Thursday, November 5, 2015

Our First LCC: Tina Whittle and Annie Hogsett

Tina: My first Left Coast Crime was Sacramento 2012: Mining for Murder. I remember being terribly excited because as a lifelong Right Coaster, I had never been to this part of Left Coast Land (there were rumors of wine country!) But mostly because I was to meet the person who would become my BCB Best Conference Buddy.

Annie: Seriously? That was Tina’s first LLC? I thought she’d been to
thousands. I remember walking into the lovely convention hotel wearing my (figurative) Screaming-Freaked-Out-Newbie t-shirt. And there They were the real writers gathered in small, intimate clusters. I didn’t know anyone. Not even my wonderful new friend, critique partner & pen pal, Tina. Sure, we’d exchanged 50,000 words of email. But what if we couldn’t, like, talk? Ah, well. At least there would be the wine tour. Wine makes for some easy talking, right? It worked.

Tina: And of course I caught some kind of plague-virus on the way over, so I was fevered, sniffling, wretched not the best first impression. But Annie didn’t banish me to the hallway (this was when I knew she was a gem among humankind) and we set out on our first LCC adventure, the wine tour.

I highly recommend taking advantage of these LCC side trips,by the way arrive a bit early before the daybreak-to-midnight action of the convention begins and experience the flavor of your host city. An adventurous conference buddy is a boon, and Annie and I enjoyed this particular adventure immensely. There was rolling terrain. There was convivial mystery-loving company. There was wine, so very much wine.

And then properly inebriated acquainted, we went back to our room and cracked opened the ginormous programming schedule.

Annie: Now, about that schedule. I heard Anthony Doerr speak a while ago and he said he had viewed college as “an unlimited buffet.” So there I am, looking at this giant menu … er … program. Except instead of plunging in Doerr-style, I froze.

To avoid schedule planning freeze, try this. Ask yourself, “Why am I going to LCC?” And tell yourself the truth. Write it down. Fine tune it. Let it percolate. Then look at the presenters and the panels with your question in mind. And keep an eye out for a BCB candidate who can provide calm, coherent advice.

Tina: Or more wine. Conference buddies are also good for that.

Regardless, look upon Left Coast Crime as an immersion. Dive deep. Come up for air as you need to. And bask in the warmth of book-loving people. You’ve already got friends here you just haven’t met them yet.

Annie: One more thing. Here’s something I’ve never told Tina about that “plague virus.” I caught it. I had it for a solid month. And here’s what else: It was SO worth it. See y’all in Phoenix!

Tina: ANNIE!

Tina Whittle’s Tai Randolph/Trey Seaver mysteries — featuring intrepid gunshop owner Tai and her corporate security agent partner Trey — have garnered starred reviews in Kirkus, Publisher’s Weekly, Booklist, and Library Journal. The fourth book in the series — Deeper Than the Grave — was released in November from Poisoned Pen Press.

Annie Hogsett used her M.A. in English Lit to worm her way into a copywriting job in a large Cleveland advertising agency. Those years were great training for making up crazy fabulous stuff you then have to sell to a marketing department. This summer her dogged agent search paid off, and now she writes, rewrites, and waits. Fingers crossed. Annie lives with her husband, Bill, and cat, Cujo, ten yards from Lake Erie in Collinwood, OH. The Great Cactus Caper will be her fourth LLC.


  1. I'll have to get to LCC one of these days, so thanks for sharing.

  2. I love this, you two. Can't wait to see you both in Phoenix!