Thursday, October 16, 2008

So many writers, so little time

Last weekend, for the second time, I attended Bouchercon, the biggest annual get-together of mystery writers and fans, held this year in Baltimore under the extremely capable leadership of Ruth Jordan and Judy Bobalik.

I didn't get to meet all the people I wanted to meet (that's how these things usually go, for me, at least), but I was able to renew friendships with Julie Hyzy and Michael A. Black, two Chicago-area writers whose productivity puts me to shame. (I suspect that as I was polishing that last paragraph, the two of them each wrote a novel and collaborated on a third. For more about them, see my blogroll.)

I also met a very amusing Floridian named Bob Morris, another refugee from daily newspapering. I'm looking forward to reading his books "Bahamarama" and "Bermuda Schwartz." And then there's Rick Mofina, a Canadian journalist whose books include "A Perfect Grave" and the upcoming "Six Seconds."

(What can I say? I'm a sucker for mysteries by journalists and ex-journalists, especially those that feature -- surprise! -- journalists.)

In a daring move, I decided to step outside my comfort zone by volunteering at the registration desk for two hours. I learned that a lot can happen at a registration desk within two hours, including:

Someone turning in a cell phone found in a ladies' room.

Someone reporting a lost iPod.

Various people registering, including an author whose work I've always admired.

Someone turning in a lost iPod.

Someone complaining to me about the way the session rooms are lit.

The person who reported the lost iPod wandering by amid the current of attendees that is sweeping the hall in the break between sessions.

Me noticing the person.

The person complaining about the room lighting asking me to leave the desk and follow her so she can show me what she means and so that I can complain to the hotel.

Me trying to get the attention of the person with the lost iPod as the person complaining about the lighting heads toward the session rooms.

Me seeing to it (with others' help) that the iPod owner is reunited with his valued gadget.

Me finally following the person complaining about the lighting so I can see what she's complaining about.

Me reporting the lighting problem to the co-chair.

Not to mention a stint standing guard outside the room that contains the goodie bags that contain loads of free books for attendees. (Mine, by the way, included Sean Chercover's "Trigger City," which, if the first 60 so pages are any indication, is definitely something you should consider grabbing.)

I'm happy to have done my bit, which made me even more appreciative of the work Ruth and Judy did.

And now I think I need to lie down. Again.


Julie Hyzy said...

LOL, Mark!
Thanks for the shout-out, and I'm sorry to say I haven't produced nearly as much writing as you predicted I might. But you made me laugh out loud. Thanks. Great to see you at Bouchercon. I think I caught a glimpse of John when I was at breakfast on Sunday. He and his aide were passing by, outside, but I wasn't able to find them again later.

Loved your registration adventure.
Thanks for sharing.


Mark Murphy said...


Thanks for your comment.

A word of explanation to anyone else who might be reading this (well, you never know): "John" is a very intelligent gentleman who uses a wheelchair and whom Julie, Mike Black and I met at the Bouchercon in Toronto.