I am reminded that time is running out to make early travel plans to attend a couple of fine and mysterious conferences next year. Or, at least, to do so at a discount.
I am planning to attend two such conferences in 2013. The first, to be held May 3-5 in Bethesda, MD, will be the 25th annual Malice Domestic conference - home of the Agatha Awards. It's for lovers of traditional mysteries, typified by Agatha Christie. Among the honorees in attendance in 2013 will be Laurie R. King, Laura Lippman, Aaron Elkins, Peter Robinson and Carolyn Hart. If you register before December 31, you'll not only get a price break but you'll be eligible to submit possible nominees for the Agatha Awards.
Then, in September, come to Albany, New York, for the 44th Bouchercon, the granddaddy of all mystery conferences, which will run from September 19th through the 22nd. Once again, there's a special low rate if you register before midnight on December 31st. There's always a star-studded guest list of authors for this one; in 2013, the honorees will include Sue Grafton, P. C. Doherty, Tess Gerritsen and Steve Hamilton, among others. As always, attendees get to participate in the selection of the Anthony Award winners.
Of course there are others. Left Coast Crime (happening in March) comes to mind, but I'm an east-coaster, so I don't often get out to that one (though people who have attended love it just as much as I enjoy, say, Malice Domestic). There are some great conferences in the U.K. as well, and one of these years I really do want to try one.
If you've never been to a mystery writers/fans conference, and you really enjoy reading and talking about mysteries, why not make 2013 the year you attend your first conference? All the conferences I've attended have been a treat from first to last - a chance to meet and talk with literally hundreds of your favorite authors. Find out what's new, what's in the publishing pipeline, meet some new authors and get autographs from longtime favorites. Everyone is friendly, everyone loves talking mysteries. Still a reading neophyte? Not to worry; EVERYONE you meet will have suggestions for you about books you'll enjoy. It's a wonderful way to take a short vacation while talking about something you love, the conferences are NOT particularly exspensive, and the host hotels are pretty reasonably priced. I hope to see you at a conference in 2013.