I was going to call this blog “Moonwalking in New York,” and it was going to start off something like this:
“Are you guys all dancers?”
“Excuse me?” I said, to the girl in the elevator at the Hyatt Regency, New York.
“It’s about Michael Jackson, right?”
We had almost reached the lobby by the time I figured it out. She was looking at my badge. Thrillerfest. I imagined a thousand thriller authors taking over Grand Central Station, doing the moonwalk to cuts from the Michael Jackson album “Thriller.”
“No, oh-no,” I said, but the doors had opened and she had already gone.
True story. But then I thought, ugh, really? I’m going to blog about Thrillerfest? My God, I’ll never do it justice. It was like a whole universe unto itself, a crazy, wonderful mystery-thriller love-fest that just simply cannot be represented accurately in a blog. It’s like Rashomon, where everyone’s perception of the event is different. It’s really a thousand Thrillerfests seen through a thousand different eyes.
I mean, if you really want to read a good blog about Thrillerfest, check out Jason Pinter’s article in The Huffington Post. I took one look at that and said, “Well, shit, I can’t top that.”
Of course, if I did talk about Thrillerfest I’d talk about all the things that made it special for me, the things that stand out in my mind as simply exceptional experiences. Things like meeting Heather Graham, then drinking “car bombs” with her and F. Paul Wilson and Eric Raab, my editor, at the Irish pub two blocks from the hotel, I could talk about the tsunami high school reunion feeling of that first night when all the authors bumped one into the other and in one moment I was arm-in-arm with Sophie Littlefield and the next Ken Follett and then Jamie Freveletti and Allison Brennan and Alan Jacobson and then I escaped for a breather and it was just me and Gar Anthony Haywood chilling out in the hallway, two cats in love with a world of words. I could talk about the excitement of being handed a copy of the trade paperback version of BOULEVARD weeks before it hits the stores, or my rush to the Mysterious Bookstore for yet another Thrillerfest cocktail party and how excited I was to be able to thank Michael Connelly in person for the blurb he gave BEAT, or the fun I had at our Murderati lunch where I finally got to meet Tess and hang with Allison and Alafair and JT and her husband Randy and Neil Nyren and his wife. Or how I kept going back to that pub for more “car bombs” (Guiness plus Jameson plus Bailey’s Irish Crème) with Heather and Paul and now Keith Raffel and Marcus Sakey and Jason Pinter and more, and how I roomed with Josh Corin and he was great and sweet and wonderful and he talked like a madman in his sleep, and how I loved the Debut Author’s Breakfast where I pitched Boulevard in sixty seconds or less and saw my books sell out of the bookstore during my signing, how I ditched the big banquet to eat pizza with my editor and debut author John Rector and we rode the Stanton Island Ferry while others gave speeches and received awards, and when we returned all was good and everybody and everything simply glowed with enthusiasm and glee.
But that’s not the blog I chose to write.
So I started a different blog, and called it “Newbie No-Mo.”
The concept being that, despite the fact that I’m still in my debut year, I feel more like a veteran than a newbie. Newbie, No More.
Despite its catchy title, the blog was a college thesis documenting my rise from naïve newcomer to worldly author. I wrote about the fact that I’ve been a Murderater (Murdermarauder?) for more than a year now, my first blog having been posted on May 22, 2009. (So where was my one-year chip? Shouldn’t someone have given me a one-year chip on my “birthday?” Who’s running this meeting, anyway?)
The blog detailed the three different conferences I’ve seen: Bouchercon, Left Coast Crime, and Thrillerfest. There were graphs and pie charts showing the progression of my maturity in the business, beginning with those first sloppy attempts to pitch my book (in twenty words or less), and ending with the pinnacle of my success as represented in my ability to hand-sale Boulevard to the guy in the seat next to me on the airplane home, and how the momentum escalated further, climaxing with a slam-dunk pitch that sold my book to the Supershuttle driver who delivered me to my doorstep.
But there just wasn’t enough PASSION in these topics, so I bailed, I shut down, I closed out Microsoft Word and opened iTunes and I listened to a song by Aimee Mann called “Wise Up.”
Passion. Why is it always music that takes me there? Words are too wordy, they sometimes get in the way. Music cuts right to the soul.
Aimee Mann… I love her voice and her phrasing and her range and control. Her music brings me back to the core of what I’m feeling these days, and that feeling is passion. That’s what got me here.
And where is here? Here is two weeks away from the release of Boulevard in trade paperback:
See, that’s the cover I was passionate about from the start, and then Barnes & Noble had us change our cover to the one with the gun on it. Which I love, too. But this one really spoke to me. My editor knew it, so he fought to get it for the paperback.
And then, two months after that, this little ditty hits the stores:
(Do me a favor and CLICK HERE - I couldn't get the image to load up.)
Can you see why I’m such a nutcase over here? I’m living my dream!
So, I guess what I’m saying, at 2:30 am when my blog goes up in two hours, is that it’s all about passion. When I start bitching about the bills and the dues I’m-a payin’, I better just chill out and…wise up.