Left Coast Crime in Sacramento was such a special event in my life that it’s taken me a few weeks to process everything.
Despite an injured leg that kept me limping around the hotel (and resulted in a wonderfully fun and memorable lunch at the nearest deli across the street, with Criminal Minds cohorts and good friends Rebecca Cantrell, Hillary Davidson, Gary Phillips and honorable CM Rhys Bowen), I managed to get to all the important spots: room, conference rooms, book room, restaurant and (of course) the bar, where more talking than drinking occurs, despite the yarns we writers like to invent.
Getting to spend a little time with writers and friends like Michelle Gagnon and Alex Sokoloff and Deb Ledford and Chantelle Osman and Roni Olson and Judith Starkston and James Rollins and Andy Peterson and Sophie Littlefield and Juliet Blackwell and Diana Orgain and JJ and Bette Lamb and Rita Lakin and Gar Anthony Haywood and Allison Brennan and Keith Raffel and award-winners Ann Parker and Darrell James and Camille Minochino and Naomi Hirahara and Lucinda and Stan Ulrich and my wonderful agent Kimberley Cameron … well, the list goes on, but the time spent with friends was incredibly healing.
Being shortlisted for the Golden Nugget award with outstanding writers like Jan Burke, Michael Connelly, Janet Dawson and Sue Grafton was a tremendous honor, and winning it for CITY OF SECRETS will always be one of the highlights of my life.
Seeing a character name in my next book–CITY OF GHOSTS–go for $1000 in a bidding war was a breathtaking, giddy thrill, and I can’t wait for Tom and Marie O’Day to meet Miranda.
Ultimately, though, LCC was about healing. It is frightening to be in a public space when you’re vulnerable and hurting. The kindness and love of my friends and crime fiction family was like being swaddled in the softest cotton, and having a literal support underneath me whenever I felt like I was in free-fall.
This weekend I’ll be heading to the Los Angeles Times Book Festival for a panel (California Noir) and book signings. It’s a special place and a special event, as last year I was a nominee and I was able to take my mom with me. Coming back will be emotionally demanding, as I’ll be thinking of her everywhere I go.
The thing is, I wouldn’t have been able to handle this without the strength and support I felt at LCC. As much as my career meant to my parents–as happy as they were to see me successfully published–I know they would be even happier to see the kindness and love given me by my crime fiction family.
Thank you, one and all, from the bottom of my heart.