Sunday, March 24, 2013

Murder Is the Last Resort

That's not my personal feeling, it's the title of the Left Coast Crime mystery convention I attended last weekend in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

I flew in Thursday and got my bearings, meeting up with fellow Poisoned Pen Press author Tina Whittle and friend Ann Hogsett for the first of many cobb salads in the Cheyenne Mountain Resort's main dining area. (Those are Tina, friend Andrea, and Annie pictured below.)

Thursday night I stayed in the bar until late, sucking down bottles of sparkling water and listening to fascinating stories of covert and black ops, political intrigue, and guns from a variety of fellow mystery authors. I didn't contribute much to the conversation, obviously.

Friday I had a long lunch with some friends from Denver, attended a couple panels, and then had a front-row seat for one of the highlights of the weekend: the concealed weapons fashion show, in which authors of crime fiction modeled concealed weaponry dressed as their characters. Here are John Gilstrap and Reavis Wortham discussing John's turn on the catwalk as his former Delta Force operative, Jonathan Grave.

All of the activity I participated in happened on Saturday, starting with a minute-long pitch about my books to interested readers (at 7:30 a.m.) and progressing to two panels: Occupations to Die For and The Sporting Side of Murder.

But the big fun was Saturday night's banquet. First, I had the great joy of sitting next to my good friend Rochelle Staab and watching (and photographing) her win the Watson Award for the best sidekick. It was a well-deserved honor!

After that, we were treated to the long-delayed interview of western/mystery writer Craig Johnson by Lou Diamond Phillips (yeah, that guy). LDP stars in the television series based on Craig's Longmire series, and came to the convention as a favor to conduct Craig's guest of honor interview ... though the journey took longer than Lou expected, given the snowstorm raging in the area that day. After some 13 hours of (attempted) travel time, Lou arrived and proved himself to be enthusiastic about a room full of crazy writers. He threw himself into the festivities, helping raise money for a literacy charity in an auction, taking photos with any of us who asked, and proving to be a well-read and thorough interviewer.

All in all, a great night! And a great convention overall. I could have done without the 28-degree days and the walk outside from my room to the main lodge, but I can't complain about the trip overall. Lots of fun. I'll see you all in Monterey next March!