Monday, March 28, 2011

Left Coast Crime Conference

Over the weekend I attended the Left Crime Coast Conference in Santa Fe. This is my fifth LCC, and I enjoyed catching up with old friends and attending interesting panels. I moderated a New Writer Introduction breakfast with an excellent group of debut mystery writers including the following authors with the title of their books:
Avery Aames - The Long Quiche Goodbye
Wayne Arthurson - Fall from Grace
Joel Fox - Lincoln’s Hand
Susan Goldman - Hollywood Forever
Patricia Gulley - Downsized to Death
Reece Hirsch - The Insiders
Darynda Jones - First Grave on the Right
Andrew E. Kaufman - While the Savage Sleeps
Rob Kresge - Murder for Greenhorns
Jeanne Matthews - Bones of Contention
Patricia Morin - Mystery Montage
Colin T. Nelson - Reprisal
Kath Russell - A Pointed Death
Cindy Sample - Dying for a Date
Susan Shea - Murder in the Abstract
Valerie Stocking - A Touch of Murder
I also moderated a Unusual Crime Scene panel with Deb Baker (Hannah Reed), Ruthie-Marie Beckwith and Margaret Tessler. We had fun sharing how dead bodies appeared in our books as well as other locations we had heard of. At the conference there was a lot of discussion about e-books with more authors going the electronic route. Next year the conference will be in Sacramento, and I’m already signed up.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Panama Canal Cruise

We just returned from a fifteen-day Panama Canal cruise. The only downside—I got no writing done for almost three weeks. The highlight of the trip was going through the canal and seeing how the locks operate. I remember learning about the Panama Canal in grade school, but it only hit home when I saw it from a ship being lifted and lowered. We entered from the Pacific side and the ship was raised to Gatum Lake and then we sailed about eighty miles through the lake until we reached the Pacific locks and were lowered back to sea level. Going from the Atlantic to the Pacific through the Panama Canal actually entails traveling from West to East. This is hard to believe, but if you look at a map, you’ll see this is the case since the Isthmus of Panama is curved. We also swam with the dolphins in Cabo San Lucas. The experience of touching these graceful animals and holding on as they pulled us through a salt water pool was incredible—something everyone should try once. Now it’s back to reality—catching up on three weeks of email.