Bouchercon 2017 in Toronto

Huge thanks to this year’s Bouchercon co-chairs Helen Nelson and Janet Costello. The Toronto convention was a fantastic celebration of the mystery genre I’ve loved my whole life. I saw old friends, met with my publishers, got to meet some of my favorite authors, learned about new authors I’m eager to read, and had a blast chatting with readers. Here are a few highlights in photos.


My last Sisters in Crime board meeting! It was an honor to serve as Publicity Liaison for the past two years for an organization that has been a big part of my publishing journey.


Bouchercon capped Sisters in Crime’s 30th anniversary year. At left: Diane Vallere (SinC’s 30th president) and Sara Paretsky (SinC’s 1st president). At right: Diane Vallere handing over the seal to new SinC president Kendel Lynn. I roomed with pal Diane, and I was excited to learn more about her new mystery series coming in December.

My last official duty for SinC was to introduce Jessica Ellis Laine, this year’s winner of the Eleanor Taylor Bland Grant. Now in its fourth year, this grant is to foster the next generation of writers of color. I’m happy that after it began as a one-time grant to honor African-American mystery fiction pioneer Bland, it’s continuing as a yearly $1,500 grant to attend a writers conference or do research to complete a novel.


My panel — what a fun group!


With fellow panelist Susan Spann (who writes the Shinobi mystery series) and Stacy Allen (who writes underwater archaeology thrillers).


One of two publisher gatherings. (Alas, I didn’t get a picture of the Henery Press group.) A highlight of the Midnight Ink get-together was getting to know debut author Lissa Marie Redmond, whose first novel comes out in February.


I love short stories, especially locked-room “impossible crime” mysteries, a genre most popular in Golden Age mysteries, but that I’m thrilled to see returning (more on that in a separate post). My lunch companions at the SMFS luncheon included cross-genre author Josh Pachter, Gerald So (who’s involved in running the SMFS blog), and Shelly Dickson Carr (granddaughter of John Dickson Carr and a phenomenal writer in her own right).

When you have coffee with one of your favorite authors, and they turn out to be every bit as awesome as their novels, it’s pretty damn cool! Have you read Deanna Raybourn’s Veronica Speedwell novels? They capture the spirit of Elizabeth Peters’ Amelia Peabody novels, but in their own unique way.


And it was the brilliant Ausma Zehanat Khan (who writes the award-winning Esa Khattak/Rachel Getty mysteries plus a new fantasy series) who first introduced me to Deanna’s books. Bouchercon is always a whirlwind, so sadly I only got a chance to have a brief chat with Ausma.


International authors: Barry Lancet (Jim Brodie thrillers based in Japan) and Ovidia Yu (playwright and novelist from Singapore).

Meeting up with the Sisters in Crime Guppies, the online chapter that began for aspiring authors to support each other. I joined 10 years ago, 5 years before becoming a published author, and learned so much from the group. It’s always a treat to meet fellow Guppies in person. Thanks to Debra Goldstein for this photo. 

Bouchercon culminates with the Anthony Awards presentation. Congratulations to this year’s winners!

Best Novel: A Great Reckoning – Louise Penny
Best Paperback Original: Heart of Stone – James W. Ziskin
Best First Novel: IQ – Joe Ide
Best Anthology: Blood on the Bayou: Bouchercon Anthology 2016 – Greg Herren, ed.
Best short story: “Oxford Girl” – Megan Abbott
Best Children’s/YA Novel: The Girl I Used to Be – April Henry
Best Novella: The Last Blue Glass – B.K. Stevens, Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine, April 2016
Best Critical Nonfiction Work: Shirley Jackson: A Rather Haunted Life – Ruth Franklin

Congratulations to pal Jim Ziskin for winning both the Macavity and Anthony awards for Heart of Stone!


At the airport, I ran into mystery historian Marv Lachman. One of his books is The Heirs of Anthony Boucher, a history of mystery fandom that includes a fascinating history of Bouchercon. I had the pleasure of being on a locked-room mystery panel with Marv at a previous Bouchercon. I don’t think there’s anything he doesn’t know about classic mysteries.

Farewell, Toronto! I’m drowning under my pile of books, but that’s a good problem to have!