Sunday, March 16, 2008

LEFT COAST CRIME
Guest Blogger: Becky LeJeune


As a 26-year-old self-proclaimed book junkie, I often read about other people’s convention experiences with green-eyed envy. Well no more! With Left Coast Crime being held right here in Denver, there was no way I could miss it. Despite my looming deadline at work and the fact that I don’t drive around Denver at all if I can help it, I brought along my ever-useful Nuvi and made my way to the Adam’s Mark hotel each morning with excitement and anticipation of what the day would hold.

Day one at Left Coast Crime and I spied Toni McGee Causey as soon as I walked in the building! I was much too shy to go introduce myself until later when she was signing, but I was totally stoked about recognizing my fellow Southerner right off the bat and it was, for me, the perfect start to my weekend.

That day I attended panels on the use of sidekicks in mysteries, Cozymania, comedy in mystery, and psychological thrillers. Some of the interesting topics that came up included the difference between thrillers and mysteries (the consensus was pacing and the why more than the who – mystery can allow for a slower pace and is usually concerned with whodunit while the psychological thriller has to keep a faster pacing and is concerned with the whydunit) and the use of labels - a topic that is very interesting to me as a former bookseller.

The second day at the convention I sat in on the Dicks with Baggage, Modern PI panel, the hilarious Sex and Violence panel, a cross-genre panel with a supernatural twist, a panel focused on historical mysteries, and finally the International Thriller Writers Thrills and Chills Panel.

Various points of discussion included the traditional versus the modern PI, whether there can be too much sex or violence in a book (a unanimous no amongst panelists who all agreed that as long as it is relevant and necessary to the story, there can never be too much), again, the label topic this time in regards to the ever-growing list of sub-genres specifically in regards to urban fantasy, what sparks interest in a historical author, and the methods used by the ITW authors when trying to keep you up all night.

Saturday’s panels included the two Mystery Writers of America panels on character and plot development. Thanks to JT Ellison who picked me out of the crowd for the character exercise, making me a woman from a broken home considering the use of a hit-man for husband elimination! It was an absolute blast. I also attended an “endless discussion” on tough broads with panelists Jeanne Stein, JT Ellison, Michelle Gagnon, Alexandra Sokoloff and Pari Noskin Taichert. I caught the tail end of the Authors on the Hot Seat panel in which Twist Phelan talked about her hilariously nightmarish signing experience.

Overall my first convention experience was fantastic. I walked away with some interesting bits of information and met some fantastic authors – Toni McGee Causey, Simon Wood, Laura Benedict, Marcus Sakey, Jeanne Stein, Mario Acevedo, Pari Noskin Taichert, JT Ellison, Michelle Gagnon, CJ Lyons, Laura Caldwell and many, many more. I bought a ton of books having had my interest piqued by many of the authors on the panels. It was a totally indulgent weekend for me and it definitely won’t be my last convention!

Pictures:

Alexandra Sokoloff in the Where do These Stories Come From (plot panel)

Michelle Gagnon and JT Ellison in the Tough Broads discussion









Pari Noskin Taichert and Jeanne Stein in the Tough Broads discussion

Pari Noskin Taichert in the Where do These People Come From (character panel)

2 comments:

JT Ellison said...

Becky, meeting you and coopting your life was definitely one of my major highlights of LCC! Can't wait to hear all your great news in the coming year. And please send me the link to that cookbook!
Best,
JT

Joann Halpern said...

By any chance, is this the same Becky I worked with at a resolution company that shall remain nameless? If so, hi there! Glad to see you're still a book junkie, and I envy you greatly for going to Left Coast!!

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