Wednesday, October 28, 2015

My First LCC, By Tammy Kaehler

My first Left Coast Crime experience feels like ancient history … so long ago, when I was so young.

And yet, it’s only been five years. Los Angeles. 2010.

But maybe author years are like dog years. Don’t you think? At my first Left Coast Crime, I was a clueless, dorky, new kid in kindergarten. Just five years later, this year in Portland, I felt at least like a self-conscious high schooler—projecting an air of confidence and savvy, as if by pretending, I’d really feel them.

Maybe in another couple years I’ll have matured to the level of cool, knowledgeable adult. Then again, I haven’t reached that as an adult yet, let alone as an author, so maybe it’s too much to hope for.

But back to my first LCC. I’d been trying to sell my first book for a couple years, and I hadn’t yet connected with Poisoned Pen Press (still my publisher, thank you very much). I didn’t know much about Left Coast Crime at all, nor about Bouchercon (we could do a whole series on how we discover our great fan conventions), but I knew someone on the organizing committee.

So since the convention was happening near me, I went. And I discovered a whole new world. It’s probably not hyperbolic to say that’s when I first discovered my tribe.

I don’t remember meeting specific people—except for Matt Coyle, both of us pre-published and trying to soak up published-author mojo. And I don’t remember any specific advice or panels, though I remember listening to (and marveling at) Lee Child and the Kellermans.

But what I remember, and what has stayed with me, is the sense of community I felt. At that first LCC experience and at every other since then, I’ve felt connected to other attendees, to mystery readers and lovers, to writers. I always leave inspired to go write something interesting, as well as to read as much as possible.

That’s why since 2010, I haven’t missed a Left Coast Crime. That’s why I’ll be in Phoenix, looking for new books to read, inspiration for my own writing, and people to have good conversations with. Will you be there too? And what’s your first LCC memory?

Tammy is the author of the award-winning Kate Reilly Racing Mystery Series, published by Poisoned Pen Press. She's also unable to say no when asked to help plan mystery fan conventions.


  1. I can't wait to meet all of our PPP authors coming to Phoenix next year! Looking forward to a great time with y'all :-)

  2. Great blog post, Tammy. I totally relate. I'd never heard of any of these conferences until 2013. This year at Bouchercon was the first time I felt like maybe, just maybe, I belonged.

    Ellen Byron

  3. So looking forward to my first LCC!