Going to mystery conferences is one of the most fun and dizzying parts of being an author: running from panel to panel, author speed dating, lunches and dinners with old friends and new, and of course late nights at the bar. I’m fresh off the plane from Left Coast Crime, one of my favorite mystery conferences, and it was held in Honolulu this year—which, in case you’re wondering, does not suck at all.
It was such a whirlwind that it would be impossible to do a thorough recap, but I wanted to share a few highlights.
Author speed dating. This was my first speed dating, and I loved it! I was partnered with Cindy Sample, an awesome author from my NorCal Sisters in Crime chapter, and we went from table to table telling readers about our books two minutes at a time. By the time Cindy and I finished describing our series SIXTEEN times, we probably could have traded places and given the pitches for each other.
The author-reader connections: I teamed up with Ellen Byron and Leslie Karst to host two extra-curricular events for readers. We treated one group of readers to lunch and one to happy hour, and it was so much fun spending time with some of the people who make it possible for us to do what we do. Both groups got a ukulele serenade from me with Leslie Karst providing vocals. (Her rendition of La Vie en Rose was a show stopper!)
For our happy hour, we chose a beachfront bar adjacent to one of the many pools, which put us in a perfect position to watch the fireworks that the hotel does on Friday nights. The display was great, bigger than some Fourth of July fireworks I’ve seen in my time. Also? A hula and fire dancing show broke out. So our event ended up being way more entertaining than we expected!
The ukulele thing: Because I had my uke with me, I took to randomly serenading people. I even made up song about Left Coast Crime in which I rhymed “murder” and “Lucinda Surber.” The conference chair said I could play the ukulele in front of the hundreds of attendees of the closing banquet if I wanted, but I didn’t think I was ready for that particular type of fame.
The award nominations: Terror in Taffeta was nominated for a Lefty Award for Best Debut Mystery, and while I didn’t take home the koa-wood prize, I was seriously thrilled to death to get the nomination. They treated all the nominees like winners. We got braided ribbon leis during the opening ceremonies to signify our nominee status, we got to do special nominee panels, and the book room was stocked with an intimidating number of our books. I loved getting to know my fellow nominees. What a great group of women!
And…. AND!!! Our very own Ms. Ellen Byron won Best Humorous Mystery! I was so excited to hear her name called—and she even gave a special shout-out to her fellow Chicks.
The late-night closing celebration: We took over an open-air lanai and finished off all the booze we’d been hoarding in our rooms, bars, and over-sized flasks. You’d be surprised the liquids that suddenly materialized. We had a late night ukulele sing-along and it felt like the last night of summer camp.
It was an amazing weekend. Mystery authors and readers are the best, and I can’t wait until the next conference!