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Mystery Author’s Offer Tips For Left Coast Crime

IN THE March 24 ISSUE

FROM THE 2012 Articles,
andLorie Lewis Ham,
andMysteryrat's Maze
SECTIONS

by Lorie Lewis Ham

As we prepare to head off to Left Coast Crime 2012 in Sacramento next week KRL asked a few of the authors we’ve interviewed/reviewed in the past who are attending this year’s LCC for some tips and thoughts on the conference, as well as info on the panels they are on.

Clark Lohr

Lorie: Is this your first Left Coast?

Clark: I did LCC Santa Fe–The Big Chile–in 2011. That was my first LCC. LCC Sacramento, Mining for Murder, will by my second–and that works for me because I’ve got friends and family within a couple hundred miles of Sacramento.

Clark Lohr

Lorie: What are you most looking forward to at LCC?

Clark: I most look forward to the general atmosphere–which, as I see it, is a kind of crazed but stimulating learning experience. I’ll see some people I know. I’ll meet Sunny Frazier for the first time. I’ll meet Billie Johnson for the first time. These people are, essentially, Oak Tree Press. They bought my debut novel, Devil’s Kitchen, and got me published.

Lorie: Tips for first time attendees?

Clark: Tips for first time attendees? Think fast! Scan the panel and event schedule and start prioritizing which panels you want to attend. Clutch that schedule tightly in your hands, don’t lose it, and, if you’re directionally challenged, bring a compass–literally bring a compass– and use it on the diagram of the convention building’s interior. LCC Santa Fe happened in an historic hotel that was beautiful but entirely confusing in its interior layout. My key ring compass helped.

Lorie: Are you on a panel? If so what and when is it?

Clark: I’m on a panel: SMALL SAMPLING OF SMALL PRESSES – Small press writers discuss writing for small presses. Vicki Doudera (Moderator), M.M. Gornell, Clark Lohr, Marilyn Meredith, Susan Cummings Miller Thursday, March 29 at 2:45 p.m.

Rhys Bowen

Lorie: Is this your first Left Coast? If not, how many have you attended?

Rhys: I’ve attended every Left Coast since 1998 and still enjoy them very much. I was guest of honor at Left Coast Hawaii.

Rhys Bowen

Lorie: What are you most looking forward to at LCC?

Rhys: Mostly the chance to meet up with old friends, talk shop in the bar and generally be among like minded people. Writing is a lonely profession for most of the year so this is like high school reunion time.

Lorie: Tips for first time attendees?

Rhys: Don’t be shy. Remember we were all newbies once. Go to panels and strike up a conversation with the person next to you. Don’t be afraid to approach your favorite writers. We don’t bite. And the best conversations often happen in the bar after hours.

Lorie: Are you on a panel? If so what and when is it?

Rhys: Goodness, I’m going to be busy. I’m trying to remember. I’m interviewing GOH Jacqueline Winspear on Friday, also on a panel with Jacqueline about historical mysteries set in the Twentieth Century on Friday, on a panel moderated by Jackie on British mysteries on Saturday and then moderating the final liars panel on Sunday.

Bonnie Hearn Hill

Lorie: Is this your first Left Coast? If not, how many have you attended?

Bonnie: This is my third–I think. My first was in Pasadena. In the middle of the night, the fire alarm went off, and I had to run down seven flights of stairs, in my PJ’s, with dozens of similarly clad people. The scene made it into Killer Body, the book I was writing at the time.

Bonnie Hearn Hill

Lorie: What are you most looking forward to at LCC?

Bonnie: I’ll be going with debut thriller author Christopher Allan Poe, and it will be fun showing him around his first LCC. I’m a fan of John Lescroart’s work and am looking forward to hearing him speak. LCC is also an opportunity to meet up with other writers I see only at events such as this. Talking about writing with people as passionate about it as I am is pure joy. Now, if only the hotel fire alarm behaves…

Lorie: Tips for first time attendees?

Bonnie: Talk to strangers. Get out of your comfort zone. Attend as many events as possible. Have fun. Crime fiction writers are some of the friendliest and most supportive on the planet. I guess you have to be when you go around killing people for a living.

Lorie: Are you on a panel? If so what and when is it?

Bonnie: I’m on the Saturday (11:30) YA panel with some amazing writers. Come say hi.

Lorie: Anything else you would like to add?

Bonnie: Check out the silent auction. It’s for a great cause.

Sally Carpenter

Lorie: Is this your first Left Coast? If not, how many have you attended?

Sally: This is my first LCC.

Lorie: What are you most looking forward to at LCC?

Sally: Seeing in the flesh all the people that I’ve met over the internet (like Lorie!).
Attending my first ever mystery dinner theater, Friday night at a restaurant aboard a real paddleboat. Meeting my publisher (Billie Johnson of Oak Tree Press), who will have a book table at the hotel. Going to the New Authors breakfast and seeing the other writers who have first books out.

Sally Carpenter

Lorie: Are you on a panel? If so what and when is it?


Sandy:
Yes, I’m on a panel at 9 a.m. Friday titled “I WISH I HAD KNOWN (First time authors and Eureka! Nominees—what they wish they knew regarding publishing).” Would like to invite everyone to come and listen in.

Lorie: Anything else you would like to add?

Sally: My book, The Baffled Beatlemaniac Caper, was nominated for a Eureka! Award for best first mystery novel. This is the first year LCC is giving the award, which is exciting.

Madeline (M.M.) Gornell

Lorie: Is this your first Left Coast? If not, how many have you attended?

Madeline: This is my third LCC–LA, Santa Fe, and now Sacramento. But my excitement level is so high, feels like my first. I’m hooked…

Madeline Gornell

Lorie: What are you most looking forward to at LCC?

Madeline: There’s so much to enjoy at these conferences (panels and speakers), but what’s so wonderful is catching-up with author friends I may only see once or twice a year, then meeting “in person” authors I only know “electronically.”

And the most special thing that happens–is when a reader says they enjoyed my book(s). Puts me right on cloud nine!

Lorie: Tips for first time attendees?


Madeline:
Enjoy what you can, and don’t stress out over missing something.

Lorie: Are you on a panel? If so what and when is it?

Madeline: Yes, I am–on the first afternoon. Really looking forward to it. SMALL SAMPLING OF SMALL PRESSES is my panel title. And it’s Thursday, March 29 at 2:45. With me are Vicki Doudera (Moderator), Clark Lohr, Marilyn Meredith, and Susan Cummings Miller. Should be fun and informative for attendees.

Lorie: Anything else you would like to add?

Madeline: It’s so much fun just immersing yourself in all things “writing.” And did I mention, mystery writers are very interesting people…

Sue Owens Wright

Lorie: Is this your first Left Coast? If not, how many have you attended?

Sue: My first Left Coast was in Monterey in 2004. That’s the only other LCC I’ve attended. Unfortunately, I’ve had to miss attending the more exotic locales.

Sue and her Basset Bubba

Lorie: What are you most looking forward to at LCC?

Sue: I’m delighted that LCC has come to my hometown. I’m looking forward to mingling with other people who enjoy reading and writing mysteries.

Lorie: Tips for first time attendees?

Sue: Have fun! Attend the special events at the conference and varied, interesting panels featuring new and established authors. Be sure to step out and enjoy some of what Sacramento has to offer, from Old Town to Midtown. We have many wonderful eateries, art galleries, and pubs. Step back in time to the Gold Rush in historic Old Sacramento and visit the Rail Museum and nearby world-class Crocker Art Gallery. Enjoy a Mark Twain-style riverboat cruise on the Sacramento River or dine on the Delta King paddle wheeler. One pub worth visiting is The Fox & Goose Pub at 10th & R Streets on the new R Street Corridor. The Foundry Art Gallery is also there, along with some interesting shops and eateries. If time permits, bike or hike the historic Jedediah Smith Trail along the American River. I am ever inspired by the scenic beauty of this meandering nature preserve in the middle of a metropolis.

Lorie: Are you on a panel? If so what and when is it?

Sue: I’ll be on the Four-legged Flatfoots panel on Thursday, March 29, at 2:45 p.m.

Lorie: Anything else you want to share?

Sue: I’m pleased to announce the publication of my upcoming book in the Beanie and Cruiser Mystery Series, Braced For Murder, which will be released from Five Star in 2013.

Patricia E. Canterbury

Lorie: Is this your first Left Coast? If not, how many have you attended?

Pat: No, this isn’t my first Left Coast. I think this is my fifth or sixth.

Lorie: What are you most looking forward to at LCC?

Pat: I am looking forward to seeing all my mystery friends and showing off my hometown, Sacramento, to those who have never been here before. This is a wonderful small town, easy to walk across. Great libraries, museums, the State Capitol, river, baseball and basketball teams and close to mountains, wineries and orchards.

Patricia Canterbury

Lorie: Tips for first time attendees?

Pat: First timers relax and enjoy yourself. The folks at registration can show you the way and answer questions.

Lorie: Are you on a panel? If so what and when is it?

Pat: I’m on Thursday afternoon (4:00) Sacramento Authors’ Panel.

Lorie: Anything else you would like to share?

Pat: In addition to the State Capitol be sure to visit the Crocker Art Museum, Sutter’s Fort, The California Museum, and the Sacramento Library.

Kris Neri

Lorie: Is this your first Left Coast? If not, how many have you attended?

Kris: I’ve been to too many Left Coast conventions to count! I love these conventions, which are just the right size. Some crime conventions are so big that I end up leaving before I’ve run into some of my friends from other places. LCCs are just the right size to connect with old friends and meet new ones. The size also lets authors meet new readers as well. I was actually a committee member on the LCC – 2003 in Pasadena, CA, so that one was especially memorable. Of course, one special thing I really love about this LCC is that my latest book, Magical Alienation, is a Lefty Award nominee for Best Humorous Mystery at this convention, and my last two books were also nominees at the past two Left Coasts!

Kris Neri

Lorie: What are you most looking forward to at LCC?

Kris: Mostly seeing old friends from other parts of the country that I can only see when we come together at a convention. I also love that these conventions are in different cities in the west. It’s fun to steal a little time away from the hotel and take a walk, and discover some of the things that are special about each place. I really like Sacramento, although I haven’t been there for some time. The last time I was there, my friend Elaine Yamaguchi, who is also an LCC committee member, took me on a tour of the Capital Building, which is beautifully restored. In addition to the fun of being at a crime convention, I’m looking forward to reconnecting with the Sacramento Elaine showed me.

Lorie: Tips for first time attendees?

Kris: If you don’t know many people, don’t worry. Everyone is always friendly at crime conventions because mystery readers and writers are just the nicest people. Feel free to ask people if you can join their group because everyone there looks forward to meeting new friends at conventions. Authors are also quite accessible, so don’t be afraid to introduce yourself to your favorites. Wear comfortable shoes, too! You’ll have such fun going from panel to panel you won’t want to return to your room to change.

Lorie: Are you on a panel? Is so what and when is it?

Kris: I’m on two. On Friday @ 11:30, I’ll be on THE FUTURE OF PUBLISHING PANEL, moderated by Elle Lothlorien, with Jennifer Fisher, Boyd Morrison and me. On Saturday, at 9 a.m., I’ll be moderating the MAGICAL MYSTERY TOUR panel with Juliet Blackwell, Margaret Lucke, Mertianna Georgia, Linda Joy Singleton. I’m really excited about both — I know they’re going to be great fun.

Lorie: Anything else you would like to add?

Kris: For everyone in attendance, don’t forget to thank the committee members for their efforts. It’s a labor of love for them, and a hard one that they’ve devoted a long time to — let them know you appreciate all they’ve done to show everyone a good time.

Patricia Morin

Lorie: Is this your first Left Coast? If not, how many have you attended?

Patricia: This is my third Left Coast Crime conference and my second as a volunteer. This conference, I am chairing the volunteer committee. I helped in Hawaii, enjoyed Sante Fe, and now Sacramento.

Patricia Morin

Lorie: What are you most looking forward to at LCC?

Patricia: As part of the exec. board planning the event, I would like to hear that fans were excited to meet their favorite authors, that authors met and spoke to each other and fans about the state of the industry, and that attendees successfully networked with each other to learn about new books and authors, writing, and publishing. This is mainly a fan-based conference, and fans are our focus.

Lorie: Tips for first time attendees?

Patricia: Be sure you have picked panels that you will learn from, as well as enjoy. Maps, maps, maps. Study the layout of the hotel. Walk around and find the panel rooms, book room, and banquet room. Plan time to enjoy Sacramento. Old Town is fun. The yellow badges are people who are from Sacramento and will help you with any information. Seek out people wearing yellow badges before you wander. Wear your badge and place cards from people you meet inside the pouch. Have your cards ready if you hand out cards or bookmarks. Always carry the small “calendar of events and maps” with you in that pouch. Don’t forget a pen or pencil.

Lorie: Anything else you would like to add?

Patricia: Self promotion: Stop by Book Max and check out my two short story collections, Mystery Montage and Crime Montage. I am a Derringer and Anthony Award finalist for “Homeless”, as well as being nominated for a Pushcart Award for “Pa and the Pigeon Man” taken from my life in Newark, NJ during the race riots.

Check out our On The Road to Left Coast 2012 interviews with mystery author Cindy Sample & and L.F. Crawford, interview with Lee Goldberg, an interview with Michael Orenduff, Carola Dunn, Juliet Blackwell, D.P. Lyle, and Jonnie Jacobs, along with an article on Left Coast Crime‘s past and present.

Lorie Lewis Ham is our Editor-in-Chief and an enthusiastic contributor to various sections, coupling her journalism experience with her connection to the literary and entertainment worlds. Explore Lorie’s mystery writing at Mysteryrat’s Closet.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

1 M.M. Gornell
Twitter: @mmgornell
March 25, 2012 at 7:37am

Lorie, after reading all your wonderful author interviews, I am sooooo excited about next week. I’m driving up early, visiting with a friend, and driving home late, visiting with a relative. What could be better? (Oh yeah, rooming with Marilyn Meredith!) See you next week…

Madeline (M.M. Gornell)

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