Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Photos from Left Coast Crime 2013 in Colorado Springs

After nearly getting snowed in, I'm back from Colorado Springs, where I attended the Left Coast Crime mystery convention. I've been attending mystery conventions for a few years now, and it's always inspiring to hang out with fellow mystery writers and readers. It's especially cool this year to have a book out, because I got to meet readers who've enjoyed Artifact. So much fun!

Here are some highlights:

The New Author Breakfast. Author Mike Befeler generously runs the author breakfasts, where new and established authors talk to readers about their latest books. At the New Author Breakfast, Mike introduced the roughly twenty debut authors in attendance. On California time, it's always a bit of a challenge to get up for 7:30 a.m. breakfasts, so I'm not sure how coherent I was when talking about Artifact, but I discovered lots of new writers I want to check out!
Gigi Pandian & Mike Befeler.

A Concealed Weapons Fashion Show. This was such a fun idea. A group of writers dressed up as mystery characters and walked down the catwalk. The audience was supposed to guess where they were hiding weapons, then the participants pulled out their hidden weapons.
The Concealed Weapons Fashion Show included
Brad Parks as 007 and Rhys Bowen as her character Lady Georgie.

Panels and Pals. We had a great group on the Occupations to Die For panel. Tammy Kaehler writes about a race car driver, Ellen Byerrum is a reporter and writes about one, Patricia Wood has an FBI agent character, and Naomi Hirahara writes about a Japanese-American gardener plus has a new series coming out with a 22-year-old female bicycle cop. This was one of those panels where we could have gone on and on chatting about how our various characters solve mysteries.
Naoimi Hirahara, Ellen Byerrum, Gigi Pandian, Tammy Kaehler, Patricia Wood. 

Here's Susan Shea with Terry Shames, both pals from my Northern California Sisters in Crime chapter, at the SinC table in the book room. Susan moderated the other panel I was on, Literary Inspirations for Traditional Mysteries. Any time I get to talk about the Golden Age of detective fiction is a good time!
Susan Shea and Terry Shames at the SinC table.

One of the reasons I love attending conventions is because it's possible to make the most wonderful connections that never would never happen if we all stayed in our writing cubby holes. I met author Deb Ledford when she and I were on a panel together last year. Here's Deb with my NorCal pal Mysti Berry.
Mysti Berry & Deb Ledford.

Author Interviews. One of the guests of honor at the convention was author Craig Johnson, who writes the Longmire mystery series that's now an A&E TV show. Lou Diamond Phillips is a big fan of the books, so he asked to audition for the TV show (he plays Henry Standing Bear). His flight was delayed for most of the day due to the snow storm, but he stuck it out so he could be there to do the interview with Craig Johnson.
Lou Diamond Phillips interviewing author Craig Johnson.

Fan Guest of Honor. Tom Schantz of Rue Morgue Press was the fan guest of honor. Rue Morgue Press (which takes its name from the Edgar Allan Poe story that's credited with being the first mystery story) brings classic mystery novels back into print. Since I love reading Golden Age mysteries, I think it's so cool that they do this.
Tom Schantz of Rue Morgue Press.

The book room. My bag was much heavier when I left Colorado, because it was stuffed full of books. Don and Jenn from Scene of the Crime, booksellers in the book room, have been really supportive of me as a new author — and they also tempt me with lots of books I want to buy... Here they are with Ingrid Willis, who's organizing Bouchercon 2014 in Long Beach, California.
Don and Jenn Longmuir from Scene of the Crime books, with Ingrid Willis.

Getting outside. Though it's tempting to feel like you're missing out back at the convention hotel, taking short breaks is essential. I spent a couple of hours with Mysti Berry at the Garden of the Gods.

Garden of the Gods, near Colorado Springs.

At Garden of the Gods.

Snow! On Saturday, a big storm blew in. I was relieved I'd gone on an excursion the day before and that my flight wasn't until the following day.

Attendees voted for the Left Coast Crime awards. Winners were announced at the banquet:
  • Catriona McPherson won the Bruce Alexander Historical Mystery award for Dandy Gilver and an Unsuitable Day for a Murder
  • Rochelle Staab won the Watson (best side-kick) for Bruja Brouhaha
  • Craig Johnson won the Rocky (best novel with a western setting) for As the Crow Flies
  • Brad Parks won the Lefty (best humorous mystery) for The Girl Next Door

Lastly, here's Toby and Bill Gottfried at the table with information about next year's Left Coast Crime. "Calamari Crime" takes place in Monterey, California, March 20 - 23, 2014. I'll be there!

Toby and Bill Gottfried, organizing next year's Left Coast Crime.


  1. Gigi, these are so great! You have a second career (third?) as a photographer. I already miss everyone. It was a great LCC.

  2. Thanks so much, Gigi, for the great photos for those of us who couldn't be there!

  3. wonderful pictures!! i especially loved the ones of susan and terry and mysti, all of whom look like they were having a great time. and gigi, i LOVE garden of the gods though it has been many years since I hiked there - with toddlers, in fact.

  4. Your timing was perfect, with the storm. I love the pictures and the commentary--thanks for posting them!

  5. Thanks, Terry! Yes, it was definitely a great LCC.

    Ann, I hope to see you at a future one!

    Sophie, I completely forgot to take photos for the first half of the convention, so I made up for lost time on Saturday ;)

    Kaye, I definitely lucked out with that storm...

  6. Looks like fun. One of these days I'll pluck up the courage to go to a writers' conference. Great pics!

  7. Writers are a friendly bunch, so you should definitely attend one!

  8. Awesome photos -- and what a fun convention!

  9. I'm so envious of all of you. You look like you had a great time. Guess we'll see everyone in Monterey next year. Love those duckies Bill and Toby brought to entice attendees!

  10. Great pics. Great memories. I agree with everything except "big storm." Honey, you haven't lived until you've seen seven feet of snow. I'm still flummoxed as to what happened at the regional airport in Colorado Springs, but I'm pretty sure DIA didn't blink. While Colorado Springs had maybe an inch of snow, when I arrived home (40-50 minutes north of there), we had eight inches and everything was normal. I hope you didn't have any delays to travel home.

    But what a beautiful location, huh?

  11. Wonderful photos. I wondered about a visit to Garden of the Gods and now I know I should have made one. It was good to see you again, Gigi.

  12. Cindy, we'll have fun at next year's LCC :)

    Peg, I stand by my proclamation that it was a big storm! For those of us from San Francisco, that was big ;). I'm glad I was flying out of Denver; my flight was just fine.

    Kathy and Lisa, lovely seeing you two there!

  13. Great pictures, Gigi. Looks like a friendly group having a terrific time. Thanks for sharing to those of us who weren't there.

  14. What a blast, Gigi! I gotta go next year. And can I just say that I've always had a soft spot for Lou Diamond Phillips? :-)

  15. I enjoyed this conference SO much. The organizers deserve a big round of applause. Thank you for posting the photos.

  16. Like everyone else, I thought LCC was a great conference. Chris, our main organizer, outdid herself. Since I was part of the LCC committee, I know how hard she worked. She deserves every bit of praise!

  17. Hope to see you at a future convention, Polly.

    Lisa, you should definitely come down to California next year!

    G.M. and the LCC committee poster, well said! I don't know how the organizers do it. Everything went so smoothly. The only glitch was Lou Diamond Phillips getting delayed a bit due to the snow storm -- and in the end even that ended up being fun with him hamming it up at the banquet.


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