There's an old saying about the best writers are avid readers, and I believe that to be true. It was none more true than the days I spent at Bouchercon 2015. Bouchercon is the world's largest mystery writer and reader convention on the planet. Probably Mars, too, but that hasn't been proven. Yet.

This was my first Bouchercon. To say it was a little overwhelming is an understatement. Yes, I went as a writer. I have three published books, two with decent sized publishers and my last book, Wink of an Eye, with one of the big guns, so I had attained “author status.” 

Wink of an Eye won the 2013 St. Martin's Press/Private Eye Writer's of America Best 1st P.I. Novel competition, and this year was a finalist for the Shamus Award.  As a finalist and nominee, I was invited to the Shamus Awards Banquet and rubbed elbows with the likes of Steve Hamilton, Brad Parks, Bill Crider and Lawrence Block. I forgot I was a writer. I forgot my work was even nominated in a category some of these greats had also been nominated in in previous years. I went from being a writer to a fan-girl at the first sighting.

The first day of the convention, a friend came running up to me and said she had seen Wink of an Eye in the book room. So, well, you know...I had to go see for myself. And sure enough there it was, front and center, and on top of that—right smack beside Margaret Maron's! I took pictures. Not necessarily because my book was in the book store, but because it was beside Margaret Maron's! Another fan-girl moment.

So on that Saturday, the next to the last day of the convention/conference, I strolled through the book store again to gaze lovingly at all the titles from my old and new favorite authors, a lot who I am blessed beyond reason to actually call friends now, and was struck by something odd. The book store table where Wink of an Eye was placed beside Ms. Maron's no longer had Wink of an Eye displayed. I scoured the table, right to left, left to right, underneath the drape, top to bottom and it was nowhere to be found. Panicked, my heart sank. I just knew it hadn't sold a single copy so they boxed it back up to send back to the publisher. Finally, the young lady working the table for the book store asked if she could help me. Without telling her my name or that I was the world's most insecure author, I told her I was looking for Wink of an Eye.

“Oh, we sold out of that yesterday,” she said.

I smiled.


Lynn Chandler Willis was the first woman in a decade to win the St. Martin's Press/Private Eye Writers of America Best 1st P.I. Novel competition with her novel, Wink of an Eye. Published in 2014 by Minotaur, it has since been a Shamus Award finalist, a SIBA Book of the Year nominee, and a Readers Choice Award finalist. She is also the author of The Rising, a Grace Award winner for Excellence in faith-based fiction, and Unholy Covenant, a best-selling true crime about a North Carolina murder. She lives in North Carolina where she spends her days babysitting 8 of her 9 grandchildren while simultaneously plotting interesting ways to kill people. There could be a connection.

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