Thursday, March 28, 2013

I went to LCC and all I got was...

By Gayle Carline
Author of Mysteries and Humor - and sometimes together!

I just got home from Left Coast Crime, so perhaps my brain is all muddled from the trip, but dammit, I owe you all a column, and you're going to get it.

LCC was in Sacramento last year. Sacramento is not that horrible of a drive for me, so I went for the first time and had a blast. I met lots of readers, sat on my first panel, and made new friends, including the very funny Elle Lothlorien, who I now trade jokes with on Facebook daily. Maybe hourly.

While in Sacramento, I saw the ads for LCC in Colorado Springs in 2013 and thought, "Um, no. Too far away. Too expensive. Plane trip. No."

Then I released The Hot Mess and realized I needed to go. I may be a legend in my own mind but I need to meet more readers who love quirky characters trying to solve puzzling crimes. (By the way, I've searched the internet looking for these people. Turns out Google and Bing aren't as helpful as they advertise.)

So I checked The Weather Channel a gazillion times, packed a bunch of clothes, crossed my fingers and boarded a plane. How was this convention?

Does this answer your question?

Actually, I met some lovely readers and writers. I got to spend time with most of my Crime Fiction Collective pals, some of whom I had never seen face-to-face. I had met everyone previously except for Jodie Renner and Peg Brantley. Peg and I found ourselves hanging out in the bar and getting to know each other, which was great fun.

Our Crime Fiction Collective panel, Truth is more Violent than Fiction - Or is it?

Me and Michele - she's the cute one.
I also got to spend some quality time with author Michele Scott, who is a good friend of mine. She lives in San Diego, I live in Placentia (about an hour apart), but we had to go to Colorado to meet up. Not many people will put up with us, because within two sentences of meeting, we start talking about our horses. Michele and I both have horse books coming out in late spring, so we made plans for cross-promotion.

Some other highlights for me:

1. I got to audition to be Drew's assistant (as in, Mr. Andrew E. Kaufman). If it wasn't for the hour-and-a-half commute and the fact that I'm already up to my tush in projects, I'd have the job. Totally.

2. Marlyn Beebe (pronounced Bee-Bee, BTW) is going to take me to see her mother-in-law, who owns and operates a lingerie store I've been dying to visit - The Wizard of Bras. Finally! A bra that fits me!

3. The organizers tried out a thing called "Blogs Around the Campfire" where a writer would spend 30 minutes in a small meeting room and people could come in and talk to them about anything. It was mostly a bust, but during my session, I met another author and we discussed ebook marketing. She had a lot of great ideas that I'm going to try out.

4. I met Brad Parks, who won the Lefty Award this year (most humorous mystery) and captured this little gem:

Okay, you know this is a player piano, right? But he does sell it.

5. I drank too much wine on Saturday night, if you define "too much wine" as volunteering to go to the LCC board meeting on Sunday morning (7:30, oy vey!) and agree to submit a bid to host LCC in San Diego in 2016 or 2017. All I meant to do (really!) was to tell them if we had the convention in, say, San Diego, I could write to Dean Koontz and see if he still does this sort of thing and would he come down for the day and be our special guest? By the time I left the room, I had agreed to something completely different.

Oh, well... bring it on.

6. I got to snuggle up in my room on Sunday night, order room service (a buffalo Reuben with sweet potato fries, and salty caramel cheesecake - yum), and watch the snow fall outside. My only regret was that I didn't bring my laptop, and I was in the mood to write. I read instead.

7. I got to spend time with my other good buds, LJ Sellers and Tee Burrell. LJ's up in Eugene, Oregon so I usually only see her at conventions, but Tee is about half-an-hour from me, so we have no excuse.

Usually, I like to end this post with a question, but I'm feeling a little wintry, even if it is officially Spring.

Okay, maybe I do want some answers: What conventions/conferences do you like to attend? Why?


  1. It was an excellent convention...except for the snow. The best part, of course, was seeing all my writer friends. I feel so blessed to have you guys in my life. And yes, daily online support counts too.

    At Bouchercon last year, I got persuaded to chair Left Coast Crime 2015, so I thought I'd pass the favor along. Let's keep the good times
    rolling. :)

  2. I loved seeing old friends and meeting new ones. Of course, most were new to me. It was a terrific feeling to share in this awesome community as a published author, and I'm already excited for Monterey! (I need to remember how to spell it though because the book I'm writing now takes place partly in Monterrey, Mexico.)

  3. It was great to connect in person again with almost all of the original CFC group -- and to meet you, Gayle! Now I know why your books are so appealingly witty!

    Our CFC panel was a blast, and I also really enjoyed the other one I was on, "Ask the Editor." The other panels I attended were interesting and informative, and it was a lot of fun sharing lunches and dinners with you all! My only regret is spending too much of my down time editing in my room instead of hanging out in the bar and meeting more people!

  4. I really wish now I hadn't been so cheap and stingy with myself and gone.

    It really sounds like fun. I did have some fun in Santa Monica though searching out locations for a vehicular homicide, ghoul that I am.

    Next year...

  5. Nice post, Gayle. This convention crossed with my flight back from the UK, but I hope to go to the next LCC myself. Other conventions I like are the SCWC in San Diego and Newport Beach. Always great to catch up with friends there and make new ones.

  6. I wish we all lived closer--of course, if that were the case, we might not get our books finished--well, except for LJ. She's the disciplined one ;)

  7. Hahaha. I wish I could have seen you all, but I was pretty much deaf and would have been a real conversational drag. And as it turns out, I was snowed in anyway - two hours away, we got about ten times more snow, you sweet little wimps. :D

  8. I had a great time at LCC (and was ever so grateful that the snow day was Saturday and not Sunday). Loved meeting most of this group in person. I'm going to go to Bouchercon, and am biting the $$ bullet and going to my first ThrillerFest.

    Terry's Place

  9. Yes, it was a great time. I enjoyed myself and learned a lot! Please drop by CFC on Monday for my take on Left Coast Crime!

  10. I forgot to mention, Gayle, that because I enjoy and specialize in editing suspense fiction, I've gone to the last 3 Thrillerfests in a row. I highly recommend Craftfest, which is all workshops by bestselling thriller writers. That's followed by Agentfest (1/2 day), then 2 days of Thrillerfest, which is mainly panels and lots of great social activities! To go to the whole thing can get pretty pricey, so last year I registered for Craftfest, volunteered for Agentfest, and volunteered for Thrillerfest. It worked out well! I may go to my fourth Thrillerfest this July, and try that again. At least the airfare is cheap from where I live, and I found a great hotel nearby that is quite a bit cheaper than the Grand Hyatt, even for conference rates.

  11. It was great fun seeing authors I know and meeting new ones. So much talent, so much creativity. LOL, though, at all these people who write tough - murder, serial killers, abductors, crooked cops - wimping out about a tiny bit of snow! I'll be at Malice and hope to see some of you there? - Susan C Shea (posting as Anon. only because I can't seem to pass the commenter barrier otherwise!)

  12. I love 'em all, Gayle. I attend Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers Colorado Gold in Denver in September, Northern Colorado Writers Conference in Fort Collins, CO in April, and when I can justify it, I love Left Coast Crime, Bouchercon, and Magna cum Murder (which is moving from Muncie, IN to Indianapolis for its new home). The chance to connect with old friends, make new ones, and finally meet the folks you only know from online contacts is priceless.

  13. Sounds like it was a lot of fun. Thanks for the report. TFS. (I'm tired from Passover, and it's not half-over, so no puns except for the last.)

    Conventions are exhausting and energizing.

  14. Hi Gayle. I didn't have too much to drink when I agreed to take on LCC 2012 in Sacramento but I mistakenly attended a meeting without drinking a cup of coffee first! That Robin Burcell is a sly one. I wish I could have been there but it clashed with spring break. Looks like I'll see you all in Monterey! And Portland. And San Diego:-)

  15. As an avid reader and host of Authors on the Air talk show, you have convinced me that I should go to Left Coast Crime next year, regardless of the fact that I may end up somewhere that has snow. Ick.

    Pam Stack


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