Bouchercon in Baltimore wrapped up yesterday afternoon. It was four very interesting and entertaining days. I'm not going to write a lot about it, since I imagine I'd basically be saying the same things that other people are already writing. So just a few comments...
It was a very well organized conference with the big things done right and a lot of nice little touches that showed fine attention to detail. I thought the panels were a bit dull, but I almost always feel that way.
San Francisco was overwhelmingly chosen by the voters as the site of Bouchercon 2010. I'm already looking forward to it.
There was a lot of "flat is the new up" talk, but also a lot of pep talks from the publishers that the industry is doing okay and that there's no cause for panic at this point. There is still optimism that people will continue to buy books during challenging economic times (as has been the case in past contractions) -- people tend to seek out escapist entertainment and books are competitively priced relative to other media.
In terms of the organized programming activity, the highlight for me was Larry Block being interviewed by Charles Ardai. Block is, and has long been, one of my favorite writers so it was a pleasure to hear him speak again. The sad part was knowing that this might be the last time seeing him in a situation like this, now that he is semi-retired. (He said during the talk that he doesn't know if he'll write any more books.)
CFD didn't win the Anthony Award for Best Website, which wasn't much of a surprise given the quality of the competition. When my wife picked me up yesterday after the awards brunch, she asked, "Did you win?" I said, "No, Stop You're Killing Me did." She replied, "Oh, I love that site." I like it, too, and use it all the time -- so what you gonna do? They gave me a nice plaque for being nominated and that's good enough for me.
If you've never been to a Bouchercon, give yourself a treat and attend one of these days. You'll have a great time.