After nearly getting snowed in, I'm back from Colorado Springs, where I attended the Left Coast Crime
mystery convention. I've been attending mystery conventions for a few years now, and it's always inspiring to hang out with fellow mystery writers and readers. It's especially cool this year to have a book out, because I got to meet readers who've enjoyed Artifact
. So much fun!
Here are some highlights:
The New Author Breakfast.
Author Mike Befeler generously runs the author breakfasts, where new and established authors talk to readers about their latest books. At the New Author Breakfast, Mike introduced the roughly twenty debut authors in attendance. On California time, it's always a bit of a challenge to get up for 7:30 a.m. breakfasts, so I'm not sure how coherent I was when talking about Artifact
, but I discovered lots of new writers I want to check out!
|Gigi Pandian & Mike Befeler.|
A Concealed Weapons Fashion Show. This was such a fun idea. A group of writers dressed up as mystery characters and walked down the catwalk. The audience was supposed to guess where they were hiding weapons, then the participants pulled out their hidden weapons.
Panels and Pals.
|The Concealed Weapons Fashion Show included|
Brad Parks as 007 and Rhys Bowen as her character Lady Georgie.
We had a great group on the Occupations to Die For
Tammy Kaehler writes about a race car driver, Ellen Byerrum is a reporter and writes about one, Patricia Wood has an FBI agent character, and Naomi Hirahara writes about a Japanese-American gardener plus has a new series coming out with a 22-year-old female bicycle cop. This was one of those panels where we could have gone on and on chatting about how our various characters solve mysteries.
|Naoimi Hirahara, Ellen Byerrum, Gigi Pandian, Tammy Kaehler, Patricia Wood. |
Here's Susan Shea with Terry Shames, both pals from my Northern California Sisters in Crime chapter, at the SinC table in the book room. Susan moderated the other panel I was on, Literary Inspirations for Traditional Mysteries.
Any time I get to talk about the Golden Age of detective fiction is a good time!
|Susan Shea and Terry Shames at the SinC table.|
One of the reasons I love attending conventions is because it's possible to make the most wonderful connections that never would never happen if we all stayed in our writing cubby holes. I met author Deb Ledford when she and I were on a panel together last year. Here's Deb with my NorCal pal Mysti Berry.
|Mysti Berry & Deb Ledford.|
One of the guests of honor at the convention was author Craig Johnson, who writes the Longmire mystery series that's now an A&E TV show. Lou Diamond Phillips is a big fan of the books, so he asked to audition for the TV show (he plays Henry Standing Bear). His flight was delayed for most of the day due to the snow storm, but he stuck it out so he could be there to do the interview with Craig Johnson.
Fan Guest of Honor.
|Lou Diamond Phillips interviewing author Craig Johnson.|
Tom Schantz of Rue Morgue Press was the fan guest of honor. Rue Morgue Press (which takes its name from the Edgar Allan Poe story that's credited with being the first mystery story) brings classic mystery novels back into print. Since I love reading Golden Age mysteries, I think it's so cool that they do this.
The book room.
|Tom Schantz of Rue Morgue Press.|
My bag was much
heavier when I left Colorado, because it was stuffed full of books. Don and Jenn from Scene of the Crime, booksellers in the book room, have been really supportive of me as a new author — and they also tempt me with lots of books I want to buy... Here they are with Ingrid Willis, who's organizing Bouchercon 2014 in Long Beach, California.
|Don and Jenn Longmuir from Scene of the Crime books, with Ingrid Willis.|
Though it's tempting to feel like you're missing out back at the convention hotel, taking short breaks is essential. I spent a couple of hours with Mysti Berry at the Garden of the Gods.
|Garden of the Gods, near Colorado Springs.|
|At Garden of the Gods.|
On Saturday, a big storm blew in. I was relieved I'd gone on an excursion the day before and that my flight wasn't until the following day.
Attendees voted for the Left Coast Crime awards. Winners were announced at the banquet:
- Catriona McPherson won the Bruce Alexander Historical Mystery award for Dandy Gilver and an Unsuitable Day for a Murder
- Rochelle Staab won the Watson (best side-kick) for Bruja Brouhaha
- Craig Johnson won the Rocky (best novel with a western setting) for As the Crow Flies
- Brad Parks won the Lefty (best humorous mystery) for The Girl Next Door
Lastly, here's Toby and Bill Gottfried at the table with information about next year's Left Coast Crime. "Calamari Crime" takes place in Monterey, California, March 20 - 23, 2014. I'll be there!
|Toby and Bill Gottfried, organizing next year's Left Coast Crime.|