I've just returned from four wonderful days in Monterey, CA at Left CoastCrime.
As my career settles firmly into the mystery “camp” I find I enjoy these mystery conferences, which are reader focused rather than craft focus as romance conferences tend to be.
Each day was full of opportunities to spot my favorite “big name” authors such as William Kent Kruger, Sue Grafton, Marcia Muller, Donna Andrews, Catherine Coulter, and many others, as well as spend time with emerging, up and coming authors who are friends: Donnell Bell, Susan Boyer, Alexandra Sokoloff, Allison Brennan, Nancy Parra/Nancy Coco and the wonderful “Sparkle Abbey” team (Mary Lee Woods and Anita Carter). I could go on for pages (and I'd still miss mentioning someone!), but then I couldn't mention all the new authors I met, putting faces with people I met through my work with the International Thriller Writers Debut Author program, and the fabulous readers. Oh, the readers! These are readers who devour mysteries, parsing the spectrum of cozy to amateur sleuth, understanding the nuances all the way over to hard boiled, noir and horror.
The conference officially consists of a series of panels. While a few are geared toward industry news (emerging trends, self-publishing, social media), most are meant to explore an aspect of the mystery genre: Cozy Noir, Manors and Manners, Why Authors Write Humor into Mysteries, and the well attended Sex, Death and Taxes (how can I not mention Harley Jane Kozak).
I sat on a panel titled The Voices in our Head, along with William Easley, Donnell Bell, and Terry Shames. The moderator, Peg Brantley, and audience asked questions which sparked great discussions about characterization, inspiration as well as process. It's always fun to hear how others go about this (slightly crazy) business of writing a novel. Of course, there were also the New Authors author breakfast, dinners with fellow Sisters In Crime members, and (I'm sure you're stunned) the bar, where lots of networking—and a little drinking—occurred.
And Donnell, Susan and I found the perfect spot to unwind Sunday afternoon, post-conference, at a tapas and wine bar overlooking the harbor...
Yes, it's a tough gig...
What about you? Have you attended a conference recently? Have a favorite?
And don't forget our multi-author giveaway! Check out the rafflecopter for ways to enter.