leftcoastcrimeWhy Left Coast Crime is Important for Mystery Readers and Writers

In early March, there I was, this newbie mystery writer setting up my Facebook page and trying to make friends with anyone I could. Another mystery writer noticed I lived in Portland and asked whether I was going to Left Coast Crime. I'm slightly ashamed to confess I didn't know what Left Coast Crime was until I Googled it.

I instantly recognized that it was very important. I also realized that I was knocking out a first draft of my second Walter Forbes novel in March, and a convention would give me just the excuse I needed not to finish it on schedule.

As a newbie mystery writer preparing a serialized novel, I'm slowly learning the tricks of the trade. One of the biggest challenges facing both readers and writers is discovering that a book actually exists. I'm currently reading (when I'm not typing this blog post) a novel called MACDEATH by Cindy Brown.

"Who cannot have fun with a disastrous (and murderous) production of Macbeth? Cindy Brown's first novel is a delicious romp with plenty of humor and suspense. Ivy (or is it Olive) is a fun heroine." – Rhys Bowen, New York Times Bestselling Author of the Molly Murphy and Royal Spyness Mysteries.

This description might not pique your interest at all. It piqued mine.

If I hadn't been following the #leftcoastcrime hash tag on twitter because another mystery writer mentioned the event to me on Facebook, I honestly don't know how I would have stumbled upon this book.

Authors can update her profile and tweet about their book on the day of its publication, but social media are overwhelmed with writers telling you how great their books are. I quickly learned to compare the name of the book on the cover with the name of the person posting the message: and disregard the message.

We can write books by ourselves. We can find editors. The actual publication of a book isn't as tricky as it used to be.

What we can't do is read our own books, review them, and credibly recommend them to others. With fewer and fewer writers taking up more and more spots on the bestseller lists with more and more book series, it's getting harder and harder for newer writers and readers to find each other.

If you're a mystery reader, Left Coast Crime was important to you because fellow mystery fans nominated and gave awards to books in several categories. You might have heard of some of these books, but there are likely many that you have not.

I took the time to link these books to their Amazon pages, not because I have any special love for Amazon, but because the Kindle format works on virtually any tablet or smartphone. Please consider exploring these titles. If a book listing appeals to you, please download the sample and give it a try. You can decide later whether you want to buy it (and where) or get it from your library.

If you decide to read it, and enjoy it, please take a moment to rate it on Amazon and Goodreads. Recommend it to friends on social media. This little action takes next to no time, but helps the author immensely. If you enjoy her book, this comparatively simple action will help the author write another book for you. Here is my review of Cindy Brown's MACDEATH on Amazon and Goodreads.

If the author has an email newsletter, or other way for you to be notified of new works, please subscribe. (This blog's newsletter is operated by a Mail Chimp, and unsubscribing is super easy). Since an author can only post news of a new work once, and you might not be logged on to social media when that announcement comes; you and the author could easily miss connecting.

Also, please let me know if you find any fun discoveries here. I'll be happy to share them.

Winners in Italics:

The Lefty

(best humorous mystery novel)

Donna Andrews, The Good, the Bad, and the Emus (Minotaur Books)

Timothy Hallinan, Herbie’s Game (Soho Crime)

Jess Lourey, January Thaw (Midnight Ink)

Cindy Sample, Dying for a Dude (Cindy Sample Books)

Diane Vallere, Suede to Rest (Berkley Prime Crime)

The Bruce Alexander Memorial Historical Mystery Award

(mystery novels covering events before 1960)

Rhys Bowen, Queen of Hearts (Berkley Prime Crime)

Susanna Calkins, From the Charred Remains (Minotaur Books)

Catriona McPherson, A Deadly Measure of Brimstone (Minotaur Books)

Kelli Stanley, City of Ghosts (Minotaur Books)

Jeri Westerson, Cup of Blood (Old London Press)

The Rose

(mystery novels set in Portland)

Chelsea Cain, One Kick (Simon & Schuster)

Terri Nolan, Glass Houses (Midnight Ink)

Gigi Pandian, Pirate Vishnu (Henery Press)

L.J. Sellers, Deadly Bonds (Thomas & Mercer)

Johnny Shaw, Plaster City (Thomas & Mercer)

The Rosebud

(best first mystery set anywhere in the world)

Lisa Alber, Kilmoon (Muskrat Press)

M.P. Cooley, Ice Shear (William Morrow)

Allen Eskens, The Life We Bury (Seventh Street Books) Edgar Award Finalist

Lori Rader-Day, The Black Hour (Seventh Street Books)

Holly West, Mistress of Fortune (Carina Press ebook)

Fri, 24 Apr 2015 18:52:11 -0700

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Copyright © 2015, by Bruce Cantwell. All rights reserved.