Keynote at the La Jolla Writer’s Conference 2014

La Jolla view

View from my room, early morning. This was the first year at the Hyatt, and they couldn’t have been nicer. Love getting a welcome tray of wine, water, fruit and trail mix when I arrive. Service was outstanding.

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Writer Kimberly Unger, a long-time conference attendee, now blossoming into a wonderful writer, is here being my tech assistant for the two-hour query workshop. She does this for me every year and she’s grossly over-qualified for this as she’s a computer whiz by day. I look forward to seeing her every year because she has a great sense of humor.

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In this two-hour workshop, every student learns how to write a query. Volunteers are invited to project theirs so all can chime in. Sometimes the fix is as simple as cutting an awkward attempt at a joke. Other times, we can show the writer how his concept is hidden or confusing. I love seeing them walk out with a much better written query, but it’s also satisfying when a student says they discovered what they need to do to make their manuscript better.

I taught two other classes there, and in each one I was impressed with how serious and motivated the students were.

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My keynote address — my first one ever to adults — was made easier by the attentive audience. Thank you to each person who came up to me during the weekend to say it was inspiring.

Andrew Peterson

Author Andrew Peterson was interviewed by Jared Kuritz one night. Fascinating to hear his stories about his writing and publishing process for his thrillers. I found out he never lets a table of servicemen and women pay for their bill if he sees them in a restaurant.

ljwcfacultyOur last night together, some of the wild and wacky faculty members!

Inspired by something I heard over the weekend, I decided on the spur of the moment to mentor one of the students for a year. My first year there was also his first. He was in my group read and critique class where he bravely read his work for the first time ever. He came to my classes again this year and I was impressed with his dedication. Other faculty members later told me he was an extremely nice guy, so my instincts did not fail me.

There’s a moral to this story and it’s that being kind and nice really does pay off. I believe that. Go be nice to someone, don’t expect anything, just let it float.

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La Jolla Writer’s Conference

Hyatt-Regency-La-Jolla-at-Aventine-Michaels-Patio1-916x423-150x87Night-Time-Large-916x423-150x87Sporting-Club-and-Pool-Large-916x423-150x87slider081-150x87-3This weekend I will be at the La Jolla Writer’s Conference again. I’ll give the Friday night keynote address and also teach one class. Saturday, I’ll do the query workshop and also talk about fatal mistakes that beginning writers make and how to avoid them.

It’s going to be a beautiful, 85 degree day tomorrow, in this lovely village by the ocean. You can do a one-day registration, or come for the weekend. There will be agents, publicists, authors at this intimate conference with a nice low faculty-to-student ratio.

Click here to read the interview of me by Ann Stampler, the author of Afterparty saying more about the conference. Interview

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35th Manilla Book Festival

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My last full day in Manila started with a blogger event in one of the PowerBooks Bookstores. What a gorgeous group! (If this is the first post you’re reading of the Philippines book tour, please start here – there are three posts total, counting this one).

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Starters nails!

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Note that’s not the book, but a cool purse she had made for me!

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This blogger had a first-printing, first-edition! But we had to leave this fun and head for the 35th annual Manila International Book Festival.

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Tour Sign

This is one of the largest international book conferences. We heard the fans had started lining up since three in the morning to get their tickets and our signing was in the afternoon. We all decided we’d extend the tickets for signing from 200 to 300. But it meant we had to get through all 300 in two hours, our allotted time.

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Someone from the team walked part of the 300-person line to photograph some of it. I just love these faces.

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1798920_10152378042471914_3477343439488618049_oThey’re in really good spirits considering how long they were waiting.

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These guys might have waited the longest — they’re sitting.

Bookstore signing line

When we were brought in for the signing, we went right to it. We were told to only personalize one book (“to x”), and then sign the rest. So we couldn’t do the little messages that we typically like to do, but it was our choice so that all 300 people could get their books signed. I apologize for how rushed that must have seemed, but at least everyone got to have their photo taken.

Bookstore signing line 2

These wonderful fans are standing to my right, just saying hi. I saw them the previous day at either the blogger event or at the Manila mall. The cute girl on the right in the blue jacket is Eriele. She and Charles (not pictured) are @StartersPH on twitter. If you’re in the PH, follow them.

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IMG_3950 We had a basket on the floor beside us for the wonderful gifts the fans gave us. Thank you all so much for your thoughtfulness and the beautiful letters. I’m truly touched. I couldn’t include photos of all the wonderful gifts but know that I love each one and every note. I hope I will see you again when I return someday.

rotated pen To the two ladies who gave me the lovely Lamy pen, thank you so much. It is on my desk as my “good luck” pen, meant to sign important contracts!

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A memorable last meal – Chinese – with the team.

 Salamat, Sir Miguel at sa lahat. Mahal kita NBS! Thank you all so much for making this tour absolutely perfect.  Until we meet again.

 

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Cebu and Manila Mall Events

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So as we were in the regional airport leaving Manila, we saw thunderstorms and lightning outside. The tropical storm Mario had left Cebu and was arriving in Manila. We didn’t see this paper until much later so we didn’t know until the next day what a disaster it was in Manila. But fans started tweeting, wondering if the signings would be cancelled.

Sunset 1

This was the view I woke up to in the morning in Cebu, with a soundtrack of tropical birds.  The sunrise had turned the water a deep coral. Best sunrise of my life.

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Our team gave us most of the day off to enjoy the beach. I jumped at the chance to go snorkeling. But when I saw the line of yellow floaters there, I thought they wouldn’t let you go in the water. Turns out that was just the kiddie line. Their skinny jellyfish were around but with my skin suit, they never touched me.

Saw two blue starfish, first time ever. And these huge, round tables of coral. I swam out to that lifeguard boat you see at the top left.

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After a couple of hours in the water, the wind kicked up and it got pretty rough. Time to go in and have lunch.

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Never get tired of dim sum.

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This is the same view later in the afternoon from my balcony. This was the Shangri-la Resort, a perfect location with the private beach.

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Jenn and I had some media interviews in another hotel.  I asked for apple juice and they gave me fresh-squeezed, green apple juice. So refreshing.

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The Cebu mall event was my first experience walking onto a stage to screaming fans. Intoxicating.

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Even with the flooding in many parts of the country, people made it to our event.

With the beachy, resort feeling of Cebu, Jen and I both went for flip flops!

Lissa Price Panel 2

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The fans had made signs about our books. This blue one on the left…

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… said “Monkey Face.” I thought – that sounds familiar.

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Close to the end, after the signing, I asked if I could go to the restroom. They brought out these four handsome guards and one walked in front, one in back and one on each side of me to escort me to the restroom. A woman also came so she could come in and make sure it was empty.  Oh, man, I felt like Julia Roberts.

Now I want guards all the time. When I need to find a restroom.

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My team said to take a group selfie. Because of the major flooding, many fans said their friends couldn’t make it. So imagine even more people in this photo.

Book signing mall 2

Then the signing began. This cutie wearing the black sweater is part of the team and she helped organize the long line. This signing went on for three hours.

This adorable fan dressed to look like Callie in the video trailer! Look at the trailer and see.

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Everyone handed their camera to one of the bookstore people and got their photo taken.

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Thank you, Cebu fans, you were lovely and I appreciate each sweet, thoughtful gift. The food was shared with friends and I enjoyed the treasures in my office as a reminder of my time with you all.

I will return someday.

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The next morning we were all in the Cebu airport getting ready to head back to Manila. Breakfast/lunch was our first taste of this pork sandwich — which was delicious. I think they had a quote from Anthony Bourdain there.

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Back in Manila. After two hard days and nights of rain, it had finally stopped. Fans twitted us they were afraid our signings would be cancelled. They said it was like our Katrina, that was how bad it was, with water up to their necks. We said come h*ll or high water, we’ll be there (now I know where that expression comes from).

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Panel Crowd

Many fans told us their friends couldn’t come, due to the clean up. Many houses had their first floors completely flooded. The mall cancelled all the events this Saturday — except  ours. Our team said they knew that the fans would turn out.

And they did.

Mall crowd view

Mall panel 1

The gracious Xandra Ramos-Padilla was our lovely moderator at both mall events. It was always so good coming on stage and seeing her warm, easy smile. We knew we were in good hands.

Mall crowd view 2

10679812_10152378032891914_5626384913587015396_o Time for a few questions.

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Our group pseudo-selfie (although it’s so strange turning your back on the audience). That amber bracelet is a souvenir I found when Meg took me shopping earlier that morning.

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My selfie with them being funny!

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Another 3 hour signing followed. These fans had also waited in line overnight.

Mall panel group

A group shot of us and some of the team. So grateful to them and the others and to the fans who made it to the signing against all odds of nature.

Next and last Philippines tour post will cover the 35th Manila Book Festival signing! That is the capper, don’t miss it. 

 

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Philippines Tour 1 – International School and TV Interviews

Recently I was sent on a book tour of the Philippines, sponsored by the wonderful National Bookstore. After being flown over in my favorite kind of seat, the only one I use for long-distance travel, a pod seat (I’ll include a photo somewhere in the next set of posts), I arrived at Manila to the stunning, new five-star Fairmont Hotel.

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Always a perfect welcome — flowers and fruit!

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This hotel had the best won ton soup I’ve ever had in my life. I am ruined forever! This arrival day was a rest day, which was so thoughtful of my team there. I knew I had to not give in to an early sleep, otherwise throwing off my body clock for the week, so I went over to the adjacent mall to do some souvenir shopping. Walking around, some salesperson mistook me for a local, which thrilled me to no end!

Lissa Price Panel and students

After a good night’s sleep, the days were packed with media interviews and events. This International School was a unique experience for us. My author travel buddy in this journey was the talented Jennifer E. Smith (best known for her brilliant THE STATISTICAL PROBABILITY OF LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT). I knew from a mutual friend that she was going to be terrific and we had been emailing in preparation for this trip (mostly about clothes).

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Sons and daughters of diplomats and other influential residents of Manila attend this school. We’d never seen students fly to the microphones the way they did when we got to the Q &A. It was a treat hearing the different accents and guessing what country they might be from. We had very smart questions and heard from many future writers.

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I remember one girl told us that her friend next to her said, “That’s us up there, someday.”  And that is exactly why we do this.

Lissa Price and Fans

Our charming interviewers — top students – and our lovely moderator and hostess, Meg, who suggested she come with her driver and take us shopping with her during our stay. Yes, she used the magic word “shopping” on me. Our schedule was so packed, would we be able to fit it in? Follow the future posts to see.

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During the media interviews, our team surprised us with this lovely tea. Later, we had a fun welcome dinner with the Manila team and then went to bed to get ready for another exciting day.

Car photo

Billboards of us were all over the city. Billboards! Here’s one.

photo1 copyThey stopped to let us pose with one of these!

Television interview 2

My first LIVE tv interview was on the morning show Headstart with Karen Davila. She’s well-known in the Philippines for this hour show which mixes top news with interviews. Jennifer and I were on for 15 minutes each, which is a long time in tv minutes. You can’t help but think how what you say is going out into so many homes at that very moment. No room for mistakes!

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But Karen is such a pro, very polished. And one of her talents is making you feel as if you’re talking just to her.

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The show would intercut with images from the trailer or the book, or other photos of my tours. I had submitted ones with some author friends. One that they used was me at Comic-Con with Marie Lu and Neil Shusterman. They used some 20 images.

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This studio monitor was not calibrated, so we were assured the images look better on home sets.

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Studio cam.

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Karen invited us out for coffee right after, but we had to leave for another tv interview. What a gracious lady. It would have been so interesting to talk to her about her career. More photos to come — some you will not believe — of our further adventures in the Philippines!

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Kami Garcia Book Giveaway, International!

I am so excited about next Tuesday. Why? Because it is the release of Kami Garcia’s next installment of her Legion series that started with Unbreakable. This one is called: Unmarked.

In celebration of this new release, I will give away the beautiful signed hardcover version of Unmarked as well as Dangerous Creatures signed by both authors, special swag from her new release Unmarked, a Beautiful Creatures bracelet, a Legion Series bookmark and an Unbreakable pin.

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IMG_4055 Unmarked & Unbreakable

You all probably know that Kami is a #1 NYT bestselling author, but did you know Unbreakable was nominated for a Bram Stoker award?  Next Tuesday Unmarked is available everywhere and if you live in SoCal you’re all invited to see her in conversation with Melissa de la Cruz at B&N at the Grove.

It’s a treat to have Kami out here on tour as she lives on the east coast now. You don’t want to miss this. Come early to grab swag (Kami has such GREAT swag) or win it here.

This giveaway is INTERNATIONAL!

• Tuesday, September 30, 2014 7:00pm

Barnes and Noble at the Grove
189 The Grove Drive K30
Los Angeles, CA 90036
In Conversation with: Melissa de la Cruz

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Selfie in the Philippines

Lissa’s selfie with a portion of the crowd that turned out on a Friday night to see Jennifer E. Smith and Lissa in Cebu.

Lissa Price- Philippines

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In the Philippines

Lissa is in the Philippines this week and sends this photo of her and Jennifer E. Smith speaking to the smart students of the International School.

Lissa Price and Jennifer E. Smith

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Philippines Book Tour

The Philippines is bringing me out for a week of touring in September! Am looking forward to meeting Jennifer (an author friend told me she is really nice). It will be signings in Manila and also Cebu, media, school visits, and signing at the 35th Manila Book Festival. I’ve already heard from many of the readers and bloggers there and I’m so excited to meet you.

Book signing tour

From the Facebook page (all rules set by the organization):

What: Jennifer E. Smith and Lissa Price Book Signing Tour
When: September 19, 6 pm
Where: The Northwing Atrium, SM Cebu

When: September 20, 2 pm
Where: Level 3 Atrium, SM Aura Premier

When: September 21, 2 pm – 4 pm (200 slots only)
Where: Manila International Book Fair, SMX Convention Center

Join bestselling authors Jennifer E. Smith and Lissa Price for books signing events on September 19 at 6 pm in the Northwing Atrium of SM Cebu, on September 20 at 2 pm in the Level 3 Atrium of SM Aura Premier and on September 21 at 2 pm in the National Book Store booth at the Manila International Book Fair. The events are made possible in partnership with Raffles Makati, Metro magazine, Chalk magazine, SM Aura Premier and SM Cebu. Follow National Book Store on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram (@nbsalert) for more details. Tag #JennAndLissainPH to join the discussion.

Is there a registration fee?

No. There is no registration fee.

How many books can I have signed? Is there a limit as to how many people can have their books signed?

You may have any number of books signed as long as they were purchased from National Book Store, Bestsellers or Powerbooks, and we do not have any preset limit as to the number of people.

However, although we will take every effort to get as many books signed as possible, depending on the number of attendees, we reserve the right to limit the number of copies per person or limit the number of people in line. First come, first served.

Can I bring old books or other editions of the books?
Yes, as long as the books were purchased from National Book Store, Bestsellers and Powerbooks.

Do I need to buy on-site?
No. You can buy books before or during the event. 

Can I have other items signed? 
No. Only books will be allowed to be signed by the authors. 

Can we have our photo taken with the author?
Yes, you can have your photo with the author when she signs your book. However, we strictly allow one photo per person only.

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Thrillerfest 2014 Conference

I flew in a day early to catch a play with NY friends. The play was great and it was special getting to see them.

Waiting for Gentleman's Guide To Love and Murder

Waiting for Gentleman’s Guide To Love and Murder

Jonathan Karp, CEO of Simon & Schuster

Jonathan Karp

The next day, at the Craftfest luncheon, I didn’t realize I was seated at the same table as Jonathan Karp,  our wonderful keynote speaker. He teased the audience with a choice of lectures, holding up two envelopes. Did we want “Elements of a Thriller” or “What Publishers Want?” The choice was obvious and the other envelope was, in fact, blank.

My seat mates were none other than authors Robert Dugoni and David Morrell. Also at our table, D.P. Lyle, Kimberley Cameron, Jon Land, Bob Stine and Joseph Finder. How much fun was this?

Later I gave my Craftfest lecture: Eight Fatal Mistakes Beginning Writers Make. Had a great turnout. Thank you, sharp students, for the excellent questions.

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My buddy John Dixon with his poster of PHOENIX ISLAND. If you click on the photo to zoom in a few times, you can read my cover blurb in green. This was the basis for the tv show, “Intelligence” with Josh Holloway.

Cocktail party

Random House sponsored the cocktail party so that’s a slide of RH authors. They ran single slides of our books throughout the party.

Melissa Marr-John Dixon

John took Melissa Marr and I out to celebrate his debut novel.  But as we walked into the restaurant, Melissa got the news that Peter Jackson’s company will be making the film from her books, WICKED LOVELY! The restaurant brought us champagne and you can see we already have whiskey on the table. A magical night where every fifteen minutes someone would say, “Peter JACK-son” and we’d grin and click glasses again.

Research panel

The next day I got up early to see Melissa’s panel on “Research.” She was smart and funny and such a pro.

Melissa Marr

Melissa and I were having so much fun, she delayed her train by a few hours. But then she had to get back to her family. Before we said goodbye, I snapped this shot of her by her poster – a new adult thriller coming out this fall. I have an ARC for me and one to give away, so keep watching this site.

F. Paul Wilson

The clever and wise F. Paul Wilson (of Repairman Jack fame), signing for fans.

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Snagged this and an inscription from Chris. I’m such a fan of his writing. Love that cover!

Random House Poster

Random House did this large poster of their authors at Thrillerfest that was outside the ballroom. I’m pretty sure I’m the only YA author there.

Friday night I went to talk to the debut authors, at Jenny’s request, to give some tips on how to best use their one minute they would get at the breakfast panel the next day.  My main points were to find what is unique to themselves, bearing in mind it might not be a synopsis of their book. I encouraged them to be real and be memorable.

Debut panel left half

The next morning for buffet helps encourage everyone to get up early (after Friday night partying) to see the debut authors. What an accomplished group. And their short speeches were terrific and memorable.

Debut panel right half

Doug Preston and the other half of the debut table. These people all have impressive backgrounds. The four person to the right, (woman with the blond hair), had been a commercial airline pilot. I was sitting with Daniel Palmer and we enjoyed this presentation so much.

YA Panel

Later that day, I moderated the YA panel. They called my job “panel master.” I think that should be after my name for the rest of my life. Or at least the “master” part, like “shopping master” or “gym rat master.”

From the left: R.L. Stine, Heather Graham (the author of over a hundred books, not the actress), Allen Zadoff, nominated for Best YA Thriller for I Am the Assassin, Meg Gardiner (Phantom Instinct), and Janice Gable Bashman (Predator). This photo is a serious moment, but later R.L. Stine had us in stitches. Great audience with smart questions, too.

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R.L. Stine was one of the first authors to write a long series in the YA arena. Now they’re bringing back the Fear Street series with new books. I can picture early teens sitting around a campfire or with flashlights, reading this aloud. It’s a fast-paced, easy read, perfect for reluctant readers but with some scary images in there that you will not be able to get our of your mind.

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At the second of my two signings, this wonderful family of readers came into the city to see me. They were there last year, when Starters was out and this year they picked up Enders. Anthony has the makings of a future writer I suspect.  It’s wonderful when readers make the effort to come so far (Anthony flew in from another state) — much appreciated.

Pre party party

Private party before the pre-banquet cocktail party. Allison Leotta, Boyd Morrison, Graham Brown, Robert Dugoni, Shane Gericke, Dennis Pozzessere, Heather Graham to name a few. Not in this photo but other authors also there: Lisa Gardner and mom, Jamie Freveletti and daughter, Lee Goldberg and wife.

Banquet

At the final banquet and awards dinner, sitting at the Random House table with Anne and Christopher Rice, Mark Tavani, and pictured here with Walter Walker who kept me laughing and Jenny Milchman who waited to eat until she had her turn on stage, announcing one of the winners.

Daniel Palmer

Last year, Michael Palmer invited me to sit at his table (which was pretty much in the same spot as this year’s table). It was generous and kind of him. I remember how he wouldn’t eat his dinner until he had gone onstage to sing a funny duet with his son, Daniel.

Sadly, Michael passed away last October. So Daniel did an amazing thing. He wrote lyrics in honor of his dad to the tune of “Cat’s in the Cradle” (original lyrics here). The song was funny and also poignant; everyone was in tears by the end. I don’t know how Daniel managed to sing and play so well, without breaking down. Standing ovation for this heartfelt moment that will be remembered in Thrillerfest history.

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Then the awards were given out and my favorite was a guy I didn’t know but I had been seated next to at my second signing. Best Thriller of the Year, Andrew Pyper, for his book THE DEMONOLOGIST. He beat out Stephen King among other great authors.  He was so nice to me when I was signing, so I was especially happy to see him win. It happened that I had bought his book in the B&N conference bookstore on the basis of the cover and title. I didn’t know it was nominated, didn’t read the great blurb.

And I was right to buy it. It’s a page-turner. An adult book with adult themes, beautifully written.

IMG_1586One of the best parts of conferences is getting to see writer buddies from other states. With our busy schedules, this is our chance to catch up for the year. We had all met at TF before we were published and now we’ve each had this amazing ride, one we never would have imagined. Book people are the best.

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