My Left Coast Crime 2016 post for today is about some of the special events that were included in the conference. Most of these included food. The first one did not - well, many of the author brought chocolate or other treats, which provided sustenance for us - the participants who felt their heads spinning around!
The very first event I attended, right after visiting the registration table, being handed my envelope with 'Lefty ballot', award banquet tickets, and other essentials (like my book bag) - oh, and picking the award banquet table where my hubby and I would sit was - wait for it - Author Speed Dating. In fact, Cathy and I were almost late and quickly took our seats.
Author Speed Dating
I have no pictures. Didn't even think of that. There were 2 authors already sitting at our table when I took my seat. Here was the concept - something like 36 authors would very quickly tell us about their books. They would go from table to table in pairs and the tables were numbered. They would each have 2 minutes to give us their pitch. One would begin talking and after 2 minutes, a bell would ring. The other would talk. Bell rings again. Authors jump up and run to next table. We greet 2 more people. This went on for 2 hours. It was.....mind boggling....and I'm not kidding.
Room full of people. All talking or 36 of them talking. Bell rings over and over. It was loud and not exactly chaotic, because it was organized, but I felt shell shocked. I loved it and loved hearing about all the books. All of the authors brought stuff - swag - bookmarks or postcards or little giveaway things or 'candy'. You see why the sugar was needed for energy. Ha! The table also included a pitcher of ice water and glasses. It was supposed to be for the authors. We drank most of it. Ha! Sorry authors. I was very interested in many of the books, but I'll just mention 5 from this group:
Gwen Florio - Disgraced (just published Tuesday) - Lola Wick series
Leslie Budewitz - Guilty As Cinnamon - Spice Shop series
Jennifer Kincheloe - The Secret Life of Anna Blanc (nominated for Bruce Alexander Historical Award)
Diane Valllere - A Disguise To Die For (nominated for 'Lefty' for another book)
Julie Mulhern - Clouds In My Coffee (3rd in her Country Club Murder series set in the 70's - out in May) - this series has appeared on many blogs that I read
Afterwards, I felt like I need a little 'quiet room'. However, we went to lunch instead.
Debut Writers Breakfast
My table was hosted by Janet Finsilver and I enjoyed talking with her about her first book, Murder at Redwood Cove. It's a cozy set in a Northern California B&B. There's also a service dog who detects cancer. I bought Janet's book later and got her to sign it. Also hosting my table was M. Evonne (Meg) Dobson, who has written one of the first YA books in The Poisoned Pen Press' new arm, The Poisoned Pencil. It is titled Chaos Theory. Meg was so kind as to gift me her book after her presentation. One other author that I'll highlight is Katherine Prairie and her book Thirst. Set in Canada, I was very intrigued and have purchased it for my Kindle since coming home.
Meet the Canucks Reception
I want to highlight 3 other authors that I met at this event:
M.H. Callway - Windigo Fire - First author we heard at Speed Dating - was nominated for an Arthur Ellis Award for this book under Best First Novel category. This award is Canadian as well.
Cathy Ace - The Case of the Missing Morris Dancer (WISE Enquiries Agency series) - She is the VP of the Canadian Writers and speaks with a lovely Welsh accent.
Victoria Abbott (Mary Jane Maffini) - The Marsh Madness (Book Collector series) - Mary Jane writes with her daughter, Victoria Maffini, as Victoria Abbott.
Discover Mystery Breakfast - Hosted by Poisoned Pen Press
Saturday morning brought a breakfast that I was very much looking forward to. The Poisoned Pen Press hosted us and brought 22 of their authors to meet and greet attendees. The picture above shows Barbara Peters, one of the founders of PP, welcoming us. Since I had already talked with several of my favorite PP authors, I decided to sit with an author whose books I haven't read, up to now, Mary Anna Evans. I had bought the first book in her Faye Longchamp series, Artifacts, the day before and there on the table was another in the series as a gift, Rituals. Double bonus! Mary Anna and I got to visit a bit. She lives in Oklahoma and is a professor at OU. I said I was from the land of 'burnt orange' and we discussed Univ of TX and Univ of Okla rivalry. It's all good. Ha!
On my other side was a very nice author, Cheryl Hollon. She told me about her Webb's Glass Shop series, the latest of which is Shards of Murder. I enjoyed hearing about her journey as a writer and look forward to reading her books, 2 out so far and another to be published later this year. Barbara Peters introduced all the PP authors, but they didn't speak individually. I made it around to see Betty Webb, who writes the Lena Jones series. Desert Wives was a wonderful book and I highly recommend it. I also met and spoke with Leslie Dana Kirby about her debut book, The Perfect Game.
'Lefty' Awards Banquet
Finally, the 'Lefty' Awards Banquet, which took place Saturday evening. As we each passed through registration earlier in the conference, we were told to select an author's table for the banquet. I had gotten my husband a ticket to the banquet as well, so I was looking for 2 seats (and missed out on Deborah Crombie's table because of that - I'm a wonderful wife, right?). Michael Sears was a good alternative and our location in the large ballroom was ideal. Sears (pictured above) writes about Jason Stafford, a financial crime investigator with a small son who is autistic. His books are very good and the latest is Saving Jason. The food was decent and I enjoyed my salmon and cheesecake.
The program included announcements of the 4 'Lefty' Awards, about which I'll share the specifics tomorrow. It also included the conclusion of the Silent Auction that had been going on all through the conference. Each Left Coast Crime conference has a silent auction and quilt raffle to benefit a literacy program specific to the area where the conference is held. This year's charity was KidsRead USA, an Arizona non-profit that encourages children to love books and has gifted more than 40,000 books to 3rd graders in the Phoenix area. Several big auction items were bid on and awarded at the banquet and the conference raised several thousand dollars for this great charity.
Last post tomorrow - a 'sum-up' of LCC, who won the awards, and a few more 'shout-outs' to some worthy authors.