Well, it’s Sunday night, and I’ve traded back in the sunny skies and seventy-degree weather of Phoenix and Left Coast Crime for a rainy, windy fifty degrees here in Seattle, where I live. Other than a difficult fiasco getting out of the Phoenix Airport that involved the TSA trying to touch my junk, it was a smooth, fantastic trip. Drinks were had. Stories were told. Friends were made. And once again I was reminded of how much fun it is to hang out with your fellow writers and talk shop.
I spent the first night bellied up to the bar with Rob Pierce and C.S. (Chris) Dewildt. Both are fellow All Due Respect Books authors, and it was good to finally meet them in person. That is until I looked up and realized we’d been sitting there having drinks for six hours. After I engaged in a little rooftop session I won’t go into detail about I called it a night a little after midnight, but had had enough drinks that it ought to be much later.
Which is to say I was in rough shape for the Meet the New Authors Breakfast at 7:30 am the next morning. All I can tell you about my one-minute pitch for Debt Crusher up on stage is that it happened, people said it went fine afterward, and I went back to bed for an hour after not so much as touching the food.
I spent the rest of the day hitting panels, the highlight of which was the “Rock and Roll is Not a Crime” panel. Loved it. Shout out to S.W. Lauden for a great job moderating. Then it was time for a quick dinner at an Irish Pub down the street with a few friends, including fellow Seattle homeboy Brian Thornton and his wife Robyn as well as Stacey Robinson and David Schlosser.
Two Harps and one serious shepherd’s pie later, Brian and I rushed back in time to hit the “green room” and record what turned out to easily be my favorite episode of Noir on the Radio (click the link to listen to it) we’ve done. Though we’d hung briefly the night before, it was my first experience getting to know Josh Stallings, and man is he a great guy in addition to being a great writer. Just such a sweet dude with smart things to say and a great personality.
By then I was thick as thieves with the only other three authors reading that night who I hadn’t officially met in person, Rob Pierce, Chris Dewildt and S.W. Lauden. I’ve worked with Sarah M. Chen when she came up for Noir at the Bar Seattle, and Brian and I hang quite a bit as a result of both being on the Mystery Writers of American Northwest board (Brian is the president) as well as Noir at the Bar. I’m a big fan of every single person who reads on the show, but this group in particular’s readings were fantastic, and if you want to hear some amazingly talented and experienced authors dish on writing, the panel discussion after the readings is definitely worth a listen.
Afterward, I spent some time in the bar chatting with the likes of Joe Clifford, then having a great MMA discussion with Christa Faust, who is hella fun to chat with. By the time I hit the sack I was exhausted, so much so that I slept in until the 11 am panels, then went and grabbed some lunch with friends before hitting a full slate of panels in the afternoon.
I got a great dinner invitation that made me elect to skip the banquet in favor of checking out some gourmet Phoneix chow and cocktails. After the whitest cab ride in history, we had a really nice dinner at Beckett’s Table that included some great conversations with the likes of David Corbett and Bill Fitzhugh, among others, which thrilled this newbie writer to the core. And alas, I was exhausted again. When we arrived at the hotel, I grabbed a Manhattan in the bar, fully intending to hit the poker game in the “green room,” then promptly went upstairs and straight to sleep.
I flew out first thing Sunday morning, which is where the airport madness ensued. However, my habit of always getting to the airport obnoxiously early saved my butt, and I even had time to sit down for some chorizo and eggs (good for this southern-boy-Seattlite transplant’s soul), then I ditched the sun and fun of Phoenix for the rain and wind of an atypically cold but typically rainy Seattle afternoon. And to tell you the truth, I wasn’t complaining by then. Phoenix was nice, but there’s simply no place like Seattle, and I missed my wife after three days away.
All-in-all it was a fantastic conference, my first Left Coast Crime. I already really miss my crew down there, and can’t wait for Bouchercon in Nawlins this fall. Cheers to everyone who came out and who made me feel so welcome, ya’ll are fucking kings and queens in my book. If you ever come up to Seattle you’ve got a guaranteed tour guide / friend. Cheers everyone!