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Margaret Mizushima says, “Left Coast Crime Is Always a Good Time!”

Margaret Mizushima is the author of the Timber Creek K-9 police procedurals. You can find out more about her on her website, or by clicking here, see her last post here, and buy her books here.

Left Coast Crime (LCC) Seattle Shakedown is a wrap for 2024, but it’s not too early to start planning for LCC Rocky Mountain High Jinks in 2025. Set at the Westin in beautiful Denver, CO, the next LCC will take place March 13-16 and registration is open now. You can find out more about it on the Left Coast Crime site.

You might think, I’m not a writer, why should I go? That’s the joy of it! Left Coast Crime is structured for the pleasure of readers of crime fiction and true crime, not writers. Because we’re also readers and fans of crime books, many authors attend LCC too, and we’re organized into panels covering various topics so we can tell attendees about our books. There are also other wonderful events where readers and writers come together. To illustrate, let me tell you about this year’s conference.

My husband went with me and our adventure started like most of our trips from the Olympic peninsula to Seattle—with a ferry ride across Puget Sound. (This isn’t part of the conference, but I’m new enough to the state of Washington to think it’s a blast to travel by ferry.)

Now, we’ll get to the conference. The first morning started with a fast and furious round of speed dating. It’s not what you might think. Thirty-eight authors, paired in twos, hop from table to table in a room filled with twenty tables, ten chairs per table. We have exactly two minutes each to tell the eight people at a table about our books before a bell rings to signal one minute to get to the next table. It’s a quick meeting and most authors leave a bookmark, pen, key chain or other swag to remind you of their books. This year I paired up with fellow Blackbird Writer Sharon Lynn, and we had a wild and fun time.

Panel presentations start after speed dating and run throughout the rest of the conference. Panels are established with four to five authors organized by a topic focused on what they write. For example, my panel was titled Cats and Dogs and Birds, Oh My! and included C.B. Wilson, Cynthia Baxter, Joanna Campbell Slan, and Wendall Thomas. We all write mysteries that feature animals.

On Friday morning, a debut author breakfast is always scheduled. Authors that have released their first book during the year since the last LCC conference get to tell the audience about their books. It’s a wonderful way to learn about new authors who are just starting out.  

At various times between panels, authors and readers can mingle and meet in the hospitality room or in organized author-reader connections, a small meeting that authors create and readers sign up for prior to the conference. This year I scheduled a connection for four readers that I called Drinks and Dog Talk, and I had the pleasure of meeting and visiting with two new writers and two new readers. We all shared photos of our dogs while my husband and I talked about the Timber Creek K-9 Mysteries and how we work together to plot the series.

This final picture is an example of how you might run into your favorite author sometime during the conference. I love books by J.A. Jance, and in this photo my husband Charlie and I get to bookend her! What a thrill to visit with her in person.

The last evening of the conference involves a banquet and award ceremony to announce the winners of four different Lefty Awards for popular books that attendees have nominated and then selected by vote. It’s a fun event and readers can sign up to sit at various author tables, another way to meet an author whose work you admire.

I hope you’ll come to Left Coast Crime in Denver next year. It’s a great way to meet fellow lovers of mysteries, suspense, thrillers, and true crime, and it’s a great way to find new books and new authors to read. If you’re already registered or think you might go, let me know. I’d love to visit with you there!

Margaret Mizushima

Margaret Mizushima is the author of the award-winning Timber Creek K-9 Mysteries, police procedurals featuring a deputy, her K-9 partner, and a veterinarian who live in the Colorado Rockies. You can find out more about her on her website,, or follow her on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.

This Post Has 18 Comments

  1. Laurie Buchanan
    Laurie Buchanan

    Margaret — Your post about the crime writers’ conference is a killer! It sounds like you really murdered it out there. Keep up the criminal record—uh, I mean, good work!

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      Margaret Mizushima

      LOL! Thanks so much for your comment, Laurie! Loved it!

  2. Sherrill Joseph
    Sherrill Joseph

    Thanks, Margaret, for the rundown of what “crimes” got committed at LLC. After seeing you at Bouchercon San Diego last summer, I’d say you know how to work a room. So glad you had a wonderful time at LLC!

    1. Avatar
      Margaret Mizushima

      Oh, thanks so much, Sherrill. I hope you’re in Denver next year at LCC so we can share a meal again. Or maybe Nashville for Bouchercon!

  3. tracey64p

    Thanks Margaret for the guide to LCC! Sounds like you had a blast! I’ve always wondered what it was like- a lot like Bouchercon? I can’t wait to go to Nashville this summer. Hope to see you there!

    1. Avatar
      Margaret Mizushima

      Yes! I’ll be at Bouchercon and I’m looking forward to seeing you there soon! LCC is like Bouchercon only smaller. And the author-reader connections are unique, so that’s something new.

  4. Avatar

    Great post, not just about the conference, but also about the partnership you and Charlie have in your books. No wonder your books have so much depth and broad appeal.

    1. Avatar
      Margaret Mizushima

      Thank you, Saralyn! He’s been a big help and we love to talk about plot over meals and throughout the day. It helps me so much with knowing what Cole Walker should be doing.

  5. Avatar
    Marie Sutro

    Great overview! Look forward to seeing you in Denver!

    1. Avatar
      Margaret Mizushima

      Thanks for leaving a comment, Marie! I’m looking forward to a big SinC-CO party then and so glad you’ll be there!

  6. Carl Vonderau
    Carl Vonderau

    It was a terrific conference. And it was great to share some time with you, Margaret.

    1. Avatar
      Margaret Mizushima

      Carl, it was great to see you too! I hope we can meet in Denver next year!

  7. Sharon Lynn
    Sharon Lynn

    I had such a great time pairing with you for Author Speed Dating! And agreed – it’s a fan conference and it’s great to get a chance to see old friends and meet new readers.

    1. Avatar
      Margaret Mizushima

      It was such fun getting to be with you for two whole hours as we memorized each other’s pitches. Hope to get to see you again at Bouchercon!

  8. Christine DeSmet
    Christine DeSmet

    Thanks for the information. I’ve never been to that conference so I was glad to learn about it. Sounds like you had a wonderful time.

    1. Avatar
      Margaret Mizushima

      I hope to see you at Bouchercon this year, Christine. I think that one is closer to your home. Thank you for your comment!

  9. GP Gottlieb
    GP Gottlieb

    I also had a wonderful time at Left Coast Crime in Seattle and hope all the Blackbirds consider joining us at Rocky Mountain Hijinx in Denver next March. We could even sponsor an event – offer tea and snacks or something – and a few hundred people will stop by to meet and greet us!

  10. Avatar
    Margaret Mizushima

    I hope we have many Blackbirds that flock to Denver too, Galit! I enjoyed having dinner with you!

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