Well, I've been back from New York for a couple of days now, but every time I want to sit down and start writing about Thrillerfest 2009, I start to feel overwhelmed. This has never been a problem in the past. So--whatever--I'm just going to start typing...
I had an absolutely WONDERFUL time at the fourth annual Thrillerfest. Like many of my friends, I haven't missed a year yet. Personally, I thought this year's T-fest was the best one since that first magical year in Phoenix--even considering that Barry Eisler and his fabulous hair were absent for the first time this year. Major bummer.
I actually arrived in New York several days early. The morning of Sunday, July 5th, to be specific. My plan was to see friends, see shows, and just enjoy some free time in New York. And in the above goals, I was successful. I spent time with my friends Roland and Mony and managed to squeeze in six Broadway shows. For those who are curious, they were:
- 9 to 5
- Next to Normal
- God of Carnage
- Waiting for Godot
- Blithe Spirit
Now, since I'm not a writer, I didn't attend the first two days of T-fest. They were filled up with Craftfest (bestselling authors teaching classes on the craft of writing) and Agentfest (essentially speed dating with literary agents). My conference started with the official opening cocktail party on Thursday evening. Thursday was a long day for me. I'd awoken at 5:00am, cabbed up to Central Park, and utterly failed to acquire tickets to the Shakespeare in the Park production of 12th Night. I walked the 50 blocks back to my hotel dejectedly, and crashed in my room for a few hours. Later I was running around the garment district trying and failing to accessorize a dress. Then I rushed back up town to pick up tickets to Blithe Spirit, my fallback show, and finally across town to the Grand Hyatt to make a brief appearance at the cocktail party.
Walking the few steps from Grand Central to the Hyatt, I immediately ran into two friendly faces, my friends Chris Kuzneski and Donna. Much more on them later. Arriving in the lobby of the Hyatt, the party was obvious, but I hadn't picked up any of my registration packet, my name badge, etc. A writer named Ed Mitchell was guarding the entrance of the party. He took one look at me and said, "You're okay. I know you. C'mon in!" Well that was a nice welcome!
Moments later I was greeted by novelist A.J. Hartley. A.J. and I were introduced by James "Jimbo" Rollins a couple of years ago, at which time he'd signed a copy of his novel On the Fifth Day for me. (A really enjoyable read, BTW.) Anyway, I was kind of stunned that A.J. was greeting me like an old friend, but it turned out he knew exactly who I was. Apparently my trashy underwater fiction obsession made quite an impression on him. A few moments later I hooked up with Jimbo, and it was so good to finally see him! We synchronized our schedules, made plans for later that night, scarfed down some pasta, and ultimately went our separate ways.
I was off to the theater, but I returned to the Hyatt later that night, because every seasoned T-fest-goer knows, all the real action takes place late at night in the bar.
I guess that will be installment two of this saga. I promise it will get more interesting. Oh, and a few photos, too, once I find the damn download cable...