It’s Conference Time!

When is a conference not a conference?

<drum roll>

When it happens in March 2020.

The last time I went to a writing conference was in 2020 for Left Coast Crime in San Diego. It was surreal experiencing the shutdown of the entire event. Notices were quickly taped to doors and windows. People scrambled for their phones to rearrange transportation and find lodging. I resigned myself to canceling my hotel reservation (hoping for a refund) and traveling the two hours back to Los Angeles.

Since 2020, I’ve been to a few conferences—all virtual. What’s hard about online events is adjusting to the technology. For example, it’s tough to gauge audience reaction when I can’t see faces. This is especially true when I’m trying to land a joke. I’m also not that adept at simultaneously talking and following the chat stream. (In fact, I’m usually not good at doing two things at once. Rubbing my belly and patting my head don’t go well together.)

On the bright side, I like the convenience of virtual. There’s no need to travel; it’s almost like being able to teleport to a far-flung location. Speaking of locations, I love how online events provide the opportunity for additional attendees. With ease of access, a lower cost barrier, and plenty of space, more people can attend virtual gatherings.

That doesn’t mean I don’t miss live conventions. I’m actually returning to Left Coast Crime for 2022, which takes place in Albuquerque. (I’ve never been there, so I can’t wait to explore the area.) Attending in person will require toting stuff…and not just personal belongings. I’ll be bringing in swag, treats for readers. I’ve signed up to meet approximately 140 new friends at an author speed dating event. For two hours, authors will get to hop from table to table and speak (for a few minutes) to readers. You can bet that I had a stuffing party to put together that many treat bags!  

I’m pretty sure that I’ll be buying books at Left Coast Crime. I can’t say no to wonderful fiction. Besides, it’s all about supporting other authors, right? The organizers probably do expect me to buy a lot since they usually give out huge book bags during registration. I’ve even known fellow authors who must go to the post office (or mail room, if the conference offers one) to ship books home.

It’ll be interesting eating with people again. I mean, large swaths of people in a banquet room. Left Coast Crime does have an awards night (and I’m up for a Lefty for Best Humorous Mystery Novel).

I’m excited for the packed schedule. I want to jump around to different panels, soaking in information. I want to chat with others in the hallways for fun. I’m yearning to meet people I’ve only interacted with online and to reconnect to those I haven’t seen in years.

Left Coast Crime, here I come! (Note: Since I’ll be at the conference, I won’t be blogging next week.)

Do you have any live events coming up?

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  1. That’s exciting! I’m itching to get to a conference before the years out. When in Albuquerque, check the Sawmill, great place to eat and shop.

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