Bouchercon New Orleans 2016 After-Action Report

Friends and Fans,

No one wants to read an opus from anyone, but after four days in New Orleans at Bouchercon 2016, the annual mystery and thriller convention for authors, booksellers, and fans, I wanted to provide a glimpse into what it was like.  So here it goes.  It’s not as exciting as one of my novels, but I’ll try to keep it light and pithy…and short.  🙂

First, as a debut novelist whose Overwatch came out in March, this was my first Bouchercon, and suffice it to say, it met every expectation I had.  From the friendly and welcoming staff to the amazing and talented authors, everyone was welcoming, and I appreciated it greatly.  The staff at the hotel and the city itself seemed just as happy to have the invasion of literary illuminati, although I have to admit there was one issue – the food.  It was so damn good that I probably gained 5-8 lbs in the brief time I was there.  From the Bananas Foster at Brennans to the gumbo at Emeril’s or Palace Cafe to the world-famous beignets at Cafe Du Mondé, it was all phenomenal and artery-clogging.

As for the convention, the days were full of intriguing panels comprised of brilliant authors, and I was fortunate to be on the “influence of the Western in the modern thriller” one with Ben Coes, A.J. Tata, Marc Cameron, and Randy Denmon, moderated by the Jeopardy Champion – and quite good author 🙂 – Boyd Morrison.  There multiple ceremonies, signings, awards, and even New Orleans-style parades.  I was also fortunate to spend time with the crazy Canadians, Simon Gervais and Kimberley Howe, James Hannibal, James Hankins, and David McCaleb, all authors in their own rights.  I was also happy to finally meet my fellow authors at Atria Books – Irish John Connolly (who knew by the name?), Mindy Mejia, Kate Moretti, Christine Carbo, and Dick Belsky, all fantastic writers.  Bottom line – if you’re an aspiring writer, first-time novelist, or established heavyweight in the thriller or mystery genre, Bouchercon is for you.  Next year, it’s in Toronto, and unless I’m banned by the Canadian government – it’s possible – I plan to attend.  🙂

Finally, I have to give a special “thank you” to Team West at Emily Bestler Books at Atria of Simon & Schuster – to David Brown, my publicist who has the daily challenge of managing me; Hillary Tisman, marketing and story-teller extraordinaire; and the world-renowned Emily Bestler, herself – all who came down to the convention – a HUGE THANK YOU.  You are all legendary throughout the community, and your support is everything to me, especially at this juncture in my career.  I only hope I can do you proud as we move upward and onward.



p.s. Now I need to go workout or go on a juice cleanse to recover.  🙂


  1. Chris Miller on September 19, 2016 at 7:15 pm

    Looked like a blast. Watched the live post, kept calling us all sports fans, like you were a sportscaster. Maybe one day I’ll get a chance to go to one, until then, I’ll be waiting for Oath of Honor! Keep up the great work!

    • Matthew Betley on November 24, 2016 at 8:37 am

      I just saw this. My wife said the same thing about “sports fans.” I’ll have to come up with something else or at least not say it 87 times. 🙂
      See you on Twitter and Happy Thanksgiving!

  2. Tim Fausnaught on January 11, 2017 at 12:59 pm

    Just finished Over Watch and loved it. Looking forward to more of your books.

    • Matthew Betley on January 13, 2017 at 8:32 pm

      Thanks, Tim. I’m glad you enjoyed the ride. Buckle up for round two with Oath Of Honor out March 14th.

  3. Hutch on April 3, 2017 at 9:13 pm

    I saw you tonight at the B&N, Annapolis for the “Oath and Honor” signing… but, wanted to say a huge Thanks for sharing to us about you. However, I am truly sorry to hear about your Bengals fixation… but hang tough, this I say from a devote Steelers Nation original, now living in Cincy. I remain a huge V. Flynn fan (miss him much) and was hopeful some one new would come a long – and very soon. I can’t wait to read “Overwatch” tonight – right after the Tarheels win the NCAA championship. Best wishes to you soldier – I’m glad to call you a Comrade. Stay strong and continue to inspire.

    • Matthew Betley on April 8, 2017 at 9:13 pm

      Thanks for coming out. I appreciate it. I’ve run across fans of Vince’s at almost every event, and even though I never had a chance to meet the man, I’ve heard nothing but amazing things from fans, his editor, his publicist, his peers, and pretty much every person who ever interacted with him. I hope you enjoyed Overwatch. Also, I ended up coming in 2nd in my pool after NC won. 🙂 See you next year. Go Bengals!

  4. Dan wineinger on April 30, 2017 at 7:39 am

    First, thank you for your service. Force Recon Scout Sniper Commander!!! I really enjoyed “Overwatch”, reading the entire book in two sittings. Great job. I read the prologue for “Oath of Honor”. As an Alaskan, pro oil, pro development, 36 year resident of the state I look forward to the next thriller. I served a three year enlistment with the Army, 18 months in a combat zone RVN, 1966-1969.

    • Matthew Betley on April 30, 2017 at 8:18 am

      Thanks, Dan. While I was a scout sniper platoon commander, I was not in Force Reconnaissance Company. Scout sniper platoons are the organic reconnaissance asset attached to infantry battalions. The Marines are screened from the battalion, go through a selection process, and then go to scout sniper school. As for the book, I’m glad you loved it – that’s all that matters. Also, the second one, Oath Of Honor, is out right now, and it does open in Unalaska. 🙂 Enjoy the ride, and thank you for your service, from one vet to another. Best, Matt

  5. Janice Whittle on June 26, 2017 at 7:07 am

    As a Marine Mom, the first thing I want to say is, thank you for your service. I am now your newest and very devoted fan. I recently finished Oath of Honor and have told all my friends that are Vince Flynn fans that our prayers have been answered and we have a new writer with his own style that in my humble opinion is every bit as good as or better than Vince. As I said I just finished Oath of Honor and I am hooked!. I never thought I would say this but I like your character, Logan West better than Vince Flynn’s, Mitch Rapp. Like the Mitch Rapp books, I couldn’t wait to listen every day but tried without any success, to ration out my listening time so that the book would not end. Can hardly wait for your next book.

    • Matthew Betley on June 28, 2017 at 6:14 pm

      Thank you, and please tell your son “Semper Fi” for me. 🙂 Also, I shared your comment with my editor, Emily Bestler, who was Vince’s, and she loved it sincerely. Book three is almost ready for production, and I’m on my last read-through before it goes into production. Stay tuned, and get ready for next March. Also – for my publicist’s sake – please leave a review on Amazon and Goodreads, if you have the time, and follow me on Twitter, where I put the most current updates. Thank you again, and I’m honored you’re onboard. S/F, Matt

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