I hang my head in shame, crawl across the floor on my knees, and beg the forgiveness of the One And Only Andrew Gross. How obscene that I’ve taken so long to write a blog about him!
I’ve also completely skipped ThrillerFest. So whaddya say we make up for lost time?
I love New York. Love it. Madly. Passionately. With just a hint of all things debauched. So no way I was going to pass up an opportunity to spend the better part of a week in The City That Never Sleeps. Or should I say The City That Only Sleeps? But that comes later. Things started off in the best possible way, with an incomparable business lunch at Bouley. Kir Royale before 2:00pm is nothing short of a luxury, and I could have died a happy woman after having either the Sashimi Quality Tuna with shaved fennel dressed in herb oil and a spicy marinade OR the Connecticut farm raised baby pig. Baby pig that, mind you, until its untimely demise, had eaten nothing but organic milk, organic apples, and CLEAN GRASS. That’s right: clean grass.
First, I want to know who, exactly, is cleaning the grass.
Second, I want to know why this ill-fated porcine infant was, on a daily basis, better fed than I am.
But WAIT! This isn’t about me, or pigs, or eggs poached with truffles (yeah, had that too; gotta love a good tasting menu). This is about Andy! Andy, with whom I did not get to spend enough time at Printers Row, who sent me the Best Housewarming Present Ever, who has got the world’s most charming wife, who can write a book that won’t let you breathe between pages. Now, I’ve never been much of a panel girl at conferences. But Andy convinced me to attend the seminar he taught at CraftFest, and my only regret is that I didn’t have something to scrawl notes on–any writer can learn a lot from this man.
And that, I admit with no shame, was the extent of my panel-going. ThrillerFest has fantastic parties, and St. Martin’s Minotaur pulled out all the stops for their cocktail soirée. Much fun was had by all, particularly those among us who learned that Sting now works for Barnes and Noble…..
It was not, however, all fun and games. Serious business was being conducted. Serious, that is, if you know and love Tom Cain. Tom has singlehandedly saved the female half of the human race by bringing across the pond an enormous supply of Boots Hand Cream and some sort of divine miracle serum. The amazing Renee Rosen and I will never be the same, and we cannot think of enough ways to adequately thank the man who, along with having a bright future in the export business, is without question in possession of one of the sharpest wits I’ve known.
He’s also responsible for introducing to Renee the phrase “kicked off.” Not to mention football hooligans and mucky dresses. And led the inestimable J.D. Rhoades (whose new book, Breaking Cover, better already be on your shelf) to ask the question, “Whaddya have to do to get kicked out of Germany?”
Good times were had by all.
Perhaps the most extraordinary achievement of the weekend was a flawless maneuver by the uber-talented Jonathan Hayes, the only person I know capable of getting, at the very last minute, a reservation for 20 people on a Friday night in Manhattan. And at an amazing restaurant: Devi. Talk about perfect spice!
So, yeah, there was writing talk. There was publishing talk. There were panels. But most of all, there was food. Lots of it. And more. Like Margery Flax scoring the limo that took us to the MWA Anti-Banquet (where things were EXLEREMELY spicy). And Jonathan Santlofer proving himself the most talented of MCs. Otto Penzler, guide extraordinaire. Renee bursting into song. The aborted 1am search for pajamas. Long-overdue bonding time with Brett Battles. Hanging with the blissfully happy JT and Randy Ellison. Having drinks with Steve Martini. Girls Gone Wild with Laura Caldwell. Sean Chercover coming to see that sometimes it takes two people to make an idiot. Harlan Coben’s uncanny ability to detect exactly when a girl needs a drink. Scary bars in the East Village at 4am. The bestowing upon Mr. Chercover of the first annual ART Award for Best Novel (Alison, Renee, and Tasha). My only regret is not finding a nice, cozy nook with Alison……
But my favorite moment? Other than two of the best breakfasts ever (thank you, Mr. Gross, for taking us where Eggs Benedict could be found)?
When we were on the way to check out of our hotel, I had to take somewhat un-elegant but dramatic steps to open the elevator door. As I kicked it out of our way, my leg extended above our suitcases and right in front of Renee. She turned to me and said, “In some countries, if you did that, we’d be married by now.”
All things considered, a girl could wind up far worse off. Pictures here. Just never forget: It’s All About Andy.