Saturday, March 24, 2012

Preparing for Left Coast Crime

At the end of this week Susan and I will be in Sacramento, attending Left Coast Crime. For those who don’t know about Left Coast Crime, it’s not the California chapter of the Mafia, but a gathering of mystery writers and fans. We’ll be there as publishers (for Perseverance Press) and I’ll also be there as an author (of Behind the Redwood Door, among others). As an author I’ll be participating in a panel with a group of other writing professionals: Simon Wood (moderator), Beth Henderson, Jill Amadio, and LJ Sellers. Our topic, and the name of the panel: WRITING IS A REAL JOB. The panel will be held Friday, March 30, at 2:45 p.m.

To prepare myself to talk about this subject without getting tongue-tied and modest, I have been thinking a lot about what it took for me to take myself seriously and bravely as a writer.

The real decision was to think of myself as a writer who is also a small-press publisher, rather than as a small-press publisher who is also a writer. That happened in 2005, with the publication of The Poet’s Funeral, which is, coincidentally, about a small-press publisher. That book, published by Poisoned Pen Press, earned me a starred review in Publishers Weekly, and gave me the courage to think of myself as primarily a writer. My work habits didn’t change, though. I’m still a publisher and I’m still a writer, and I’m pleased to be both, because both involve writing. I’m also a free-lance editor and ghost-writer, and I teach creative writing. They involve writing, too. Which makes me a lucky guy. I am a writer, and I work hard at it, because it rewards me in ways beyond income.

Anyway, I hope to see many of you there at Left Coast Crime in Sacramento next weekend. Come to the panel, and/or drop by the Perseverance Press table in the book room.

By the way, I have next week’s blog post scheduled to appear on Sunday, April Fool’s Day. In honor of that date, my blog will be about writing humor.

Meanwhile, a short-short-short story:

Class Reunion
Heads swivelled as she arrived, flaunting her dazzling lowcut gown.
Biff strode across the room and asked her to dance.
In his arms, she murmured, “I remember you. Football captain, major stud...”
“I had a crush on you,” Biff said, “but I can’t remember your name. Give me a hint.”
“We dissected frogs together.”


  1. Looking forward,see you there!


  2. As always, love your blog. Oscar. You make me laugh (or shiver) every time. Best of luck at LCC. Wish I were going. I need to renew my MWA membership and get back on the ball this year though.

    Cheers, Beth

  3. Looking forward to meeting you at Left Coast Crime! I'm on a panel about senior protagonists, so that should be interesting. Plus, Oak Tree is debuting my new archaeological mystery - American Caliphate, so it should be a lot of fun.

    William Doonan

    1. Looking forward to meeting you, Bill. Not much of commute for you, huh?

  4. Hi John,

    LCC is my favorite convention. Wish I could be there. I don't have any idea how you are as a publisher, but I know you are a hell of a good writer.

  5. Mike, I expect you know how much that means to me.

  6. John,
    I look forward to reading your 55 word stories every week. This one put a smile on my face!

  7. Enjoy your time at the conference this weekend, John. Don't know if I'll ever get to attend a Crime conference, but it sure sounds interesting.