There is a whole other day to Left Coast Crime, but I'm afraid they will have to carry on without me, as I leave early-ish tomorrow morning for home.
It was a full day, nonetheless, and started off with an extremely interesting panel on screenwriting. Not that I have any interest personally, but my son has stepped into the arena of screenwriting and I did my listening for him...on things he probably already knows. The panel consisted of Georgia Jeffries, Craig Faustus Buck, Ellen Byron, Lou Berney, and veteran Rita Laken (who used to write, among other things, Dr. Kildare and the Mod Squad). Moderator Jeffries began by asking the panelists what do they wish they knew when they were starting out. Lakin, who says that a female screenwriters had just as hard a time then as now, wished she had gone to more parties and networked. She said that the others at the parties assumed she was someone's girlfriend and not a writer. Some years later, she got tired of being asked by anxious newbies what they should do to get noticed by studios, and just to get rid of one guy told him to climb over the studio walls (you see, Graham. You're in.). Berney gave the best quote by saying that writing for the screen is "the only place you can die of encouragement." Every script you submit and get accepted is "the most perfect script anyone's ever seen"...before they offer you notes to change it all. But he cautioned that there are "good" notes vs "right" notes, that is, notes that might be good but wrong for that particular script. Buck suggested giving yourself time to get out of the room, telling the executives, "Let me think on it," so there is a bit of distance between the time the executive--not a writer--can rewrite it for you. Executives are fighting for their jobs just as much as writers are looking to slip in. And if the executive doesn't make suggestions for changes, it looks as if he isn't earning his keep.
For all the quirks of publishing, I think screenwriting has to be much worse.
Then it was off to "When Bad Things Happen to Good Detectives." I think I should have been on this one as I've done some pretty dastardly things to old Crispin, but no matter.
Sue Trowbridge, the Fan Guest of Honor (and my web maven) was on hand to moderate Cara Black, Janet Dawson (whose protagonist is named "Jeri." What a perfect name!), Libby Fisher Hellmann, and William Kent Krueger. (That's Sue, below, hiding behind the others. I don't know why, she's not shy.)
They offered intriguing insights to an amazing array of books, locations, and detectives.
And then finally, "How to Murder by the Book," with mysteries about books, librarians, and other book-related topics, with Rae James, Kate Carlisle, Erika Chase, Mary Jane Maffini aka Victoria Abbott, and Jenn McKinlay. Readers love this sort of mystery, something in the cozy category.
And then I snuck away for lunch--another uninspired and barely palatable fare (how did I manage to do that in Monterey?). But the view was nice. I walked around this little park, watching the coots and geese on the water, and the people paddle around in paddle boats. Especially this swan one.
And then the banquet. The authors were let in early so we could decorate our tables with goodies and such. I had some swords, a shield, and princess hats for everyone, including the men. But to appease the men, I dubbed them, so now they are knights.
Everyone also got a special little gift bag with a Crispin votive, a medieval rubber duckie, a sword pen, and a special scroll with hints as to the next books in the series. And as an added bonus, I did a book giveaway.
And everyone had to wear the silly hats.
A lovely mix of authors and readers! And such good sports for letting me humiliate them like that.
As for the banquet, our talented toastmaster Brad Parks was a very funny fellow but David Corbett was right, less is more. Award winners were Kent Krueger, Louise Penny, Brad Parks, and Catriona McPherson. Congratulations, all! And for me, anyway, another Left Coast Crime comes to a close. I'll be driving fast and dangerous tomorrow. See you back in Menifee ("Menifee? Where's that?")