Friday, March 12, 2010

Report from the Left Coast

It is day 2 of the Left Coast Crime convention and while I am back at work now I spent the day there yesterday and was back this morning for an early Meet New Authors breakfast and listened to a quick panel on spy stories. I signed some copies of One Too Many Blows To The Head yesterday and got some great feedback from the panel I was on so, so far so good.

LCC is a small affair which makes it easy to mingle (not my strong suit) and get to meet other authors and readers up close. As with all my forays into the world of crime writing, everyone is so damn nice. It is odd that all these people can congregate who love crime stories, write crime stories and generally dwell in the dark side of humanity and all remain so cheery.

I spoke yesterday on a panel about Pulp Fiction and it was great. Authors Kelli Stanley, Gwen Freeman and Gabriela Vazquez were all up there with me in a panel moderated by Bob Fate. We all got to talk about how our books related to the larger world of Pulp and that sustaining influence of those writers on our work today. Gwen came with copious research and notes and we probably should have just let her talk and school us all in Pulp. It was great to finally meet Kelli Stanley who I have been emailing with lately and whose book, City of Dragons, was a great read and is getting a lot of attention. Gabriela and I will reunite tomorrow on a panel and her book The Sick and the Dead, while not out quite yet, sounded really intriguing. Her P.I. main character Tom Wells is a man who is mentally unbalanced. He has hallucinations and rolls with it and makes it a part of his work. Great hook. Can't wait to read that one.
This morning at the New Author breakfast I was also intrigued by a book I've seen around, Boulevard by Steven Jay Schwartz whose protagonist is a sex addict as well as investigator. Why has no one done this before? Seems like a perfect match.

I finally got to meet some people in the flesh who I had been communicating with online for quite a while. First, Deborah J. Ledford, she of the final copy edits of our book which made it markedly better. Deborah is of course here to promote her book Staccato which is a taut thriller worthy of your time and is the first in a series so get on board now and ride it out to the thrilling conclusion. (we'll see if she takes my advice on book titles for the big finale) I am sad to be missing her panel today on the art of the short story.

Finally met Steve Brewer in person and finally gave him a copy of the book he so generously blurbed. Thanks again Steve. Why he isn't to the level of other attendees Robert Crais or Michael Connelly I'll never know. I just love his stuff.

Rebecca Cantrell was kind enough to sit for an interview with me and I have my sights on Kelli Stanley tomorrow. Hers is a book I look forward to picking up and diving into. She's getting a lot of attention for A Trace Of Smoke and it is only the first of her Hannah Vogel series. I'm keeping my eyes on her as one to watch in the coming years. Really nice person too but, as I said above, that's not surprising anymore.
Also got to hobnob with Sophie Littlefield this morning. Hard to believe she is considered a new author since I feel like I've been hearing the soaring praise for A Bad Day For Sorry for so long but there we were in the same freshman class. If only I could get a little of the heat she has for her badass character Stella Hardesty I'd be set.

Got a quick hello with Brett Battles, Barry Eisler and more and I am looking forward to tomorrow. I wanted to just experience it and get settled but tomorrow I'll bring my camera and play tourist a little in between acting "authorial". If I can get more interviews I will even if they only end up here but there is a good chance they might appear in either Crimefactory or Spinetingler. That is if I make them semi-coherent.

The Spy panel this morning was great with Brett Battles, Barry Eisler, Alan Cook, Aileen Baron and Gayle Lynds and yesterday's discussion of Raymond Chandler was interesting too. Not sure what I'll get to tomorrow beyond my own Meet a New Author panel in the afternoon. My fingers are crossed for Rebecca to win the award for best historical novel at the big ceremony/dinner.

Back to work now. Trying not to feel left out like a kid taking violin lessons while his friends play outside his window.

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