Tuesday, March 25, 2014

My Left Coast Crime 2014 - Calamari Crime

By now, I'm sure you know I had a wonderful time at Left Coast Crime in Monterey. It felt as if I was back home with family, spending time with friends and all those mystery authors I love. But, what did I do besides walk the trail and attend the banquet? I'm sorry this summary is late, but the Internet was lousy at the hotel. Other than that, the hotel was wonderful.

I'm sharing this first picture because I spent so much of the time with wonderful friends, beginning with dinner on Wednesday night before the conference. Kris Neri is missing from this picture, but a lot of my time was spent with Chantelle Aimee Osman, author Kelli Stanley, and Kris. Here's Chantelle and Kelli at dinner.

Chantelle and Kelli

I kicked off the conference itself attending a program on Thursday morning called Left Coast Crime 101. I had been to LCC in Santa Fe, but I was right to think I might get some tips from Janet Rudolph, Bill Gottfriend, Toby Gottfried, and Brad Parks.

I attended a program called Jumping Genres: Writers Who Have Switched. It was moderated by Patricia Rice. Panelists were Dianne Emley, Yves Fey, C.T. Jorgensen, and Sharan Newman. Then, I was off to the panel I moderated, Juggling Characters: Writers with Multiple Mystery Series. It was fun to ask questions of Laura Bradford, Nancy Baker Jacobs, and Camille Minichino. We gave away books, and I finally met Laura, author of the Amish Mystery series. I headed to Bobbies vs. Mounties: A California Cop Mediates. Moderator Kathy Bennett really didn't need to intervene. Brenda Chapman, Ann Cleeves, Deborah Crombie and Louise Penny were terrific panelists. The last program I attended on Thursday was Toastmaster Brad Parks' interview with Sue Grafton. What a fun interview!

Dinner was at Fisherman's Wharf with friends. Good seafood, including calamari. And, then a fun end of the evening in the bar, where all mystery conferences seem to end every day. Noir in the Bar, with mystery authors reading from their novels, was quite an experience.

Even after a late evening, I was up bright and early on Friday to attend the "Meet the New Authors Breakfast." There were over forty new authors who had the chance to plug their new book for only a couple minutes.

I wish I had been close enough to get pictures of the next panel, but, after attending the breakfast I wasn't one of the early arrivals to the session. It was called "In the Beginning...Reminiscing", featuring Jan Burke asking questions of Sue Grafton and Marcia Muller. It was a fascinating panel for anyone interested in the early years when women were finally recognized in the mystery writing field in the U.S.

Manors & Manners: Murder Beyond Downton Abbey featured Catriona McPherson as moderator and Rhys Bowen, Carola Dunn, and G.M. Malliet.
Catriona as moderator
I'll admit I did sneak out a few minutes early so I could get Craig Johnson's autograph in a copy of The Spirit of Steamboat, the book that is the current read for One Book Wyoming.

But, I made it on time to a panel featuring cozy mystery authors, A Taste for Murder. Daryl Wood Gerber also writes as Avery Aames. Nancy J. Parra is also Nancy Coco. Penny Warner moderated. Jenn McKinlay and Edith Maxwell rounded out the panel about food mysteries.
Darryl, Nancy, Penny, Jen and Edith

Haunted by Death, the next panel, was "On the Paranormal Side". Dianne Emley moderated the panel consisting of Juliet Blackwell (Hailey Lind), Molly MacRae, and Kris Neri. I finally met Molly MacRae, author of the Haunted Yarn Shop mysteries!
Juliet, Dianne, Molly and Kris

I like mysteries that feature journalists, so I headed to Extra! Extra! Journalists Turned Crime Novelists. Andrew E. Kaufman moderated. Panelists were Bruce DeSilva, Carla Norton and Brad Parks. It was a fascinating panel.

Brad, Bruce, Carla and Andrew

I was in the very back row of a crowded room for Social Media: Getting the Word out in Today's Digital Day, so there are no pictures. Jen Forbus moderated. Maddee James, August McLaughlin, Chantelle Aimee Osman and Janet Rudolph took on Twitter, Facebook, blogging, and Pinterest.

The International Guest of Honor, Louise Penny, was interviewed by her publisher from Minotaur Books, Andrew Martin. And, I wish I had taken notes from this remarkable interview, but it was moving and beautiful, and I just sat and absorbed it instead of writing. It was special.

After Friday's full day, I actually took Saturday off. Chantelle and I walked for four hours, stopping only for breakfast overlooking Monterey Bay. I took a break in the afternoon, and then the Awards Banquet actually went from 7:30 to 10:30 or so.

Most of my friends left very early Sunday morning stayed for the end of the conference. I went to the last panel, Voices in Our Heads: Our Protagonists & What They Do so I could hear Terry Shames. The panel was moderated by Peg Brantley. The other panelists were Donnell Ann Bell, Warren C. Easely, and Cathy Perkins.
Peg, Donell, Warren, Cathy and Terry

The reason I wanted to hear Terry? When I was at the Public Library Association conference (PLA), I discussed Terry's books when we each talked about an up-and-coming author. (Check out Terry's Samuel Craddock books, beginning with A Killing at Cotton Hill.)

And, I ended the conference on a wonderful note.  First, a last short chat with Brad Parks. We seemed to run into each other throughout the conference.

With Brad Parks

We were both there for the final program. Marcia Muller and Bill Pronzini, the Lifetime Achievement Honorees were interviewed by Bette Golden Lamb and J.J. Lamb. Two remarkable authors.
Marcia Muller and Bill Pronzini
I enjoyed Left Coast Crime in Santa Fe two years ago, but this Left Coast Crime was the best mystery conference I ever attended. Kudos to Janet Rudolph, Lucinda Surber, Stan Ulrich, Robin Burcell, Terry Jacobsen, Noemi Levine, Bill and Toby Gottfried, and everyone else involved. And, now that they announced that Left Coast Crime 2016 will be in Phoenix, I know where my next LCC conference will be.

You may skip this if you want, but, I'm going to thank everyone that made this conference special for me - everyone I had a chance to talk to, some for quite a while, some just for a few minutes. (I know there were 800 people here, but I didn't talk to ALL of them.) I already thanked friends Chantelle Aimee Osman, Kelli Stanley, and Kris Neri. I also want to thank Margie and Mike Bunting. I enjoyed your company, and talking mysteries and books with you. I know I'm going to miss someone, but thanks to Mary Jane Maffini (as she said, another short librarian), Lou Berney, Cara Black (congratulations!), Dorothy Black Crow, Juliet Blackwell, Rhys Bowen, Susan M. Boyer, Laura Bradford, Robin Burcell (Thanks for asking me to moderate the panel. It was fun!), Kate Carlisle, Erika Chase, Marcia Clark, Ann Cleeves (Thank you for your kindness), Deborah Coonts, Deborah Crombie, Kendel Lynn, Jen Forbus, Daryl Wood Gerber, Christine Goff, Diana Gould, Timothy Hallinan, Libby Fischer Hellmann, Sara J. Henry, Nancy Baker Jacobs, Terry Jacobsen (Thanks for the advice!), Darrell James, Maddee James, Rae James, Craig Johnson, C.T. Jorgensen, Deborah J. Ledford, Con Lehane, Sophie Littlefield, Jess Lourey, Molly MacRae (and your delightful husband!), G.M. Malliet (who also has a kind husband), Jeanne Matthews, Edith Maxwell, Jenn McKinlay (Good luck! So good to see you!), Catriona McPherson (Congratulations! And, I can't wait to post that picture you photobombed), Camille Minichino, David Morrell, Carlene O'Neil (Good luck! I'll be waiting.), Gigi Pandian, Ann Parker, Brad Parks, Louise Penny (hugs and congratulations!), Barbara Peters (So good to see you!), Frederick Ramsay, Rob Rosenwald, L.J. Sellers, Terry Shames, Susan C. Shea, Jeffrey Siger, Rochelle Staab, Jeri Westerson, Ingrid Willis, and Simon Wood.

And, for all of those readers who said they read my blog, and enjoyed it, thank you. It's a pleasure to share books with you!


Kaye Barley said...

aw, what a great report this is, Lesa!!! From everything I've read, and all the pictures I've seen, it really does sound like a very special conference. Thanks for sharing so many memories with us.

TFJ said...

Ditto Kaye's remarks, Lesa. For those of us who couldn't attend in person, your posts and photos made us feel as if we were there.

Tricia (TFJ)

Lesa said...

Kaye and Tricia, It was the best mystery conference I've ever attended. I've been to the first Thrillerfest, a Bouchercon, and a previous LCC. This one was the best for me.

Mark Baker said...

Wow, I'm tired just reading that.

I really wish I could have gone, but money is tight right now. Some year I will make it to another LCC.

G.M. Malliet said...

Thank you for this lovely summary, Lesa. I always mean to blog about these conferences and somehow never get around to it. You brought it all back. Wasn't it grand!? Thanks again and I'll pass along your nice remarks to my husband, too. See you in Portland, Phoenix, and/or Honolulu - the next 3 LCCs.

Kathy Bennett said...

This was a great recap of a fabulous event. This was my third LCC, and it was my best ever. I can't wait for next year.

Margie Bunting said...

Lesa, I was so thrilled to meet you in person, and Mike and I enjoyed the time we spent with you. Although it was our first crime fiction convention, we will have such great memories of the whole event . . . and of you!

Gigi Pandian said...

What a wonderful recap, Lesa! It was wonderful chatting with you at LCC.

Terry Shames said...

Sigh. You attended many panels that I couldn't get to--there were too many great choices! I'm with you that this was maybe the best conference ever. But then Left Coast Crime is always my favorite. Thank you again for your great support for my fledgling novels. Hope we meet again soon.

Lesa said...

I hope you do, Mark. I'm planning to go to 2016 in Phoenix. Maybe we'll get a chance to meet there.

Lesa said...

G.M., For me it will Bouchercon in Raleigh next year, along with a trip to Ireland and Scotland, I hope. 2016 will be LCC in Phoenix. I doubt that I'll go to Hawaii, but who knows?

Lesa said...


It was my second, and I thought it was grand! Enjoy Portland. I won't be going there, but I am planning on Phoenix.

Lesa said...

Thank you, Margie! I enjoyed spending time with you and Mike. And, don't worry. You were at the best mystery conference I ever attended, so you hit a great one.

Lesa said...

And, you looked gorgeous Saturday night, Gigi! So good to have a little time with you.

Lesa said...


You can't get to everything. And,it does wear you out. I blew off Saturday during the day, and went out walking for four hours with a friend. The Awards Banquet made up for it. I'm anticipating your next book!

Susan M. Boyer said...

What a wonderful summary of a wonderful conference! I had a fabulous time, too, and will definitely be back. It was so good to see you! *sigh* Reading your panel descriptions makes me sad I couldn't go to all of them. There were tough choice--but that's because the organizers did such a great job.

I always intend to do this kind of post, too, but never seem to be able to get to it. Thanks so much for bringing it all back. :)

Lesa said...

I know, Susan. There were times I wanted to go to a couple programs, and there was one opposite the one I moderated. But, you're right. The organizers did a fantastic job! I'll be back, too.

Robin Burcell said...

Wow! Thanks so much for the lovely compliment on our LCC, Lesa. I'm so glad you were able to come!

Lesa said...

And, thank you for asking me to moderate a panel, Robin. I had a terrific time.