As promised, I'm reporting back from Book Expo in New York, where I spent several glorious days last week. This was quite possibly my best trip to NYC yet, for all sorts of reasons. I'm always glad to touch down in NorCal but I'm very glad I got to go.
The view from my room, which reminds me of the illustrations in the Mike Mulligan Steam Shovel story, for some reason
It all started last monday when I rolled into town in time to have lunch with the coolest guy in the world, Jonathan Hayes, who had just returned from touring from his new book, A HARD DEATH. I don't know how to describe Jonathan to you, except to say there is only one person in the world even remotely like him, and I am sorry for everyone who doesn't get a chance to meet him someday.
From Jonathan's I dashed uptown for a meeting with my Saint Martin's/Minotaur people, including my lovely editor Toni and publicist Sarah and the boss man. Now when I say "meeting," you know I mean a big table at this very posh bar where they offered us charcuterie before I could unfurl my napkin. I was pretty sure I knew what charcuterie was, and, in fact, how to pronounce it (with my special Missouri-French accent!) but to be on the safe side, I made Barbara, my intrepid agent, try it all first. Smashing! Our server was loath to let us come anywhere close to dry and we did ourselves proud, I think.
The result of the meeting: we all made a pinky promise, INCLUDING MY PUBLISHER HIMSELF, that we are going to a very secret location to drink champagne when Stella hits the NYT extended list. You know this made me froth at the mouth with determination.
Agent Barbara giving me marching orders in her office before our "meeting"
So day two started as a confusing hair day. I was staying a couple of miles away from Javitz and I knew the walk/subway/bus combo would undo whatever I managed with my flatiron, so I just gave up. But when I got to the Harlequin booth, I didn't even care. There, big as life and lit up like heaven, was *my* cover on a poster. And then Adam appeared. If publishing was a box of cracker jack, Adam would be the prize. And not the crappy fake-mini-comic-book either, a *cool* prize.
me and awesome Harlequin gal Jayne Hoogenberk
I found my friend Rachael's upcoming book A LIFE IN STITCHES in the Chronicle booth - so exciting to hold it in my hands even before it's released!
On Wednesday I did my first radio interview that did not make me want to peel the skin from my arms like a Beater. It was actually fun, for which I give credit to the lovely Kim Alexander of SiriusXM. It was also like eleven seconds long which might have helped.
Then I signed A BAD DAY FOR PRETTY at the MWA booth with my girl Margery, and when I ran out of books I bugged the lovely Clare O'Donohue until she let me be her assistant. Tons of friends running around including Todd and Ken and Steve and Toni and Charlaine and Persia and Andy and...at one point my buddy Ben LeRoy and I escaped to a quiet corner so I could do my introvert freak-out, the one he talks me down from every time I see him. I love that guy.
Pals Toni Kelner, Ken Isaacson, and Charlaine Harris in the MWA booth
How shall I describe my lunch with Barbara and Jamie Freveletti? Obviously there was red meat, martinis, and scheming. But the hours somehow flew by: one minute the place was mobbed, the next I looked up and our waiter - bless his heart - was standing attentively with a pained look on his face while they set up for dinner. It reminded me of the time Nicole Peeler, Juliet Blackwell, and I went to the House of Prime Rib and the poor waiter kept gasping until he swallowed so much air I thought a bubble would reach his heart and he would die right there, in the middle of one of Nicole's stories so I wouldn't have even been able to help him until I heard how it turned out. Yeah. This lunch was like that.
That night, I went to the Harlequin party. Forget my silly babbling for a moment and close your eyes and picture Cinderella at the ball, if Cinderella was a geeky awkward girl from Missouri and the Prince was Margaret Atwood (!!!!) and the pumpkin coach was really the Chrysler Building lit up like - well, like the city itself, only mere blocks away from the rooftop party. Suave foreign publishers fetched me wine, Jayne let me keep hugging her all night, I talked to Rachel Vincent and Julie Kagawa and I even managed to leave before I did anything mortifying. Well, I did that one mortifying thing, but, y'know, that's not a bad record, for me.
Thursday started unconscionably early. Like at 8 am I had to be not only dressed, but made up for a photo shoot. It's a long story but my brother and I are going to be in an article in a magazine in the fall, and they wanted to take our picture in central park. UGH! I hate having my picture taken, and I think Mike does too, and our photographer - who we both adored despite not *wanting* or *expecting* to like her - kept cracking us up with her directions. I got "smaller smile please" most often, and mike got "look positive." We were both told to "act more natural." Ha! She took eleven thousand photos so I'm hoping one might work.
Then mike skipped off downtown for some meeting and I headed for Newark, and from there it rapidly - or rather slowly - devolved into an eight hour wait at the gate, while storms plagued the country's midsection and passengers fought over the outlets and the bookstore closed *juuuuust* as I decided I hated the book I brought for the return trip. But you know what? It didn't even matter that I didn't get home until 3:30am. Juliet picked me up at SFO, which was great except now I owe her HUGE, because how do you pay back a favor like that, and as I slipped into my own bed an hour before I would have to get up again to make pancakes for Junior, I felt warm and happy all over.