Saturday, September 24, 2016

Bouchercon 2016 Vignettes

Instead of writing out a piece on Bouchercon in my usual style of writing, that includes complete sentences and attention to grammar, I am offering vignettes from my week in New Orleans and that all-consuming, out-of-this-world experience that is Bouchercon.  So, here are my clips of Bouchercon moments, which are now precious memories.

Bouchercon Vignettes:

Holding Andrew Gross' new book The Only Man with several other books to buy.  Andrew's beautiful wife, Lynn, comes up to me and asks me if I'm going to buy The Only Man.  When I confirm that I am indeed going to purchase it, she guides me over to her husband, saying that her husband, the author, is right across the aisle and will be happy to sign it for me.  He was!

Getting to see the beautiful face of Teresa Smith Wilson, who I met last year in Raleigh after finding out we grew up in the same neck of the woods.  She is such a hard worker for Bouchercon and a sweet friend.

My daughter sharing five five days in New Orleans with me.  A time we will both treasure always.  After going on a cemetery tour, we walked down to Cafe du Monde, but it was lunchtime and too hot for coffee and beignets, so we went across the street to Tujaques and had a lovely lunch.

Finally laying my eyes on Erin Mitchell, who is probably the best human being of all of us!  Got to hug her and hug her, and then I hugged her!  Took a selfie with Erin and Sara Blaedel.  Pinch me, really!


Having dinner my first night in New Orleans at an English pub with my all-time favorite person Kristopher Zgorski, Michael Muehler, Ann of Oz, Patricia, and Catherine Lea.  Becoming friends with Catherine Lea was a bonus from this dinner.  

Finally meeting the beautiful, wonderful Alice Wright and Merrily Taylor in person and having dinner with them and Anne Cleeland, one of our favorite authors.  Spending the whole dinner talking books, books, books!  Anne is author of the Acton and Doyle series set in London, and the three others in this picture are absolutely in love with the series!

Introducing myself to author Martin Edwards, whose book The Golden Age of Murder is high on my TBR list.  I also want to start on Martin's Lake District mystery series.  And, the anthologies he has edited look amazing.  I'm going to treat myself with Silent Nights: Christmas Mysteries for Christmas this year.  Martin is such a nice guy, a gentleman who makes you feel like there's nothing he'd rather do than talk to you.  I ran into him several times, and I'm planning on being better versed in his writing at our next meeting.

Getting my picture taken with Lyndsay Faye and her husband Gabe!  Cutest couple in the world!  Copy of one of my favorite books of the year, Jane Steele, signed by Lyndsay and another picture.


Meeting Catherine Lea and receiving her book Candidate's Daughter from her, which I am so looking forward to reading.  Having a late Sunday breakfast and supper with Catherine in the Members Room at the Marriott (I was her guest), talking to her at length, and having Ovidia Yu, whose Aunty Lee series I love,  join us at the Sunday evening meal.  Having friends from New Zealand and Singapore is a very cool thing. 

Meeting Julie Gerber and instantly knowing that I have a friend for life.  My daughter and I ate lunch at Palace Cafe with Julie and her daughter Jamie, plus friends Marjorie, and Liz and husband Nick.  I sat with Julie and Jamie during one panel and joined Jamie at the R.L. Stine interview.

Running into Jennifer Kinchloe multiple times in the lobby and talking to her, with her amazing enthusiasm, beautiful smile, and gorgeous red hair.  She is one of the nicest people ever!  We clicked like a Bic!  Hahaha!

Eating breakfast at Daisy Dukes with various friends--Stacy Allen, Harriette Sachler, Diana Chambers, my daughter Ashley Benthall, and Kaye Barley.  Best coffee I had in New Orleans there, yummy eggs, bacon, and hash browns, and colorful paintings on the walls.  This place may have appeared to be a hole-in-the-wall, but it turned out to be a gem for me.

Visiting the WWII Museum with Stacy Allen and Harriette Sackler and watching the moving documentary narrated by Tom Hanks.  I didn't get nearly enough time at this museum, another reason for a return trip to NOLA.  Stacy did teach me much about using Uber, as she is the Uber Master.

First people I saw at Bouchercon were Dru Ann Love and Judy Bobalik, which caused me to scream with excitement (John Bychowski is familiar with that scream) and hug them to pieces.  An auspicious start to the week!

Taking the St. Louis #1 Cemetery Tour on Wednesday, where heat and walking were a challenge, but worth it.  Who knew that Nicolas Cage has a spot waiting for him there?  After tour, I walked with my daughter down to Cafe du Monde, but we were too hot for coffee and beignets then, so we ate lunch across the street at TuJacaques, very nice.  Saw Jackson Square that day, too.

Tuesday night.  A lovely gathering with friends at the Napoleon House where atmosphere, food, and a Pimm's made me most happy.  Joining in that gathering were Terry Shames, Lisa Alber, Harriette Sackler, Marjorie Tucker, Meredith Taylor, Karen Buys, Grace Koshida, Liz Velapoldi and her husband Nick, and Robin Templeton.  I hadn't met Lisa before, and I love her County Clare series.  I had dinner last year with Terry Shames, too, but this year I had read her Samuel Craddock series, so I was especially excited to tell her my ideas about who Samuel should romance.  Don't all authors want input like that?  Hahaha!


Dinner with Laurie King and Leslie Klinger.  FOLs are so lucky that Laurie always makes time for us, and this dinner is always a highlight of my Bouchercon experience.  Marjorie, Meredith, and John gave gifts to all of us.  I met John Bychowski's lovely wife Kathleen, who is obviously a saint.  John Bychowski is, of course, the unofficial photographer of Bouchercon, for which we are all grateful.  Shown in the pictures below are Alice Wright, Karen Buys, Merrily Taylor, Laurie and Les, and Bonnie MacBird (another Sherlockian author).


Seeing dear friends Connie Smith and Cindy Clanton West, whom I met at my first Bouchercon in Albany.  Unfortunately, we kept missing each other in New Orleans, so we have some major catching up to do at the next Bouchercon. 

Meeting Terrie Farley Moran, whose books and conversation on FB are amazing, during the group signing of Blood on the Bayou Anthology.  Also during that signing, getting to hear G.J. Brown speak (I have a Scottish fettish), and meeting other authors for the first time or reconnecting with ones I already knew.  Edith Maxwell is always a treat, and I'm in love with her new Quaker Midwife mysteries.  And, my Bouchercon sister Kaye Barley was there signing as well.  And Greg Herren!  How nice was it to finally meet him!

Setting down in the bar with Kaye Barley, Lesa Holstine, David Magayna, John Purcell, and David Chaudoir.  Having more fun than the law should allow.  Meeting David is probably one of the best meetings for many Bouchercon attendees!  Also joining FOLs (Friends of Laurie King) in bar and having Karen Buys be the sweetest person in the world to me that particular night.

Walking down Bourbon Street one night with my daughter and surviving the smells of it when it's in full swing.  Heard some great music though and saw some interesting sights.


Visiting art shops with Kaye Barley on Royal St.  Taking a picture of her with a giant chicken painting and being admonished by the manager of the shop, but then being delightfully entertained by him telling us about some of the paintings.   Kaye found a lovely painting in a shop to take home.  We also shopped in a gift shop, being the quintessential touristy shoppers.

Went to Commander's Palace for an iconic New Orleans experience.  Was served a giant creme brulee, which was delicious.  Unfortunately, I was sick that evening and couldn't enjoy the entree.  However, daughter Ashley and friend Meredith Taylor immensely enjoyed theirs, and the service was out-of-this-world.

Listened to Zydeco music at Mulates Restaurant and had my first Po-boy sandwich, fried oyster.  Daughter talked me into this restaurant, and I'm so glad she did.

Second-line parade!  It sounded like it would be fun, and it was so much more.  Even the rain couldn't dampen the spirits of all those dancing along the streets.  We were a happy bunch of book lovers for sure.  The guests of honor all rode to to the Orpheum Theater in decorated wagons.  Daughter got a selfie of her and R.L. Stine that is an enviable photo indeed.

Reconnecting with Katrina Kruse, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, who is a smile a minute and who loves Elly Griffiths/Domenica De Rosa as much as I do.  Dom couldn't be at Bouchercon this year because her twins were going off to university.

My first volunteer gig at a Bouchercon.  In the Silent Auction pick-up room on Sunday morning with bestie Kaye Barley.  David Magayna had everything so well organized that I didn't have to do much at all, but I'm so glad to have gotten my feet wet in volunteering.

Finally meeting Jon and Ruth Jordon!  It was brief.  I was rather in awe, so I didn't push it.  I have got to get over being so shy, right, Bcon friends?

My hug from Matthew Clemens!  The man knows how to hug, and he is such a favorite person in my book world or any world.  Met his beautiful wife, the former English teacher, and now know the power behind the throne.  Here's a picture of Matthew and another friend, Jim Ziskin, on the Sex in the Morning panel, which was a well-attended panel.   And, a picture of Matthew, Judy Bobalik, and me that John Bychowski took.

This is where a picture of Jess Lourey and I should go, a picture I failed to take.  Arghhh!  This lovely lady is someone I have admire for some time, and I'm so glad I got to meet at last.  Salem's Cipher is in my short pile, very short pile.  And, Shannon Baker, I only got to see in passing, but I will definitely be catching her and Jess for a picture next time.  Stripped Bare is in my short pile, too!

Seeing fellow bloggers Kristopher Zgorski, Dru Ann Love, and Lesa Holstine.  Such generous, supportive friends!  I can't believe I didn't get a picture with all three of them in it.  And, I can't leave out Michael Mueller as part of this group of support and love, too.


My Jungle Red Writers friends.  First ran into Rhys Bowen and her first-rate gentleman husband John on the sidewalk in from of the Marriott and ran into them several times after.  Another world's cutest couple!  (see Lyndsay and Gabe entry)  Caught up with Hank Phillippi Ryan at the opening ceremonies and in the bar once.  She's always on the move, and I adore her so.  Got to talk to Susan Elia MacNeal in the bar on Monday, but she was busy working in her hotel room a lot.  Authors do have their deadlines, no matter what fun is going on.  And getting to briefly see Karin Salvalaggio with Debs Crombie.  I have to do better spending more time with these favorites.

House of Blues on Saturday night!  Listening to Heather Graham Pozzessere and her band and her daughter sing was a treat I won't soon forget.  And, of course Alexandria Sokoloff and her ladies, The Slice Girls sang, too!  The food provided was unbelievable and the drinks were a real steal.  Got to spend more time with Katrina Kruse there.  This party was the epitome of generosity and good will.  So representative of this entire Bouchercon experience.

Opening ceremonies?  I thought I was in a Vegas show!  Starting with the song "A House in New Orleans," the atmosphere and pageantry were off the charts, or as Mel B. says, "off the chain!"   And, did I mention the scrumptious food accompanying this ceremony?  Heather Graham Pozzessere and Connie Perry cannot be thanked enough for all the hard work that went into this magical display!

Tea with Debs Crombie and the Todds.  Debs has been friends with Caroline and Charles Todd for a long time, so those of us present at the tea really benefited from their familiarity with one another and sharing antidotes.  One of my favorite events!

The panels.  My favorite was probably All the Critics Love New York, as friends Kristopher Zygorski, Dru Ann Love, Kaye Barley, Lesa Holstine, and (new for me)  Erica Neubauer           discusssed favorite authors and books and thus great recommendations from the best.  Judy Bobalik and Jon Jordan put together amazing panels, and I can't begin to imagine how hard that is.

Book Bazaar and Book Room.  First, choosing the six free books after registration was about as much fun as a book lover can have.  Hardbacks of best selling favorites and irresistible new authors.  Then, the book room where vendors were set up to relieve me of the burden of having any money left after Bouchercon.  Of course, I always love buying new books here, but there's the added pleasure of finding older books, used or new that help fill in my collection of an author's hardbacks.  This year I found two Deborah Crombie first editions and a Lawrence Block.  And, then, somebody had to go and start giving away books for $1.  I didn't stand a chance.  Books I want to read for $1?  Yes, please.

Sharing breakfast with Marjorie Tucker and my daughter at Mother's, an iconic New Orleans restaurant landmark.  They really do have the best ham there!

Getting to taste Kristi Belcamino's biscotti!  Getting to see Kristi Belcamino!  Fantastic!  Didn't I get a picture with Kristi?  Oh, that is so not good.  I did get a picture of Kristi and Rachel Howzell Hall, and I was so happy to meet Rachel this Bouchercon!

Being in the presence of Lori Rader-Day, who makes me laugh, laugh, laugh.  She passed something to me that I will be spending some much anticipated time with soon.

Saw Catriona McPherson way too briefly, as I really needed my Scottish dose of her.   I did get to see Gordon Brown in a kilt at the House of Blues party on Saturday night, which helped in my Scottish addiction.  Catching Nancy Allen and her husband in a hallway and seeing that amazing smile of hers in a quick hello.

Watching from afar Craig Robertson and Alexandra Sokoloff in the Second-Line Parade.  Sizzle!  Next Bouchercon I will work up to having a conversation with them.


Meeting Linda Rodriguez on the escalators, brief but wonderful!  I am continually impressed by Linda's posts on FB, especially am grateful to her for keeping me informed on Native American issues.

Seeing Ali Karim in one of his many flashes through the hotel and speaking briefly.  I think he was on his way to a 007 instructional meeting.  Briefly talking to one of my other favorite authors/people, Carla Buckley.  Why isn't there enough time to have indepth conversations with everyone? 

Meeting Ramona deFelice, who is as amazing in person as she is online!  Funny and insightful lady.  I do want to talk to Ramona more next time.  Meeting Ayo Onatade, Janet Rudolph, Eleanor Cawood Jones, M'Lou Greene, Nikki Bonnani, Robin Burcell, Lou Berney, Maryglenn Warnock, and Bruce Coffin!

Sitting in the empty bar on Monday after Bouchercon waiting for Kaye Barley to finish her check-out so that we can share a cab to the airport.  Seeing Terri Bischoff sitting over to the side.  Going to tell Terri goodbye and telling her that Kaye and I are on our way to the airport.  Terri asking to share the cab with us.  A great taxi cab ride to airport with two amazing women and Terri explaining her "home" tattoo to me, making me want to get a tattoo more than ever.  Kaye sharing her tattoo experiences, too.  

Swollen feet, achy legs, and wet hair from walking in the humidity of the New Orleans heat.  Worth it!

And, my last cup of coffee in New Orleans, at Daisy Dukes', where the best coffee was served with a smile!


  1. aw, man - i loved reading this Kathy. And I'll be back to read it again.
    and again.
    It was a great week and you were a big part of what made it so wonderful.
    Love You! xxoo

    1. You are now my sister, wonderful Kaye! Love you to pieces!

  2. Fabulous!!! Just fabulous. I feel as though I am back in NOLA!!

    1. Oh, Terrie, and it was wonderful meeting you! I am probably going to have to amend my post after my crazy mind thinks of people and things I left out. You are a sweetheart, for sure!

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  4. Hi Kathy, Loved meeting and hanging out with you. Next year when we meet in Toronto, we'll get photographic evidence. :)

    1. Yes, Catherine! How did we miss taking a picture? If I could do photoshop, I fix one up. Hahaha!

  5. Loved going back to NOLA through your eyes. I had a few of the same experiences, although I missed Daisy Dukes. Darn. I love good coffee. But I'll remember Commander's Palace for a long time.

    1. Lynn, thanks for stopping in to comment. I didn't want to go to Daisy Dukes at first, but since I'm a coffee lover, I'm so glad I did. And, you are so right about Commander's Palace!