Tuesday, October 13, 2015

BOUCHERCON REDUX



Hi folks,

Well, here it is… time to post my after-Bouchercon notes.

I’m fairly rested now after returning home to face over 600 emails waiting… When I’m at a convention like this the same thing always happens. I just can’t find the time to sit at the computer and go through emails. And, the first day I had trouble connecting with the hotel wi-fi, so lost time there. My roommate and best buddy, Jack Getze finally had to show me how to use a ‘puter… not the first time Jack’s come to my assistance.

My buddy, Jack Getze! Also, my hero!


I brought my remote-control fart machine to plague him and it worked well. I didn’t realize it would go off intermittently and I found out the next day that it kept going off all night and I slept like a baby, not knowing Jack was searching everywhere for it. He said he intended to bash it to pieces, but he finally found it and discovered there was a turn-off switch and kindly used it rather than destroying it.

The first night, Jack and our friend Kate Laity (known as Absolute Kate and she is… absolute…) had dinner at the next-door Greek restaurant and I kept setting it off whenever the waitress happened by him. She just averted her eyes while Jack’s blood pressure rose—at least, I think that’s what made his face turn red.





Me, Jack, and the indomitable Absolute Kate!

Jack, me, and Christy Campbell, the wife of one of my publishers, Eric Campbell.


We found out we’d made a mistake by getting our room at the Holiday Inn, thinking it was close by the convention, but as it turned out, it was eight blocks away, so we single-handedly brought the taxi industry out of the depression and made a lot of cabbies rich. And, ourselves poor… It turns out they have these rickshaws and Jack took one of those back to our hotel one night. I had to let him know how lame that was—the rich gaijin being towed around by the starving… well, you get the picture… Our room was fine except for the bathroom, which was smaller than my cell back in Pendleton. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a john that tiny. My feet had to stick out halfway into the hall to fit on the stool… But, the view was gorgeous. We were on the 19th floor, just one floor short of the top which was where the bar and restaurant were. Easy enough to get there! They’re getting better with B-Cons—in Albany, it was a disaster, mostly because there wasn’t a bar at the convention center. Didn’t they know we were writers and not evangelicals or the annual meeting of the Carrie Nation Society? We need BOOZE! It’s where all the business takes place. Next year, it’ll be in New Orleans and I don’t foresee any problems at all. Except, I don’t know if I can go. I’m going to have to check to make sure there are no outstanding warrants…

I’m just going to go over the highlights (for me) and that way I won’t feel obligated to name all the many great writers I got to chat and/or drink with. I hate doing that because I always forget somebody I should have mentioned and then I feel terrible. I’ll name a lot but not nearly all. There was a bunch of highlights and only one lowlight—I didn’t get to see the Notre Dame-Navy ballgame! (But, they won!) Hard to imagine since I wasn’t on hand to cheer them through the tough spots, but somehow they did it without my usual assistance.

The first day I got to participate in a panel and that was just a terrific experience. It was titled “Rough, tough tales for tough readers” or something inane like that. Our moderator, Eric Beetner, confessed he felt the same as most of us did—that we didn’t have a clue what that meant and so we’d just yak about anything at all… which is pretty much what we did. A great crew and we ended up having a great time and the audience told us the same thing they told every other panel they visited—that we were the best! We think so, too. Just a bunch of truly fantastic writers. Besides Eric, we had Trey Barker, Tom Young, Chris Pavone and moi.

Here we are... a bunch of gangstas...

We're just talking about blood and guts and Mom's apple pie...




That evening Jack and I were to be interviewed by Tom Pitts on the radio show, Authors on the Air, and the hostess of that show, Pam Stack, even came up from Florida to be on the set and to make sure we didn’t steal the equipment. As it happened, it was more than just us. About fifteen other writers crowded into the room and it was a blast! I don’t know how Tom Pitts does it, but he knows how to keep a bunch of balls in the air at the same time. Meeting the host of the series, Pam Stack, was a highlight of my trip. If you didn’t get a chance to hear it, click on this to do so: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/authorsontheair/2015/10/10/live-from-bouchercon-skid-row-chatter-with-tom-pitts-and-the-noir-writers

Tom Pitts who emceed our radio show and is also one of my publishers. Look for BOMB! coming out soon from Gutter Books.

A room full of writers!

I get a question and I'm armed... if you don't believe me, look--I've got my cigarettes and my Jack... That's Pam sitting behind me and you can't see her shepherd's crook she uses to yank us from the stage...




One of the highlights of the convention for me was getting the opportunity to sit and chat with Allan Guthrie for a long time. He was being honored at Bouchercon as the International Guest of Honor. Al had approached me about a month ago about participating in a project (which I can’t talk about as of yet), and we got a chance to firm up our discussion on it and begin to move forward. Probably the most valuable time I spent! Plus, he’s just a really terrific guy. For a superstar of international acclaim, he’s just like your buddy down at the bar on a Saturday night. Your buddy who drinks tea...

Had breakfast on Saturday with Ro Cuzon, who's not only one of my favorite writers, but favorite pals. We have similar backgrounds so our conversations are full of shortcuts for things you might have to explain to straights. (BTW, "straights" is what outlaws refer to regular citizens...) He brought me up to date on current New Orleans and I told him stories about the old days there. Great time! The morning before, Jack and I ate breakfast with Patti Abbott and her husband, Phil and that was really cool.

Later, at the bar, I hung out with Mike McCrary who introduced me to Bruce DeSilva, of whom I'm a big fan. All through the convention, I got to schmooze with Kate Laity who always makes me laugh.

The next night, I was privileged to participate in the Noir @ the Bar that Eryk Pruitt organized and hosted at Common 414, a great bar next to the Marriott. I’ve taken part in some truly great Noir@Bar venues before with Jed Ayres and C.J. Edwards, but this was the gala event of all. Got to hear and meet some of the best noir writers on the planet!

All of these folks--Jed Ayres, Eric Beetner, Joe Clifford, Jen Conley, Christa Faust, Ed Kurtz, Steve Lauden, Tom PItts, Tom Pluck, and Johnny Shaw are, to me, the creme de la crme of noir writers. Very honored to get to participate.

I didn't know they attended, but wish I had known that David Hale Smith, Bryon Quartermous and some others were there as I really wanted to meet them.


Here we all are for the group shot. Lotta warrants out for this bunch...

I'm up!

Got to see and renew friendships with Travis Richardson, Scott Alderberg, Rob Brunet, John Gilstrap, Reavis Worthan, Dana and Corky King, Nik Korpon, Steve Weddle, Mike Dennis, Chris Irvin, Con Lehane, Terrennce and Rita McCauley, Jenny Milchman, Brian Panowich, Peter Rozovsky, Charles Salzberg, Scotty Montgomery and a bunch of others--sorry if I missed naming you!

And, I did it again. Acted like Doofus Fanboy. Saw Joe Finder (I'm a HUGE fan!), and went over and briefly introduced myself. That was it. Didn't do anything memorable like pick his pocket or fart loudly, which I now regret... He'll never remember me now... Wanted to meet in person Bill Crider, Reed Farrel Coleman, Libby Fisher Hellmann, Tom Franklin, and Steve Hamilton (who wrote one of my three all-time favorite books, The Lock Artist.

One night, Jack and I closed down the Holiday Inn bar and while there met a fantastic writer who was just sitting quietly by himself, working on his next book, and now I've got another new friend--Jonathan Moore, who lives in Hawaii and wasn't impressed with the North Carolina weather. Wonder why not?

Met a fellow Texan who grew up close to me in Freeport, Texas in Brazoria--Ricky Bush. Lots of us Texans there! Missed seeing my friend Robert Lewis--bummer!



On Sunday morning, I dragged myself over to see my buddy Jack Getze moderate a panel and I’m glad I did. It was a primo panel and I got to meet a few more of my heroes I only knew from their books. Plus, Jack is a whiz at this emceeing stuff! Come to think of it, Jack’s a whiz at just about everything… including whizzing… He can write his name in the snow in fourteen languages…

I got lucky going to the airport, getting to share the shuttle with Jack Bludis, who I've been reading forever. Had a great conversation with him. 

I’d like to name every person I met, talked to, drank with, all those things, but that list would take forever to compile and I know I’d leave someone out. So, if any of you people read this, please don’t feel bad that I didn’t throw your name out—just know that I value our friendship, new or old, and that I’m so glad we got to spend some time together. I'll just show some photos and a lot of you will be in those.

Can’t wait until next year in New Orleans!

Blue skies,
Les

And, here are some random shots...

Pam Stack, Joe Clifford, Tom Pitts and me in the background.

This was a great surprise! My buddy, Robin Deffendall, who runs the library at Fayetteville, N.C. who had me in to do workshops and yak last spring, showed up to experience B-Con. She's holding up (holding up is just a saying...) her list of five banned books for Banned Books Week... and my novel The Bitch made the list! Better than the National Book Award!

D.B. Corey and me at the bar...

Eric Campbell, me and J.L. Abrama, one of my favorite writers!


Uh-oh... that's not  blood on my cheek... might be better if it was... The moderator at Noir at the Bar, Tracy Coppedge, drew a heart in lipstick on me and this is how it ended up...


Toasting Debi Chowdhury at the Marriott bar...


Me and Tracy Coppedge, the MC at Eryk Pruitt's Noir at the Bar.

Tracy and me after I read...

And, nothing to do with B-Con but just a birthday gift from my friend Michelle McCarthy that I really liked!




And, then, I got to come home to my gorgeous wife, Mary! Best part of the trip!


Blue skies, Les

15 comments:

Jack Getze said...

Absolutely Kate Pilarcik.

K. A. Laity said...

Yeah, I'm the absolutely quiet Kate Laity also known as Graham Wynd ;-)

KATE PILARCIK said...

Thanks a heap, Jack. You know there comes times I like to slip out of 'low profile'.

I'll play Katherine Ross to you boys' Butch and Sundance anyday ...

~ Absolutely * Kate ( Pilarcik )

KATE PILARCIK said...

More or Les, the noir, thriller, crime world we kick it up in is blessed with the curses of our edgey Edgerton.

Proud and damn joyed to call this author-colleague "friend" (as well as other names of course). ~ Absolutely * Kate

KATE PILARCIK said...
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KATE PILARCIK said...
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Steve Weddle said...

Great write-up.
And good to meet you Saturday

Anonymous-9 said...

Thanks for all the great pics, Les. You look terrific, BTW, and so does Jack. I had NO IDEA Al Guthrie was going to be a B'con. How did I not know this? Guess I've been very busy!
XO
Elaine/Anonymous-9

Anonymous-9 said...

And in care that "busy" comment sounded somewhat arrogant, I've been "busy" with heavy stuff, life stuff. Let's just leave it at that.
Anonymous-9

Les Edgerton said...

Well, all I can say, Abso, if you're Katherine Ross, you owe me a bike ride. (I'm Butch, btw--Jack is Sunny or Sundance or whatever...) Kate, you're the quiet one, but you're the only one I know who's a Rhodes Scholar and it's true that the quiet ones are the really smart ones. And, Steve? Great to meet you, too--I hear you're in Playboy? Are you the reason they've stopped doing nudes? And, Anon--you were hugely missed!

DB Corey said...

Hey! I made the cut!

Great meeting you, Les.

DB
(That's D, B.)

Bill Crider said...

Sorry we didn't connect. I was hoping to talk to you. I don't get to the bars much because I can no longer hear well when there's a lot of ambient noise. Maybe in New Orleans.

Les Edgerton said...

D.B. it was great talking with you! Bill, I sure hope so! I really wanted to meet you and hope we can in NOLA. BTW, I'll be in Texas this coming May for about a week, doing the Writer's Retreat Workshop at the Oblate Center in San Antonio (with Joe Lansdale) for a week, an appearance at Scotty Montgonery's place at BookPeople, probably an appearance with the San Antonio writer's group, and maybe something with the Texas Writers in Austin. Hope we run into each other somewhere in there!

Bill Crider said...

A week with Lansdale? Good luck!

Les Edgerton said...

I think Joe's planning to join us for only 2-3 days, Bill, but that'll be fine. Can't wait to meet him personally!