Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Bouchercon 2013 and Murder & Mayhem in Muskego


This fall I've had the opportunity to attend two Crime Fiction book conferences. The first was Bouchercon 2013 in Albany, New York; the second was Murder and Mayhem in Muskego, Wisconsin. I'm relatively new to these events, and and wanted to share a little about my experiences at each.

     Bouchercon is an annual event named after Anthony Boucher. It is held in a different city each year. My first experience was in 2012, when the event was in my hometown, Cleveland. However, I was only able to attend one day. This year it was in Albany, New York at the Empire Plaza, from Thursday, September 19th through Sunday, September 22nd.
    Bouchercon consists of hundreds of authors, bloggers and reviewers, publishers, editors, publicists, fans, and anyone else who has anything to do with crime fiction. The days are usually dominated by author panels, four to five authors and a moderator, and the subjects vary. Most evenings there is usually a large reception for all attendees and smaller gatherings by invitation, hosted privately. One of the most notable events at Bouchercon is the voting and awarding of the Anthony Awards. All registered attendees have an opportunity to vote for previously nominated books and authors.

     Murder and Mayhem in Muskego is a shorter event and attendees are generally from the Milwaukee Attendance is limited to fewer than 300, and of course there are fewer authors. As a result, there is much more time to meet and talk with authors. Although there was a "green room", many authors mingled with the fans, even watching the panels they weren't involved in.
area. It was held on Saturday, November 9 at the Muskego Public Library, with an smaller evening reception the night before. This year, some great authors were there: Michael Koryta, Marcia Clark, Dana Cameron, Megan Abbott, Tom Schreck, Marcus Sakey, Gregg Hurwitz, Reed Farrel Coleman, Chris F. Holm, Sean Doolittle, and many more. A great group.
     The best part about Murder and Mayhem was having a chance to meet, in person, all the great people from Crimespree Magazine, especially Jon and Ruth Jordan. They've kindly published a few of my reviews, and I'm looking forward to contributing many more.

     Both events had author panels, which generally consisted of four to five authors and a moderator. Both also had author discussions, that included two authors kind of interviewing each other. There was also a lot of time to meet great new people who share a love of crime fiction.
     But the events were very different, mostly because of the difference in size. I found Murder and Mayhem much more pleasant because it was a smaller venue, smaller crowd, and a lower author to attendee ratio. It would make for a great first book conference for anyone considering one.
     One thing that is certain about Bouchercon, Murder and Mayhem, and every other crime fiction event I've attended: the community is one of the kindest and most welcoming groups of people I've had an opportunity to spend time with.
     Now, off to read a book!

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