Like many of us, I miss in-person book events. But I am finding that virtual events can allow us to see and engage with authors we may not normally be able to.
After all, publishers cannot send their authors to every place to talk to readers. It isn’t economically feasible. (Here’s a link to the three-part story I did on virtual book tours).
And while there is cost involved with virtual events, they do allow authors to visit more bookstores, events and separate panels.
And readers discover something new at each event
During a recent Back Room event, I did indeed learn something about how Julia Spencer-Fleming titles her books.
Spencer-Fleming, who is an Agatha, Anthony, Dilys, Barry, Macavity, and Gumshoe Award winner, writes about a series about Episcopal priest Clare Fergusson and her husband, Russ Van Alstyne, police chief of Millers Kill, N.Y.
Hid From Our Eyes is her ninth novel about the couple. Although it has been seven years since her previous novel, Spencer-Fleming seamlessly picks up the story of this couple.
In the Back Room discussion, Spencer-Fleming mentioned how her novels receive their titles from lines in hymn.
Fitting, given Clare’s occupation.
“The alphabet was already taken,” said Spencer-Fleming referring to the late Sue Grafton’s series about Kinsey Millhone.
“And the numbers had been taken,” said Spencer-Fleming, mentioning Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum series.
So that left hymns.
And readers won’t have to wait another seven years for the next novel about Clare and Russ.
Readers can expect her 10th novel in 2021.
If this was a normal year, I would be in Sacramento with about 1,200 or more fellow mystery readers, fans, writers and a couple of critics enjoying the panels and discussions at Bouchercon 2020.
But as we all know, this is no normal year.
Instead, I am joining about 1,200 others at the virtual Bouchercon.
When it was obvious that we would not be able to meet together, the Bouchercon organizers wisely canceled the in-person event and switched to a virtual one.
With the pandemic still with us, there was little choice, of course.
But quickly thinking and good planning saved this 51st Bouchercon.
So my compliments to Michelle, Rae, Holly, Clare and the other organizers and the tech gurus such as Christopher. Panels have gone very well, and, as a bonus, we’ve been able to see people who were not able to travel to the United States.
Yes, I miss the person to person contact; the fun at the bar; seeing some of my real friends who are not authors.
But I am not alone in that.
The Bouchercon organizers thoughtfully added a time zone guide, since the panels started on Pacific time.
Some panels were pre-recorded, especially the guests of honor interviews. The live sessions were recorded and should be available to view after November 1. Visit the Bouchercon 2020 site.
Visit Bouchercon2020 for details.
And looking ahead, Bouchercons are planned for New Orleans (2021); Minneapolis (2022); San Diego (2023); Nashville (2024)
And what’s a Bouchercon without the Anthony awards. Yep, they went on. I am sure many of us grabbed a drink and toasted the winners.
We all hope that we can gather together next year in New Orleans. If not, the Sacramento organizers have devised an excellent template for continuing Bouchercon.
And honoring the mystery genre.
Here are the Anthony Award winners and nominees. The winners are listed first, in gold with *** added. We congratulation all the winners, nominees and the Bouchercon organizers and the board.
2020 Anthony Awards
**The Murder List, by Hank Phillippi Ryan (Forge)
Your House Will Pay, by Steph Cha (Ecco)
They All Fall Down, by Rachel Howzell Hall (Forge)
Lady in the Lake, by Laura Lippman (William Morrow)
Miami Midnight, by Alex Segura (Polis Books)
BEST FIRST NOVEL
**One Night Gone, by Tara Laskowski (Graydon House)
The Ninja Daughter, by Tori Eldridge (Agora Books)
Miracle Creek, by Angie Kim (Sarah Crichton Books)
Three-Fifths, by John Vercher (Agora Books)
American Spy, by Lauren Wilkinson (Random House)
BEST PAPERBACK ORIGINAL
**The Alchemist’s Illusion, by Gigi Pandian (Midnight Ink)
The Unrepentant, by E.A. Aymar (Down & Out Books)
Murder Knocks Twice, by Susanna Calkins (Minotaur)
The Pearl Dagger, by L.A. Chandlar (Kensington)
Scot & Soda, by Catriona McPherson (Midnight Ink)
Drowned Under, by Wendall Thomas (Poisoned Pen Press)
The Naming Game, by Gabriel Valjan (Winter Goose Press)
BEST CRITICAL NON-FICTION WORK
**The Mutual Admiration Society: How Dorothy L. Sayers and her Oxford Circle Remade the World for Women, by Mo Moulton (Basic Books)
Hitchcock and the Censors, by John Billheimer (University Press of Kentucky)
The Hooded Gunman: An Illustrated History of the Collins Crime Club, by John Curran (Collins Crime Club)
The Trial of Lizzie Borden: A True Story, by Cara Robertson (Simon & Schuster)
The Five: The Untold Stories of the Women Killed by Jack the Ripper, by Hallie Rubenhold (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
BEST SHORT STORY
**“Red Zone,” by Alex Segura (appearing in ¡Pa’que Tu Lo Sepas!: Stories to Benefit the People of Puerto Rico)
“Turistas,” by Hector Acosta (appearing in ¡Pa’que Tu Lo Sepas!: Stories to Benefit the People of Puerto Rico)
“Unforgiven,” by Hilary Davidson (appearing in Murder a-Go-Gos: Crime Fiction Inspired by the Music of the Go-Gos)
“Better Days,” by Art Taylor (appearing in Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine, May/June 2019)
“Hard Return,” by Art Taylor (appearing in Crime Travel)
BEST ANTHOLOGY OR COLLECTION
**Malice Domestic 14: Mystery Most Edible, edited by Verena Rose, Rita Owen, and Shawn Reilly Simmons (Wildside Press)
The Eyes of Texas: Private Eyes from the Panhandle to the Piney Woods, edited by Michael Bracken (Down & Out Books)
¡Pa’que Tu Lo Sepas!: Stories to Benefit the People of Puerto Rico, edited by Angel Luis Colón (Down & Out Books)
Crime Travel, edited by Barb Goffman (Wildside Press)
Murder A-Go-Go’s: Crime Fiction Inspired by the Music of the Go-Gos, edited by Holly West (Down & Out Books)
BEST YOUNG ADULT
**Seven Ways to Get Rid of Harry, by Jen Conley (Down & Out Books)
Catfishing on CatNet, by Naomi Kritzer (Tor Teen)
Killing November, by Adriana Mather (Knopf Books for Young Readers)
Patron Saints of Nothing, by Randy Ribay (Kokila)
The Deceivers, by Kristen Simmons (Tor Teen)
Wild and Crooked, by Leah Thomas (Bloomsbury YA)