by Vinnie Hansen
When my husband contemplated coming with me to Left Coast Crime 2019 in Vancouver, I said, “It’ll be rainy and cold. It won’t be much fun taking in the sights in March.”
I was wrong. So wrong.
Vancouver was the first highlight of the conference—sunny, abloom, and full of wonder.
On Wednesday evening, I participated in Hijinx and Hot Chocolate, pitched by Becky Clark and Libby Klein as a way to start the convention with 10 new friends.
Becky and Libby guided participants to a nearby chocolate shop and treated us to hot chocolate, before we settled back at the hotel for word games.
Chocolate and word games—my idea of heaven.
I enjoy contributing to LCC by volunteering at the registration desk. That’s where I spent Thursday morning, meeting even more new people. Because, hey, this convention is all about networking.
Thursday evening at Left Coast Crime 2019, I could have ended up drunk as a skunk! The NorCal Chapter of Sisters in Crime launched its new anthology, Fault Lines, with a party—and a free drink for authors and participants.
Then Mystery Writers of America had a gathering, also offering a free drink to members, and finally, I wanted to check out Noir at the Bar (to see how it was organized, mind you).
The Lefty Best Novel Nominees panel. I’d read, and loved, all the authors on the panel except Matt Coyle. As it turned out, I was seated at his table for the Saturday banquet. Now I’m reading and enjoying his book Night Tremors.
The other nominees included Terry Shames, Lori Rader-Day, James W. Ziskin, and my absolute favorite, Lou Berney (who went on to win the award).
The Sex Panel. This is always a favorite, featuring some truly horrendous and hilarious sex scenes (not for the modest).
While the Liars Panel was fun, the tribute to Sue Grafton was more meaningful and moving.
Sue Grafton had been asked a couple of years ago to receive her Lifetime Achievement Award at this conference. As you may know, she sadly didn’t make it. Her daughter was in attendance to accept the award.
Sue Grafton was my role model as I embarked upon writing mysteries. I’d been reading in the genre from a young age, but when, as an adult, I came across an American female writer writing about a tough (and tender) female P.I., I thought I’d stumbled upon nirvana.
I particularly loved this frame from the slide show. It reminds us all to persevere and not to place too much stock in reviews.
I’d be remiss not to mention the Left Coast Crime 2019 Banquet in my Saturday highlights. The food was good and my table hosts, authors Matt Coyle and Baron R. Birtcher, couldn’t have been more gracious! Matt Coyle will be the Toastmaster for LCC in San Diego, 2020.
That would be my own panel, of course, Setting as Character.
As a stream of people roll their luggage toward the exit, it’s always a little worrying who is going to show up for a nine a.m. panel on a Sunday morning. To top off the anxiety, at the last minute, one of our panelists could not make it to the conference, because her passport was lost!
But Elena Hartwell, John Billheimer, and I drew in a full room of friendly faces and we had a lively discussion, led by moderator Bryan Robinson.
All of this, plus five cohorts from Santa Cruz Women of Mystery attended this year and last, definitely adding to the fun.
At the end of Left Coast Crime 2019, I was completely drained. I had not been planning to attend LCC 2020 in San Diego, but now—knowing that Matt Coyle will be toastmaster and wanting to see all these great people again….
How about you? Have you ever had occasion to attend a conference? Do you enjoy them or just find them draining? Who’s your favorite mystery writer?
Posted by Vinnie Hansen. Vinnie fled the howling winds of South Dakota and headed for the California coast the day after high school graduation. Still sane(ish) after 27 years of teaching English, Vinnie is retired. In addition to writing, she plays keyboards with ukulele bands in Santa Cruz, California, where she lives with her husband and the requisite cat.
She’s the author of the Carol Sabala Mystery series, and LOSTART STREET, a cross-genre novel of mystery, murder, and moonbeams, plus her short fiction has appeared in a variety of publications and anthologies.
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