Wednesday, February 10, 2016

On the wing

Barbara here. In exactly two weeks I will be in the air, winging my way to Phoenix to participate in Left Coast Crime, a conference for all lovers of the crime and mystery genre, whether they be readers, writers, reviewers, librarians or other book business professionals. Left Coast Crime is a mid-sized, four-day get-together held every spring somewhere on the western side of the country. The city differs every year, as does the organizing committee, but the informal spirit of inclusion and welcome does not. Most of the time the location is in the United States, but I once attended one in Bristol, UK, and there is talk of Vancouver hosting one. New hosting cities are always welcome!

I have been to quite a few conferences over the years, but Left Coast Crime is among my favourite. It is small enough to allow everyone the chance to meet and chat with new people– for readers to find new authors and authors to find new readers. Its informal, egalitarian style respects both newbie authors and well-known authors alike, rather than creating a tiered system of privilege. And it provides plenty of different programs through which authors, many of whom have travelled a long way and spent quite a hefty portion of their modest royalties, can connect with readers and other book people.

I also love the cities it chooses. In addition to Bristol, have been to Monterey, California, El Paso, Texas, Santa Fe, New Mexico, and Portland, Oregon. All cities of charm and novelty to this Canuck writer. When I can travel to an intriguing new city, get a glimpse of the countryside, connect with other writers and readers, and still manage a business tax deduction, that's a bonus!

This year, I am participating in quite a few events at Left Coast Crime. First of all, on February 24, before the conference even begins, I will be part of the International Fiction Night at the famed Poisoned Pen Bookstore in Scotsdale, AZ. I will be there with some of my Canadian writer friends as well as some overseas writers. It should be a wonderful evening, hosted by mystery woman extraordinaire, Barbara Peters, who not only owns the highly successful independent bookstore but also Poisoned Pen Press.

The conference begins Thursday, February 25, and I start off with a bang at 9:00 a.m. by participating in the author speed dating event, where forty authors get two minutes each to pitch our books to successive tables of interested attendees. By the end of an hour, authors will have lost their voice and won't remember their own name, but hopefully some one else will!

Friday night at 5:30, Crime Writers of Canada will be hosting a Meet the Canucks reception in conjunction with Left Coast Crime, during which there will be refreshments, games and prizes, wonderful authors to talk to, and a cash bar.

Sunday morning at 9:30, I will be participating in a panel discussion entitled Heroes with a Badge about sleuths in law enforcement. I am with three other panelists, Peg Brantley, Tyler Dilts, and my friend and fellow Canuck Brenda Chapman. We will be put through the wringer by moderator and real life cop Neal Griffin. Expect the secrets to writing a good cop and a good series, perils and pitfalls, and more. Immediately after the panel, there will be a book signing.

In addition to these appearances, I am also entering a basket in the silent auction, which raises money for children's literacy in Arizona. I am auctioning a signed Advanced Reading Copy of my upcoming book Fire in the Stars, along with some nifty, as yet undetermined, Canadian trinkets (maybe a Mountie, a moose, or maple syrup, the latter genuine, former two replicas only), and as a special bonus, the chance to name a character in my current work in progress, the second in the Amanda Doucette series, entitled The Trickster's Lullaby. The winner of the bid may opt to have their own name used in the book, or select another name (as long as it's not outrageous). I hope the attendees visit the auction and bid often. KidsReadUSA will thank you!

If you're attending, please come up and introduce yourselves. I know quite a few of us Type M bloggers will be there!


Donis Casey said...

Can't wait to meet at last, Barbara.

Barbara Fradkin said...

Yes, those of us who are going should get together for a drink!