By Kristi Belcamino
Right now I'm at my very first Bouchercon in Long Beach, California.
After I digest everything I'll get back to you on how that went. (I'm writing this post early.)
But I can talk a little bit about some of my thoughts on my very first mystery conference on November 1st of this year - Murder & Mayhem in Milwaukee.
I FELT LIKE A REAL AUTHOR:
* I was on an author panel. Yeah. Nerve-wracking, but COOL.
* I got to meet several authors in real life who I'd only previously stalked on Twitter and Facebook and they treated me like a peer! Alex Segura (my colleague here on DSD) was by far one of my favorite people to meet. Even nicer in person! Hi, Alex!
* My books were sold in the lobby by a real mystery bookstore.
* I was included in the special after-conference dinner at the Great Lakes Distillery.
* People stopped me and asked me to SIGN my book. People I DIDN'T KNOW!
* And this: But I think it really struck home when I was sitting in the audience watching another panel and a woman stopped by my seat and whispered, "Hi! I love your books!" And then walked on. Who was this woman? I had never met her and SHE LOVED MY BOOKS. I wanted to chase after her and thank her profusely and ask how she had heard about my books and get her name and address ... and so on. But I just smiled and thanked her.
* Another woman stopped by my seat, handed me her card, and said she wanted to feature me on her blog one day! Thanks Bethany!
* A blogger TWEETED some of my responses on the panel. Thanks, Stacey!
* A mystery community reader and photographer asked me to pose for pictures!
* I went to get Bloody Mary's in the lobby with a group of mystery writers who are on my bookshelves.
* I got to go hang out at Crimespree Castle, which—if it isn't already—SHOULD be a rite of initiation for all mystery writers.
Despite all these REAL AUTHOR experiences, I must admit I was too shy to approach and introduce myself to a few authors who also were on panels at the conference. I still feel like such a newbie.
This weekend I'm at Bouchercon, which several people told me was like Murder & Mayhem times 100. So, I'll be back to post on that - or maybe just to post pictures.