Left Coast Crime is a mystery/thriller conference of writers and fans, held every year in a town somewhere vaguely around the Left Coast, which tells you something right there. This year it was “Crimelandia” in Portland, a beautiful city rain or shine. And we got both. Even a “rainbow” bridge.
LCC is a community of witty, smart, and generous people. I appeared on an espionage panel, “The Spies Have It,” and our conversation ranged from important writers of the genre–John Le Carré, Graham Greene, Alan Furst–to geopolitics and technology. Did I say, smart? Hats off to my stimulating panel-mates, (from right:) Brett Battles, Arthur Kerns, Tim Tigner, and Ryan Quinn.
I got out of the hotel a few times and walked across the Steel Bridge, built to last in 1906.
Thanks to author Vinnie Hansen for the photo!
Of course I (re)visited Powell’s Books.
And discovered the Chinese Garden, created by a designer from the ancient garden city, Suzhou, which my husband and I visited on our honeymoon. Many thanks to author Michael Sears and artist Barbara Segal for the suggestion!
Portland really is a city of bridges, ships, and trains. (Beer and books too, of course.) Here’s Union Station and more bridges.
The last evening, I applauded some friends, Catriona McPherson and Gigi Pandian, who won awards.
And another wonderfully talented nominee, Martha (M.P.) Cooley.
I love this conference for the friends I’ve made, from acquaintances to lasting friends in the blink of an eye. Being a writer is not the easiest life and there is that shared bond as a subtext to all the laughs at the bar. I deepened some older relationships and connected with others whom I already adore–Stacy Allen, Valentina (V.M.) Giambanco, and Sarah Lovett. I look forward to seeing them next time and until then, reading their books.
As I said, it’s a community of readers. We’re all quirky and curious. On the way home I flew with a pair of Berkeley academics, Carlo Vennarucci (www.italian-mysteries.com), and Lyn Reese (www.womeninworldhistory.com). These are the kind of people who attend LCC, smart and very cool.