This past month, I got on a plane or two or three to attend two reader/fan conventions.
First was to Albuquerque, New Mexico for the Left Coast Crime convention. This was the first time I was in a crowd of over 100 people. Was I anxious, yes, but that feeling of being among your tribe took over and except for a few blips, I had a wonderful time. In New Mexico, the mask wearing was optional. I wore my mask when I was in mixed company, meaning if I didn’t know three-quarters of the group, my mask went all. Hugs were plenty, but I asked before giving out hugs. I was on a panel “Decades of Books” and it was cool research books during a section decade. We received kudos for our panel. As for the airplane ride, mask was still mandatory, so I was feeling comfortable on my flight. Next year, Left Coast Crime will be in Tucson, Arizona where I will be Fan Guest of Honor.
Second trip was to Bethesda, Maryland for the Malice Domestic convention. This time the mask mandate was lifted, but I still wore my mask. My guess is that 75% still wore their mask. I was Fan Guest of Honor this year and moderated a panel “Writing a Series: Keeping it Fresh” with Edith Maxwell, Amanda Flower, Cheryl Hollon, SC Perkins, and Barbara Ross. After the panel, there were continual compliments on how well it went. At the banquet, after my speech, I was surprised when I received a standing ovation.
The best part of the month of April and attending these conventions, was I got to be with my crime fiction family after an absence of two years and it felt so good.