Since all three people in my writers group attended the Left Coast Crime Conference in

Stephen Buehler - Hands around knee
by Stephen Buehler

Hawaii this past March, I asked this question during one of our meetings: What did you get out of the conference? (In a recent blog, here’s what Sarah M. Chen said.)

I mentioned in an earlier post that I was going to the LCC conference without having a current book out. My last published short story was in an 2013 anthology which I brought to sell but it’s hard to sell a book when you are  only 1 in 12 writers. They want to read something that’s all your, like a novel. (I do have a short story coming out in April in the LAst Resort, SINCLA anthology and I feel good about that.)

Feeling anxious that I had nothing current to promote I wasn’t sure how much I would enjoy my time in Honolulu.

Here’s what I brought back:

Sunset in Hawiia
Sunset in Hawaii

First – I was in Hawaii!!! Yippee! Though I didn’t take full advantage of staying at a hotel by the ocean I was finally taking a vacation! My last one was 12 months ago – last year’s LCC in Phoenix. It feels good to get away from your hometown and your problems and normal responsibilities. I did find that I missed Seymour more than I thought and looked forward to seeing him on my return.

Seymour 10-9-15 tongue in

The overall best thing I brought back was knowing that I meet a lot of new writers and readers. For the past few years, I haven’t attended Bouchercon (which is 3 times the size of LCC) and many writers/readers go to both. It’s an event I’d love to go to but I can’t afford it at the moment. At LCC Hawaii, I was able to meet those writers that I missed that had attended Bouchercon. I enjoyed making new friends to share ideas with and to cheer on.

Another good thing – I was on a panel, Performing Sleuths, Standing Ovations, which gave me and my writing more exposure. The topic dealt with main characters/sleuths that are also performers. Mine is a magician. Others panelists created protagonists in a rock band, a mariachi band and a classical violinist.  Afterwards people said they enjoyed it. I had a chance to let more people know that I’m a magician and am writing a novel about a magician. Self-branding.

Perfroming Sleuths panel
Performing Sleuths Panel (I’m in the middle)

Late one night, I performed magic tricks for a bunch of writers and it went over very well. Just for this conference I put together a routine with a new Sherlock Holmes theme and it went over beautifully.

There’s nothing better in the world than being surrounded by authors and readers of crime fiction.

In summing up: I may not have had a big breakthrough at the conference but all the smaller ones added up to make me glad I went.

Another thing I brought back – a heck of a lot of bookmarks!

What have you brought back from a conference?

*                                        *                                              *

Stephen Buehler’s short fiction has been published in numerous on-line publications including, Akashic Books. His Derringer Nominated short story, Not My Day appeared in the Last Exit to Murder anthology. His short story, Seth’s Big Move will appear in the LAst Resort anthology in April 2017. He is currently revising his novella, The Mindreading Murders, into novel length. It’s about a magician, psychics and of course, murder. He is also currently seeking a home for his mystery/comedy P.I. novel, Detective Rules. By day he is a script/story consultant, magician and lives with a dog named Seymour.  www.stephenbuehler.com



19 thoughts on “WHAT DID I BRING HOME?

  1. Conferences are great for support and inspiration. I usually bring back a lot of booklets and magazines I think I could submit tok, as well as notes and CDs from workshops and lectures. It’s hard to keep the momentum of ideas and “want to” going when I get back to regular life. But I have learned much of the craft at conferences. So glad you enjoyed yours, and what a fantastic place to have it.


    1. Neva,
      Sounds like you get a lot out of the conferences you attend. Good for you! Do you read all the literature and notes you bring back. I usually have good intentions but life intercedes and I look them over.
      Thanks for reading my blog
      – – Stephen


  2. Wonderful post, Stephen — and thanks for the photos of Hawaii; as close as I’ve ever gotten is watching “Hawaii 5-0” on TV! I, too enjoy conferences, but I haven’t been to any in awhile due to cost — and I’m publishing mostly on Kindle and CreateSpace these days. However, I do plan to attend the Wyoming Writers, Inc., conference this year; one of my good friends is the Keynote Speaker plus teaching some sessions. The conference is closer in distance this year so driving and overnighting won’t be as expensive, especially since I’m sharing room and gas with another Casper writer. I am looking forward to this year’s conference as the sessions sound great, I’ll re-connect with fellow Wyoming writers (many whom I haven’t seen in YEARS), and I’ll be learning. What will I bring back? Hopefully, more ideas, writing nuggets, and deepened relationships (and likely a few books!).


    1. Gayle,
      Have a great productive time at the Wyoming Writers Inc. conference. I’m sure you will get a lot of it. As a side note: you mention Hawaii 5-0 – there was a police officer there that was actually a 5-0 officer and he told us what really goes on with that department. Very interesting.
      Thanks for reading my blog,
      – Stephen


  3. I can’t travel like I use to back before I retired. Income isn’t what it was. With the 2008 recession, my mutual funds took a hit, so not bringing in the supplemental income that I thought I would have to add to my Social Security money. I’d love to go to some writer conferences, but oh well…. But I’m glad you and the other LA writers had a great time in Hawaii. As to short story anthologies, I have short stories in a couple, but I too have heard that they don’t sell like novels do.


    1. Mike,
      The only other conference I plan to attend this year is the California Crime Writers conference. And that’s because it’s local and I don’t have to stay at a hotel. And it’s a very useful conference for writers. I know how you feel about a tight income. But we do the best we can.
      Thanks for reading my blog.
      – Stephen


  4. Great post. Conferences are always a boost as well as an emotional/physical drain for me. Lots of opportunities though for deepening existing friendships and making new ones. I’m glad you thought it worthwhile and I think it helped raise your profile as the “magician writer.”


    1. Thank Sarah. I’m looking forward to the CCWC this year as I feel it’s a very useful conference for writers. There’s good and there’s bad to conferences. The cost goes to the bad side but hopefully is outweighed by the good thing like friendship and book contacts.
      Thanks for reading my blog.
      – Stephen


  5. I love Conferences. One of my favorites is the 3 C, and another one is Crime Bake, and of course WV Writers’. I have not made any writing connections in Florida yet. I usually get a whole lot of book marks and I buy several books, but most of all I enjoy meeting people that I have only known online. Nice Blog, beautiful photo. Cher’ley


    1. Cher’ley,
      I have always wanted to go to the Crime Bake conference. I hear it’s pretty good. And you’re right, it’s a great chance to meet the people face to face that you’ve only known online.
      Thanks for reading my blog.
      – Stephen


  6. I always enjoy the comraderie of fellow writers. I usually come back energized and ready to tackle the next project.

    So glad the LCC conference was a good one for you. Here’s to more of the same; more book sales, more readers and more contact with like minded people. Doris


    1. Doris,
      Thanks for all the good wishes. I hope to make 2017 my best writing year yet. I do have a short story coming out later this month in the SINCLA anthology called LAst Resort. I have to look forward to as well.
      Thanks for reading my blog.
      – Stephen


  7. There is nothing like being with people that have the same interests, and when the interests are writing and reading a good mystery, it’s even better. Glad you had fun. Hope you got some new story ideas like where to bury a body on an island in the Pacific…


  8. Many authors I know go to loads of conferences and love them. I’m surprised they can afford the costs of them, and the travel to get there, and the time spent away from work etc. Glad you made it to Hawaii, Stephen. It looks an amazing place and I’m sure many of your audience went away knowing that you held them spellbound! I have a tale to tell soon about my one and only conference -probably for my next blog post here on Wranglers.


  9. A magic routine with a Sherlock Holmes theme? That should draw a crowd at any crime writers’ conference. What I usually bring home from conferences is exhaustion. I went to Malice Domestic two years ago, a few weeks after my critique group’s anthology was released. I enjoyed it, but with only a couple of publications and just one story between covers of a book, I felt like a fraud and didn’t say I was an author unless someone asked. Branding is difficult when you don’t know what your brand is. I hope to get to Bouchercon in Dallas in 2019. I went to an early planning meeting, where the person writing the proposal said they were working to make costs affordable. At the time, the numbers sounded pretty good.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Conferences can be a great escape. I will be attending the WV writers conference in June. I plan to bring home lots of notes from the workshops, books from authors I have hung out with, some photos of the local wildlife of course and hopefully a few new friends.


    1. S.J.
      Yes conferences can be a great escape and I know I need more. I bring stuff home from conferences it’s the follow through that I’m not great at. I’m sure you are and will get a lot out of the WV writers conference.
      Thanks for reading my blog.
      – Stephen


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