Madison in the rear window

The Sunday of BoucherCon is a tail-end kind of a time, with panels going on but a distinctly autumnal feeling in the air. I rudely invited myself into a car headed for the airport in Chicago at a more useful time than the one I had originally intended to share with Les Klinger, and heartlessly abandoned Les to a solitary drive instead of spending six hours on my own in O’Hare.

Instead, we drove up to a vacation spot called the Wisconsin Dells that one of our party remembered as an idyllic scenic spot, which over the past four decades has been transformed into a ticky-tacky wonderland of pirate theme parks, dinosaur theme parks, water slides, and the very worst American culture has to offer. There was no way to the river that wasn’t in private hands, no hiking trail or picnic spot other than one scruffy patch of hillside in the town of Wisconsin Dells that was surrounded by a rusty barbed wire fence.

Not only can one not go home again, really, one shouldn’t try.

I reached home three hours late, following delays at Chicago that forced a stop in Denver for refueling (modern life is certainly complicated) followed by the nonappearance of the car I’d booked, delayed by having to wait for the AAA to give it a jump. Fortunately, once started it continued to run. Even more fortunately, when I got home I found the place still standing and everyone where they should be.

So, was BoucherCon a success, from the LRK point of view? Absolutely. People who’d never heard of me had me sign books for them, a thing that always astonishes me—not that there are people who don’t read my stuff, since really, who can please everyone, but that despite 14 years, 17 books, and an aggressive commercial publisher, there can be mystery readers who apparently haven’t heard of Laurie King. Faithful readers had a chance to tell me how great I was, so I had the opportunity to practice my graciousness skills. I saw friends, met new people, had the opportunity for an extended conversation with six of those faithful readers. I sat in the sun with my British publisher and ate a plate of the best French toast I’ve ever had, and sat in an Italian restaurant and drank beer with two of the best friends I’ve ever made. I learned things about publishing, came away with other ways of looking at my job, and was reminded of the tight community we’ve somehow constructed around a loosely-knit center.

BoucherCon can be lonely for first-timers, especially if they haven’t learned the art of walking up to strangers with outstretched hand. But it gets better and better with experience, and even for newcomers, there’s a ton to learn and to do.

So look at this, and we’ll see you there.

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  1. Anonymous on October 4, 2006 at 4:51 am

    Honest, folks, no one is paying me for saying the following. The last time I had as much fun as I had at B’con was when I was in England, and that had the offset of jet lag. I saw Laurie 6 times (twice by coincidence)and met my email penpal Kristin and fellow Russellians. I listened to and often spoke with perhaps a dozen other authors whose work I admire. I also had an unplanned longish chat with Les Klinger, the most approachable person a Holmesian from age 12 could ever meet, and I met Ruth Cavin, an editor for whom I have respect verging on idolatry. I know that there are often geographical and fiscal issues with attending such an event, but if you can do it, I’d certainly recommend it. — Meredith T.

  2. Marina Stojic on October 4, 2006 at 1:04 pm

    Dear Mrs. King,
    I am ejoying in Russell books for some time now, and can honestly say that you are a true successor to a throne of Sir Doyle (in positive way!!!)Hope you´ll write many more.
    Best regards from islands of Kornati, Croatia

  3. L. Crampton, LAc on October 4, 2006 at 4:10 pm

    Laurie, I’d never heard of B-con before you or SJ Rozan mentioned it, but after reading your posts (and Meredith, et al’s) this week, I now have a future vacation destination! I remember Miss Forward quite well, Meredith–thanks for the memory! Laraine

  4. Rachel Kovaciny on November 9, 2006 at 11:24 am

    Oh man, I only live a couple hours from Madison and I’d never heard of Bouchercon? Drat. I’ll check into it for next year, that’s for sure.

    And the Dells may be all touristy, but if you’d gone only about five minutes away, you could have found Mirror Lake State Park, which has some nice trails and relatively few mosquitos 🙂

    BTW, I’m a fairly new fan of yours, as I just discovered your Russell/Holmes books this year. Getting “O Jerusalem” from the library tomorrow to start reading it, in fact!

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