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I survived my first Bouchercon World Mystery Convention. No easy feat, let me tell you. Four days in New Orleans with 1,500 mystery writers, readers, agents, and publishing professionals is not for the faint of heart.

First, one must fortify oneself.

Beignets and Coffee

Beignets and Coffee

I arrived a day early to enjoy a bit and a bite of the city. The conference hotel was located in the French Quarter and that meant a trip to Cafe du Monde.

Properly caffeinated and covered in sugar, I returned to the hotel to complete my registration. One of the perks of Bouchercon is visiting the book room. Each registrant could chose up to six books provided by participants and publishers.

The Book Room in a quiet moment

The Book Room in a quiet moment

On day one, Michael Connelly interviewed American Guest of Honor, Harlan Coben. The two are friends, and the interview was lively and full of laughs.

Harlan Coben interviewed by Michael Connelly

In fact, there were a LOT of light moments during the conference. People who write about the darkest crimes, often possess the keenest wits.

A light moment with Jeff Abbott, Susan Elia MacNeal, Laura Benedict, and Cara Black

When Megan Abbott couldn’t make the panel she’d been scheduled for, moderator Laura Lippman called her to weigh in on one of the questions–proving once again, that you can run, but you cannot hide.

Laura Lippman, Lou Berney, Greg Herren, Alison Gaylin, and Alex Marwood

Of course, no conference is complete without totally geeking out over a favorite author. On my way to the preferred meeting area (otherwise known as the bar) to see if I could meet up with a certain literary agent to whom I owed a scotch, (cough, cough, Janet Reid) I got distracted. Actually, I don’t know if Janet attended the conference, but with Lee Child in the building, I figured she’d be close.

A chance encounter with Lee Child

A chance encounter with Lee Child

Alas, I still owe her a scotch, but I have the above photo to console myself.

This was my first Bouchercon–and it certainly won’t be my last. It was nice to meet so many of the authors and readers I knew through listservs and virtual communities.

Finally, thank you to all the hard-working coordinators, sponsors, and volunteers who made this conference a success.

Mark your calendars for next year, eh?

Bouchercon 2017 in Toronto, Canada