I had a great time at the Bouchercon Dallas World Mystery Conference. Not only did I hear fun talks, but I got to participate on a panel, do author speed dating, and even make time for some sightseeing! I had a chance to catch up with my mystery writer friends as well, so it was a perfect visit!
I heard some great interviews, but the one where Hank Phillippi Ryan interviewed James Patterson was the most entertaining. They might have been a comedy team! But James made important points about literacy. He says the trouble with reading in school is that kids rarely say, "Hey, I finished that book--give me another!" He tries to provide young readers with exciting stories. My colleague says his kids are hooked!
Another fun talk was given by Charlaine Harris. She explained about her Sookie Stackhouse series and how Alan Ball had done a great job adapting her work to film. I haven't watched True Blood yet, but I loved Dead until Dark! (Can't wait to read the second book in the series.)
A precious moment was meeting Dick Francis. He's a sweetheart! Back in the 80s, I read so many of his dad's books that I asked my grandparents to take me to Tampa Bay Downs so I could see what the racing environment was all about. Dick and Mary Francis wrote 39 books. Felix has continued the series, and he's up to 14. And lucky me, I got a signed copy of the new one!
I also took time to visit the Dallas Museum of Art. There are some fine Chihuly pieces on the front windows! I went on Thursday because the museum was open late, but that was also Halloween. The guards had been invited to dress up. The women mostly did. Only one of the male guards was brave enough! I gave the non-dressers a hard time--I was wearing my ghost T-shirt!
On my last day in Dallas, I visited The Sixth Floor Museum. It was very interesting and very hard to visit. You can stand at nearly the same spot where Oswald purportedly shot Kennedy. You look down on the pavement and see the two Xs where bullets hit. The experience was eerie and difficult. In fact, it made me cry. I was too young to remember JFK's death, but my mom recounts teaching class when his assassination was announced over the loudspeaker. It's a horrible chapter of U.S. history, but everyone should know about it.
And now, it's time to plan for the next mystery conference! Left Coast Crime will be in San Diego next March, so I have a great excuse to go visit that fun city...
Travel is my biggest inspiration. In fact, my motto is that when it comes to travel, no excuse is too small. But now that I'm writing more fiction, I have a special need for the perfect setting. You never know when something exciting or suspicious might take place in a colorful foreign setting!