As they used to say on those picture postcards, back in the days when people used to send and receive picture postcards, "Having a wonderful time. Wish you were here!"
That sentiment describes how I feel while enjoying this year's Left Coast Crime conference, now under way in Phoenix, Arizona. I'm here with some 700 mystery readers and authors to spend a few days talking about mysteries, reading mysteries, watching mysteries...well you get the idea.
The conference got its formal kickoff today, beginning with an "Author Speed-Dating" session hosted by my wife and me. It's an opportunity for some 40 writers to pitch their books, upcoming projects, etc., to well over a hundred readers and prospective audience members, and it's great fun and a splendid way for those authors to find new readers. An afternoon of panel sessions followed, including a session on "Murder on the Books," which I moderated, featuring a panel of four excellent authors of bibliomysteries. There are dozens of panels every day, not to mention receptions, occasional meals, and books everywhere for sale or even for free - every attendee gets a bag stuffed with mystery books donated by publishers. (If you don't like what's in your bag, you can probably arrange to swap those books for some more to your taste.)
As for the "Wish you were here" part of it, well, I do. It's great to see so many friends - but I do wish you could be there as well. Maybe you ought to think about trying to attend one of these conferences - if not Left Coast Crime, there's always Bouchercon and Malice Domestic and a whole list of lesser conferences. Believe me, you are missed. Hope to see you at one of them soon.