Bouchercon was more fun than a writer should be allowed to have. I won’t bore you with details of all four days of wonder but I will hit the highlights in bullet form just to give you an idea.

I sat on a panel with some excellent writers and got to talk about how we construct a puzzle to keep the reader interested. I watched a slew of great panels too and, while it’s hard to rate them on a relative scale I’ll admit that my favorite panel had only 3 people on it. Christa Faust talked about Richard Prather (Shell Scott’s creator,) Gary Phillips talked about Chester Himes (Coffin Ed Johnson and Grave Digger Jones) and Max Allen Collins schooled us on Mickey Spillane (I don’t have to tell you he wrote Mike Hammer, do I?) They were all amazing in both depth of knowledge and understanding of these seminal authors.

Another highlight of the event was the most excellent hospitality suite that Sisters in Crime put on. It was an oasis in the midst of merry chaos.

Then there’s the whole ego thing. It’s kind of cool to have fans ask about my work. It’s very cool to have new writers ask for my advice. It is super cool to be recognized by guys like Max Allen Collins (Road to Perdition and a zillion other things) Louis Bayard (Edgar nominated The Pale Blue Eye) and Bob Randisi (founder of the Private Eye Writers of America.) When guys like that call you by name you feel like a star yourself for a minute.

I left the hotel long enough to give a presentation Saturday at the Canton Library, the nation's first branch library, standing in the same place since 1886. Those wonderful folks kept me there, answering questions and signing books for two hours.

In the meanwhile, my Bouchercon blog post for the Baltimore Sun was so popular that it was referenced and quoted in the competing Washington City Paper. And then it was referenced again in an article in the Baltimore Sun, and again in the Baltimore Sun’s Read Street blog.

All in all, an exciting few days for me. :-)

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