Killin' Time in San Diego book cover

I intended to write a post about Bouchercon 2023 before the convention. That didn’t happen, so I’m here today to report it was fantastic, even if I did come home with my first-ever case of COVID.

I’ve loved Bouchercon for a long time, but the convention was special for me this year. Early in 2022, the organizers asked me—ME!—to edit the 2023 Bouchercon anthology. It didn’t take long for me to type yes. I spent the following year reading submissions, making selections, communicating with contributors, getting contracts signed, compiling the manuscript… you get the idea. The result was Killin’ Time in San Diego, a highly anticipated short story anthology released on August 30, 2023, from Down & Out Books.

The anthology was well-received at the conference. I can’t tell you how many people offered their congratulations and said they couldn’t wait to read it. It felt good to know that my hard work, and the hard work of many others, was being recognized.

I was set to say some brief comments at the anthology signing, but that didn’t happen. No worries—the anthology signing was a smashing success regardless. But I thought I’d record them here because above all, I’m grateful to have been given this opportunity.

I still have to pinch myself when I think about the fact that I was chosen to edit a Bouchercon anthology. I’ve been coming to this convention since 2009 and if you’d told me at that first meeting that I’d eventually edit an anthology—which they weren’t even doing in 2009—I never would’ve believed it. This has been such a joyful experience, and though there’s been a few hiccups here and there, I would do it again in a heartbeat.

So, first and foremost, I’d like to thank the San Diego local organizing committee and the Bouchercon Board for trusting me with this project. It’s been a true honor, and I’m sincerely grateful for the opportunity.

I did not do this alone. I enlisted four judges to help me read through the nearly 200 submissions we received. While two of them could not attend Bouchercon this year and have asked to remain anonymous, two judges are here tonight and I’d like to acknowledge them: Michelle Fields and Lisa Weddle. Thank you both so much for not only helping me read all of the stories, but also for acting as sounding boards when I needed another perspective on potential winners. Finally, thank you for your friendship.

I also had the aid of Marie Sutro, our administrator from the Bouchercon board. She literally listened to me cry at least once and was unfailingly patient with my questions, concerns, and, sometimes, what I’ll euphemistically refer to as my artistic temperament. Cheryl Head, Vice Chair of Bouchercon, also deserves my heartfelt thanks.

I want to thank every single person who submitted a story for this anthology. It takes a leap of faith to spend time writing something, to submit it for judging. Though I could only accept a small fraction of the stories submitted, I was blown away by the talent in this community, and I’m grateful you let me read your work.

To Naomi Hirahara, C.J. Box, and Ann Cleeves, all of whom contributed stories to this anthology, thank you for allowing us to publish your work in this collection. And finally, I’d like to thank the seventeen writers whose stories were selected for inclusion in Killin’ Time in San Diego. It’s been a true pleasure working with all of you.

For more information and buy links for Killin’ Time in San Diego, click here.

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