BoucherCon 2012: Cleveland ROCKED!

Posted October 19, 2012 by Felicia S in Conferences / 30 Comments


BoucherCon 2012 Rocked Y’all!

Hi Guys!  I am about a week late writing this up but I came back from Cleveland with the Plague!  It was more like a sinus infection but doesn’t plague of the replicating mucus sound more appropriate for October?  I am all better now and ready to spill on what has to be my favorite convention I have attended this year so far!

Felicia Mug Shot at BoucherCon 2012
Hopefully the closest I will come to ever having a mugshot!

I arrived in Cleveland on October 3rd! Having never been to Cleveland before I admit I was a bit nervous.  What was there to see?  What was there to do?  Luckily I met another attendee on the plane so we quickly made plans to go to Michael Symon’s Lola Bistro for dinner after getting checked into our respective hotels.  I did not stay at the main hotel but mine was pretty darn close.  The food at Lola was delish and it was a great way to start off the weekend.  Believe it or not, I did not take a picture of my food there–very strange for me.  I had scallops that were to die for!

I am going to admit upfront that I was pretty much in bed every night by 10pm!  The days were so packed with things to do that I pretty much wore myself out every day.  To me, that is a sign of a great convention!  Don’t worry there was plenty of wine drank, people met, and food eaten.  I am also going to admit that I suck at taking pictures–I forgot my camera so only had my phone!  To be honest, it wouldn’t have been that different with an actual camera–photography is not my strong suit!

BoucherCon 2012 Mornings
How I started off every morning!  Pumpkin Spice Latte and Iced Green Tea–they just hit the spot!

Thursday October 4th:  If you ever go to BoucherCon get there the day before because the panels start on Thursday morning.  This wasn’t really clear on the website (which was one of the few things I don’t think was done very well) and there were a few other first timers that missed the first day because of it.  The opening ceremonies are after the first full day of the conference.  *NOTE: There were very few things that I was disappointed with at this conference but lack of being able to plan ahead was one of them!  Next year (which I have already bought my ticket for) I am prepped for that though. I missed quite a few panels on Thursday because I was figuring out the rhythm of the conference. I am actually glad I took some time to look around and get the feel because it made the rest of the weekend a blast.

I want to give a special shout out to Sparkle Abbey, Sandra Brannan, and Sheila Connolly!  They saw me sitting alone and invited me to sit with them on Wednesday night.  They were fantastically fun and yes they each sold a book while I was sitting at the table (yeah for kindles)!  They were great to me all weekend long.

First Panel: Mystery Southern Style

  • Panelist: Cathy Pickens, Kathryn Wall, Donna Andrews, Jaden Terrell, Tina Whittle, and Traci Hohenstein
  • Overall: Fun! I loved all the panelist 🙂
  • Embarrassing Moment: I asked about their covers whether they loved them? I will now never ask that question again! I love Cozy Mystery cover art but sometimes it doesn’t fit the book. Needless to say the ones they didn’t like were the ones I brought to get signed so they never saw them.
  • Discussion I liked the most: Why do people read about the South?
  • Answers: (I agree with their statements):  There is a romance to it!  That whole Gone with the Wind thing.  It is family orientated.  There is a connection to others.  Ties to events and things.  Southerners just don’t forget.  It seems like an exotic culture.  Connection to the past and present, land, friends, families, and communities.  The heat is also a factor.  There are multiple south’s.  The people are important and the south is known for violence.
  • NOTE:  They all knew at least one real-life murderer and their stories were pretty interesting!  They all agree that there is different “south’s” and that each one is very different from the other.
BoucherCon 2012 Mystery Southern Style Panel
BoucherCon 2012 Mystery Southern Style Panel: Great group of ladies and a lot of fun!

Opening Ceremonies: Rock n Roll Hall of Fame!

  • Great Location!
  • Tons of fun!
  • Great Food!
  • Good Times!
  • Could not hear the opening speech as too many people were on the top area so they quit letting us up.  I heard from friends that was fantastic though!
BoucherCon 2012 Opening Ceremonies
We couldn’t take pictures inside but the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame was amazing!

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Friday October 5th: Busiest Day of the Conference for me! Also known as the day that I embarrassed myself in front of Charlaine Harris and began to wonder if I was ever going to see Karin Slaughter (that was Saturday)!

First Panel: Those Crafty Sleuths

  • Panelist: Lois Winston, Kylie Logan, Penny Warner, Janet Campbell Slan, Mollie Cox Bryan
  • Overall:  A Total BLAST!  Cozy mystery authors are a hoot!
  • Embarrassing Moment: I won a book y’all so it was worth it!  A question was asked about who was born in Japan–I got it right but I started with because you looked like you were born there (which got weird looks).  I meant she looked like she came from a Military Family.  Also, it was How to Dine on Killer Wine which you know is just a perfect fit for me!
  • Discussion question I liked the most: Craft or Murder First?
  • Answers: You have to have the story first then the craft has to work with that!  You can’t just slap a craft in there, it has to meld with the story.
BoucherCon 2012: Those Crafty Sleuths
BoucherCon 2012: Those Crafty Sleuths

Second Panel: Witches, Ghosts, & Vampires Oh My!

  • Panelist: Sarah Zettel, Judy Clemens, F. Paul Wilson, Juliet Blackwell, Victoria Laurie
  • Overall: This was my 2nd favorite panel in the whole conference (my favorite was on Saturday)!  This group was fun and very much loved their subject matter.
  • Embarrassing Moment: None!  Score one for me!  I also kept my mouth shut so that probably helped LOL
  • Discussion question I liked the most: Why Paranormal?
  • Answers: She (V. Laurie) was a physic intuitive and she wanted to write it right.  We (F. Paul Wilson) all love a little fantasy in our reality.  Paranormal allows a little mystery back in that defies the CSI effect.  She (J. Blackwell) doesn’t think it is a new phenomenon.  It is what she likes and adores.  She (J. Clemens) didn’t set out to write a paranormal series but it made its way in.  Death was just part of her character.  She (S. Zettel) was influenced by the Twilight Zone.  Anything was possible!
BoucherCon 2012: Witches, Ghosts, and Vampires Oh My
BoucherCon 2012: Witches, Ghosts, and Vampires Oh My

Next (not a Panel): Visited the Harper Collins Hosts Author Signing and Giveaways in the Hospitality Room! Crazy busy didn’t get near an author but did buy some raffle tickets
Next (not a Panel): Volunteered at the Registration desk for a few hours! Great way to see that I wasn’t the only person a little lost. Many of the questions were ones that I was asking and that made me feel a whole lot more comfortable.

Third Panel: Romantic Suspense: Murder, Mayhem, & The Mattress Mambo

  • Panelist: Monette Michaels, Heather Graham, CJ Lyons, Jordan Dane, and Lori Armstrong
  • Overall:  A lot of fun!  This was the panel that I felt the most comfortable with.  I love Romantic Suspense!
  • Embarrassing Moment: Forgot my notebook so I didn’t get to take notes!
  • Discussion question I liked the most: Behind the door or out in the open sex?
  • Answers: Forgot my notebook but there was a little bit of both going on with these authors.  The storyline dictates the kind of sex that goes into the story!
BoucherCon 2012: Romantic Suspense: Murder, Mayhem, & The Mattress Mambo
BoucherCon 2012: Romantic Suspense: Murder, Mayhem, & The Mattress Mambo

BoucherCon 2012: Heather Graham
OMG y’all! I totally met Heather Graham! She was one of my four unicorns and I was so excited!

Next: Criminal Element Social Hour: This was a total blast and you can see from the top I got my mug shot!
During the Day: Ate at 4th Street Pub! It was amazing!

BoucherCon 2012: 4th Street Pub
BoucherCon 2012: 4th Street Pub

Saturday October 6th: The day I freaked out when meeting Karin Slaughter (oddly enough she didn’t think it was much of a freak out) and the day I explored Cleveland!

First Panel: Heroes & Villains

  • Panelist: Karin Slaughter, Mark Billingham, John Connolly, Maryn Waites, Alafair Burke
  • Overall: Best panel of the conference!  These guys are passionate with their opinions!
  • Embarrassing Moment: Didn’t carry my notebook because I was doing a lot of walking that day so no notes taken!
  • Best Question: The authors talked about their real-life Heroes & Villains
  • Best Answers: They were all super passionate about doing what you love, being honest while doing so (buying reviews, star ratings, creating dummy accounts to speak badly about others all came up), and noticing the everyday heroes.  This was just a great session all around!
BoucherCon 2012: Heroes and Villians
BoucherCon 2012: Heroes and Villains

Next: I met Freaking Karin Slaughter! I didn’t get a picture but I did get an autograph!

BoucherCon 2012: Criminal by Karin Slaughter
BoucherCon 2012: Criminal by Karin Slaughter
Bouchercon 2012: Criminal by Karin Slaughter
Bouchercon 2012: Criminal by Karin Slaughter (the last of my 4 unicorns to meet while I was there)

Next: Cleveland Public Library for the Readers and Writers Panel!

  • This technically was not part of BoucherCon but since the library was on my “to see” list, it was a perfect reason to go!
  • Panelist: Linda Fairstein, Karin Slaughter, Mark Billingham
  • Highlight: I loved the moderator for this series.  She was knowledgeable and asked fantastic questions!  They covered everything from real life forensics to research.  She touched on taking your work to TV/Movies and how to stay focused.  Overall it was a fantastic panel and the library was beautiful!
BoucherCon 2012: Cleveland Public Library
BoucherCon 2012: Cleveland Public Library

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Next: Silent Auction in which I actually won the Linda Fairstein basket! Also got embarrassed by them calling me out for losing my badge on the first day–someone found it in the cab. Note to self: they evidently don’t clean cabs very often because that was 3 days later.

Next: Dinner at Chocolate Bar and then went back to the hotel bar where I got to talk to Mary Higgins Clark and her hubby! They were so sweet! Also finally hooked up with Amanda Kyle Williams! I adore her and next year (if she goes) we will hang out more!

Cleveland Chocolate BarCleveland Chocolate Bar
Overall: This was a fantastic conference and I really liked Cleveland! I didn’t do much on Sunday because it was rainy, icky, and I was worn out!  I would recommend this conference to anyone who enjoys mysteries and thrillers.  The setting is laid back, fun, and really inclusive to everyone attending.  I didn’t notice any cliques behavior (though I am sure there was some) because there was so much going on!  I came home with tons of books even though I only bought 4 while I was at the conference.  I can’t say enough about how much fun I had!

Pros: Fantastic setup for meeting authors!  I loved how they moved the authors to tables to sign books instead of just inside the panels.  It gave me a chance to meet more authors and not feel like I had to pick and choose panels based on the authors.  I loved the variety of panels and it seemed like everyone was having a blast!

Cons: The poor cozy mystery authors did not have any (or very many) books at the book sellers.  Also some of the authors didn’t stick around for their signing times if no one was in line at their spot.  I missed a few because I was a few minutes late getting from the panels to the signing area.

Note for myself for next year (Albany and yes I already have my ticket): I will be taking books again!  I am glad I did this year as many of the cozy mystery authors I wanted signed didn’t have books there for sale.  Also, now that I have the system down I feel more comfortable going to panels and not feeling like I am going to miss meeting someone.  Talk to more people–I will admit that I was a little shy if I saw an author in the bar and didn’t approach them.  I missed getting some of my books signed because I wasn’t approaching them!

I am going to spare you the slideshow of all my books and signatures!  Let’s just say my rock star bookshelves are over-flowing!

Common Scenes from BoucherConCommon Scenes from BoucherConCommon Scenes from BoucherCon

Felicia S
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