Home Again, With Takeaways

To paraphrase my father, it’s fun to get away for a while. But it’s great to get home and sleep in my own bed, surrounded by my cats.

When I am planning a trip, it all sounds wonderful. However, the closer I get to the actual event, I wonder why I’m leaving my comfortable home to travel.

So many things to do – arrange cat care and someone to take in the mail and look after the garden, pack, a ride to the train station or airport.

Why, I ask myself, did I think it was a good idea to go to all this kerfluffle and expense to leave home?

I recently attended the Left Coast Crime convention, held in Portland, Oregon, I had a good time but was glad to get home. LCC is a smaller convention and that’s what I like about it. Plus Left Coast is in my part of the country, the Western United States. It usually doesn’t cost as much to get there, exceptions being the former and upcoming LCCs held in Hawaii. But I did go to the convention that was held on the Big Island’s Kona Coast, because I’d never been there before. And I am going to the 2017 Honolulu LCC, planning a few days of playing tourist before the convention starts.

So that’s part of the appeal of LCC, or any convention, such as Bouchercon 2016 in New Orleans. I’m signed up for that one because it’s an excellent reason to visit the Big Easy.

Travel isn’t the only reason I go to conventions, though. I enjoy the opportunity to see readers and fellow writers. I did have to laugh when I ran into writer Steven Saylor. At almost the same time we said, “It’s been ages!” And it had, despite the fact that he lives in Berkeley and I live in Alameda, a distance of some ten miles. Ironic, to go all the way to Portland to see people who live nearby.

But that’s not surprising. When we writers are at home, we’re in front of our keyboards. I even brought my keyboard with me, since I was nearing the deadline on the latest California Zephyr mystery, Death Deals a Hand. I wrote on the train going to and coming home, and even managed a few hours of writing time at the hotel.

The biggest takeaway from Left Coast Crime, and last fall’s Bouchercon, was that I came home energized and eager to write. The panels I attended were interesting and informative. The discussion on novellas and short stories left me eager to try my hand at a novella, since with the advent of electronic publishing there is new life in this shorter form. I also found good information in several of the publishing panels that looked at traditional, independent and hybrid authors.

Once I write that novella I may publish it myself, just to dip a toe into those waters. And since I have finished my latest book, the time to explore that novella is now.

Not today, though. I am going out of town for a few days and I have to pack.

And why did I think it was a good idea to schedule another trip so soon after LCC?



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