The Thrill of Thrillerfest.
Man, was THAT an adventure! I had to bring my liver home in a Radio Flyer! Came home exhausted and hungover.
Meaning that I had an awesome, awesome time.
It all started with checking into the Grand Hyatt on 42nd St. Incredible place. Then I registered for the conference and received my swag bag. That was cool. I then dumped off my stuff in my room and went down to the agency party. Got to meet my agent face-to-face again (being on opposite coasts, this is an extremely rare occurrence). She’s got to be the only person I know who can drink me under the table. I love her. She’s one of those great agents who always has your back, one who will pull you from the wreckage, dust you off, and then tell you “There’s another hill, soldier! March!”
Then there was the cocktail party opening reception. I don’t remember much about that. Afterwards, I went next door to Grand Central Station and ate at the food court. Got lost trying to get back to the hotel. I know, right? It’s right next door but yours truly got lost. Friday was all about attending panels. One of my favorites was “How to Keep Your Series Fresh”. Very informative and fun. I then had lunch with my editors from Criminal Element. More drinking (me, not them). I actually ended up paying for only a couple drinks, which was very cool of all the people who paid for me to try and drink the bar out of all the Johnny Walker Black.
Well, Saturday morning was the Debut Author Breakfast. As a Debut Author, this was an amazing experience. I flipped out when I saw the ballroom. I’d had no idea the room would be THIS size:
I had to get up and stand at that podium and say something about my book. I think there were about 350+ people there. I was so nervous I had to take a Valium, hahaha…
There were 27 of us Debut Authors there. Each of us approached their one minute differently. Some simply pimped their book, while others thanked people that had helped them along the way.
Me? What did I say? Something like this:
I feel I should say, “Hello, my name is Robert Lewis and I’m an alcoholic. Wait, that’s next week’s meeting. I would never have imagined when I sat down to write Untold Damage, my book about a recovering junkie, ex-undercover cop, that I would end up here in front of you all. My thanks to ITW and to all of you. Thank you.
After that I had some time to kill before going into the bookstore B&N set up for the authors to sell/sign copies of their books (unfortunately, I didn’t sell/sign any copies of Untold Damage but I did sign some programs), so I went to the bar. I ordered a double JWB. This was about 11:30am. I then noticed my agent, a writer friend of mine, and another writer I’d never seen before (sorry, but I simply canNOT remember her name) over with a waitress as they tried to get a table before the kitchen closed to switch to the lunch menu (or something like that). My agent sees me and waves me over. The four of us go to a nearby table and sit. The writer whom I hadn’t met before looks at the glass of Scotch in front of me…
HER: Is that Scotch?
HER: Oh my God you’re my new hero!
That cracked me up, but yeah… it WAS only 11:45am.
I had a great time. Seriously great. Can’t wait to go back next year and be on a panel. If you ever get the opportunity to go to Thrillerfest, go. The opportunities to learn about your craft and the business are legion. The opportunities to network are countless.
The next time you hear from me I’ll have some more good news.
Let me leave you with this picture of where I sat during the breakfast: