I'm no photojournalist. I carried my camera with me at this weekend's Left Coast Crime in downtown LA only sporadically. Too bad. I would have loved to get a photo of the terrific panel I moderated called "Thrill Me." Andy Gross, Meg Gardiner, April Smith, Boyd Morrison, and Dana Haynes were insightful, funny, and provocative. Also missing from the photos below are any late-night pix from the bar. Next time.
Here I am at a diner Friday evening with the ever-so talented Ellen Block (The Language of Sand out next month), the laugh-till-your-sides-split LA novelist Jennifer Colt (her The Hellraiser of the Hollywood Hills is out next month, too), and fellow Bay Area techie/novelist Mark Coggins (whose The Big Wake-Up garnered a starred review from PW last fall). They were smiling even after watching me eat my vegan tapioca for dessert. (The tattooed guy in the back is at the next table.)
Saturday morning I was on a panel called "Legal Eagles." (Jim Holmes, standing, was the moderator and then from left to right are my fellow panelists, Paul Levine, Twist Phelan, Teresa Burrell, and Ken Isaacson.) They knew what they were talking about. Me? I was almost arrested for practicing law without a license. Let off easy since I went to Palo Alto High, same as Erle Stanley Gardner, author of the Perry Mason series. Teresa claims to have dated the son of the model for Della Street -- that helped win me the pardon.
Angels Flight, a railway shorter than a football field, reopened on Saturday. Michael Connelly wrote a terrific book where the murder occurs right on this car. BTW, behind me in the orange fedora, that's Kelli Stanley. Her City of Dragons sits at #2 on the IMBA bestseller list.
Eric Stone, who writes the evocative Ray Sharp series, and the super-moderator and SinCLA chair, A.H. Ream, did a great job finding local places for lunch in downtown LA. Here's the menu board from the China Cafe in the Grand Central Market. Told that Raymond Chandler used to stop in for a bowl of chop suey. Nowadays that'll set you back around $4. (Note sign asking patrons not to throw lemons on the floor.)
Saturday night the wonderful Naomi Hirahara, the Edgar Award winner whose Blood Hina is just out, took her friend George and me on a tour of Japantown. We're in front of a statue of Chiune Sugihara, a Japanese diplomat in Lithuania during World War II who saved 6,000 Jews from murder at the hands of the Nazis.
I got back from sushi in Japantown with George and Naomi early enough Saturday night to catch pal Rebecca Cantrell pick up the Bruce Alexander Award for Best Historical Mystery for Trace of Smoke. It was a thrill for me just being there and seeing Becky win. Kelli Stanley, last year's winner, is behind her.
In addition to those mentioned above, had a great time hanging with Gayle Lynds, Bill Cameron, LJ Sellers, Ken Mercer, Donna Bagdasarian, Janet Rudolph, Jason Pinter, Hannah Dennison, Barry Eisler, JT Ellison, Colin Campbell (who wore shorts most of the time), John Gilstrap, Diana James, Darrell James, Sue Ann Jaffarian, Steve Steinbock, Stephen Jay Schwartz, Erica Spindler, Christa Faust,Tim Maleeny, Mysti Berry, Sheila Lowe, Diana Orgain, Rita Lakin, Joel Goldberg, Tim Hallinan, Michelle Gagnon, Bobby McCue, Sophie Littlefield, Linda Brown, John Gilstrap, Holly West, Juliet Blackwell, John Billheimer, Melodie Howe, and many more. (Sorry if I missed you; didn't mean to.)
Home now and recovering. Time to focus on getting draft of current WIP done!