Monday, March 28, 2011

The Writer Wore Socks: Notes from Left Coast Crime

Left Coast Crime is a mystery fan convention which moves around the western part of the US every year. This year's was in Santa Fe, New Mexico and it was an excellent event.

The Santa Fe airport

The La Fonda,where the conference was set, is a charming hotel but sometimes you feel like Alice down the rabbit hole trying to find your way to the rooms. I didn't get my reservation in early enough so I stayed at the Inn and Spa at Loretto, around the corner, which was quite lovely.

The La Fonda Hotel, where the convention took place

My panel on Climate & Crime was up first and we had fun.  Vicki Delany began by insisting that there is no severe weather in Canada, but eventually capitulated because she realized Canadians take in stride a lot of bad weather that the rest of us find intimidating. Victoria Heckman and I talked about Hawaii, and Lance Zarimba added some Mexican color (his book, Vacation Therapy is set there).
View from my hotel window
Inn at Loretto

The short story panel was also very interesting-- I really think that having lots of stories available in e-format will energize the form. On Friday I participated in a panel on diversity in the mystery. We had African-American, gay, Native American and First Nations protagonists represented, but I believe the point that we all write about all types of characters was an important one to remember.
Some of the panels were great, others so-so. I enjoyed hearing Craig Johnson tell stories on the Old West - New West panel. And it was interesting to hear St. Martins' editor Keith Kahla and Barbara Peters, owner of Poisoned Pen press & bookstore, with their views on the future of publishing.
The native dancers from a local pueblo were great; the boys looked like refugees from Where the Wild Things Are, and the floor of the ballroom shook with their rhythm.

One of the dancers

Aside from some pollen & oxygen problems (and having to wear socks every day due to the cold) I enjoyed the conference. Hanging out with writers and readers is always a great time!

1 comment:

Nigel said...

Neil, it sounds like fun.