Sunday, February 28, 2016

Left Coast Crime - An Overview

RHYS BOWEN: For the past three days I've been attending Left Coast Crime in Phoenix, as has fellow Jungle Red Deborah Crombie.. Left Coast is always one of my favorite conventions. It's big enough to attract a good sampling of top writers (718 attended) but not so huge that it feels overwhelming like Bouchercon, the world mystery convention. And thanks to the team of volunteers it feels as if it is running with no effort at all. I also like the hotel--plenty of places to sit. A bar that is large enough (always important) and the weather in Phoenix is just perfect.
(one tiny complaint--why do they always have to turn up the air conditioning so high! Freezing.)

For me it's always like a high school reunion, catching up with old friends. But this time it's a special treat because my agent, Meg Ruley, is here to share it with me. She came a day early and we went on an adventure into the desert and had tea at an English tea room. Not many of the New York publishing crowd attend are here, but Thomas and Mercer treated their writers to a fabulous dinner.

We started with a mercifully brief opening ceremony, thanks to witty toastmaster Catriona McPherson. Guests of honor were introduced (Greg Hurwits, Ann Cleves, Chantelle Aimee Osman) and nominees for awards were presented with plaques. And there was good food (always important)
Here are the nominees for Bruce Alexander and the Lefty award for most humorous.

Panels all day Friday and Saturday. When you've been to as many conventions as I have, they all seem much of the same. I was on the panel of Bruce Alexander nominees, moderated by Bill Gottfried. I had to follow Heather Haven who grew up in a circus with parents who were elephant trainers. How do you follow that act?
 The consensus is that a panel moderated by Simon Wood was the standout on Friday--it was called A funny thing happened (war stories from veteran crime writers) and I don't think the audience stopped writing once for an hour).

On Saturday I moderated the Liar's Panel, with veteran liars Gary Phillips, Parnell Hall, Kelli Stanley and Carolyn Haines. Lots of hilarity. My favorite lie when Parnell claimed he had done voice overs for children's books and he was Peter Pan and Gary Phillips was Tinkerbell. For those who don't know him Gary has the biggest, deepest voice in the universe.

Then Saturday night was the banquet. Food not bad. Catriona did a great job as toastmaster, moving things along, being witty and adorable as always. Lots of money was raised in her live auction for charity. Then came the Lefty awards. Gigi Pandian won for book set in the Western US. Louise Penny for book set outside our geographic region. Donna Andrews for humorous novel AND Rhys Bowen for best historical, Malice at the Palace. Lots of celebrating at my table. It was lovely to have both my agent, Meg Ruley, friend Bob Dugoni and husband John with me.(and you can't really see but the award is a cactus in glass. Stunning.)


  1. Congratulations on your award, Rhys!
    And thanks for sharing so much of the conference with us . . . it sounds like it was absolutely perfect!

  2. Thanks for the report, and congratulations on the award!

  3. Congratulations Rhys! And what a pleasure to have family and friends with you. At least now we have a little window into LCC even if we weren't able to attend...

  4. Congratulations, RHYS! And I'm always thrilled to see how many of the nominees have bee guests on Jungle Red. And I see you wore white!

  5. Woohoo, Rhys! Congratulations!

    I've been to the English Rose tearoom--so odd that it's out in the middle of the desert! But a lovely place for tea with your agent.

  6. Congratulations, Rhys! And thank you for taking me on a vicarious visit to LCC. Sounds like a wonderful, fun, conference.

  7. Rhys, congratulations on your well-deserved win! So nice that John was there with you. After meeting him in Raleigh, I am a big fan of his. You must have an awesome case of awards at your home, with the unique forms that some of them take. I've loved seeing pictures of Left Coast Crime, including yours and especially those with you in them. And, you rocked the white pants, Rhys.

    Left Coast is a convention that is rapidly growing in its attraction for me. That it's in Honolulu next year is especially tempting. The hotel, the Hilton Hawaiian Village Beach Resort is an awesome place. I haven't stayed there, but I've stayed close several times and have eaten and shopped there. If it coincides with when I would be going with my husband, it would be a no-brainer.

  8. Good for you, Rhys! That is a well deserved award. How lovely to hear about other authors whose books I read. I'll bet Catriona is a hoot; love her books. And good for Gigi! Donna Andrews's series is always funny and Louise Penny's writing is out of this world.

  9. Congratulations, Rhys! I wish I could have been there!