Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Thrills (Really!) and Chills (Anything But!) in NYC

Keith here.

The last three years I stayed with friends on the Upper West Side when I went to ThrillerFest. This year they were out of town, but told me their apartment was mine for the week. So I brought #3, my 14 year-old, for a few days of pre-conference sightseeing beginning on July 5. (Did my friends know something I didn't? They were away on an Arctic cruise. The temp in the City hit 103 degrees while we were there.)


I shipped #3 back to California on Thursday afternoon, July 8, when ThrillerFest began. The feet above belong to pal Andy Gross who's managed to combine his previous career in sportswear with his current one penning bestsellers. After the opening reception, Andy led a bunch of us to a Greek seafood place where the food was almost as good as the conversation. Sat next to Otto Penzler, who it turns out, reveres Ross Thomas's thrillers as much as I do. Also slung words back and forth over the table with Michael Palmer, who told me how he got a blurb from Bill Clinton, aspiring novelist Dr. Julia Kinder, Haligonian Pam Callow ("Halifax's answer to both John Grisham and Tess Gerritsen"), and thriller writers Julie Compton, Carla Buckley, and Alan Orloff.


Friday night we cabbed it over to a terrific party at Otto Penzler's terrific Mysterious Bookshop where I met the latest Swedish thriller sensation, Camilla Lackberg. Afterwards, the gang in the photo above had a great time at dinner. (Or at least I did.) From left: me, Dana Kaye, Robin Burcell, Craig Reid, Rick Mofina, and Julie Kramer. Then it was to the bar and schmoozing with, among others, two of the best of Boston, Hank Phillippi Ryan, who was just down for the day , and Joe Finder, who'd just been interviewed by Russian TV about the sleeper agents that had been arrested and then exchanged.


Found time Saturday to grab a bite with old pal and International Thriller Writers co-president Joe Moore. Steve Martini joined us mid-chew. Now it wasn't all play (just mostly). Saturday afternoon I sat on a panel led by Edgar Winner David Ellis (at far right) that also included (from right) Karna Small Bodman, Don Helin, Casey Moreton, me, and Rick Robinson. Considering we were up against other panels led by the fabulous ITW co-president Steve Berry and Andy Gross of distinctive footwear fame, we drew pretty well.


I didn't go the awards banquet on Saturday night. For shame. But wouldn't you know it -- I showed up for the after-party anyway. Here I am with the glamorous ITW Vice President of National Events, Kath Antrim. What a fabulous job she, Shane Gericke, Liz Berry, and their army of volunteers did!


It looks like a fight is about to break between me and singing debut author Brad Parks on the far right, doesn't it? Fortunately, Dr. Kinder, next to me, and Alan Orloff, next to Brad, kept us apart.


The after-party in the ballroom ended around midnight and then the after-after-party in the hotel bar ended around one-thirty. I was headed back to the Upper West Side and a few hours sleep when bro Marcus Sakey shanghaied me to an Irish bar down Lexington Avenue. (That's the talented LA novelist Steve Schwartz on the right and Dutton publicity manager Amanda Walker squeezed in between Steve and Marcus. All three look pretty good for three in the morning, don't they?)



Before leaving Sunday, I had to get a photo of Nellybelle, Pat Brady's jeep on The Roy Rogers Show. I grew up watching reruns of that program. Anyway, Nellybelle along with Roy's horse Trigger are being auctioned off by Christie's this week. (I got a look at Trigger. He might be stuffed, but still looks great for his age.)


Now reading this column over, I realize I didn't spend any time recapping what I learned at the conference's panels and interviews. Tough. Read about that stuff elsewhere.


See you at ThrillerFest next year?

15 comments:

Joe Moore said...

Keith, great to see you and Alan at ThrillerFest. A good time was had by all.

Keith Raffel said...

Joe, glad we had a chance to catch up. Can't wait to see what you and Lynn have come up with!

Sue Ann Jaffarian said...

Fun post, Keith. I can almost feel the hangovers from here.

G.M. Malliet said...

I'm going to have to start writing thrillers so I get invited to all the parties. This makes even summer weather in NY look like fun.

Darrell James said...

Keith- I've always said I go to conferences for the Happy Hours. I'm really sorry I missed it.

Alan Orloff said...

Thrillerfest was a terrific three-day cocktail party, er convention, and I'm thankful to you, Keith, for taking me under your wing and showing me the ropes. Your fees were very reasonable! (Keith knows EVERYONE, by the way.)

Keith Raffel said...

Sue Ann, Gin, and Darrell, the conference could have been a lot better -- if you 3 had been there! Alan, thanks for applying your diplomatic prowess.

Carol Grace said...

Thanks for the re-cap! Glad it was such fun. So what's the best conference for new mystery writers (cozies)? In my past life I wrote romances and went to RWA and RomCon. Now what? Bouchercon in Oct?

Keith Raffel said...

Carol, Bouchercon is pretty big and overwhelming. Loads of fun and one I hate to miss. Covers much more than cozies. Hard to get on a good panel there, too. I wonder whether the best cozy conference is Malice Domestic. Never been there myself though. Small conferences are great, too. I'm still friends with folks I met at Sletuhfest and the now-defunct Con Misterio.

Kathleen Ernst said...

Looks like a good time was had by all!

Joshua said...

What, you don't mention your exciting meeting with your fabulous agent?

Great seeing you.

Josh

Keith Raffel said...

Josh - our meeting was pre-ThrillerFest and thus outside the ambit of this post. But yes, I did have a terrific meeting with my wonderful agent the day before ThrillerFest began.

Beth Groundwater said...

Great conference re-cap, Keith, and it sounds like you had a lot of fun. I love reading conference reports and seeing photos of mystery/suspense/thriller authors and readers, especially when they've got some alcohol in them. ;-)

Carol, I recommend you attend the Malice Domestic conference, which is focused JUST on cozy/traditional mysteries! I love it and try to attend most years, even though I have to fly in from Colorado.

Elizabeth Spann Craig/Riley Adams said...

Gosh,it looks like thriller writers stay up later than cozy writers. I was collapsing from exhaustion at Malice at 11:00 (a.m., not p.m.). :)

Keith Raffel said...

Elizabeth, three points to make. First, I just stayed on California time which meant waking up at 8.30 and going to sleep around 2. Second, it is hard to think noir in the daylight. Third, it IS New York, the city that never sleeps.