Friday, May 18, 2012

My Bouchercon Challenge

I recently registered to attend my first Bouchercon, this October in Cleveland. With this year's event held in Cleveland and next year's in Albany, it's great to have two events within an easy drive--something that doesn't happen much when you live in Buffalo which, frankly, does not offer much to its own struggling literary community.

But one thing I wanted to do, in order to appreciate the event and all the panels a little more properly, is to read as many of the authors as I can before the event takes place. Now, with all the wonderful authors attending, there won't be time to read all of them, so I'll tend to focus on the more well known names and on the cozy writers, since I love cozies.

The first thing I did is print out the list (which I might have to do again, since it is still growing) and highlight all the authors I've already read.

They are:

Donna Andrews. I've read a few in Donna's bird series. I love her witty titles and her main character Meg.

Rhys Bowen. Now I understand Rhys Bowen was injured at Malice Domestic, and I hope her physical therapy progressive smoothly enough for her to attend Bouchercon. (Now, didn't that sound selfish? I also hope she gets better soon!) I love her Molly Murphy series and her Royal Spyness series, and I tend to read them the day they come out.

Mary Higgins Clark. Oddly enough, I haven't read a lot of Mary Higgins Clark, even though I collected a number of volumes at used book and garage sales--not that I didn't like what I read. I think I'm saving them for special occasion--like a snow storm.

Sheila Connolly. An author I read in a similar challenge prior to the Festival of Mystery in Pittsburgh a few years back. I love apples and apple orchards, and that just made for a great setting.

Joanne Dobson. Took me back to school. I really enjoyed Quieter Than Sleep, and the intellectual challenge in her writing.

Barbara Early. Wait, that's me. Nice to be listed, even though I'm only published in short form. So far. ;)

Hallie Ephron. I owe so much to Hallie Ephron and her book on writing mysteries, Writing and Selling your Mystery Novel. What a great tool--especially for beginners. But I still pull it out every now and then when plotting a new story.

Amanda Flower. I was really curious about Amanda Flower's career, since she's also a member of ACFW (I did meet her briefly at conference, when I was a Genesis finalist and her first book had recently been released through Five Star) and a cozy writer--and cozies in Christian fiction have been...well, a hard sell. So happy she seems to be changing that, with recent sales to both ABA and CBA houses. Go, Amanda! Blaze those trails. Hope to be right behind you.

PL Gaus. I had an idea for an Amish mystery, so I wanted to see what was out there already. Nothing like I had in mind, but an interesting story. While Amish mysteries are increasing, I think he was one of, if not the, first.

Elizabeth George. Another pick of my reading group. Not as tame as the cozies I prefer, but I can see why she has the following she does. Interesting characters and plot development. Very well written.

Rosemary Harris. I've read one or two, and liked the idea of a landscaping artist as a sleuth. Talk about digging for clues.

Laurie R. King. Laurie King is another author I'm nutty over. She hooked me in The Beekeeper's Apprentice, and I've been reading her Mary Russell series--usually on the day they're released.

Alice Loweecy. I "met" Alice over at Absolute Write before she was published, and was surprised to find out that she was also a Buffalo Gal. Glad to have met her in person when she visited our mystery reader's group when we read her first two Nun-turned-PI novels.

Nancy Martin. I think I read How to Murder a Millionaire also in preparation for a Festival of Mystery. A fun read, if I recall.

Louise Penny. I read Louise Penny's first novel for our local mystery reader's group, and it floored me. She is a master of character development. And worthy of not only reading, but study.

Sara Rosett. I recall reading (and enjoying) one of Sara's books featuring her professional organizer sleuth during a similar challenge when I was preparing to go to the Festival of Mystery a few years back in Pittsburgh.

Hank Phillippi Ryan. She made me do something I swore I would never do, and that is read a book written in present tense. I still can't say I'm a fan of present tense, but after a while reading her lovely voice, she made me forget.

Joanna Slan. I love the name Kiki Lowenstein, Joanna's scrapbooking sleuth. Just so much fun.

James Thompson. No, not a cozy writer. But my mystery reading group chose the first of his books set in Iceland. I'm still trying to warm up. Talk about bringing setting to life.

Heather Webber. I'm not big on paranormals (unlike the rest of the planet, it seems), but I did read and enjoy one or two of her Nina Quinn mysteries.

Cathy Wiley. Every now and then I like to look through the bargains on Kindle, which is where I found Cathy Wiley's first novel. Usually, I download samples and don't end up finishing them. Kudos to Cathy for hooking me and keeping me until the end. What mystery writer wouldn't like a sleuth who is also a writer?

It wouldn't surprise me if I find a few more on the list--either late registries or names that just didn't register on my first scan of the list. Hope to update the list with more authors soon.