Thrillerfest X

It's Tuesday morning, I'm officially back from NYC, but before I get back to writing (and grading final exams for my Probation class), I wanted to recap on my fabulous adventure known as Thrillerfest X.

I arrived early Friday morning, just in time to watch Charlaine Harris interviewed by Karin Slaughter. I even manged to speak to Charlaine, which basically boiled down to me babbling while she politely kept her smile.

I had a pretty good view of Karin and Charlaine. Definitely not the cheap seats!

Later that evening, the team at Thomas & Mercer hosted a cocktail party for all their authors in attendance and how fortunate was that?...I got to meet Christopher Rice and Blake Crouch! And let me just say, I have been a fan of Blake Crouch since forever and meeting him was definitely the highlight of my trip. He was not only approchable, but a genuinely nice guy. No, really...he has a hit TV show based on his books and he is still A NICE GUY!

Selfie with Blake Crouch!!

At one point during the cocktail hour, Layton Green and I (after we agreed that the chupacabra totally exists) went off in search of the rooftop bar and we got lost and found ourselves in the service elevator. Layton also taught me the fine art of just "standing in one spot" (people will eventually come to you) and I am forever grateful.

After the Thomas & Mercer party, a few of us enacted the "buddy system" and authors Jay Klages and Matthew Iden escorted me back to the hotel for more drinks at the hotel bar (which is what you're supposed to do at Thrillerfest). Sometime around midnight, Jay and I decided to grab a burger at a local bar.

Our late night burger was more like dinner, since neither one of us had managed to eat!

Hating life Saturday morning, I had to rally and show up to my 9:30am panel discussion on villians. I either slept right through houskeeping attempting to deliever my coffee maker (available upon request) that night or they just didn't show. Thankfully, no one noticed me in my pj's and sporting raccoon eyes in the hotel lobby on my quest for coffee.

Since I was in town, my agent was able to attend my panel and took me out for coffee afterwards. Now let me just say, I have the best agent. MacKenzie not only showed up to hear me speak on a Saturday morning and sprung for Starbucks, but wore vintage Lilly Pulitzer in my (and my character's) honor.

A pre-panel pose with Owen Laukkanen and Steve Martini!

To our surprise, we had a full house at our early morning panel on villians.

That afternoon, all the panelists had a chance to sign their books and I was lucky enough, thanks to alphabetical order, to be seated next to CJ Lyons. It wasn't very exciting (everyone was over at Kathy Reichs' table), but it was fun chatting with CJ, who later that night went on to win the ITW Award for Best E-Book Original Novel.

There was only one place I had on my list of places to go while in NYC, so I kiddnapped Jay Klage after his panel and we hightailed it to Grand Central Station where we greedily ate oysters on the half-shell at The Oyster Bar. Did I mention we hit it right at happy hour? For as much as we ordered and drank, it was still the cheapest meal we'd had there by far (yeah, I sprung for the fried oysters too).

Now, this was my first big writer's conference, but not my first awards banquet rodeo. And I have to say, it was short and sweet (and by that, I mean the speeches). Lucky for me, I got to hang out with fellow Northern Virginian and T&M author Matthew Iden again. Then the after-party! Armed with our drink tickets, Paige Dearth (and her hubby, Mike) and I took a lot of pictures, wished we had met prior to our panel that morning, and had a great time.

Paige and I modeling our banquet best.

It was two days that felt like a week (that happens when you only have a few hours sleep in-between...NYC really doesn't sleep) and by Sunday morning, having secured a coffee maker by then, I packed and was ready to go home. I had an expensive breakfast at the hotel ($30 for two eggs over easy, with sausage and home fries, in case you were wondering), spotted Christopher Rice doing the same (I don't think he remembered me from Friday night so I didn't say hello).

In short, totally worth the experience and friends I made. I will certainly attend Thrillerfest long as I don't have an early morning panel.


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