Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Find me at Left Coast Crime

I'm off to Phoenix today for the annual gathering of mystery writers, readers, and fans on the left side of the United States. Yes, it's finally time for Left Coast Crime, The Great Cactus Caper! (I say "finally," because I've been part of the planning committee for more than a year, and that means a lot of buildup and anticipation.)

But it's finally here! I'll be busy with lots of fun activities, including a couple panels and an Author-Reader Connection event, where I'm treating three mystery fans to lunch! But here's what I'm most excited about...

  • Author Brand-Building Workshop (Thurs 8a-12p), led by Deborah Lacy, a social media and marketing professional. She knows her stuff, and I'm ready to learn! (Though I'll be working as a class backup, so I may be bugging attendees later for notes.)
  • My donation for the silent auction: the Strong Woman Toolkit. It's loaded with inspiration and entertainment (including a set of Kate Reilly Mysteries), and I hope it raises good funds for LCC's charity: KidsRead USA.
  • My Cherchez La Femme, Women Overturning the Stereotype: Strong female sleuths as role models panel (Friday 11a), with panelists Allison Brennan, Mark Coggins, Deborah Crombie, and me, moderated by Francine Matthews (aka Stephanie Barron). 
  • The Discover Mystery Breakfast (Saturday 7:30-9a). Open to all attendees—find me at the table I'm hosting!
  • The Leftys Awards Banquet. Two words: Tiara Table.
  • Moderating the LCC Closing Panel: an Interview with the Guests of Honor (Sunday 12:30p). I hope everyone joins us for some final thoughts from Ann Cleeves, Gregg Hurwitz, Chantelle Aimée Osman, and Catriona McPherson.
I hope to see you all soon. And if you're there and I don't see you, find me!

Friday, February 12, 2016

Talking Tiaras

A couple years ago, my good friend and conference buddy Rochelle Staab asked if I was willing to host a banquet table at the annual Left Coast Crime convention with her. I, of course, agreed (I suggest to all of you that when a marketing-savvy and all-around fun friend asks you to do something with her, you say yes.)

Some background: Left Coast Crime is the annual fan convention for crime fiction writers, readers, and fans (and librarians and booksellers and...and) that takes place on the left side of the country (not always near a coast). During each LCC, there's a banquet, at which the Lefty Awards are presented. Different people are asked to host tables, and the general LCC attendance can sign up for the table of their choice. (Note: pay attention to the idea of signups!)

So I said yes, and Rochelle and I started brainstorming. You see, part of the tradition of table hosting is providing a fun atmosphere and some little gifts for your tablemates. Often, this is a copy of the author/host's latest book or some fun swag promoting the author's series.

While I give Rochelle all credit for the hosting ideas and the brilliance of the rest of the table decorations and giveaways, I will take credit for one, fundamental idea. That's right, tiaras. Because, really...

Here we are at LCC 2014 in Monterey:

Well, the idea went over so well that the next year, we were offered a hosting gig again. The tiaras made a triumphant return in Portland!

You probably see where this is going. We're about two weeks out from the LCC 2016 Leftys Awards banquet, and yes, there will be another Tiara Table! Here's what you have to do to join us:
  1. Pick up your registration packet early. 
  2. When you get your registration packet, look for the banquet table signups.
  3. Put your name down for the Tiara Table (Tammy Kaehler and Rochelle Staab). 
  4. Come to the banquet dressed like a queen! (Then again, tiaras go with everything.)
We hope to see you there!