Our Missing Links

The virtual version of Bouchercon, which was originally set to be held in Sacramento, California, happens online the middle of October. I’m truly glad they’re going ahead with a virtual event, in light of the Covid-19 crisis. But, seeing the posts this week about the upcoming convention has got me feeling a bit blue about missing the in-person connections of conferences, and has me reminiscing about past in-person mystery community gatherings. So, I’m flipping through my virtual scrapbook of conventions.

On my very first trip to Malice Domestic, which has an emphasis on cozy/traditional mysteries, I met Laura Bradford, who I may have fan-girled over just a little. In the picture here with her, my face is red because I’d had a glass of wine. Lucky for me, daiquiris and margaritas don’t make me blush. I also met fab author Cindy Brown, who was nominated for Best First Novel. She was sweet enough to give me one of the little hats she had given out as party favors at her table. (Disclosure: I was bold enough to ask if she had any extras.)

At the Writer’s Police Academy, held in Appleton, Wisconsin, I had a great time doing a hands-on fingerprints lab session and handcuffing a very nice lady, who also handcuffed me. For the record this was all serious writer research. (Okay, so it was also recreational.) Additionally, I had the pleasure of meeting the lovely Catriona MacPherson, who was national Sisters in Crime president at the time. (Tip: Never shoot up people’s noses like I did in this selfie with Catriona!)

At O’Hare Airport in Chicago on the way to my very first Malice, I ran into authors Molly MacRae and Sarah Wisseman. Actually, I didn’t just happen to sit next to Molly. I had spotted her earlier and stalked her, in the nicest possible way, to the waiting area at the gate. She and Sarah were very kind, and asked me to share a van ride with them to the hotel when we arrived in DC.

I’m geeked out that I’m doing a virtual event with Molly MacRae and Debra Goldstein this Wednesday (Oct. 7) at 7 p.m., sponsored by Nicola’s Books. We were originally scheduled to do an in-person event at the bookstore in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Sigh. Oh well, it will still be a lot of fun to chat with them – and with as many of you as can join us! (The discussion/Q & A event is FREE. Click here to register, so you can get the Zoom link.) The people I miss seeing the absolute most are pictured in the header on the Chicks’ home page. Even before Covid, due to some back issues, I had to miss seeing pal Ellen Byron win the Agatha for Best Contemporary Novel at Malice last year. Sniff. But, I was in the house the year our dear Cynthia Kuhn brought home the teapot for Best First Novel – yay! I have a feeling the Chicks will be having another Zoom cocktail party soon. Hey guys, I’ll bring the Jack Daniels!

Which in-person connections are you missing these days? Are you coping through phone calls, social media, Zoom or Skype connections?

27 thoughts on “Our Missing Links

  1. Love your convention photos! I’m missing a convention next month too, and as much as I enjoy the online events they’re definitely not the same. Here’s hoping we can get back to meeting in person next year!

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Vickie, we all miss seeing you in person, too. I think, now that the fall conferences have rolled around, that it’s just really dawned on me that we’re in this for the duration—but at least we’re “together”! I greatly appreciate and enjoy the virtual conferences, of course, but I’ll be so happy when things are a little more, if not entirely, normal. In the meantime, virtual coxktails it is!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. You are SO very right, Vickie. Although I am very thankful to have Bouchercon go on as a virtual event (and it was to have been my very first B’con–sigh…), it’s no substitute for getting to actually see and hang out with my mystery peeps. But at least we can all toast each other via Zoom with our cocktails! Miss YOU ALL!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I was thinking about trying to go to Bouchercon this year since I wouldn’t have to fly. Alas, it wasn’t to be. I miss book conventions. It’s always so much fun!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I was attending “Left Coast Crime” in San Diego in March when the whole Covid “thing” exploded. The convention was shut down just as it started, and we were all sent home . We made up a little “joke” story about a body being found in one of the hotel rooms and and each of us added a little. Want to add something? Here is a new start to “Killer Conference” Add what you want.

    “Killer Conference.”
    A mystery convention ends early because of the threat of a viral pandemic. One controversial guest speaker is found “dead” while the convention staff is closing up. Guests are confined to their rooms both because of the epidemic and because they are suspects in the murder.

    The police are getting nowhere interviewing suspects because they are mystery writers, and they just make up everything. Attendees are getting cranky and restless in their rooms because they have read all the free murder mystery books given out at the conference. They only have stale granola bars to eat, and the hotel is running out of toilet paper.

    Additional convention attendees die, but not from the virus. Emergency crews are overwhelmed and cannot offer any medical intervention for those with the virus. The police have run out of masks and hand sanitizer, so their investigation of the homicides has practically come to a stop. Some interviews are conducted by phone, but writers continue to make up whatever they feel like saying, so they contradict each other. A local church has dropped by with carrots and turnips, but no protein bars or wine.

    However, an astute crime novelist attending notices every detail…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. 3 no 7, love this set-up — I think it would get a request from an agent! Turning real life problems into make-believe murders is how we mystery folk cope. The part about running out of toilet paper really scared me, lol!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Great to see your photos from past conferences! I was excited that Bouchercon was going to be in my back yard this year and had signed up to attend my first one. As a new member of the mystery writing family (my first cozy debuted 9/8) I was ooking forward to meeting and getting to know my fellow mystery authors, as well as readers. Sigh. Hope to see some of you at the virtual conference, however.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Laura, I’m sorry your first mystery con got moved online. I really look forward to meeting you in person at a future conference! Congrats again on the release of Murder Most Sweet!


  7. Vickie, I’m definitely missing conferences!

    I was so excited to have LCC and Bouchercon in CA this year, but then… On the other hand, I’ve signed up for tons of events across the country that I would never have been able to attend in person: Murder and Mayhem, Crime Bake, etc.

    I’ve yet to go to Malice Domestic, but yay for the Chicks and those Agatha wins!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Vickie, I love this! What great memories. I’m with you. There’s nothing like an in-person connection. When we all finally reconvene, I think all the photos will be of us falling into each other’s arms, weeping for joy!

      Liked by 1 person

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