Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Left Coast Crime Wrap-Up

There will always be something I forget to say in the process of posting. But one thing I want to say right off is that the spirit of my posts is intended to be in good fun and camaraderie. I jest with people I like.

I can’t be bothered with those I dislike.

And any teasing is meant with great affection. That’s why I went and changed what I relayed about the swearing panel. Bruce and I talked about the context of the comment and he 100% agreed it was fair to relay, just that we wanted to be sure people understood the point.

The point is, there I was wondering how we could really get words that were worse than what were being used now, and Bruce nailed it.

Hopefully, I’ve made that clear as mud.

And I could jest about many things said in more private venues, about waking Sean Chercover up on Sunday morning (I phoned him people! Geesh.) and how that led to poker and the debate over who took money from whom… But I promised SJ Rozan I would clarify to the world that Sean did not take her money. And we all know the entire world reads my blog (insert roll eyes emoticon). I think the point here is that the poker game was memorable and fun. Next time, I’m going to the poker game myself, I hope. I love cards, but evilkev hates games.

Now, you might be wondering what the hell’s with the long explanation and the more serious approach here? Seems some people think I mean to be malicious and that isn’t my intent at all. But this is going to get over to issues of loss and how they affect us. The mystery community recently lost a much loved author and wonderful person I never had the pleasure of meeting. Yet her impact was such that losing her touches us all.

There is another community I’m part of, the firefighter community. It’s a brotherhood, it’s international, and it’s a tie that runs deep. Yesterday we learned we’d lost two heroes in a fire in Winnipeg. When you’re the wife of a firefighter you never hear this and dismiss it, it never fails to cut you to the core. You live with the reality that every call is one where your spouse puts their life on the line.

And what’s worse is, I worry about my friends in general. I actually give a damn. If you don’t want me to care about you get the fuck out of my life.

So there.

If I do the great con recap, it started with the drive from Vancouver with Jen and Merlot from the 4MA list, followed by the 4MA dinner, which was fantastic.

Thursday I had breakfast with Toni McGee Causey, and then it was registration and reconnecting. The first panel featured Alexandra Sokoloff and Kat Richardson, both of whom I’d met at Bouchercon, at least in passing. Over the course of the weekend I had a chance to talk to both of them, at least once, which was nice.

I managed two panels on Thursday, but found it a struggle. I was roasting, and the capacity crowd didn’t help with that. However, I already got to have some of those longer, better chats by the afternoon, hanging out for a bit with Alex Brett, catching up with Tim Maleeny, chatting with Anthony Bidulka. And I met Linda L. Richards, who was on the late afternoon panel I attended.

Thursday dinner with Robert Fate and Bill Cameron was wonderful. Bill’s wife wasn’t feeling well, so I’m sorry she missed it. But then, I wasn’t 100% either. Great food, wonderful company though.

Friday. Hmmm. Breakfast via the drug store. You know it’s bad when you’re making that your first stop of the morning.

I went to Tim Maleeny’s panel. I went to lunch with a great crowd, and I’ve already mentioned the afternoon panel.

Dinner was nice and quiet, just what I needed.

Saturday I actually felt like I had some fun.

Now, it’s no secret that Barry Eisler missed the auction Friday night. When there are 500 + people at an event, it’s not what you’d call private so repeating it isn’t what I’d call gossip. But I only mean it in good jest to tease him, because the one thing any of us who know Barry on any level know is that he’s not the type of guy to blow off a commitment. I had tracked down the DorothyL moderators and then saw Andi, and she was saying she needed to find someone who knew Barry to find out what had happened to him. Not to rebuke him but because she was genuinely worried, as was I. It just wasn’t like him.

Mistakes happen to the best of us, and this just happened to be when Barry had a memory lapse. I don’t say it to make him feel bad at all – when he walked into The Green Room in prep for The Liar’s Panel I was just so relieved to see that he was okay. Maybe everyone’s a bit sensitive about losing someone so loved in the mystery community recently. Maybe I’m extra sensitive right now.**

In his good-natured way Barry joked about finding out he had some room upgrade and having chocolates and champagne delivered to his room unexpectedly, and since it was the romance package it included breakfast for two. Hence the joke about the romantic breakfast with Paul Guyot. I mean, if you’ve got it, you may as well take someone out to breakfast, right? But it was romantic in billing terms only.

The people I met and had the pleasure of spending time with were wonderful. I left feeling I’d wanted to spend more time with them, always a good sign.

That doesn’t mean that the conference was without a few clouds for me. There were some things I’m going to carry for a while. It had nothing to do with the con itself, though.

I learned several things during the convention and my travels before and after LCC (so not everything has to do with the con):

1. When someone says, “So tell me all about the book” you’re supposed to talk about your book. Not say it’s out now.

2. When airport security selects you for the full screening process you shouldn’t mention this is very cool and ask if you can take notes.

3. Murder By The Book in Portland Oregon is fantastic and I wish they’d bring the store to Calgary.

4. I have a reputation for being a ‘prolific presenter of strong opinions’. I have no idea where the hell anyone got that idea from. They’re wrong, of course. I’m as wishy-washy as they come.

5. Online I come off as older than I actually am. I’m going to take that as a testament to my profound wisdom and intelligence, which I seem to have acquired young. (Anyone gagging yet?)

6. Some people really are self-important jackasses.

7. I cry far too easily.

I have a long list of people I met or reconnected with. Which means I’m bound to forget someone. But a few highlights, at least for now:

4MA – Maddy, Em, Merlot, Jen, Mary Saums… The whole gang, every single one of them, is wonderful. I cannot tell you how much I love that list. And I met Donna Moore, who won the Leftie. Huge huge congrats to her on that.

Chatting with Jack Getze during my signing time. Jack’s debut, Big Numbers will be out this spring. I am delighted to see that Jack will be at Murder in the Grove in June, so I hope to have a chance to hear how his launch has gone.

The sage advice from Alex Brett.

Finally having a chance to talk to Rick Mofina, who is just wonderful.

Meeting Gregg Olsen, who is one of the nicest guys on the planet and is going to be a huge smash with his debut novel next month. He’s articulate, funny and someone I didn’t spend enough time with.

Hanging out with my brother Bill and his wife Jill – I wish they lived closer because they are a super-cool couple.

The one-liners. Oh. My. God. I heard some of the funniest things over the weekend ever. And saw some of the best book inscriptions ever.


Tim Maleeny.

Hearing great publishing stories from Marshall Karp about MacAdam/Cage and looking at their beautiful book catalogue. I am in love with that publisher. Just beautiful, beautiful work.

Robert Fate.

Troy and Bruce Cook.

Martin Edwards and Stephen Booth.

Twist Phelan. Generous, engaging and incredibly sweet. I’m so glad I got to spend some time with her, although (as always) it wasn’t enough.

Louise Ure.

Hope McIntyre.

And there are a bazillion people I need to email and say it was great to meet.

And another bazillion I wish I’d met but didn’t. I at least met Naomi Hirahara, but didn’t get to congratulate her on the Edgar nom. Ugh.

I know there is more I planned to say. Probably something about The Bible and Baby Shark. (Did I forget to tell all of you how I went for the two-foot meal deal during my panel? They weren't laughing near me, they were laughing at me, and I don't blame them!) However, as I am still hacking up a lung here, I’m going to post this and return to my big, soft, warm bed. The work will wait another day or two, but clearly my lungs intend to move to better accommodations if I don’t placate them with nursing and fussing and chicken soup and Canada Dry!!!!! But my eyes aren’t watery at the moment, so I’m going to try reading.

And to slowly catch up with my friends.

I'm still mulling over some interesting points raised on panels that I may address in posts this week, which is why I haven't said more about those. And since things are still lingering in my mind, they are most likely to come out here.

** And I had some personal bad news recently about someone in my family who’s ill. Facing issues of mortality always makes people smart a bit, I guess. When I was visiting my friend in BC before LCC we were talking about how it was exactly a year since she’d lost her dad. It was hard because it was so sudden. There are a lot of people who could no-show for an event and I wouldn't give it a second thought, because it wouldn't be unexpected for them. There are others who, upon hearing they've missed something, I feel a gripping cold squeeze my heart.


angie said...

"When airport security selects you for the full screening process you shouldn’t mention this is very cool and ask if you can take notes."

I really, really hope you didn't actually do this!

Sounds like you had a reasonably good time for being as sick as you were. And I'm sure most folks figured out the joking/teasing part...nothing sounded mean-spirited, just damn funny.

Stephen Blackmoore said...

Oh, it's not that bad, Angie. I've done that. Lots of times.

Which just now makes me wonder why they keep pulling me aside.

Hope you're feeling better Sandra, and I'm sure you didn't hurt anyone's feelings with anything you posted. At least, I'd like to think there aren't as many people taking things that fucking seriously. I mean, come on. Sense of humor and all.

Sandra Ruttan said...

Uh, well, airport security will likely remember me for a while. Lol.

I'm still feeling crummy and am hiding in bed with blankets over my head between occasional trips to the kitchen for ginger ale. My voice is still on temporary leave. It hurts to talk, it hurts to sit for too long, and it hurts to think too much.

I would like to think some people would get it. I've always taken convention reporting as a way to let those who missed the event feel as though they were there, but primarily with the positive stuff. Truly, I've had very few bad experiences at cons and when they've happened they've always been with some self-important jackass or a complete misunderstanding, which has nothing to do with the con.

I've never played by the idea of what happens at a con stays at a con. That's thinking for people who have something to hide. What happens in your hotel room can stay there. What happens on program and that you've discussed with people and said, "oh this is so going on my blog" is fair game.

I'm horrid because I do all this teasing and joking, but that's all it is.

It's like a whole different thing from telling people who's sleeping with whom. I don't know and don't want to know.

spyscribbler said...

Thanks for telling those of us who couldn't go all about it! And the airport security thing was just too funny. :-)

Naomi said...


I tried to leave you a message a couple of days ago but blogger wouldn't take it. Anyway, wish we had more time to chat. Next time.

Sandra Ruttan said...

Naomi, commenting has been erratic on blogger... as seems to be normal.

But it was good to meet you!

Twist said...

The pleasure was mine, Sandra. Hope you feel better soon!