Honolulu Havoc: Left Coast Crime

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.

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Opening ceremonies (0h, yeah, and a sunset)

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!)

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Author-reader lunch date

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.

Me and my trusty uke!

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.

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Getting ready for the banquet

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.

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After-party on the lanai with some of my favorite people

It was an amazing weekend. Mystery authors and readers are the best, and I can’t wait until the next conference!

26 thoughts on “Honolulu Havoc: Left Coast Crime

  1. Thank you so much for this great post, Mariella! Feels like I just lived vicariously through all the wonderfulness with you. Sounds like a blast! The pictures are gorgeous (and I request that you please bring your ukelele to Malice because I’d like to be serenaded, kthxbye). Congratulations to you on your nomination (such a great thing) and to Ellen as well (huzzah)! Way to represent, Chicks! ❤

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Marla, you had me at *a hula and fire dancing show broke out*!! You and Ellen are too cool for school — and I can’t wait to see you at Malice next month! Bring the uke and you can wow the crowd from the upstairs railing at Booeymongers 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes! We will have such fun at Malice—even without the fire dancers. I’m sure we can scrounge up a mai tai!


  3. Sounds like such fun. I wanted to go just because it was in Hawaii, but I went with Malice again. (With as crazy as work was last week, that was probably a smart thing to do anyway.)

    And congrats to Ellen!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I completely failed to post anything to Facebook while I was there! So this is my way of making up for it… 🙂


    1. It was great fun! And I’ll be sure to pass your comment along to Ellen; she’s traveling so might not see it, but I’ll preemptively say thank you on her behalf! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Marla, I loved hearing about your experience at Left Coast Crime — wish I could have heard you playing the ukulele! Congrats on your nomination — Terror in Taffeta is an awesome book!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Yes! I feel the same way, Leslie! I’m so glad we got to know each other and that I got to witness your amazing talent firsthand. Here’s to our future adventures!


  5. Love this recap! It was a wonderful conference and I had so much fun hanging out with you. I wish we were still there! I can’t wait to see you at Malice and if luggage space allows, I’m going to bring my guitalele and we can play together!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes! It was so much fun and I loved spending time with you! Looking forward to Malice and June in the wine country!


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