Thursday, March 31, 2011

Left Coast Crime

by Wolf Schneider

The Left Coast Crime convention ( for mystery writers just took place in Santa Fe at La Fonda on the Plaza, drawing a hefty crowd of 450. I saw a lot of nametags from California, plus ones from Minnesota, Wyoming, and Colorado. Some of my favorite mystery writers were there, like Sandi Ault (, sporting some sumptuous Southwest jewelry; Craig Johnson (, having a beer in the lobby in his cowboy hat with his always-cool-looking wife Judy; and the elegant Margaret Coel ( You had to love Parnell Hall for dredging up Abbie Hoffman’s name in reference to an act of rebellion, and Bill Fitzhugh for asking the other authors to sum up their life philosophy in 20 words or less, to which Ault cleverly responded, “Love life. Be free. Go wild.”

Wolf Schneider and Sandi Ault at LCC
Not much business gets discussed at LCC—it’s more about the convivial schmoozing—but one author did reveal on a panel that she makes almost $4 dollars for each hardcover book that’s sold at an independent bookstore, while she profits just 11 cents per each e-book sold. At the gala awards dinner, toastmaster Steve Brewer confided he’s writing a mystery set in Santa Fe. Craig Johnson nabbed The Watson award for mystery novel with best sidekick and Margaret Coel took the Hillerman Sky Award for mystery that best captures the Southwest landscape. “Beat” writer Stephen Jay Schwartz lent a Hollywood aura to our table.

For a writers’ conference that’s focused on the craft and business of writing, I’m looking forward to the Tony Hillerman Writers Conference (, upcoming Nov. 10-12 in Santa Fe. That one includes cash prizes for best unpublished mystery novel and short story!

Santa Fe-based Wolf Schneider has been editor in chief of the Santa Fean, editor of Living West, and consulting editor of Southwest Art. She also blogs at

Photographer: David Alfaya, Taken in Artist Studio: Gregory Lomayesva

No comments:

Post a Comment