This is going to take more than one blog post. I think I'll start with just an overview and my general feelings about the conference.
I stayed at the edgewater hotel which was about 1/2 mile from the conference. The hotel overlooked beautiful Mendota lake. Or was that Lake Mendota? The edgewater was probably nice at one time, but the entire building has some major plumbing problems. Drains didn't drain and using the shower caused sludge backup. Tap water was brown. Some areas of the original building smelled like cat piss. Not at all sure what that was about. Didn't ask. But i did manage to write a cat cozy one night.
weather: 45 - 60 first couple of days. Cloudy, windy, rainy off and on, but every day had a large percent of dry and fairly decent weather. The last day was gorgeous. I love to walk, so the walk to and from the conference hotel was no big deal, but I think not staying in the conference hotel made the conference much more exhausting because there was no running to my room for a few minutes.
My biggest mistake: I didn't get cell phone numbers before going to the conference. I thought I would run into people and we could go from there. Many of the people I wanted to see I never saw; some I saw briefly and hoped to hook up with later, but later didn't happened. Tribe and Pat Dennis were two of those people.
The big surprise: Bouchercon was actually smaller than I'd anticipated. Sometimes hallways and areas outside the panel rooms were briefly packed with people, but often they were almost empty. I never saw the massive mobs of people I've seen at RWA conferences. Never heard that roar that signifies hundreds of bodies in one space. not that i was looking for that!
This is what I learned: I don't have the stamina for a conference. I might be wrong about this, but I think conferences are like blogging. If you don't enjoy them, don't go.
I will never do another panel. Ever. Period. The end. It wasn't horrific, but it's just not something I'm good at and it's not something I care to ever get good at. I'm not a verbal person, so it's just a bad fit for me. Some of us have talked/blogged about this before, but I actually see the words in my head and am editing and rearranging them as I'm talking. This is not good for someone on a panel. I could feel the audience waiting for me to just spit it out. :D
What I enjoyed: hanging out. That was fantastic. I LOVED meeting up with online friends, old friends, new friends. I will report on those highlights later.