At the end of October, I went to the big “D” – Dallas, Texas – for Bouchercon. I traveled with my good friend Annette Dashofy. Mostly I went because Hank Phillippi Ryan was Guest of Honor and Deb Crombie was Local Guest of Honor. That and I figured I’d never have another reason to visit Texas.
If you aren’t familiar with Bouchercon, well, it’s…a madhouse, really. Most mystery conferences are. It’s one of the few times a year when all we authors get together, talk books, catch up, and get to meet readers. There were over 1,700 attendees at this year’s con, the 50th anniversary. Needless to say, I had a lot of fun, wished I could spend more time with some people, and am looking forward to the next get-together (which for me will be Malice Domestic in the spring).
Annette and I have traveled together enough that we’ve got our routine down by now. The plan was I would go to her house, leave my car in her garage, and we’d go to the airport. We did not anticipate much of an issue, even though I was traveling through Pittsburgh at rush hour.
Man plans, God laughs.
What should have been a forty-minute trip took over two hours thanks to a disabled tractor-trailer. Thankfully, there is no traffic on Annette’s side of the city, and we’d left plenty of time to get to the airport. Off to Houston.
Except…Houston, we have a problem.
Upon landing, our 45 minute layover turned to a hour and forty-five minutes, turned into two hours, turned into three, turned into… You get the picture. The text tones went off so frequently our phones sounded like pinball machines. Fortunately, there were chocolate-covered potato chips.
Upon arriving in Dallas, our phones chimed with alerts about a freeze warning. Hello, didn’t we go to Dallas? Why yes, yes we did.
By the time we arrived at our hotel, we were spent.
Nowhere to go but up, right? Wednesday, I hooked up with Dru Ann Love for a bus tour and yummy lunch.
From there, the whirlwind started. There was the always-entertaining Jungle Reds panel, this year a game show titled “Who Wants to be a Mystery-aire?” I answered questions I didn’t know I knew and flubbed ones that should have been easy. About par for the course.
I saw my favorite cowboy.
And celebrated the end of the conference with some fabulous chocolate cake.
I fully expected my panel on Sunday to be empty, but I was rather pleased at the crowd. We had a lot of laughs.
And from there it was off to the airport, another flight delay, and eventually home.
Next year, Bouchercon is in Sacramento. Maybe I’ll be recovered enough by then to think about going.