Wednesday, February 17, 2016

What Free Time? The Meets, Greets, and Eats

by Rochelle Staab, Member-at-Large

Every conference has its own rhythm. In the past, I would arrive with an idea of what panels and interviews I wanted to attend over the next few days, but had no plans for the evenings or early mornings. I’d finally fall into the groove of cool things to do by Day Two.

Not anymore. My new strategy for making the most of my leisure time involves the daily extracurricular events that begin long before panels start or in the evenings after the last panels end. Lucky for all of us, The Great Cactus Caper planned a fun palette of events for attendees to meet, greet, and eat on both ends of the day. 

Can’t miss the first on the list: Opening Ceremonies Thursday evening, 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. Our first chance to see everyone, reconnect with old friends, meet the Guests of Honor and Lefty Nominees, and mingle among faces sure to be familiar over the next three days. Did I mention there will be appetizers?

Friday morning’s New Authors Breakfast (7:30-9 a.m.) serves up breakfast with a platter of new authors previewing their novels in 60 second blurbs. An entertaining opportunity to discover new talent over the first cup of coffee. Why sleep in when you can meet authors before they become stars? One of the 2014 LCC New Author Breakfast writers became a 2016 Edgar nominee!

Friday evening (5:30-6:30 p.m.) offers a chance to meet your favorite Canadian authors at Meet the Canucks, a Crime Writers of Canada reception. Cocktails, Canadian nibbles, and prizes. Wind down from the busy day in a relaxed atmosphere. What could Canadian nibbles be? Moose? Or Mousse?

Later Friday (9 p.m.), save room at dinner for dessert with LCC Guest of Honor Ann Cleeves when she hosts Have Your Cake and Murder, Too—a screening of a never-before-seen Season 6 episode of Vera, the series based on Ann’s mysteries. Sweets and a screening before bed? Oh, yes!

Thursday and Friday after the scheduled events is Game Night (photo above), an informal gathering to play board games with writers and attendees. All are welcome. I went to one recently and had a blast—Scrabble Boggle, UNO, Pictionary, Wordie Wars, and decks of cards. I learned how to play SPOONS and laughed until I cried. Diane Vallere and Kendel Lynn are wicked competitors! Start time around 8:30 p.m. Room details to be announced. Ask at the registration desk. (The super-secret poker game folks have no idea what they are missing.) 

Saturday morning (7:30-9 a.m.), Poisoned Pen Press’s Discover Mystery Breakfast promises giveaways and authors at every table while you enjoy a continental breakfast. Start the day with an opportunity to meet and chat with authors—new discoveries and current favorites—over your cup of morning brew.

Saturday evening (7-9 p.m.) the big event: Toastmaster Catriona McPherson emcees the Lefty Banquet. Be sure to sign up early (when you pick up your registration packet) for a seat at your favorite author’s table. (Tip: The Tiara Table (right) makes its third return among a sea of author tables filled with goodies, giveaways, and good cheer.) Wherever you sit, it's a night of fun and festivities!

To make a closer connection and spend quality time with a favorite author, there is still time to sign up for the free Author/Reader Connections happening throughout the conference. The list of openings with sign up links can be found on the LCC website.

Ready for fun? Phoenix, here we come! I’ll see you all next week.

Rochelle Staab is the best-selling author of the Mind for Murder Mystery series, and winner of the LCC 2013 Watson Award.

1 comment:

  1. Can't wait to meet you there, Rochelle! We will have a ball!