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Monday, March 7, 2016

Left Coast Crime - 2016 - kay's a major fangirl....



Welcome to my first post regarding Left Coast Crime 2016 - also known as The Great Cactus Caper.  Left Coast Crime is an annual book convention featuring mysteries.  It's sponsored by mystery fans for mystery fans. This event began in 1991 and except for the 2006 convention (which was held in Bristol, UK), it's always located in the Western US (or 'Left Coast') as defined by the Mountain Time Zone and other zones west.  Four awards are given at each convention and they are voted on by attendees.

As you can see, this year's convention was held in Phoenix, Arizona, and because my husband and I often vacation in that area during the winter, it was perfect.  I was very excited about several days of meeting authors and other attendees, going to panels, voting on the 'Lefty' awards, and generally immersing myself in book talk and books.  My husband - well, he was excited about playing golf - lots of golf.  He played 6 times in 4 days.  I bought a lot of books.  It was all good!

Before I begin telling about my 'fangirl' encounters with authors, I want to mention 2 other bloggers and good friends that I was able to see on this trip.  Cathy was my 'convention buddy'.  She blogs at Kittling: Books and shares lots of great reviews, pictures, and author events.  She lives in Phoenix, so this was right in her backyard.  We had a fun time hanging out together.

I also caught up with Lesa from Lesa's Book Critiques.  She used to live in the Phoenix area and was the branch manager of a library there.  A couple of years ago, Lesa moved to Indiana, but she took this opportunity to come back to the Southwest for books, friends and fun.  I loved getting to see Lesa again and we had a fun time talking.

Both of these lovely ladies will have a post or two sharing their experiences in Phoenix, so I encourage you to take a look at their blogs as well.  They have wonderful sites that are well worth putting on your 'blog radar'.

Enough of that.  Let's get to the 'fangirl' moments.  Let me say that I am normally a fairly introverted person, like many of us I imagine.  I come out of my shell when I talk about books though.  For the author encounters that I experienced at Left Coast, I had to be 'brave' and I am so glad that I was.  Every author that I talked with, whether I met them in a line or an elevator or at a signing table or eating table - they were all kind, friendly, and personable.  They listened and they smiled and made me feel comfortable.  I appreciated that so much.  So, who did I see?  Well, here's a 'selfie' that Dana Stabenow 'insisted' that we take.

L-Dana Stabenow and R-Yours truly

Yes, that is me in the pink and Dana hanging over my shoulder.  And yes, I was terrified.  I don't do selfies.  She and I had a very nice talk and I reported on that last Friday.


L-Catriona McPherson and R-Ann Cleeves

Ann Cleeves was the International Guest Of Honor.  Her first mystery was published in 1986 and she has written many more, including the Shetland Island series, which has been filmed in the UK.  She also writes the Vera Stanhope series, and you may recognize it from the TV adaptation, Vera, which stars Brenda Blethyn.  The picture above shows Ann on the right being interviewed by Catriona McPherson, who served as Toastmaster of the conference.  I also saw Ann when she moderated a wonderful panel that I'll talk about tomorrow.

Ann is very passionate about libraries.  Very passionate.  A quote from her website:
    'Libraries matter. If we believe in equality of opportunity we must fight not just for the buildings but for the range of books inside and the skilled staff who can promote reading in all its forms. Not only do libraries encourage us to be more tolerant and better informed, they contribute enormously to the wealth of the nation.'
As I was in conversation with Chris Goff in the atrium on Saturday morning, Ann walked up to join us and began talking about her quest to help libraries in the UK.  After she found out that I was a former library staff member, she asked me all  kinds of questions about the Austin Public Library, about funding and programs.  I was so pleased to get to share my thoughts with her on the state of American libraries and how very important they are.  We totally agreed that the world would be a poorer place without libraries.


William Kent Krueger

I also recognized William Kent Krueger on more than one morning as I picked up coffee at Einstein's in the lobby of the hotel.  He was busy writing, just as he says he does every morning at home at a local coffee shop.  And no, I did not interrupt him at that time.  I did talk with Mr. Krueger after a panel on Sunday and told him how much I loved his Cork O'Connor series.  My mystery book group read and discussed his Edgar-winning book, Ordinary Grace a while back.  Such a wonderful book!  If you haven't read it, you should.  Our group had a great discussion and he related that there will eventually be a follow-up book of sorts entitled This Tender Land.  Can't wait to hear more about that.


Donna Andrews

Donna Andrews has been a favorite author of mine for a long time.  Her Meg Langslow series often wins one of the 'Lefty' awards for most humorous mystery.  I stopped and chatted with her for a bit.  I didn't get to see her on a panel this time - lots of panels and too many choices.  I told her that several of my book group members loved her second series featuring Turing Hopper, a character that is actually an Artificial Intelligence personality - a computer.  Group members are always asking when there will be a 5th Turing Hopper book.  Ms. Andrews told me that the Turing Hopper books will soon be released in e-format.  If they do well enough, there will likely be a 5th book in the series.  Yay!  Judy from my book group is ecstatic.  She loves Turing.  I did confess to Donna that her first Meg Langslow book, Murder With Peacocks, is a particular favorite of mine.  I often reread it when I need a laugh and am feeling down.  By the way, the first Turing book is You've Got Murder.  It's a good one.

I talked with several other authors and told them how much I've enjoyed their books.  Some will show up in the panel pictures tomorrow - Chevy Stevens, Sara J. Henry, Vicki Delany, Donis Casey, M. P. Cooley, Jenn McKinlay, and Carla Buckley.  I had recently reviewed Carla's latest book, The Good Goodbye here and I wrote her to tell how much I liked the story.  She thanked me and asked me to please come introduce myself at LCC.  When I approached her signing table and mentioned my name, she jumped up and ran around the table to hug me.  I was so surprised.  She then had Catriona McPherson take a picture of us together and put it on her Facebook page here.  I have an odd smile.  She looks beautiful, just as she does in life.  I did see Deborah Crombie in the lobby twice, but didn't get to speak to her.  Bummer.  Maybe next time.

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I'll stop here for now.  Sorry for the length.  Tomorrow, all the news that's fit to print about 'panels'.    

36 comments:

  1. What fun!! Isn't it great to meet your favorite authors, face-to-face? I remember how nervous, but excited I was when I met Mary Doria Russell at that little gathering in Cleveland, oh so many years ago. There's nothing like a book gathering, is there? It sounds like you had a wonderful time, Kay. Oh, and I met William Kent Krueger at a book signing a few years ago at our store. He was so personable and told some wonderful stories. Super nice guy.

    Can't wait to read more about your experiences! Thanks for taking the time to share so many details with us.

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    1. Les, I remember that Cleveland event. I should have gone. Can't remember now why I didn't. And I missed Mary Doria Russell! William Kent Krueger was so nice and funny. He had the panel he was on laughing up a storm. Yes, stay tuned - my LCC tour is appearing all week. LOL

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    2. I don't remember why you didn't go to that book convention, either. I met Teri there, though! Yes, WKK is very funny. He had our crowd at the book signing laughing up a storm, too.

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    1. Honestly, that's how I felt. :-)

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  3. How totally fun! Sounds like you had a blast. I haven't heard of a lot of the authors you mentioned, so I'll have to look them up. You've always got the best mystery recommendations!

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    1. Thanks, Susan. I like to be able to tell people about good mysteries.

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  4. I'm so envious!!!! What fun. And William Kent Krugar? Yay!! (He's my favorite). It doesn't matter how long your post is---fun read!

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    1. Thanks, Debbie. Stick around - this tour is appearing all week. LOL

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  5. What a great event!! Sounds like so much fun.
    I'm looking forward to tomorrow's post already :)

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    1. Thanks, JoAnn! I had fun writing these posts. A lot of why I did it though was so I wouldn't forget all the details. :-)

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  6. How fun! I'd love to meet Cathy and Lisa as well as all those great authors.

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    1. Kathy, both those ladies are so very nice. I was very glad to see them again.

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  7. Wonderful post, Kay. I loved hearing about your experiences, who you saw and that you had so much fun meeting Cathy, who I only know through blogging, and Lesa, who I don't know at all. One thing you said rendered me speechless though. (Not a common occurance.) You said they held this event in Bristol in 2006. Oh gosh, I really can't believe that such an event was held practically on my doorstep and I knew nothing about it. If they ever do that again and you happen to know about it, will you let me know? Thankyou. And I'm all agog that Ann Cleeves walked up to you to join in your conversation!

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    1. Cath, I got my info about the 2006 meeting from their main website. I don't have any idea what caused them to make that big exception, but you never know when they might do it again.

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  8. Wow! Sounds like a wonderful event and a wonderful time. Glad you got to go to it Kay. Thanks for sharing your story and photos.

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    1. I did have such a good time, Pat. And it was my pleasure to share.

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    1. That was exactly it, an adventure.

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  10. Wow - that is so much fun! I will admit to not having known about this convention in advance but it sounds like a wonderful place to be at. I love that photo of yours with Dana Stabenow!!

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    1. Thanks! I'm glad to introduce this conference to so many people. You just never know when you might be in the right place at the right time.

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  11. I enjoyed reading this post, Kay! Sounds like you'd lots of fun meeting with the authors and of course, buying more books! :-)

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    1. Thanks, Melody. Yes, I did have such a fun experience and of course, the new books. :-)

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  12. Kay so good to see a picture of you! Oh my gosh, it sounds like you had such a blast meeting all those authors. I would love to have heard Ann Cleeves, Donna Andrews, actually all! :) Looking forward to more of your posts on the conference.

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    1. Thanks! Yes, much more to come this week. I wanted to do these posts so that I didn't forget all of it myself. And to be able to refer back. :-)

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  13. How fun!! Looks like you had an amazing time, and how awesome that it was all about mysteries! I've never been to a book convention, but would love to someday.

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    1. I'd recommend them if you get a chance. This one is relatively small I understand. I can see how others would be way overwhelming with 1500+ attendees.

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  14. I want to go so bad! Too bad I can't go next year. Hawaii and Left Coast Crime?! Paradise indeed. It sounds like you had such a great time, Kay.

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    1. I know. Doesn't that sound fun? I suspect we won't make that one, but maybe after that. Not sure where the 2018 convention will be - I heard rumors of Sacramento or Santa Fe. I did hear a pretty certain rumor about 2019 - Vancouver, BC - which sounds fun.

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    2. Let it be Sacramento! We can make a family trip of it, stay with my mom and she can watch my daughter. That would be so perfect.

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  15. Oh my gosh! I am thrilled for you. Nice selfie :)
    I love William Kent Krueger, have read almost every book of his, and would have loved to meet him and almost every author you mentioned. I look forward to reading your next post.

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    1. Thanks so much, Rita. Yes, Krueger was so funny and charming and nice.

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  16. A mystery convention right where you were going to be, right when you were going to be there? Sounds like the gods were looking out for you. What fun you had!

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    1. Well, mostly like that. We knew we were going to Phoenix and the timing of the convention determined which week. LOL

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Thanks for stopping by! I am so happy to hear your thoughts and will respond as soon as I can. Happy Reading!