The title is misleading. I'm not only a Bouchercon virgin, I'm a mystery conference virgin in general.
But all that will change in one week.
Next week I'm on my very first panel at Murder & Mayhem in Milwaukee. It should be a piece of cake since it is a one day event. However, a little over a week later I'm off to the four-day extravaganza we call Bouchercon. This year it is in Long Beach, the place of so many memories for me. (See here.)
Here are the problems* I'm anticipating and I welcome any advice on them:
INTROVERTS NEED NOT APPLY. I've been worrying a little bit about how a fairly introverted writer like myself can possibly be social and witty and charming for four days straight. (I can't.) I will need to go lock myself in a small room by myself periodically to recharge. And that's okay. I'm assuming it's okay to go AWOL during the conference.
BARTENDER I'LL HAVE ANOTHER. Since I first heard about Bouchercon, I've been told that most of the socializing goes on in the bar. Now, I love my booze. But I also have a teeny tiny problem that sometimes crops up when I drink - migraines. Sometimes I can drink four vodkas and wake up as cheery as WHO ON WHO. Other times, I have one drink and it triggers a puking-all-day-long, hiding-from-the-light-like-a-vampire, skull crushing migraine that lasts 12 hours. In this area, I guess all I can do is hope for the best.
LA BELLA FIGURA. I've been fretting for months about my wardrobe. I had a veteran, very distinguished and accomplished mystery writer take me under his wing and warn me to not dress in jeans at BCon. He suggested I dress as professionally as possible. I have a cute collection of dresses to wear based on his advice, but now I also don't want to look OVERDRESSED. Quelle horreur! In addition, I've been invited to a HarperCollins cocktail party (Swoon!) and now have to bring a LBD. I love dressing nice, but I also want to fit in.
BOOKS. At first I was worried about how I was going to get all the books home I would buy at BCon. (No worries, they ship.) But now I'm worried about how my bank account is going to recover from this book orgy.
FOOT IN MOUTH. Some people ask if I'm like my character, Gabriella. In some ways, yes. In some ways, no. One way I'm a little like her but much, much worse, is having the knack of making a fool of myself. I'm petrified I'm going to say something totally asinine to somebody like Stephen King or something.
Anyway, that's just a smidgen of the things I'm worried about and welcome advice on from any veteran BCon attendees.
* The word “Problems” is utterly misleading. I am not a diva. This entire post is supposed to be tongue-in-cheek!