My First California Crime Writers Conference

by Shannon Muir Broden

The 2019 California Crime Writers Conference would be my first full CCWC. Technically, my husband and I came to the 2017 Friday pre-Conference event that was open to the public, but hadn’t heard enough about it in advance to attend. While I am a member of Sisters in Crime/LA, my husband isn’t… at least, not yet. He definitely has interest in the genre, though.

For the 2019 CCWC, the two of us did more than just attend. We also gave back as volunteers, bringing together the program that everyone used during the Conference. It taught both of us a lot about what to expect about CCWC in advance, and hope attendees found it very helpful. Below is a picture of my husband Kevin Paul Shaw Broden holding the finished program.

In terms of what to attend, we prioritized going to panels on topics we’d be less likely to see at local Sisters in Crime/LA meetings or workshops wherever possible. One we both particularly enjoyed was getting to hear details from a swords master on the evolution of swords. As forensics is the main area I personally wanted to grow and learn more about, we also tried to emphasize other topics like hearing Ellen Byron’s one on one interview with private investigator Nancy Swaim, and hearing more about interrogation techniques from a former LAPD detective.

The meal times at CCWC were also great opportunities to meet new people, even if I’m not always the most talkative person. Sometimes, I just like to listen.

I made sure to go to the book room towards the end of CCWC, after I heard people on panels and met them at meals. This helped me decide on my set of post-CCWC reads!

Both of us had a great time, and I would highly consider attending a future California Crime Writers Conference.

Learn more about the California Crime Writers Conference, a bi-ennial event by Sisters in Crime/Los Angeles and Mystery Writers of America, Southern California chapter at