Monday, March 28, 2011

Left Coast Crime - Saturday

Saturday was a full day at Left Coast Crime. Again, this is just a short summary, with pictures. I started the day at 6:30 at the French Pastry Shop here at La Fonda. Why skip a good thing? Their chocolate croissants are wonderful. After having that, I didn't need to eat when I went to the Established Writers' Breakfast. That's a difficult room to take pictures in, so Janet Dawson's is actually one of only two that turned out half-way decent. Janet is the author of the Jeri Howard mysteries.
Donna Andrews acted as host, and gave each established author a minute to a minute-and-a-half to introduce themselves and their books. Before I left just before 9, we heard from Kris Neri, Terry Odell, Ann Parker, Lea Wait, Laura DiSilverio, Deborah J. Ledford, Camille Minichino (also known as Margaret Grace, and, for a forthcoming series, Ada Madison), Beth Groundwater, Mike Orenduff, Rosemary Harris, Parnell Hall, Susan Cummins Miller, Rachel Brady, Susan McDuffie, Mike Befeler, Clyde Linsley, Nancy Atherton, Chris Eboch, R.J. Harlick, Vicki Delany, L.J. Sellers, Steve Havill, John Maddox Roberts, Barbara Fradkin, Annette Mahon, L.C. Hayden, Twist Phelan, Charlotte Hinger, Rosemary & Larry Mild, G.M. Maillet, Janet Dawson, Mary Ellen Dennis (or Deni Dietz), John Vorhaus, and Rhys Bowen. Since G.M. Maillet was at the table next to mine, I was able to get her picture.

I did skip the first panel of the morning, so I could have time to talk with Maddie James, otherwise known as No pictures of Maddee, as agreed, but we had a chance to catch up on personal lives.While waiting in the lobby, though, I was able to get a picture of Camille Minichino and Susan C. Shea together.

Camille Minichino & Susan C. Shea
After a half an hour with Maddee, I headed off to the panel, The Old West Anew, a terrific discussion by authors whose books are still set in the West. And, what a panel! Pati Nagle, a fantasy and historical fiction author whose books are set in the West, was the moderator. At the table were Brian Garfield, Craig Johnson, Ann Parker, and David Edgerley Gates. As I said, a terrific discussion. Pati ended the program by giving Craig a chance to tell one more story.

Left to right - Pati Nagle, Brian Garfield, Craig Johnson, Ann Parker, David Edgerley Gates

That was actually a perfect transition to the next program in which Craig Johnson interviewed Guest of Honor Margaret Coel. It was a popular program for "St. Margaret," as Craig called her, the author of the Father John O'Malley/Vicky Holden mysteries, set on the Wind River Reservation in Wyoming.

Margaret actually started the program by giving Craig his plaque for nomination for the Watson Award since he wasn't able to be at the program the night before.

And, Sandi Ault ended the program by presenting Margaret Coel with her award as Guest of Honor, honoring her body of work.

Margaret Coel and Sandi Ault

Before leaving, I was able to get a picture of Elizabeth Gunn, author of the Jake Hines mysteries, among others. (I love that series.)

Because that program ran a little long, I missed lunch with Kathryn Casey, author of the Sarah Armstrong mysteries, as well as a number of true crime books. At least I was able to catch up with Kathryn in the restaurant, and we had time to talk.

I ran off to catch part of the presentation, "You Can't Run in High Heels," in which Zoë Sharp and J.T. Ellison demonstrated self-defense techniques. I had heard great things about this program, and people were right. Lots of fun!

J.T. Ellison defends herself against Zoe

I ended the afternoon with a panel called "It's Not Just Fiction to Me," featuring moderator Susan Goldstein, and panelists Colleen Casey, Kathryn Casey, Reece Hirsch and Judy Starbuck. The authors all talked about how their actual careers influenced their writing. Goldstein is a divorce lawyer. Colleen Casey has been a judge for fifteen years, handling Workers' Comp Cases in the San Francisco area. Kathryn Casey was a journalist and true crime writer before turning to fiction. Reece Hirsch is an attorney in San Francisco. And, Judy Starbuck has used her background as a teacher, a handwriting analyst, and an adoptee in her short stories.

Reece Hirsch and Judy Starbuck
Susan Goldstein and Kathryn Casey
Kathryn Casey & Colleen Casey

Following the program, I did catch up with a couple people in the hallways and book room. I ran into Terry Odell who writes romantic suspense.

And, I was able to catch Deni Dietz and Parnell Hall in the middle of a duet.

After a short break, it was time for the reception, followed by the Awards Banquet. The reception provided the chance to catch up with Rob Rosenwald, owner of Poisoned Pen Press, and one of his authors, Jeanne Matthews. I finally met L.J. Sellers, and ended up with fellow Desert Sleuths, R.K. Olson, Chantelle Aimée Osman, Deborah J. Ledford, and Kris Neri. We also ended up with Kelli Stanley and Rebecca Cantrell before moving into the ballroom for the Awards Banquet.

Since we had been allowed to sign up for Authors' Tables, I picked Craig Johnson's. Johnson, author of the Walt Longmire series, was a gracious host. He entertained us with stories of the ongoing plans to turn the series into an A&E series, Longmire, with the filming of the pilot in Las Vegas, New Mexico.

The line to the buffet was quite long, since they were trying to feed over 400 people, so Mark Coggins introduced me to John Billheimer, and David Edgerley Gates and I had the chance to talk.

The Awards program itself went quickly. Toastmaster Steve Brewer did a short introduciton, with toasts to the Guests of Honor, Martin Cruz Smith, Margaret Coel, Steven Havill and Marv Lachman, as well as a toast to the fans and authors in attendance. He introduced the representative from ReadWest, a literacy organization that benefited from this year's raffle and silent auction. Then, Parnell Hall took the stage for a fun song about supporting your local bookstores. Brewer introduced Barbara Peters, owner of Poisoned Pen Bookstore in Scottsdale, who presented the Dilys Award, given annually to the mystery title that the Independent Mystery Booksellers Association most enjoyed hand-selling. That award went to Louise Penny for Bury Your Dead. Our table was thrilled when Craig Johnson received the Watson Award for Junkyard Dogs, representing the book with the best sidekick. Craig admitted he didn't know which character was the sidekick, but he thought it was Dog. The Lefty Award for most humorous mystery went to J. Michael Orenduff for The Pot Thief Who Studied Einstein. Jacqueline Winspear wasn't there to accept The Bruce Alexander Memorial Historical Mystery Award for The Mapping of Love and Death. She's touring for the next book in the series. And, Margaret Coel won The Hillerman Sky Award for The Spider's Web. It was voted as the mystery that best captured the landscape of the Southwest.

The program ended with thanks to, and by, Left Coast Crime 2011 chair Pari Noskin Taichert, who did a magnificent job. She then introduced Cindy Sample, co-chair of Left Coast Crime 2012 in Sacramento.

Craig Johnson was gracious, posing for pictures with those at the table. After congratulating him on his Watson Award, we both admitted Jen Forbus should have been there.

Then, I moved on to end the evening in the bar with friends, the Desert Sleuths, Rebecca Cantrell, and Avery Aames.

I'm ending my time at the conference with breakfast with Zoë Sharp and her husband, Andy Butler. I have a full notebook of program notes to summarize for you in the next week or two. I had a wonderful time at my first Left Coast Crime. Thank you to all my Desert Sleuths sisters, along with Kelli Stanley, Zoë and Andy, Kathryn Casey, Craig Johnson, all the authors and blog readers I had the chance to meet, along with Rob Rosenwald, Avery Aames, and Vicki Delany, who must have felt as if I was stalking her since we met in every hallway.  Love to the two goddesses I finally met, Maddee James and Janet Rudolph. You all made this conference wonderful for me.

And, a final thanks to the La Fonda. It's a beautiful, gracious hotel, and the accommodations, food and staff couldn't have been better. Thank you.


Elizabeth Spann Craig/Riley Adams said...

Wonderful pictures! Looks like y'all have had such a good time. Wish I could have been there. Enjoy your breakfast this morning. :)

Lesa said...

Guess I should have changed that ending. I'm back in Arizona, going back to work today. That's going to seem weird, Elizabeth. Had a great time!

Florius said...

found your site on today and really liked it.. i bookmarked it and will be back to check it out some more later

today news

Avery Aames said...

What a wonderful overall view of your time at LCC. It was so much fun spending time with you. Love all the pictures. Some of these people I didn't get to meet in person, so I'm thrilled to put name to face.

Thanks, Lesa. See you in a month!

Lesa said...

Thank you, Florius. I hope you do come back.

Lesa said...

It was fun, wasn't it Avery? And, that's how I felt about the LCC reports from others. I really enjoyed reading them because I couldn't get to everything. So, it was nice to read about people and events I didn't get to see.

Looking forward to May, now!

Camille Minichino said...

Great to "relive" it through your eyes, Lesa! No matter where the winding corridors took me, they seemed to end with your smiling face and interesting comments! So nice to meet you.

Lesa said...

Thank you, Camille. Relive it with all of my enthusiasm? That's funny. I told Vicki Delany she probably felt as if I was stalking her. Every time I turned around, I seemed to bump into Vicki.

Thank you. It was so nice to finally meet you, since I read all of your Periodic Table Mysteries, and almost all of the Dollhouse series. (And, I totally agree with your opinion about children.)

Kris said...

Great interview! I've been a long time fan of Heather Grahams and while I haven't read all the books or even the most recent ones, I always get excited when a new one is published.

Lesa said...

Thank you, Kris! I'm always pleased when readers enjoy the interview. And, a New Orleans setting!

Shane Gericke said...

Love you in the cowgirl hat, Lesa! Hope you're well ... you look fabulous.

Lesa said...

Thank you, Shane. When I complimented another woman on how she looked in Craig's hat, he said, "Every woman looks good in a cowboy hat." I'm actually doing fine. Thank you. And, someday, I hope to meet you.