…gets blogged about right here at Chicks on the Case! Today we share our most memorable moments from another awesome Left Coast Crime convention.
Every morning since I’ve gotten home (still soooo tired!) I wake up thinking I’m going to spend another fun and busy day in Reno with the Chicks. I must keep dreaming about Left Coast Crime, I guess. It’s a little disappointing that I no longer have a Starbucks to run downstairs to for multiple iced teas, no more ducking outside for gulps of fresh air to counteract the 24/7 casino smoke (yes, there was a filtration system in the hotel and no, it did not work), meeting up with new and old author and reader friends, and discussing the merits of various lunch places on a daily basis. (Rosie’s, the 24-hour diner, worked out best—ask Cali-healthy El how much she enjoyed the gravy soup on her biscuits.) All the panels were awesome—wish I could have been in multiple places at once—and of course banquet night was a blast. (I almost cried during El’s acceptance speech, but totally lost it for Kellye’s—the person next to me was concerned and had to keep patting my shoulder). I regret that I promised two Chicks I would try my luck at the slots and was so busy (and exhausted) that I never got around to it. The Author-Reader Connections were of course a thrill for me and I can’t wait for the next conference. Sadly I won’t make Malice next month due to my daughter’s wedding, but you can find me starting April 1st at Camp NaNoWriMo, working on a brand new series alongside several of my fellow Chicks. And yes, I realize that’s April Fool’s Day, but after such a great conference, I’m extra-inspired!
My favorite moments at LCC always involve the Author-Reader Connections. These offer wonderful opportunities to get up close and personal with the people who actually buy and read your books, God bless ’em. Last year in Hawaii, I wound up rooming with a reader who’d done one of my ARCs the previous year in Phoenix.
I did three ARCs in Reno. The first I co-hosted with my friend Howard Michael Gould, a fellow TV writer and newcomer to the mystery world. We treated four readers to a buffet lunch and had a grand time chatting about the TV business. Next up was the now-legendary—at least in my head!—Suite Life Wine and Cheese Party with my fantastic fellow Chicks. You can read all about that and see some terrific photos on Cynthia’s Wednesday Chicks post. Finally, Lisa and I, along with Leslie Karst, hosted “pizza and pleasantries” with what was supposed to be six readers. Sadly, two of them never got my email about where to meet, so they missed the lunch. But they were great sports about this, confirming my belief that mystery readers are the bestest people in the whole wide world.
My first time at Left Coast Crime, and as soon as I walked into the hotel I heard Marla Cooper’s voice over the din of the bar crowd. I hadn’t seen her in a year, so it was music to my ears! Other highlights for me included the Chicks’ author-reader party (with several bottles of wine and like 30 pounds of cheese!), sharing the cozy panel with Lisa Mathews, Eileen Rendahl and Pat Batta, with Ellen Byron as our fab moderator; co-hosting a table of great folks at the awards banquet with the delightful Cynthia Kuhn, and of course, seeing Kellye and Ellen pick up Lefty awards (they both made me go misty with their shout out to the Chicks). In addition to hanging out with the Chicks, which is always a blast, I had such a good time visiting with fellow authors, including Eileen Rendahl, Angie Sanders, Kathleen Valenti, Libby Klein, Debra Goldstein, Keenan Powell, and Eleanor Cawood Jones. I danced it out with Ellen, ate my weight in bacon at Rosie’s—and my time in Reno ended much too soon. Til next time!
This was my first-ever Left Coast Crime, so it would have been memorable regardless, but there were so many amazing and memorable moments. It was so nice meeting some of my favorite authors as well as other people who love to read mysteries as much as I do. Of course, the highlight was winning the Lefty Award for Best Debut Mystery Novel! I’m still shocked that I won and that I managed to make a coherent acceptance speech. It helped that my editor, Terri Bischoff, and all five Chicks were in the audience. Seeing their smiling faces made me way less nervous to talk in front of a room full of people. I was also glad that I was able to thank them all in person and share how much they mean to me. On my flight home, I wrapped my Lefty in so much black tissue paper that my bag got tagged by airport security! The security guard while swabbing it for explosive materials: So are you left handed?
The 2014 Left Coast Crime was the first conference I ever attended, and it’s become my favorite. This year was even better, because all my Chicks were there! I hadn’t even checked into my room yet when I ran into a friend from LCC Honolulu in the check-in line, and when I went down to the hotel bar (which is the de facto social hub of conference social life) it was full of people I know and love. That’s my dream in life! Everyone might as well have yelled “Norm!” when I walked in. It spoils me for all other bars where you’re not greeted with hugs and immediate rearranging of chairs to make room for you at the table. Our Chicks happy hour was a definite high point — and coincidentally the suite ended up being an adjoining room to mine, which put me party-adjacent. There was laughter, there were tears, there were trophies, there was Chinese chicken salad, there were awkward group photos… I want to live at Left Coast Crime year round!
Mystery conventions are motivating in ways I can’t even articulate fully—it’s a blur of wonderful elements. Left Coast Crime featured panel after panel of terrific authors, lots of shared wisdom, and so many fabulous conversations with reader/writer friends both old and new (♥︎). I also loved the Supper Club, Sisters in Crime Guppies Meetup, Noodle Lunch, NoCal/SoCal MWA Night at Blind Onion, Suite Life Happy Hour, Rosie’s, Banquet Night (congrats again, Ellen and Kellye, on your Lefty Awards!), Lobby Bar, and Lunch at the Airport. It sounds like all we did was eat and drink—ha!—but I don’t mean the food. I mean the talking and connecting. And the laughing. So much laughing. Thanks, all, for the kindness and inspiration.
Did you guys go to Left Coast Crime this year? Have you gone in years past? Do you plan to go one day? If so, drop us a note in the comments below!
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