It was a wonderful convention - fun panels, good coffee and a sea of friendly faces wherever you turned. Many thanks to Cindy Sample, Robin Burcell and the Sac Sisters in Crime for the one or two little things they might have done to get it organised.
Even Sacramento itself put on a good show. The sun shone for nearly ten minutes on Saturday:
The rest of the time the rained poured down, the wind cracked its cheeks and mystery writers and readers stayed inside and made their own fun. Banqueting, for example:
Here are Vicki Doudera, Shannon Baker, Keith Raffel, GM Malliet, and Jess Lourey (looking lively) and me (looking like someone who's been fished out of a river and propped up) doing just that.
Others chose to pass the time by winning awards.
Darrell James' Nazareth Child (Midnight Ink) won the Eureka! for best debut (and best acceptance speech too).
Ann Parker won the Bruce Alexander for best historical, with Mercury's Rise (Poisoned Pen) and also the best excited squeal of the weekend, despite stiff competition from the cheerleaders who were having their own convention next door.
The award-winning Donna Andrews won a Lefty award for The Real Macaw (Minotaur (yeay!)), the latest in her award-winning humourous mystery series to win an award. This is me, fished out and propped up, trying to see if some off it would rub off.
the lovely Kelli Stanley won the Golden Nugget for best California mystery for City of Secrets (Minotaur (woop)). Here she is with Hillary Davidson, who doesn't need anything to rub off and so must just have been being friendly.
I don't want to leave you with the impression that it was all hugs and laughs and apple martinis. There were scary moments like this one too:
Yes, I finally met Jacqueline Winspear and Rhys Bowen whose golden-age-style British female detectives have been intimidating me for years (as well as mopping up some awards that Donna Andrews missed). Well, neither was actually scary of course and didn't mind sitting beside a propped-up corpse to have their photie took.
In short, four days of fascinating, entertaining, inspiring, rib-tickling communion with writers and readers and bloggers and reviewers and publishers who all love crime novels. The highlight for me?
Without a doubt, the vision of retro-chic that is Stacey Aaronson. Isn't she lovely?