I Heart Baltimore

I will be leaving for Bouchercon in a few short hours with Becky, the baby, and Becky’s mom along for the ride. In a perfect world we could all get on a plane when I’m done with work at 6 and be in Baltimore by 8pm, but this way Spenser gets his first road trip and Becky and I don’t go broke on airfare. All of this has me thinking about how different my life is from my first Bouchercon.

My first BCon was Toronto in 2004. I had recently moved to Ann Arbor and was living by myself in a small Jewish rooming house and writing and going to grad school. I caught a ride with Jim Doherty, a writer from Chicago, and we stayed with a few other guys in a motel several blocks from the conference hotel. It was a great experience and I did it again the next year in Chicago, and then the year after that in Madison. By the time Alaska rolled around last year, I was engaged to Becky and didn’t have the time or money to gallivant off to Alaska. Now we have a baby. Lordy, lordy how the fates like to play.

My writing has also progressed. At my first BCon the only thing I had going for me was being shortlisted for the CWA debut dagger and one short story publication. Now I’ve short stories in multiple print anthologies and I’m the editor of DEMOLITION. I’m also 50,000 words into my fourth novel and while I think I’m getting better, I’m still waiting for an agent and a book deal. But while all of the connections, and parties, and networking that this conference is great for and that can really help my career, the true benefit of Bouchercon is catching up with friends. Some of these folks I correspond with on a very regular basis through email and IM and other social networks, but nothing beats a dinner out or a drink in the bar to really make you appreciate what you’ve got.

One other change this year from years past is that I’ll be leaving the hotel more often. Becky and I will be taking Spenser to Washington DC for the morning on Saturday and it will be the first time there for all of us. Now I just have to get time to speed up so I can get outta here!