Thrillerfest Day Two

Today my daughter Madison went to the conference with me — she wanted to see R.L. Stine. But first we attended an informative and amusing panel with Lee Child, Michael Palmer and Alex Kava called Thriller Writers Who Write Thrilling Stuff or something like that. I don’t remember. But all the authors were great. Lee said that he already knew the title of his final Jack Reacher story. "It will be called ‘Die Lonely’ and Reacher will be dismembered," he said. "There will be no chance for resurrection for him and I’ll retire." (That’s a quote from memory, so forgive me if it’s not exact).

After that I met the lovely and gracious Tess Gerritsen, who signed a book for me, and then it was off to the R.L Stine luncheon. We ran into Stine outside the ballroom and he was kind enough to sign all of Maddie’s books and chat with her a bit about writing. M. Diane Vogt took a picture of Maddie and Stine together, which was a real thrill for my daughter. Afterwards, though, Maddie was upset that she forgot to ask him the question that she’d been waiting a year to ask. I told her it was okay, I’m sure there would be a question-and-answer session after his presentation.

Sure enough, there was. Maddie nudged me and told me to raise my hand for her.  But as soon as the guy brought the microphone over, Maddie froze. "You ask for me, Daddy," and she thrust the book in my hand.

So I did.  It’s the story of a mermaid who is captured by bad guys and held captive in an aquarium. There’s a part that didn’t make sense to Maddie, so I read it aloud.  The mermaid is so sad, the hero can see tears running down her cheeks. Maddie’s question was: "How can he see tears if she is underwater?"

The audience laughed and Stine did, too. His reply was that the mermaid has to come up for air some time — that must have been one of those times. Of course, Maddie whispers to me "She wasn’t coming up for air, tell him!" I didn’t. The moderator asked Stine if he wanted to take any more questions and, laughing, he said that last question was enough.

Several people afterwards thanked Maddie for asking her good question. But a few others walked past me, shaking their heads in disapproval. I don’t think Stine was embarrassed by the question. He’s a guy who clearly enjoys a good laugh. If he wasn’t, I might have hesitated before passing along her query.  But it was a question she really wanted to ask and it was a fair one. I wanted her to learn that it’s okay to ask questions when you don’t understand something.

I know that Thrillfest has thrilled my daughter so, for me, the convention is a big success.

Thrillerfest Day One

I wasn’t a very good convention-goer today. I spent most of my time by the pool, going on the water slide with my daughter about a thousand times.  It’s a great pool.

But I managed to catch up with a lot of my friends poolside, in the lobby, and in my brief foray to the convention hall, including Paul Levine, Jeremiah Healy, George Easter, Lee Child, Robert Ferrigno, Joe Konrath, David Morrell, Gayle Lynds, Bob Levinson, James Born,  Gregg Hurwitz, Christopher Rice, Robin Burcell, Leslie Silbert, Harley Jane Kozak, Sarah Weinman, Diane Vogt, Doug Lyle, Zoe Sharp, Eric Stone, David J. Montgomery, J.D. Rhoades, Raelynn Hillhouse, Harry Hunsicker and Reed Coleman. I also met a few authors for the first time, including Rick Mofina, John Gilstrap, Chris Mooney and John Ramsey Miller.

I’ve discovered, much to my shock and delight, that a surprising number of folks read my blog (lots of people have asked me about my encounter with the Naked Bookseller and those who haven’t asked I quickly told).

My fan moment of the day was getting all the contributing authors of the THRILLER anthology who were attending the festival to sign my copy of the book at the opening night reception. 

So far the conference is running very smoothly — remarkably so, in fact, for a first-time event.  Tomorrow, I’m attending a lot of panels and bringing my daughter to the R.L. Stine luncheon…she’s brought all her copies of his books to be signed.

Tied Up

Tim Waggoner talks about the biz of tie-in writing over at Writers Digest.

Christopher Golden, bestselling author of The Ferryman and Strangewood, has written "Buffy the Vampire Slayer"-related books, and novels based on the "Angel" TV series. He’s witnessed first-hand the problems some writers—even good ones—have constructing a story within someone else’s guidelines. "I’ve also seen a lot of god-awful tie-ins," he says, "which would seem to indicate that some writers think it’s a lot easier than it actually is."

Are Novelizations Doomed?

Slate wonders if novelizations are endangered species:

novelizations have been supplanted by big-selling tie-ins—original novels based on existing properties such as Buffy the Vampire Slayer, CSI, or Halo—and the Internet. In a DVD world, the idea of using a book to relive the pleasures of a film is practically counterintuitive.

[…]The home-theater revolution may have wiped out a large part of the novelization market, but the lessons learned may wind up sustaining the genre. When DVDs first arrived, the studios quickly realized that they could get fans to "double dip" by issuing a bare-bones release of a movie and then following it with a "Deluxe Edition" loaded with special features. Now it looks like literary special features—expanded back stories, cut scenes, and deleted characters—might just make the novelization relevant again.

A Bookstore That Monk Would Never Visit

P6280127_1 We just arrived in Phoenix for Thrillerfest. On the way, we stopped in Quartzite, AZ for a hamburger and discovered the most unusual bookstore I’ve ever seen. It’s called Reader’s Oasis  and the gregarious proprietor, Paul Winer, likes to walk around the store nude. Naturally, Paul had a large selection of my books. These are my people.

I think Paul has stumbled on the perfect way for independent bookstores to compete with the big box book stores.  This idea could really catch on in L.A… if the salesclerks were all Baywatch babes.

Speaking of babes, there’s some kind of sorority or cheerleader convention going on in this very same hotel. I know some single thriller writers who are going to be very busy trying to thrill these other conventioneers. P6280128

Perhaps because of the large crowd, we lucked into an amazing, free upgrade. We are staying in a huge, third floor suite overlooking the golf course. It has a living room, full kitchen, and a giant shaded patio. We may never leave the room.

Simon and Simon

TVShowsonDVD reports that the first season of SIMON AND SIMON is coming out on DVD in October. I wonder if it will include the original, unaired pilot. Some footage from that pilot was later incorporated into another episode.  That’s the kind of stuff that makes the difference between a great DVD set and once that’s only okay.  I also wonder if the first season shows will have the original theme which, like the MAGNUM PI theme, was dropped in favor of a new one for the second season.

Out to Lunch

Tomorrow, I am heading off with my family to Phoenix for five days to attend the Thrillerfest convention. I don’t know if I’ll be blogging much, if at all, while I’m away. And since my brother Tod has a blog of his own now, I don’t have a guest-blogger taking my place. So don’t be surprised if things are a little quiet around here until next week.

Monk Revealed

There’s a detailed interview with my friends Terry Erdmann & Paula Block, authors of the terrific new book  MONK: THE OFFICIAL EPISODE GUIDE, over at the Monk Fun Page. The book is every bit as breezy and enjoyable as the show and is full of amusing and revealing anecdotes about the development and production of MONK. You can also watch a video interview with Terry and read Monk creator Andy Breckman’s Forward from the book over at the USA Network Monk site.

I Really Hope This Isn’t A Hoax Because I SO Want It To Be True…

Rush Limbaugh has been busted for possession of illegal prescription drugs… again.

Limbaugh was returning on a flight from the Dominican Republic when customs officials found a Viagra prescription that did not bear his name. Instead, the bottle of pills had the names of two doctors on it
according to the Palm Beach Sheriff’s Office.

(Thanks to Making Light for the link).