Friday, January 29, 2016

My LCC: Glen Erik Hamilton

2016 will mark my third time attending Left Coast Crime, and my third go-round for most other conventions as well. Year Three, I’ve discovered, is the tipping point where I start getting confused about which gathering was where. Was LCC in Long Beach? No, that was Bouchercon, two years ago. Monterey! That’s it! I first joined LCC in Monterey, for Calamari Crime.

By Year Ten, I will need an app to keep track of locations, and perhaps to also gently remind me "No, Glen, you wore that suit last year...and the year before." There’s an app for everything, even suit-shaming.

In Monterey, I was the proud owner of a brand new book deal, but still more than a year away from publication. With nothing to promote, I merrily wandered the halls and cocktail parties, comparing notes with other excited newbies, and steadily adding pounds to my already substantial tote bag full of books. It’s the patented LCC exercise plan: The Biggest Reader. Make sure to shift the bag between arms so you don’t get lopsided.

I tried not to be too star-struck when meeting the various literary luminaries like Sue Grafton and Louise Penny. Happening upon famed author David Morrell, I mentioned that I’d benefited greatly from his non-fiction book The Successful Novelist. “The Professor” proceeded to chat with me for twenty insightful minutes on marketing and promotion in the digital age. I swear on a stack of Hammetts that I didn’t corner the man. That’s just the kind of generous nature that Mr. Morrell and the other headliners at LCC have towards new kids.

Last year at Crimelandia in Portland, it was my honor to be part of a panel on Writing What You Know, moderated by the terrific James M. Jackson. Jim was the first – but not the last – to point out that while many of my fellow panelists were leveraging their professional legal experience, I was writing books about a former criminal. I pretended not to understand his implication. Density is its own reward.

As I look forward to what memories this year will bring, I recall the final night in Portland, when Chantelle Aimée Osman and I poured out a dollop of booze (clear and non-staining, I swear!) on the hotel carpet for our absent convention homies, in true white-bread book-geek fashion. One of my favorite convention photographs comes from that moment, because it reminds me how the laughter is frequently long and loud when hanging with the crime fiction crowd.

Chantelle is this year’s very deserving Fan Guest of Honor. Greet her with appropriate reverence. But please don’t get her shoes wet, even with colorless liquor. Cheers, Chantelle. You really do have great shoes. 
Glen Erik Hamilton's debut Past Crimes has been nominated for Best First Novel at the 2016 Edgar Awards. Past Crimes was given starred reviews by Publisher's Weekly and Library Journal, and called  "an exciting heir to the classic detective novel" by Kirkus. The second book in the Van Shaw series, Hard Cold Winter, will be published in March by William Morrow (US) and Faber & Faber (UK). A native of Seattle, Glen now lives in California but frequently returns to his hometown to soak up the rain. Follow his wet footprints on Facebook and on Twitter @GlenErikH.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Come for the Sun, Stay for the Murder! By Chantelle Aimee Osman

In previous years the Left Coast Crime conference has been held in some of America's murder hotbeds—Los Angeles (Black Dahlia), Colorado Springs (The Fort Carson Murder Spree), Monterey (Richard Ramirez “The Night Stalker”), the list goes on. For those of you who think Arizona is nothing more than a repository for…unique…politicians, worry no more! Here are some of our most famous (and infamous) criminals:


Ernesto Miranda. You  know those rights all the writers on TV shows have to have accurate? That guy. Law’s named after him. For some reason we were really proud of this in law school. His car and description were recognized and he was arrested for kidnapping and rape and put in a lineup. The police implied he had been positively identified, and within two hours had a confession. Long story short (too late) he was convicted on both charges and sentenced to 20 to 30 years. Enter the ACLU and the Supreme Court, Miranda v. Arizona, and "You have the right to remain silent. If you give up the right to remain silent, anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to an attorney and to have an attorney present during questioning. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be provided to you at no cost. During any questioning, you may decide at any time to exercise these rights, not answer any questions or make any statements. Do you understand these rights as I have read them to you?"


We all know history rewards the victor, and never was that truer than with the Gunfight at the OK Corral. (Yes, I know that’s in Tombstone, but close enough, it’s a day trip.) The 30-second battle that day was really not much more than a glorified massacre, with the killers wearing badges, which made it all okay in the eyes of history. Whether Han Solo drew first has nothing on the debate over the Earps or the Clantons. The Earps (Wyatt, Virgil and Morgan) and Doc Holliday (who I wouldn’t kick out of bed despite his being a dentist) took the fight to the Clantons, several of whom claimed to be unarmed, and actually filed murder charges agains the Earps. The gunfight didn’t even take place at the OK Corral, but six doors down at a photography studio, so that shows you how a story can...evolve. 


TV executives are known to “axe” shows with low ratings, and viewers are “dying” to see latest episodes, but it was all taken a bit too literally with the murder of Hogan’s Heroes Bob Crane (he played Col. Hogan). He retired in Arizona (read: couldn’t get a job after the show ended, he was doing dinner theatre here), and was found beaten to death by an unknown weapon (believed to be a tripod) in his apartment in Scottsdale. A friend of his was charged, but cleared. The murder remains unsolved (may I take a moment to recommend the great short story on this topic in PHOENIX NOIR, edited by local bookstore The Poisoned Pen’s own Patrick Milliken?).


At a train station, two trunks were found with two dismembered bodies inside (the upper legs were in a valise and hatbox). Apparently,  Winnie Ruth Judd, “The Trunk Murderess,” had murdered the two women because all three were interested in the same man—John J. “Happy Jack” Halloran (I’ll leave it to you to figure out how he got that nickname). She was caught, pretty much because she was an idiot. She traveled from Arizona to California with the trunks and when someone noticed the smell claimed she didn’t have the keys. She was sentenced to hang, which was overturned, and spent the rest of her life at the Arizona State Asylum of the Insane.

So come, enjoy the weather, and try not to kill anyone!

Monday, January 25, 2016

My LCC: Nancy Cole Silverman

Growing up in Arizona I frequently heard stories, legends really, about the red rocks and the mountains surrounding the Phoenix area. When I was in college, my friends and I used to hike the Superstition Mountains, just north of Phoenix, in search of the Lost Dutchman’s Mine. It was a favorite haunt of ours, we were drawn like prospectors who came in search of gold and settled for ghost stories we told around a campfire beneath the inky black desert skies.

Down the street from my home was Cactus Hill, an empty dirt lot that sat beneath the Wrigley Mansion. They used to shoot kids with BB guns who came too close. But that didn’t stop me and I have a few skinned knees to prove it. Curiosity has always gotten the best of me. I sometimes wonder if perhaps it was because I grew up in the desert where a writer’s best friend can be the big sky and open spaces.

Every year at Thanksgiving my family and I would hike Squaw Peak. Today the name of that mountain has been changed to Piestewa Peak, after the first Native American woman, Army Spc. Lori Ann Piestewa, who was killed in the Iraq war. It’s the second highest of the Phoenix Mountains (2610 feet) the first being Camelback. Legend is that this was the spot the Indians left their old squaws to die. Somewhere on that mountain is a registry, a record of those of us who hiked to the top of the mountain. If you get a chance, it’s worth the hike.

Oh, and just in case you’re wondering, Camelback Mountain, that long, low range that looks like a Camel’s body, didn’t just get its name because it looks like a reclining camel. Camels really were part of Arizona’s history. In 1855, Congress paid $30,000 to purchase camels for the military. The thought was that they might prove more worthy than horses in the desert. Thank goodness they didn’t. I can’t imagine a western where a cowboy might ride into town on his camel.

North of Phoenix is Sedona, another favorite haunt of mine. I spent my summers in Oak Creek Canyon tubing down the river and swimming among the minnows. It’s a magical spot. Sedona’s noted for it a vortex, an area where the physical and metaphysical energies are their strongest. If you’re looking for a creative inspiration, Sedona, with it’s picturesque red rocks, is just two hours drive north of Phoenix.

Another stop, ninety minutes north of Phoenix, is the last home of Anasazi Indians, Montezuma Castle. Their ancestors, or those that survived, are believed to be mixed with the Pima Indians who live east of the Valley, in the Mesa area, farming cotton. I once wrote a story about their last night together as they huddled outside their cliff dwellings, listening to the fluted call of Kokopelli. You can find Kokopelli figurines everywhere, commemorating his legend being. He’s the humped back flute player with the antenna looking feathers protruding from his head. For me, returning home for the Left Coast Crime Convention, is a bit like walking through a memory field. It’s not just a chance to be among other writers and friends, but an opportunity to return to my roots, and those stories I remember from so long ago. Or perhaps it’s Kokopelli’s flute I hear playing.

Nancy Cole Silverman credits her twenty-five years in radio for helping her to develop an ear for storytelling. In 2001 Silverman retired from news and copywriting to write fiction fulltime. In 2014, Silverman signed with Henery Press for her new mystery series, The Carol Childs’ Mysteries. The first of the series, Shadow of Doubt, debuted in December 2014 and the second, Beyond a Doubt, debuted July 2015. Coming soon, in 2016, is the third in the series, Without A Doubt. Silverman also has written a number of short stories, many of them influenced by her experiences growing up in the Arizona desert.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Don't Forget To...

So you've registered for Left Coast Crime 2016, The Great Cactus Caper. (Right? You have, right? If you're still on the fence, let Toastmaster Catriona McPherson convince you you need to be here.)

But are you planning to make the most out of your trip? Have you signed up for all the available opportunities?? Here's what you shouldn't miss...

Author Workshop: Writing and selling fiction is a business, but most authors don’t approach it that way. Building your brand is key to success. This class will not only help authors understand how branding and relationship building can help make you successful, but it will also explain how to go about it and give you the tools to do so.

Join us Thursday morning for a three-hour, hands-on workshop that will build your marketing and social media skills! Get more information and sign up from our website.

Author-Reader Connections: An incredible opportunity for readers to get to know authors better and talk about writing, reading, and anything else of interest.
Sample Connection: Lunch with Rochelle Staab
During 2016 Left Coast Crime: The Great Cactus Caper, Rochelle Staab will host up to three fans for good food and a lively discussion on writing, research, and favorite mystery books. Rochelle will buy lunch for the attendees, excluding alcohol.
  • Authors: to sign up to provide a connection, email your proposal to
  • Readers: Check the LCC website frequently (new Connections will be added as we get them) and pick an offering to sign up for!
See the City: Our partner, Affinity Group Tours, has arranged a variety of optional excursions for you to enhance your visit to Left Coast Crime 2016. You must be registered for the conference to join any of the tours; non-registered spouses and family are eligible. Don't miss out on seeing the Desert Botanical Garden, the Lost Dutchman Gold Mine, or Haunted Phoenix! Get more information and sign up on Affinity's site.

We'll see you soon in Phoenix!

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Announcing the Lefty Awards Nominees!

Congratulations to the nominees for the Lefty Awards! Awards will be voted on by the attendees at Left Coast Crime 2016, The Great Cactus Caper, and awards will be handed out at the LCC banquet on Saturday, February 27.

We hope to see you all there!

The Lefty Award for Best Humorous Mystery Novel
  • Donna Andrews, Lord of the Wings (Minotaur Books)
  • Ellen Byron, Plantation Shudders (Crooked Lane Books)
  • Jess Lourey, February Fever (Midnight Ink)
  • Cindy Sample, Dying for a Donut (Cindy Sample Books)
  • Diane Vallere, Crushed Velvet (Berkley Prime Crime)
The Lefty for Best Historical Mystery Novel (Bruce Alexander Memorial)
  • Rhys Bowen, Malice at the Palace (Berkley Prime Crime)
  • Susanna Calkins, The Masque of a Murderer (Minotaur Books)
  • Heather Haven, The Chocolate Kiss-Off (Wives of Bath Press)
  • Jennifer Kincheloe, The Secret Life of Anna Blanc (Seventh Street Books)
  • Laurie R. King, Dreaming Spies (Bantam Books)
  • Susan Elia MacNeal, Mrs. Roosevelt's Confidante (Bantam Books)

The Lefty Award for Best LCC Regional Mystery Novel
  •  Michael Connelly, The Crossing (Little, Brown and Company)
  • Matt Coyle, Night Tremors (Oceanview Publishing)
  • Robert Crais, The Promise (G.P. Putnam's Sons)
  • Gigi Pandian, The Accidental Alchemist (Midnight Ink)
  • Josh Stallings, Young Americans (Heist Publishing)
The Lefty Award for Best World Mystery Novel (outside LCC Region)
  • Lou Berney, The Long and Faraway Gone (William Morrow)
  • Lisa Brackmann, Dragon Day (Soho Crime)
  • Chris Holm, The Killing Kind (Mulholland Books)
  • Louise Penny, The Nature of the Beast (Minotaur Books)
  • James W. Ziskin, Stone Cold Dead (Seventh Street Books)

Friday, January 15, 2016

My LCC by Mary Anna Evans

I've lived my whole live in the right half of the country...until now. I lived in Mississippi until I went away to Kentucky for college. Then I moved almost to the right coast and spent most of my adult life in Florida, until moving to New Jersey two years ago to pursue a graduate degree. New Jersey is also pretty dang close to the right coast. Despite the twelve years since my first mystery was released, my lifelong geographic situation means that I've only been to Left Coast Crime once.

I had a great time in Seattle at LCC 2007. I met some great people. I had some great food. I got to visit Seattle Mystery Bookshop, where the lovely staff had introduced my books to many new readers for years, without our ever having met. I planned to go to my next Left Coast soon, but life got in the way and nine years went by.

In the meantime, I've taken a major move toward the left side of the country. As of August, I'm living in Norman, Oklahoma, where I teach fiction and nonfiction writing at the University of Oklahoma. This is such a perfect job for me that I sometimes pinch myself to make sure I'm not dreaming it. (The first thing they asked me to teach was Writing Mystery Fiction. And they pay me for this!)

I would have told you that this move had made me a nominal left-coaster until I looked at the map. I'm still just a smidgen right of the geographic center of the contiguous United States, which is near Lebanon, Kansas. I checked the geographic center of the entire United States, including Hawaii and Alaska, and I'm even further right of that spot in South Dakota. I guess the odds are good that I'll never be an actual left-coaster, but I'm closer than I used to be and I fully expect to take advantage of this proximity. You'll see me at LCC more often in the future.

Since you've read this far, let me ask you a favor. If you see me around the conference, come say hi. I may have been around the mystery world for a long time, but I'm new here and I may not know as many people as you might think. Also, and this is true of most writers, I'm a much bigger introvert than you can probably imagine. Getting ready to come here by taking off my houseslippers and putting on writerly, professional shoes without a soft sole and a fleecy lining will be almost as hard as meeting hundreds of friends whom I don't know yet. But bring it on! There are no better friends than book friends, and I'm heading to Phoenix in February so I can make some more.

I can't wait to see you there!

Mary Anna Evans is the author of the Faye Longchamp archaeological mysteries, which have won awards including the Benjamin Franklin Award, the Mississippi Author Award, and three Florida Book Awards bronze medals.  She teaches creative writing at the University of Oklahoma and she holds an MFA from Rutgers-Camden. Her short works have appeared in publications including The Atlantic, decomP, and Saw Palm.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Five More Reasons to Come Capering, by Catriona McPherson

So, you’re coming to the Great Cactus Caper. And you already know you’ll be seeing fabulous panels, fascinating interviews, and a lo-ho-hot of books, right? [Ed. note: be sure you're registered!] But that’s not all. Here are five flavours of guaranteed great stuff you might not even be looking forward to yet.

Number 5  Writers in clothes!
I type this in red tartan jammie bums, a pink fleece, and cream furry boot-slippers (lavishly filthy and worn through in the soles from me trumphing about the gravel yard in them). It’s pretty much the combat uniform of the full-time writer. I’ve heard even Hank Phabulous Ryan claim that she writes in sweats. Nancy Martin is on record as saying if her house catches fire she won’t leave in uniform, on her  own two feet. She’ll use the precious minutes to change into something pretty, and be carried out—possibly unconscious—by a firefighter. But in Phoenix, you will see writers in clothes with waistbands and lapels. You’ll see zipped-up zippers and buttons through buttonholes. Of course, not all will make it (Jess Lourey will be in yoga pants pretending they’re slacks) but all will try.

Number 4  Wild Kingdom!
Granted, most of the writers at The Great Cactus Caper are going to be yakking, laughing, hugging, and yes drinking. Think of it as a  zoo. But [David Attenborough voice] look carefully and you’ll see, here and there, in coffee shops around the convention hotel and even in the lobby itself, a few dedicated writers ignoring all the shiny objects and finding their own wild habitat for . . . writing. That great silverback Tim Hallinan can write at cocktail parties while lesser writers dance on the same table as his lap-top. At LCC Monterey in 2014, William Kent Kruger could be seen every morning in Starbucks, totally focused, while the likes of me wafted in and out talking about boys and shoes. It’s amazing to watch that kind of concentration. I mean, Kent is the nicest guy who ever walked this good green earth, but would I interrupt him when he’s writing? Um, no.

Number 3. Daylight Vampires!
They call it the New Author Breakfast. And strictly speaking, yes, new authors do get to deliver a two-minute pitch of their first book to a huge room full of fans and peers. And, yes, the books are all on sale in the book-room afterwards. That’s the cover story.

Really, what’s going on is that plump, glowing, dewy, debut authors enter the breakfast room and dried-up, wizened old-timers scuttle in after them and sit near the front. An hour later, the debut authors leave, slightly woozy and a bit lighter. And—what do you know—the old-timers aren’t so wizened anymore. They’ve got a spring in their step and a bloom in their cheeks. 

It sounds borderline dodgy. But I’m willing to bet Mette Ivie Harrison and Loretta Ross were fine after last year’s breakfast. Glass of tomato juice, bit of steak for lunch, and they were fine . . .

Number 2. Books Being Born!
This isn’t actually guaranteed but it’s quite likely. At least once during the weekend, something will probably happen and the same lust will light up all the writers’ eyes. There’ll be a short bout of thrashing and a cloud of blood and someone will know what their next book’s about.

One time, it was Reed Farel Coleman plunging off the back of a dais in a panel room. Fans were concerned. Journalists were composing copy. But all the crimewriters—Sorry, Reed—were thinking: murder or suicide? First of a string or personal motive? Poison? Poison dart? Then he stood up, brushed himself down and the night wore on.

Another time, two attendees of a—get this—60th high school reunion going on in the same hotel had to be taken to bed in wheelchairs by the bar staff because they were so monumentally lathered they couldn’t walk. Yep, a husband and wife (presumably) seventy-eight years of age drank a bottle of Jim Beam in their room before they went out to the party. (I know because I asked Housekeeping. It’s research.) Show me any writer who doesn’t want to explore what the frilly hat happened at their high school all those years ago. Also, did you know bar staff have wheelchairs to take you up to your room in? It was news to me.

Number 1. Sunshine!
On the 25th of February, it will be raining in Oregon. When you walk round the corner of a block in Manhattan the wind will howl at you like a lost coyote. It will be cold enough to make your teeth ache in Chicago. And in Colorado—horizontal snow. But in Phoenix,  it will be 72F and sunny. Even if you bring a potted bougainvillea with you on the plane and put it out on your balcony, you won’t have to wrap it at night.  So have a pedicure, pack some sunblock, leave your mittens at home, and come to the Great Cactus Caper. I can’t wait to see you.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Silent Auction Items and the LCC Charity

Silent Auction and Quilt Raffle

In addition to a raffle for the special LCC 2016 quilt (pictured here), created by Pam Dehnke and Vallery Feldman and signed by all Guests of Honor, LCC Phoenix will hold a silent auction of items donated by any reader, writer, bookseller, librarian, or blogger who cares to donate—all are welcome! All proceeds from the raffle and auction will go to LCC Phoenix's official charity, KidsRead.

With questions or to donate an item to the auction, contact our silent auction coordinator, Mary Thielen, at

LCC 2016 Charity: KidsRead 
Each Left Coast Crime Convention raises money to support a local literacy organization with funds raised through a silent and live auction, and the annual quilt raffle. Left Coast Crime 2016: The Great Cactus Caper supports KidsRead USA, a Phoenix-based organization whose mission is to promote early childhood literacy and inspire the joy of lifelong learning to impoverished children and their families by mentoring, advocacy, and giving children books of their own.

Since its inception in 1996, KidsRead has given away more than 40,000 books to third grade kids in Phoenix, Arizona. The program primarily serves the Balsz and Osborn school districts, which are in a low-income area. For some kids, the books provided by KidsRead are the first they will ever own. KidsRead founder Eileen Bailey says her goal is simple, “I want them to fall in love with reading.”

About KidsRead:
KidsRead USA is an Arizona non-profit corporation that holds a 501(c) (3) status with the IRS. A team of 42 experienced professionals serve on its Board  and Leadership Council. Together with KidsRead founder Eileen Bailey, these respected community leaders are dedicating their skills and talent to take KidsRead USA to the next level in accordance with the Corporation’s mission statement:

The Mission of KidsRead USA is to promote early childhood literacy and inspire the joy of lifelong learning to impoverished children and their families by mentoring, advocacy, and giving children books of their own.

Friday, January 8, 2016

My First LCC: Barb Schlichting

I’ve attended two conferences, which I’ve thoroughly enjoyed and have found everyone friendly and helpful. Hopeful is the main word that I could use to describe the conferences.

I sat with one published author who gave me a whole lot of editing advice, which I put to good use.

She suggested that I read my manuscript out loud, to see how it sounds. I did just that once I returned home.The following conference, I shared with another online friend. This person had beta read for me a few times and was more than willing to help me with my pitch. I had signed up to pitch to an agent, and because of her advice, it went better than expected. This conference also had time set aside to meet in groups with agents to work on our pitches before the assigned time. It was great to meet other struggling writers.

I also sat in on many panels and learned how to give strength to secondary characters or where to look for poisonous plants among the weeds. I also look at crime scenes a lot differently than I ever did. I’m getting good at locating clues in the movies, too. It was also great to meet friends from yahoo lists and other social media. Everyone expressed good wishes with my unpublished series.

I’m looking forward to my first Left Coast Crime Conference. It’ll be great to renew acquaintances, and learn more about the craft of writing.

Barb Schlichting lives in Bemidji, MN, in the land of Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox. She graduated from Bemidji State University with an undergraduate degree in elementary education and a master’s degree in special education. She has two grown boys, a husband, and five grandchildren.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

From the Shetland Islands to Phoenix, by Ann Cleeves

I’m very much looking forward to visiting Phoenix for Left Coast Crime in February. It’s always brilliant to spend time with other writers and readers and to share our passion for books – whether they’re old favourites or exciting debuts.

I’d like to tell you about a recent crime festival that was a little bit different from how I expect Phoenix to be. Shetland Noir took place in November. We’d borrowed the event from our fellow crime-writers in Iceland – after all Shetland is on the same line of latitude as part of Greenland and Alaska, so we reckoned we were Nordic too. The island group has a population of 23,000 people and, despite the fact that I kill off one or two of them in every Shetland novel, they’re a very pleasant bunch. They were delighted to welcome mystery fans from Iceland, Sweden, Scotland and all over the UK to Lerwick for the weekend. In fact we also had readers from Washington DC and LA! I was there to launch my new Shetland non-fiction book, a photographic tour of these beautiful islands, and of course to catch up with old friends.

 Ann with the Vikings

The weather over the weekend was dreadful – Storm Abigail was blowing 80 mph gusts, delaying the small planes and making boat journeys uncomfortable. But still people came. They were greeted in the library on the Thursday evening with a typical social evening of tea and homebakes. Hosted by local crime-writer and guide Marsali Taylor, the visitors had a chance to meet knitters and spinners, an expert in Shetland ponies and the Up Helly Aa Viking guizers in full costume! (See photo.) Friday was a civic reception with wine and more Shetland food. And we had a surprise guest – Douglas Henshall, who plays Jimmy Perez in the BBC adaptations of the books had braved the gale to present the award to the winner of a short story competition. There were wonderfully satisfying gasps when he walked into the town hall.

Ann on a panel at Shetland Noir

As the wind continued to blow and the rain to fall, the festival continued over the weekend in Mareel, a stunning new arts’ centre right on the water. Everyone had a good time and there was lots of laughter, but there were thought-provoking discussions too about violence, the reality of forensic investigation and pathology, and the reasons for the popularity of contemporary crime fiction. On Sunday the wind dropped and the sun appeared, just in time for the bus tour that gave our guests a chance to see a little more of Shetland mainland.

When we’re at conventions, sometimes we have little chance to think about our impact on the communities that host them. Shetland is trying to encourage cultural tourism – after all the oil that had provided most of its wealth for the last 40 years will soon run out. Shetland Noir brought visitors to the island in the dark stormy days of late autumn; still they loved the place and some have already booked to return. I hope when we visit Phoenix we’ll have a chance to visit our host city and meet some of the local people there. And I hope it’ll be warmer and less windy than a Shetland winter.