posted on March 15, 2018 by Ana Brazil

Left Coast Crime, anyone?

I’m head over heels in research for my second Fanny Newcomb historical mystery (working title…FANNY NEWCOMB AND THE FRENCH QUARTER LAUDANUM LOVER). And I’m loving it!

I’m investigating historic poisons, studying Italian immigration to New Orleans, and inspecting French Quarter Sanborn Fire maps online (courtesy of the fabulous Library of Congress).

And here are some of my recent research results:

  • Did Gilded Age New Orleans completely shut down during the hot, humid summer months? (Answer: Newspapers firmly suggested that businesses close by 3pm.)
  • Is there a poison that creates a telltale frothing at the mouth? (Answer: Strychnine.)
  • What kind of businesses operated on Bourbon Street in the late 1880’s? (Answer: The Faranta Theatre, “Drugs”, and “dilapidated Negro Tenem’ts”.

And yet, in the midst of this glorious research I’m taking off five days to attend Left Coast Crime, an annual convention for mystery readers, authors, and fans. This year the conference—christened “Crime on the Comstock“—happens in Sparks, Nevada, which is just down the highway from Reno.

This will be my first time at Left Coast Crime and my first time at a writer’s conference as a published author. That’s definitely a new frisson! I’ve gone to many mystery cons as a reader and fan, but this time I get to sit on the author side of the table.

Here’s my conference schedule:

Friday @ 7:15am: Meet the New Authors Breakfast, where I get one minute to introduce FANNY NEWCOMB AND THE IRISH CHANNEL RIPPER.

Saturday @ 9am: Arrivederci Roma: Historical Mysteries panel.

Saturday @ Suppertime: Yves Fey—author of Floats the Dark Shadow—and I will host a dinner table that celebrates La Belle Époque Paris and Gilded Age New Orleans. We’ll share insights about living, loving, and solving murders in late 19th century New Orleans and Paris.

I’m also looking forward to seeing other authors, including fellow Northern California Sisters in Crime writers: Margaret Lucke (on the Still Miss Someone: Ghosts, Hauntings & Horror panel), Gigi Pandian (on the That’s Life: Creating Realistic Amateur Sleuths panel), Heather Haven (on the I Gotta Be Me: Self, Traditional & Hybrid Publishing Options panel), and Ann Parker (on the You Are My Sunshine: The Great Outdoors panel).

And then…I really want to meet The Ghost of Twain, as Mark Twain impressionist McAvoy Layne interprets one of America’s most popular humorists (and author of The Gilded Age: A Tale of Today).

Mark Twain impressionist McAvoy Layne

So if you’re anywhere in the Sparks, Nevada neighbor on March 22 through 25—and you love a good mystery—meet me and my fellow mystery authors, readers, and fans at LCC’s Crime on the Comstock!

Ana Brazil

Ana Brazil

A native of California, Ana Brazil lived in the south for many years. She earned her MA in American history from Florida State University and traveled her way through Mississippi as an architectural historian. Ana loves fried mullet, Greek Revival colonnades, and Miss Welty’s garden. She has a weakness for almost all things New Orleans. (Although she’s not sure just how it happened…but she favors bluegrass over jazz.) The Fanny Newcomb stories celebrate the tenacity, intelligence, and wisdom of the dozens of courageous and outrageous southern women that Ana is proud to call friends. Although Ana, her husband, and their dog Traveller live in the beautiful Oakland foothills, she is forever drawn to the lush mystique of New Orleans, where Fanny Newcomb and her friends are ever prepared to seek a certain justice.

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