Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Left Coast Crime 2019 by Cathy Ace (Toastmaster!)

I think Terry’s response yesterday to this week's question is pretty much along the lines I’d have adopted…but…since I have just returned home from Left Coast Crime, Vancouver 2019: Whale of a Crime, where I was honoured to be Toastmaster, please forgive me for going off-script this week.

Four years ago I (somehow) managed to convince Linda McNab and Colleen Glynn to put in a bid to allow Left Coast Crime to come to Vancouver. Their bid was accepted (no thanks to me – I did nothing but cajole them) and last week the event took place. And I think it all went rather well!

L to r: Colleen Glynn, Linda McNab, me - back in 2014 just before our plans for LCC 2019 began!

The Hyatt Regency - half way toward the water on the left!
 As Toastmaster, it’s not expected that a person gets involved with the actual organization of a convention, but – because I was “to blame” (their words!) Linda and Colleen involved me every step of the way. We first visited the Hyatt regency in Downtown Vancouver over three years ago, and I was impressed by their facilities. Since then there have been a million little things to sort with them, then last week we discovered how good their facilities, service, attention to detail and commitment to our event really was – they were excellent! And the banquet team did us proud too – the general response to the setting, food and service was extremely positive. PHEW! 

Oh, and Vancouver herself put on her glad rags for the convention – the sun shone the entire time, the cherry blossom…blossomed and the daffodils and tulips glowed happily in their urban setting. Those who took the side trips to tour the city, over to Vancouver Island on the ferry or out to the Museum of Anthropology at UBC all had a wonderful time. Oh how the sun makes everything look and feel so much better!

The convention had over 200 authors in attendance, and around 700 attendees in total. There were so many panels most of us wished we could clone ourselves and the Guests
Muggin' it up! 2 Minds, one aim - FUN!
of Honour were interviewed in fine style. I was extremely nervous about being interviewed, but Catriona McPherson (yes, OUR Catriona) was gentle and kind. She’d more than done her homework, and her questions allowed me to talk about my work, and give a few insights into my life too. I felt a huge weight lift when the interview was over – I’m not used to being quizzed…I think I prefer to be the quizzer!

A special event was M is for Memories: Sue Grafton Remembered. Sue was delighted to be told she was being given a Lifetime Achievement Award by LCC back in 2017, but her sudden and untimely death in December that year
meant the award was presented posthumously to her daughter. I was delighted (and somewhat nervous) to be the person given the responsibility of organizing this memorial, so I did my best…and it seemed to be well received. I know people laughed, and I saw people cry. Perfect! Her daughter was gracious and a smashing person.

L to R: Me (host) with the guest speakers I invited to participate and Sue's daughter: Barbara Peters (Poisoned Pen Bookstore), Maureen Jennings (Canadian GOH), Jamie Clark (Sue Grafton's daughter), Jim Ziskin (our very own! and Lefty Nominee), Kellye Garrett (Lefty Nominee), Ovidia Yu (award-winning author, in from Singapore)

An important part of the weekend is the chance to raise funds for a local charity. This year One-to-One Literacy BC was
MaryJane Maffini won the quilt
selected; they make arrangements for those who are left behind in terms of literacy skills to be given a helping hand, and work with over 100 schools in British Columbia. In total we raised over $7700 – which, even though it’s Canadian dollars – is a good sum of money! Donna Andrews did a great job as auctioneer, as did those who provided items for the silent auction and the quilt raffle. 

The Lefty Awards are voted on by conventioneers during the convention. This year, 7 Criminal Minds had three nominees: James Ziskin and Terry Shames were both up for Best Historical Novel, and Catriona McPherson was up for Best Humorous Novel. I’m pleased to be able to tell you that Catriona won! 

Photo of Catriona by Kay Kendall
Congratulations to her for her now-award-winning novel “Scot Free” (which I’ve read, and is indeed hilarious).

The final panel of the convention featured all the Guests of Honour, and was one where I didn’t have to do any prep – because Matt Coyle – who’ll be Toastmaster when LCC is held in San Diego in 2020 – was moderating. It was a delight!

Overall – it most certainly is an honour to be Toastmaster, and there are, of course, responsibilities that go along with the title. Now that LCC 2019 is in the books, I’m able to look back and remember all the good times last week…and hope that Linda and Colleen forgive me for persuading them that “they could do it”! Well, they did, and they did a great job of it. 
L to R: Matt Coyle (Toastmaster 2020), Cathy Ace, CJ Box (US Guest of Honour), Maureen Jennings (Canadian Guest of Honour), William Deverell (Local Legend), Don and Jenn Longmuir (of Scene of the Crime Books, Fan Guests of Honour)

One final point - I know you might have seen it on Monday, courtesy of Susan, but I'm also including the photo we managed to get with a LOT of Minds in it! It's more than ironic that we never managed to get Danny into a group photo when he was actually blogging with us, and that we have managed to snag him now he's an Alumnus!  

L to R: Susan Shea, Terry Shames, Jim Ziskin, Cathy Ace, Brenda Chapman, Catriona McPherson, Danny Gardener
So here's me, saying thanks to everyone who came to LCC 2019, thanks to the hard-working, long-suffering Linda and Colleen for choosing me to be Toastmaster, and a BIG thank you to my husband...he's never been to one of these conventions before and was a bit overwhelmed by how many people were there, and how lovely they all were. Oh, and he took the photo of me at the start of this blog post, which I actually like (I never like photos of myself!). Cheers, folks!

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Dietrich Kalteis said...

And you did a great job as toastmaster, Cathy.

catriona said...

Fantastic round-up, Cathy. You were a wonderful toastmaster - the Sue Grafton memorial a particular highlight. I had a blast and now want to live in Vancouver (along with 700 other people).

7 Criminal Minds said...

Wonderful job, Cathy both as toastmaster and organizer of Sue Grafton's tribute. Thanks to all the volunteers who made LCC such an enjoyable event. Vancouver was at her beautiful best.

Leslie Karst said...

What a fantabulous event! The hotel staff were gracious and efficient, the banquet food delicious (that salmon was divine), and the panels, the interviews, and the Glorious Toastmaster were all terrific! Thank you to all who helped make it so wonderful!

Terry said...

Cathy, it was such a wonderful event. I love your recap....even though Jim and I were up for Best Novel, not Best Historical. :)