transformation, they know this to be true. After checking into the hotel with my friends, Leah Anderson and Josh Stallings, we headed down to Bouchercon registration. In the hall on the 14th floor we ran into the incredibly tall, and very kind, Andrew Grant. Then less than an hour later we ran into him again on the same floor just outside my hotel room. We stopped for pictures, chatted briefly and then my face turned red with embarrassment when I realized that Mr. Grant, the man that changed my life forEVER, was staying in the very next room with his beautiful wife Tasha Alexander. It was very nice meeting both of you...
Meeting Russel McLean
There are no sweeter words then a man looking at you and saying, "is that who I think it is?" Why, yes, Russel... it's me! I still have the email and remember the day when Russel McLean started following me on twitter. I waited patiently for that day to come and when it did... I fell off my chair at work from shock. It was so worth the bruise on my bum. It was lovely meeting you, Russel. I didn't see you much after that initial greeting, but thanks for visiting with me and letting me snag your picture. And I'm very thankful that you waited for me when I chased you up the escalator. Very nice of you, sir.
This meeting came with a double bonus... I met the incredibly beautiful, Jennifer Jordan. She's lovely and kind and just plain cool. I love her.
Meeting Joelle Charbonneau and Running My Fingers Through Her Hair
Whatever! Think what you want. This is a woman I've been dying to meet for several months now. She was kind enough to plan a dinner get together and the bonus was allowing me to run my fingers through her thick, wavy, beautiful red hair. It's gorgeous. She's gorgeous. And my very first published story was written with her help and encouragement. We didn't get to spend much time together, but every moment we did see each other was met with a hug. Oh how I miss your hugs, Joelle.
Attending N@B St. Louis
There was a room full of people. Awesome people. Sexy people. Handsome people. They read us stories and we laughed and clapped and waited for more. It was wonderful. The best time I've ever had. Really. And I think I enjoyed it so much because, to me, even though I had never met any of these people before, I felt like I was at this big family reunion and we were all there to cheer each other on and push each other to succeed. It was perfect. N@B was a perfect start to a perfect Bouchercon weekend.
Meeting Dan O'Shea
Our first introduction was brief. I probably scared him when I hopped off the escalator and gave him a hug. Whatever it was... I was able to meet up with him later that night at the bar. He's everything I imagined him to be.
Just when I thought I wasn't going to be able to meet Kent Gowran or Ron Earl Phillips, they both were able to attend Bouchercon. Ron stayed the entire weekend and Kent showed up on Saturday. It really was great for me to finally shake hands and hug the men that allow me to work alongside them for Shotgun Honey. We had breakfast together, hung around the hotel and then took a lovely walk for dinner... we also hung out at the bar together. I've never really hung out at a bar before, and think what you will... I love the bar scene.
Meeting Hilary Davidson
We met the lovely and talented Hilary Davidson while checking in at the Bouchercon registration desk.
"See that?" *points at the counter and makes a circular motion with her index finger* "Josh, this pool of blood on the counter means you need stitches."
My plan to be in bed by midnight pretty much went out the door that first night in St. Louis when Josh Stallings shut his finger in the door of our taxi van after arriving at the hotel from our evening at N@B. And when I say shut it in the door, I mean just that. Josh said he had to knock on the van window to get the driver to open the door for him. UGH! OUCH!
Higher security then what you might find at the airport, this hospital came complete with a waiting room full of gang members, screaming mothers, and security guards. The critical care unit where Josh was worked on housed student doctors, buzzing flies, fresh urine on the floor, and some mad woman taking photos, tweeting and placing bets on how many stitches they would need to close him up.
Our hospital visit lasted five hours and put us back at the hotel at 5:45 in the morning. I lost the bet by one stitch, but technically you could say we both won... for having survived our first night in St. Louis. (he needed 15 stitches)
Attending a Librarian Breakfast with friends and Meeting Brad Parks
Not sure how I ended up on the list to attend this event, but I can say that it really was a highlight of my weekend. Not only did I sit at a table with many of my twitter friends I sat next to Laura Benedict and I was introduced to the incredibly handsome, Brad Parks. Our special guest at this breakfast was Charlaine Harris.
Hanging with My Friends at the Bar...
And... Sharing Gooey Butter Cake with a Friend.
I loved every minute of every single day at Bouchercon. Four days, only thirteen hours of sleep and too many memories to list in a blog post.
And before you even ask... I'm already registered for Bouchercon 2012 =)