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.
Jonathan Karp, CEO of Simon & Schuster
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.
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.
Random House sponsored the cocktail party so that’s a slide of RH authors. They ran single slides of our books throughout the party
The clever and wise F. Paul Wilson (of Repairman Jack fame), signing for fans.
Snagged this and an inscription from Chris. I’m such a fan of his writing. Love that cover!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
One 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.