Left Coast Crime is an annual Author-Reader convention held at a different location on the West Coast each year. I live in Ohio, so I'd never given it much thought until I saw that location. HONOLULU! Well, I'm so glad I went!
It was the experience of a lifetime. From driving to Toronto at night in an East Coast blizzard, to missing our first plane, being stranded at the Toronto airport, then again overnight at the Chicago airport, then finally arriving on our should-have-been 18-hour trip a whopping 42-hours later. It was an adventure. I called it other things along the way as well, but adventure also works.
We left in a dangerous winter blizzard, white knuckling the desolate highway through New York and Canada, but we arrived in paradise.
Totally worth it.
The view from my room was amazing. The hotel, Hilton Hawaiian Village, was amazing. Everything was jaw-dropping gorgeous.
Then, I got to the conference. Surrounded by books and readers and authors, oh my! And for the first time ever....I was Julie Chase in the flesh. I write under two pen names now, plus my actual name-name, but I'm very open about the fact that I am those other names. The names were a publisher request that I rolled along with. Regardless, I'd never gone around introducing myself as someone else before. It was....odd. But I met lots of other authors who do it too. They do it for all sorts of reasons and do it well. So, I'll figure it out eventually. Heck, I barely answer to my own name most days.... I'm a mess. Let's get back to the trip.
Cat Got Your Diamonds, BUT I was there to moderate my Saturday panel and meet my new author friends in person.
I also walked to a local hotel and had breakfast with another author, Maia Chance, and four readers who'd signed up for an Author-Reader Connection. Honestly, we all just felt like old friends. Books do that to people. You know? Then, I co-hosted a table with Marla Cooper during the Lefty Awards Banquet, which was lovely.
From there, we walked the streets. Took a dinner cruise. I ate a lobster for the first time. That was an adventure all by itself. We went whale watching, visited Pearl Harbor and toured the North Shore. I also ate a ton of shave ice.
I have to say, whether you're a reader or a writer, I hope you will one day get the chance to leave your cares behind and travel to a destination conference like this. Thanks to these kinds of events, I've been all over my home state, to Nashville, New Orleans, Chicago, Kentucky and many places I would never have made it otherwise. I've also made friends to last a lifetime. I've learned more about the books and authors I love, and explored new towns. I'm shoring up an admirable pile of life experiences to share with my children one day and my readers as soon as possible.
Oh! An added bonus with these conferences it that the hotels are always heavily discounted, saving you lots of money, and for the writers out there,,,,you can write it all off on your taxes. Huzzah! Business Trip! Ain't writing grand?
I have two more big trips this year. I will be in Orlando for the RWA conference in July, and in Toronto for Bouchercon, the World Mystery Convention, this October. Will I see any of you there? Where will your bookish life take you?