High Highs and Low Lows

This has been a very weird couple of weeks for me.

Just before I was to leave for Vancouver to attend the Left Coast Crime Convention, my 88-year-old dad ended up in the hospital. He refused treatment and simply wanted to be made comfortable as he slipped toward his death. I got a couple of chances to say goodbye to him while he was still lucid and in relatively good humor. I made my peace with the fact he would leave us while I was in Canada. (Spoiler alert: he didn’t.)

He would have killed me if he knew I cancelled my trip, so passport and a suitcase full of swag in hand, off I went to Vancouver.

I survived

My hilarious author friend Libby Klein and I had concocted an event “Hijinx and Hot Chocolate” for ten attendees of the conference the evening before it started. We whisked them away to a fabulous chocolate shop, plied them with goodies, then returned them to the hotel where we played games for a couple of hours. We got to know some readers, they got to know some authors, and we all had fun. I made them all one of these pins they attached to their conference name badges and folks asked about it all weekend. Score one for branded swag and exclusive parties!

Bright and early the next morning was Speed Dating. That’s where authors get two minutes to pimp themselves out to potential readers and try to get them to love us. I was paired with Libby and the two of us moved through the 20 tables every four minutes. me and libby dating

I really love this event, as an author. I sat and listened to the authors at one conference and I found that absolutely exhausting. But both Libby and I thrive under this kind of attention and more than one attendee said we were their favorite authors of the day. Highest highs! (This event encourages readers to investigate our books. If they like us, they’ll like our books, right?)

Then it was time for a well-deserved Guinness with my lunch. Award-winning author and former Mysterista Cynthia Kuhn joined us, and seemed to order some kind of liquid science experiment.


All weekend long there were panels galore on so many interesting topics: culinary mysteries, social issues in crime fiction, detectives past and present, gender roles in crime fiction, writing serial killers, animals in mysteries, the sex panel, the liars panel, and the always hilarious Match Game, among many, many others.

I was on a panel with Anne Louise Bannon, Ingrid Thoft, Ruth Donald, and Marsali Taylor where we discussed traditional vs non-traditional mysteries. We had a lively and interesting discussion.

panel seriouspanel laughingpanel

There were interviews with CJ Box, Maureen Jennings, Cathy Ace, and a remembrance for Sue Grafton. If you can’t find a topic or author you like at Left Coast Crime, then there’s simply no pleasing you.

There was lots of hugs, laughter, random photo ops with friends new and dear, plus a fun breakfast with all the Mysteristas in attendance, some of whom hadn’t met each other before. (We made poor Kelly stand in the bright sunshine. She’s probably still squinting.)

Kelly, Mia, Becky, Keenan

There’s always an awards banquet. This year I hosted a table with the fabulous and prolific Eileen Rendahl. We gave out some swag to the people who signed up to sit at our table. Eileen’s included a thumb drive.

And then the conference was over, a long weekend full of highs. Libby and I had planned to stay a bit longer and play tourist, and I’m so glad. Vancouver is a lovely, bustling city and the weather was perfect the entire time we were there. The cherry trees were even in bloom!

And then back to Colorado and my dad’s beloved Pikes Peak.

pikes peak

He was failing. Lowest of lows. As I organized myself to get to him one last time, I got news from my agent. I had two offers on a new series I was working on! Highest of highs.

And then Dad was gone. I wrote about it all here.

Four days later I was launching FOUL PLAY ON WORDS, the 2nd in my Mystery Writer’s Mysteries.

Happy Book Birthday FPOW

It was emotional whiplash.

Luckily I’m my father’s daughter and I know the highs and lows of life are the anomalies. Real life is lived in between. At a much less chaotic pace.

I suspect it’s so we can enjoy the cherry trees.

cherry tree

I don’t want to ask you about your times of emotional whiplash so let’s talk about something more fun … my book! Will you buy it? I’m trying to get at least 50 reviews for FOUL PLAY ON WORDS in the next couple of weeks. Can I count on you to help? Will you please request your library carry it, along with FICTION CAN BE MURDER? If you do any of those things, you’ll be my very favorite person on the planet. On. The. Planet. Thanks for reading this chapter of The Recent Adventures of Becky. I tend to process emotions and events through my keyboard….could you tell?

Author: Becky Clark

I write mysteries with humor and spend my free time attempting to rid my clothing of dog hair and doling out treats to the adorable Nala. I'm the author of the Mystery Writer's Mystery series, which so far includes FICTION CAN BE MURDER and FOUL PLAY ON WORDS. I'm thrilled to be working on another cozy series set in the world of crossword puzzles, with PUZZLING INK launching in November 2020. And, yes, I'm learning to create my own puzzles, which will be included, but you don't need to be a crossword fan to enjoy the mysteries. Subscribe to my mailing list at BeckyClarkBooks.com and join us on Facebook at BeckysBookBuddies. Be the first to hear news and chances to win cool prizes!

34 thoughts on “High Highs and Low Lows”

  1. Highs and lows indeed.

    Condolences on the loss of your dad. He sounds like a wonderful person. What a great tribute.

    And mega-congrats on the new series! I will speak to my library about FICTION CAN BE MURDER and FOUL PLAY ON WORDS.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I’m not at all surprised that you and Libby were favorites on author speed dating because you’re among MY very favorite authors. And humans.

    I already have Foul Play on Words and can’t WAIT to dive in. And you can count on me to spread the word.

    My most heartfelt condolences on the loss of your father. Your tribute was beautiful and incredibly moving.

    Wishing you peace and comfort, right along with good vibes for the new series.


    Liked by 2 people

  3. Oh my. First, hugs and condolences on your dad.
    And thanks for your special take on LCC and Vancouver. LCC is probably my all-time favorite con, and Vancouver is definitely my favorite city.
    Mega congrats on your new offers and your book birthday! I plan to pass on my copies to my library book group, who are mystery fans extraordinaire.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks, Sue. I love LCC, too. It’s fun to travel to the different cities and we were very lucky in Vancouver that the weather cooperated. So many Canadians told me they hadn’t attended as many panels as they expected because they were out enjoying the sunny, dry days!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Becky, your post has left me breathless—in a wonderful way! Condolences and and congrats (and lots of love). Onward and upward! (And ok, sometimes downward, but still…) xo

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks, Lisa. I hate that sappy aphorism, “Aren’t you glad thorns have roses?” But aren’t you glad thorns have roses?? Without the dark, how would we appreciate the light? Without winter, summer wouldn’t be nearly as nice. At least where we live, eh?

      Liked by 1 person

  5. What a roller coaster! Hugs for all of the things–so very sorry about your father, first and foremost. Thinking of you and your family.

    The offer news is great! Can’t wait to hear more and am incredibly excited for you.

    ps: It was delightful to hang out at LCC. Lunch with you and Libby was particularly fun: still happy about the curved booth and now laughing about the glass lineup, too. I understand the diet coke and water, but why did they bring me a straw in a tiny vessel? That was a first…

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Thanks for the wonderful post about LCC. Next year it is in San Diego, and I absolutely am going, so I will see all of you there. (A couple of friends and I are taking the train down — yet more fun.)

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I have my copy of “Foul Play on Words” and should have the review posted on Looks At Books in a couple of days. I will send the link when it is posted. I ma on the waiting list for it at my library as well. (don’t tell them I already have a copy)

    Liked by 1 person

  8. 2018 was my years of highs and lows (also ending with the death of my father), so major hugs and condolences and congratulations and all that wonderfully confusing stuff in between.

    It was great seeing you at LCC and I love that (literal) thumb drive! Both of your books are on hold for me at the library; unfortunately Amazon doesn’t let me leave reviews, but I’ll be sure to share on Goodreads!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Big hugs — and double woot on the new series offers! I have one question: who is that woman covering her face in the pic of Cynthia’s glassware? Is she famous or just camera shy? 🙂


  10. Love “Real life is lived in between.” But still… my condolences on the loss of your dad. May the sweet memories be the ones that surface most often. And no surprise that you were a favorite author!

    But holy moly… TWO OFFERS!!!!! Seriously, can I still be your friend?


    Liked by 1 person

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