Left Coast Crime is my favorite mystery writers' conference. This could be just because of timing: At Bouchercon 2009, as a newly-minted author of fiction, I got to participate in a round-robin speed dating event, presenting my book 12 times in minute-and-a-half spurts to twelve tables of potential readers. I attended panels, which I enjoyed very much but otherwise, frankly, the throngs of strangers intimidated me. I felt like a dope doing so but wound up spending a lot of time alone in my room working on my next book. A few months later, at last year's Left Coast, knowing better what to expect, I was able to participate more fully and finally found last month's LCC most collegial and lots of fun.
Location may also have something to do with my preference. Bouchercon 2009 took place in Indianapolis, a town my lawyer calls Indian-No-Place. Though I revere it as the birthplace of a literary god--Kurt Vonnegut, it seemed unwelcoming. (That could have been me, I admit.) LCC, in LA last year and in Santa Fe this, was, by contrast friendly and warm.
O’Keefe’s paintings impressed me before, but my appreciation for them quadrupled after seeing them in the context of her chosen environment.