Left Coast Crime Recap 2016

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Left Coast Crime 2016: The Great Cactus Caper
Location: Phoenix, Arizona
Date: February 25 – 28, 2016

Left Coast Crime is a convention of fans and authors who gather during the first quarter of the calendar year in Western North America (as defined by the Mountain Time Zone and all time zones westward to Hawaii) to celebrate crime fiction.


It was called The Great Cactus Caper and what happened in Phoenix, of what I remember, gets recanted on this blog.

Authors, fans, booksellers, editors, librarians, publishers, oh my! Loads of fun at every corner and in every bar (okay there was only one bar, but it had many corners).

Seven hundred and counting. That’s how many were registered, which makes Left Coast Crime a shade larger than Malice and much smaller than Bouchercon. A perfect compadre to the other two major reader/author conventions.

I found the atmosphere and relaxation quotient to be a cross between the other two conferences and that’s where I coined the phrase “introvert break” because I was able to do this multiple times and not miss much of the conference.

We stayed at the Hyatt Regency and it’s a beautiful hotel, nice and airy. I found the perfect spot to people watch as my friends started trickling in. Inside this hotel there were four places to eat, Networks Bar and Grill (lunch, dinner and drinks), Einstein Bros. Café (bagels), Terrace Café (breakfast) and Compass Arizona Grill (never made it up there). I mostly had breakfast at Steve’s Greenhouse Grill. Other restaurants sampled were Majerle’s Sports Grill, Seamus McCaffrey Irish Pub, Marston’s Café and I know I’m forgetting a place. All dining experiences were excellent.

I started the convention out by volunteering with book stuffing and ended with assigning guest to the dinner table for the banquet. A fun time was had with my partner, Ann Hogsett. My other volunteer responsibilities were taping the signs to the wall with the author’s name prior to their signing time.

The next day was the start of the conference and I was more or less prepared for the panel I was sitting on, but before that, I enjoyed the several panels that I did attend which started with Author Speed IMG_2051Dating and ended with the Opening Ceremonies and Welcome Reception. Ran into several friends and had gabfests and just had a relaxing day of the convention. Then it was time for my panel and I had a good time sitting up on the dais with a nice group of friends. It is always a delight to see friends in the audience – sort of tampered down the nervousness. PANEL: Fans and Reviewers Talk Their Favorite Books with Bill Fitzhugh moderating and panelists: Katrina Niidas Holm, Lesa Holstine, Dru Ann Love and Lucinda Surber. The day ended in the bar.

The next day was another day of panels that started with the Continental Breakfast featuring Debut Writers and ended with the Have Your Cake and Murder Too Dessert Reception. I also attended the Meet the Canucks Reception where we had to get the answers from the Canadian authors and correct answers won a prize. I got a copy of Unreasonable Doubt by Vicki Delany. I also signed up for the author/reader connection with Seventh Street Sleuths authors: Lori Rader-Day, James W. Ziskin, Jennifer Kincheloe, Lynne Raimondo, and Terry Shames at the Hyatt Regency Network Bar & Grill. I had a good time gabbing and listening to all that was around me. The day ended in the bar.

Saturday, once again started with the Discover Mystery Breakfast hosted by Poisoned Pen Press. Ann and I IMG_2127table hosted for Tina Whittle who was under the weather. Saturday was also the day I was moderating the PANEL: The Making of a Cozy Murder: What defines a cozy? with Ritter Ames, Donna Andrews, Carolyn Greene and Camille Minichino sitting on the dais. It was a good panel and I started out nervous but felt good when it was over.

Then the rest of the day was spent, yet again, attending panels, eating, drinking and volunteering. This was also the night of the banquet where the Lefty Awards was given out and it was fun. I sat at Cindy Brown and Kate Dyer-Seeley table and we played a few games and took pictures with our masks. They also had an auction prior to the awards and it was fun listening to the bids, I believe one item went for $2,000.

Then it was time to give out the awards: Donna Andrews won the Lefty for Best Humorous Mystery Novel; Rhys Bowen won the Lefty for Best Historical Mystery Novel; Gigi Pandian won the Lefty for Best LCC Regional Mystery Novel and Louise Penny won the Lefty for Best World Mystery Novel. And once again, the day ended in the bar.

The last day of a fun-filled weekend comes to a close with the usual dining, gabfest and the Closing Panel Interview with Guests of Honor. Then it was time to say goodbye until the next time. The day did not end in the bar.

The pictures will tell you how much fun was had at my first Left Coast Crime convention.

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Thank you for reading about my wonderful time at Left Coast Crime. Have you attended a reader/author convention before?

17 responses to “Left Coast Crime Recap 2016

  1. Love the recap! Agree with everything. And it was wonderful hanging out with you, Dru Ann. 🙂

  2. Neat!!!

  3. I’m glad you enjoyed your first Left Coast Crime (LCC). Phoenix was the 12th LCC for me, and is one of my favourite mystery conventions. Bouchercon is getting too big to enjoy, IMHO, but I hope New Orleans will be a blast!

  4. Introvert break, lol! I needed some of those too. But I agree with you that LCC’s size makes it one of the best conferences around. And it was great hanging out with you at the bar! Looking forward to the next chance to catch up!

  5. Mary Jane H.

    Okay…your post has convinced me to attend the next mystery convention that is anywhere near Phoenix! Sounds like everyone had a good time, loved the story and the pictures. I’m really sorry I wasn’t able to go to the one in Tucson this year either.

  6. Celia Fowler

    It sounds like it was a wonderful time! Thanks for sharing your experience and photos with us Dru Ann!

  7. I’m so glad you had such a good time. I’ve never attended a reader/author convention. It’s definitely on my to-do list. “…and the day ended in the bar.” Too funny! I’m still laughing. That’s always a fun way to end a day!

  8. Great post and pics, Dru Ann. I thought I was busy as LCC. You were BUSY!!! I’m surprised you had the energy left to beat me at UNO.
    Nancy G. West

  9. Howdy, Dru. Last year and this one I really wanted to attend LCC but just could not swing it. Next year, nope because of the distance. Maybe 2018? Geesh, what a long time to wait.
    In the meantime, your recap must suffice, and I admit it made me drool over what I had missed….sigh….
    See you in NYC for ThrillerFest time and in NOLA for Bouchercon. The smaller con that I tend to add to my yearly schedule is KillerNashville, which is in mid August this year. It is a great one also.
    Write on!

  10. Terrific recap, Dru. And, folks, if Dru Ann ever tells you it’ll be just 10 minutes before the volunteers will have the stuff they need to sign you up for something, remember that her definition of 10 minutes is verrry … um … elastic. So fun getting to know you Dru and a wonderful conference.

  11. It was such a great time and it was so nice to meet you! Hope to see you next year in Hawaii!

  12. Yeah!!! Dru was the first smiling face I spotted when I entered the hotel. Good reporting. This is the first conference EVER, where I didn’t make it to the bar, but–I was the designated driver…

  13. Cathy Mitchell

    Thank you so much for sharing. I have been to two LLC. One in Sacramento (where I live) and a more recent on in Monterey. Louise Penny was the guest of honor. I loved it. Hoping to make it to Bouchercon in September.

    >

  14. Looks like fun I’ve never been to one but I would enjoy going and would love to get free pens LOL

  15. Sounds like a wonderful time! Thank you for sharing your recap with us. I have never been to any, but, like you, would need to make sure I get plenty of introvert breaks if I ever find my way to one!