My trip to Bouchercon was shorter than I had planned because of a death in the family, but despite missing the first couple of days, it included more than a few memorable moments. I’m going to limit myself here to talking about just two favorites.

On Saturday morning, I was honored to be part of the Bloody Murder: Voices from the Margin event. I’m calling it an “event” rather than a “panel” because it included 46 authors (plus me and Terri Bischoff) in a format that, to the best of my knowledge, was entirely new to Bouchercon.

I’m going to bypass a discussion of how this event came to happen (for the moment), and focus instead on what it was—and can be in future years.

While many of us attend Bouchercon for professional reasons, it is, always and above all else, a fan convention. A gathering of readers. A celebration of stories. It gives us the opportunity to discover new and new-to-us books and authors in the most dynamic ways possible. And it is exactly this that Bloody Murder: Voices from the Margin celebrated.

Each participant was asked to share an author whose work is less well-known than it could (should!) be or we might have forgotten. In this way, it touted the diversity and inclusion that is core to the crime fiction community we all love so much.

To say the room was electric does not adequately capture the excitement and enthusiasm present. Charlaine Harris and Sara Paretsky embraced their role as Fearless Leaders (click here to read Sara’s opening remarks) with gusto. There were cheers. There were laughs.

It was surely special.

I’m going to include the list of participants and recommendations at the end of this post, and I encourage you to check them out. I’ve already started doing exactly that. We could all do worse than to use this list for our holiday shopping.

I sincerely hope that this becomes an annual mainstay at Bouchercon. It would be a fantastic way to open the event, as the format and content would give attendees a quick introduction to a large group of authors, which would help them target their panel attendance. More importantly, though, it would set a tone for Bouchercon, reminding us that we, as readers, owe a great deal to an amazingly diverse group of storytellers, some of whom we have yet to discover.

Orchestrating the Bloody Murder: Voices from the Margin was an awesome feat that saw an ad-hoc team pull together in days what I would have easily expected to take weeks. In addition to Charlaine and Sara, here’s who you have to thank: Terri Bischoff, Lori Rader-Day, Catriona McPherson, Margery Flax, Dana Cameron, Clare O’Donohue, Jess Lourey, Jessie Chandler, and Jamie Freveletti.

Here’s a super photo of the event, by Kristopher Zgorski of BOLO Books:

Bloody Murder



Saturday evening at the Anthony Awards, Judy Bobalik received the David Thompson Special Service Award, which “recognizes extraordinary efforts to develop and promote the mystery and crime fiction field.” I knew Judy was in the running (because the award is voted on by the Bcon board, of which I’m a member), but her winning was a surprise, and I couldn’t think of anyone more deserving. Judy has been involved with Bouchercon for years, and her support of authors, readers, and the community as a whole is unmatched.

Here’s Judy giving the World’s Shortest Acceptance Speech (she was really surprised!):


We’ve wrapped up Bouchercon for another year, and I’m hearing lots of folks making plans for Raleigh next year. So I’ll leave you with this: If you want to be considered for a panel, the registration deadline for Raleigh is May 1, 2015.

As promised, here’s the list of recommendations from Bloody Murder: Voices from the Margin. You can also find it on the MWA and Sisters in Crime websites.

Kristi Belcamino: Sara Gran

Mark Billingham: Steve Mosby

Terri Bischoff: Barbara Neely

Allison Brennan: Deborah Coonts

Carla Buckley: Dennis Tafoya

Dana Cameron: Margaret Lawrence

Joelle Charbonneau: Tracy Kiely

Jessie Chandler: Amanda Kyle Williams

Reed Farrel Coleman: Wallace Stroby and Peter Spiegelman

Hilary Davidson: Todd Robinson

Jamie Freveletti: Charlotte Carter

Jim Fusilli: Penelope Fitzgerald

Alison Gaylin: Lauren Sanders

Joel Goldman: Barbara Neely

Heather Graham: Harley Jane Kozak

Andrew Grant: Charles McCarry

Daniel Hale: Harry Hunsicker

Rachel Howzell Hall: Paula L Woods

Charlaine Harris: Toni L. P. KelnerDon Harstad, and Shirley Jackson

Sara J. Henry: Charlotte Armstrong and Carol O’Connell

Greg Herren: Sandra Scoppettone

Ted Hertel: Terrance Faherty

Naomi Hirahara: Hisaye Yamamoto

Linda Joffe Hull: John Galligan

Toni L. P. Kelner: Barbara Paul and Troy Soos

Harley Jane Kozak: Georgette Heyer

Katia Lief: Sarah Weinman

Elizabeth Little: Steph Cha

Jess Lourey: Margaret Millar and Daniel Woodrell

Alex Marwood: Sarah Hilary

Catriona McPherson: Carolyn Wall and Eleanor Taylor Bland

Erin Mitchell: Carolyn KeeneMartyn Waites, and Reba White Williams

Clare O’Donohue: Wendy Lyn Watson aka Annie Knox

Karen E Olson: Mary-Ann Tirone Smith

Sara Paretsky: Dorothy Salisbury DavisEleanor Taylor BlandValerie Wilson Wesley, and Alison Gordon

Ralph Pezzullo: Eduardo Manchado and Joe Trigoboff

Lori Rader-Day: Inger Ash Wolfe aka Michael Redhill

Lynne Raimondo: Joseph Hansen

Hank Phillippi Ryan: Shannon Kirk

Alex Segura: Steve Weddle and Kelly Braffett

Johnny Shaw: Anonymous 9Matthew McBride, and Chester Himes

Daniel Stashower: Jan Marete Weiss

Wendy Corsi Staub: Tom Savage

Elaine Viets: Craig Rice, Jeffery Marks

Martyn Waites: Bill Loehfelm

Sarah Weinman: Jen Sacks

Jeri Westerson: Dorothy B Hughes

James Ziskin: Lynne Raimondo