The Moment I Went To My First Agents & Editors Party: I’d joined Mystery Writers of America and it was Edgar Awards Weekend, meaning on one of the prior evenings there was a wine-and-cheese do in New York. Members were invited to go schmooze with agents and editors. I went armed. I’d printed out colorful Xeroxes with Jeopardy!-style questions on it, designed to get people curious about reading Waiting for Dead Men’s Shoes. I circled the room with my sheets, smiling as I scanned name badges. When I saw a name I recognized, I went into my spiel. (Schmooze and spiel? If you didn’t know I was Jewish before, you know now.) A surprising number of agents and editors handed me business cards, inviting me to send my manuscript along. At one point, as I stood to the side, catching my breath, a man approached me. He was a writer. “How are you doing this?” he wanted to know. He said he’d been watching me, that he’d been coming to those kind of events for years and had never seen anything like it, that he’d always been too nervous to directly approach agents and editors that boldly. I explained that I was just as nervous as the next person, but I figured, it was like going on stage and hitting my mark: I could throw up all I wanted to before or afterward, I just had to hit my mark within a finite period of time. Really, I explained, when was I ever going to get another opportunity this good? Of course, we all know how this story ends by now: No matter how many agents and editors asked that night to read Waiting for Dead Men’s Shoes, no one acquired it. Still, at least I was not a wallflower. Never have been, never will be.