Friday, March 13, 2020

Left Coast Crunch: Celebrating What We Have

Friday the 13th is a suitable day to write about luck: Bad luck, worse luck, and salvaging some good fortune from the wreckage.

The worse, of course, is our current global pandemic and all that comes with it.  Like nearly everyone in the world, our family has been bracing for business closures, suspended classes, and general isolation.  I'll just say I'm grateful that we had time to ready ourselves and that the coronavirus has not yet touched those close to us.  With luck (there's that theme again) we'll all weather this storm.

The less-bad-but-still-crummy news is the crisis's impact on Left Coast Crime 2020 in San Diego this weekend.  As local cases were very limited and there had not yet been a restriction on gatherings, the conference originally proceeded as planned on Thursday.  The LCC organizersthis cannot be overstatedwere doing a phenomenal job of rolling with author and guest cancellations and juggling panel lineups and other events as needed, hour by hour.  Our thanks to Lucinda Surber, Stan Ulrich, Tammy Kaehler, Lisa Brackmann, Kim Keeline, Maryelizabeth Yturralde, and everyone else who scrambled like mad to make life easier for the rest of us.  I even had my shot at appearing on a re-focused and re-assembled panel at 2:30 that afternoon.

Three hours later, it was over.  San Diego County strongly recommended (prohibited is the actual word, but everyone knows enforcement is a whole other issue) that all large gatherings immediately cease.  LCC leaders made the tough but absolutely correct choice to comply.  Left Coast Crime 2020 will forever be a one-day wonder.

As authors do, we adjourned to the bar.  Misery loves company, and as disappointed as we all might have been with the circumstances, damn it was good company to have at that moment.  The real point of conventions is to see old friends and make new ones. In that, LCC was a resounding success. And we'll all see one another in Alberquerque in 2021.

Nadine Nettmann, Jay Shepherd, Erica Ruth Neubauer

More or less facing the camera: Catriona McPherson, Matthew Quirk

Beverly Graf, John McMahon

Given travel challenges and whatnot, some of us are staying through the weekend.  My specific whatnot will be taking the time for some focused work on the next Van Shaw thriller. We'll find out whether a global crisis sparks local creativity.

But long before that book is finished and I pray long after the pandemic abates, I'll enjoy the launch of A DANGEROUS BREED this coming July.  As part of the lead-up, I have a newly revamped website.

Same link as always,, but with a snazzy new look and cleaner design, thanks to the excellent team at I'm truly delighted with how the site turned out, as you can tell from this unprompted plug. Check out Xuni's catalog of author sites if you're curious about what they can do for you.

Over the coming weeks, please look after yourselves and your loved ones.  Like LCC, make the hard but wise decisions to limit your exposure and risk.  Read your old favorites, and maybe try a new author or genre.  Write a review (reviews are important!) or send a note of appreciation to a writer or reader you love.

Promote kindness. Snub panic. And if you can't hug in person, do it with words.

Susanna Calkins

Murderers' Row: Glen, Jay, Nadine, Jamie Mason, Mike McCrary