The rather fabulous Kelli Stanley (right) is attending Denver’s Left Coast Crime, and has rather fabulously volunteered to blog the experience for us (the first instalment can be found here). To wit:
LCC Day Two: Hotels, Historicals and Harmonicas
OK, so first you’ve got to understand that the LCC conference hotel itself is a rather left-handed form of architecture. It’s actually two hotels, one with a bar (most important feature), a restaurant, a gift shop and eight floors, and another hotel, with thirty odd floors, a sports bar, and a gift shop and three confusing floors of conference rooms. The challenge is how to get from one hotel to the other without getting lost too many times.
You might think crossing the street would do it, but it’s cold outside. Really cold, especially early in the morning. So if you’re staying at the smaller hotel, like I am, and want to get to your panel, here’s what you do:
You take a covered walking bridge on the second floor to the conference centre. Then you take an escalator or elevator up one more floor, veer left as though you’ve just had your fourth martini, make a sharp right into the Sisters in Crime hospitality suite for directions or water, walk backwards 50 paces to another escalator, go down one flight, and make a sharp left. You’ll be in a long hall, and you’re supposed to be in one of the rooms to either your right or left. They’re named after Colorado things (Columbine, Vale), and to make matters more(!) confusing, the floor you are now on--which is who knows how many stories below ground--is called the “Terrace” level.
The Majestic level is one floor below this, and if you just spin around three times, click your heels together and throw salt over your left shoulder, and you might find the book room downstairs, along with more panel rooms. The good thing is that when you inevitably get lost, you can almost always find your way back to one of the bars. Or a gift shop, if you’re so inclined.
So after experiencing the maze of the conference rooms, I’m even more impressed at the terrific job that Sisters in Crime and the team of volunteers have done here in Denver. Today I got up at the crack of dawn to attend the New Author’s Breakfast, where novelists like the fabulous Bill Cameron (Lost Dog), Toni McGee Causey (Bobbie Faye’s Very (very, very, very) Bad Day), J.T. Ellison (All the Pretty Girls), Laura Benedict (Isabella Moon), CJ Lyons (Lifelines) and Ken Isaacson (Silent Counsel) had a chance to talk about their books.
A bit later, I had a chance to talk about history and the Roman side of Roman Noir in NOX DORMIENDA at an MWA panel with Aileen Baron, Beverle Graves Myers, Frederick Ramsay and the amazing and wonderful Rhys Bowen (Her Royal Spyness, right)). Colorado school children in attendance made the panel extra fun ... the kids asked the best questions! They also queued up at the signing, where I was very happily seated in between the dashing Eric Stone (Grave Imports) and the charming Tasha Alexander (And Only to Deceive).
In the afternoon, finally had a chance to play the (pawn shop) harmonica. At the end of our Endless Conversation, I warbled a few bars of Oh, Susanna. Never one to turn down a reprise, I played it again for Rhys at the MWA Cocktail Party and chatted with more friends, including Alexandra Sokoloff (The Harrowing), Cornelia Read (The Crazy School), Sophie Littlefield, Terri Thayer (Wild Goose Chase) and Susan Arnout Smith (The Timer Game). Also in attendance was the delightful Margie Lawson, writing teacher and editor extraordinaire. If you’re looking to take an online class and really make a difference in your productivity and awareness when it comes to your own work, Margie is the go-to gal. After the party, I headed out for a massive and delicious dinner with nine friends at Maggiano’s restaurant.
And still, I had to resist the urge to go into the bar when I came back, full and exhausted ... so strong is the socializing instinct and urge at Left Coast Crime. Hey, after I write this, maybe I’ll go try to get lost again ...
Day Three tomorrow ... the Lefty Banquet, Hawaiian Costume contest and the NOIR Panel! Jason Starr, Con LeHane, Ken Kuhlken, Cornelia Read and yours truly will be diving dark deep ... I’ll be talking about the noir side of Roman Noir.
LCC Denver in February ain’t hibernation, baby! – Kelli Stanley
“Prose both scabrous and poetic.” – Publishers Weekly. “Proust meets Chandler over a pint of Guinness.” – Spectator. “A sheer pleasure.” – Tana French. “Among the most memorable books of the year, of any genre.” – Sunday Times. “A hardboiled delight.” – Guardian. “Imagine Donald Westlake and Richard Stark collaborating on a screwball noir.” – Kirkus Reviews. “A cross between Raymond Chandler and Flann O’Brien.” – John Banville. “The effortless cool of Elmore Leonard at his peak.” – Ray Banks. “A fine writer at the top of his game.” – Lee Child.