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Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Prepping for Bouchercon

For more information about Susan Calder's books, or to purchase visit her Books We Love Author Page.

I'm gearing up for Bouchercon World Mystery Convention in Toronto. This October the annual mystery writing and reading event will take place in Canada for the first time since 2004. With a new mystery novel in hand, I decided it was time for me to tackle the huge happening, which will bring together 1800 readers, writers, publishers, editors, agents, booksellers, librarians and other lovers of crime fiction.  

Another reason for me to go is the involvement of Toronto-based Crime Writers of Canada, a group I've belonged to for six years. I also served on the CWC board for two years and this winter volunteered for their Bouchercon planning committee to get a foothold on the convention's activities.

Once committed, my next step was to send a query to the Toronto Public Library offering to do presentations to promote my novel Ten Days in Summer. One library branch responded. So Friday evening Oct 13th I'll take a break from Bouchercon to talk to members of the library community about "How Hoarding Inspired My Murder Mystery Novel," a subject I blogged about on the BWL site last spring. 

Grandma's living room
Bouchercon offers attending authors promotional opportunities, although demand is so high that I was lucky to get a panel moderator assignment. The topic, "Urban Noir: city settings, where, despite the light pollution, there is darkness ..." isn't quite my genre. I suspect, I got in because not everyone wants the moderator's role, which is arguably harder than being a panelist. The organizers sent me tips on moderating a great panel, which include researching the five author-panelists and couching their introductions with a question specific to each writer to avoid boring introductory exposition. I've started my research, find all the authors interesting, and agree this is a great approach to moderating.  

For other promotion, I missed out on Author Speed Dating, but was given a 20 minute spot to speak to an audience of up to 50 people about the backdrop for Ten Days in Summer, The Calgary Stampede. 

Through Crime Writers of Canada, I'll get two hours in the popular Refreshment Room, to display my novel, talk about my writing and hand out materials. I'll get more chances to promote Ten Days in Summer during my shifts at the CWC information table. 

The second thing I did after registering was enter a short story in the Bouchercon Passport to Murder anthology contest. I wrote the story while on holiday in Mexico and used the holiday settings for this tale of a woman who makes a devil's deal to escape an abusive marriage. To my delight, "Zona Romantica" was one of 22 stories selected for the anthology. It will be on sale at the convention with the proceeds going to the literary charity Frontier College. Saturday evening at Bouchercon will feature a signing for Passport to Murder.  

In between these promotional activities, I'll take in some panels, attend the opening, closing and awards ceremonies and catch interviews with Guest of Honour authors, who include Louise Penny, 2017 recipient of the Order of Canada. 

And there will be time for fun, liking dancing to big-band music on Saturday night, maybe dressed in the flapper-style outfit I wore to this August's When Words Collide Festival for Readers and Writers - but this time without the feather boa. 

Most of all, at Bouchercon I hope to meet a bunch of new mystery writers and readers from across Canada, the United States and the rest of the world. Who knows where these connections and varied experiences will lead me next? It's a mystery.   


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