During my second full day in New York....
After forcing myself to experience the quite-decent fitness room at the Millennium Broadway Hotel, I shrugged off some lingering jet lag. Then Judy Duarte (my critique partner and friend) and I went to lunch with our Silhouette editor, Susan Litman. We met her at the office, which is housed in the Woolworth Building. Can you imagine going to work in a beautiful, historic building every day? Maybe it gets old--I don't know. At any rate, we got to see Gail Chasen, our Special Edition senior editor, plus Mary-Theresa Hussey, too. A very nice reunion.
Susan took us to the Blue Fish Grill off of Union Square, and it was delish. What I remember most was the carrot cake, which was unlike any carrot cake I've ever had. First of all, it came with a butterscotch sauce. Second of all, I liked this carrot cake. And since Susan and I are pop culture junkies, we talked a lot about things such as LOST and BROTHERS AND SISTERS. We also covered war stories about writing, which was fun. Whenever you have an editor to yourself, it's cool to pick their brains. You also have to leave those stories at the table and be discreet so they'll tell you more the next time.
After lunch, Judy braved the subway on her own, and I set about flitting around New York to sign NIGHT RISING at different book stores. I think I visited three that day, and I covered a lot of ground. (Over the coming days, I would visit more book stores, too. I'm trying to make it a point to do this wherever I travel. It takes a heck of a lot of time out of the day, but I've discovered that talking to book sellers one-on-one provides a lot of valuable information about what's selling and what I can do to make my present books sell. Cool that I just now discovered this secret, huh?)
That night, the PASIC conference kicked off with a reception at a Chinese restaurant that provided dim sum. YUM! But even more important than my always-grumbling stomach was the forty or so agents and editors in attendance. The room was chock-full of them, and after getting a rum and coke in hand, I started working it, meeting new authors, greeting the ones I already knew, and even declaring a mission to finally introduce myself to Sue Grimshaw, who is the romance buyer for Borders Group. Though she doesn't deal so much with category (like my SSEs or Blazes) or pure urban fantasy (NIGHT RISING), I thought it might be smart to pick her brain, too. She's very involved with romantic single titles and started to get me thinking about that writing route (Ack! More story ideas! I'm already booked into late 2008 with deadlines!). We also discussed the future of book trailers, especially as they relate to the upcoming Borders book buying site, plus the demise of Bombshell. It was an excellent conversation, and I was proud of myself for completing my mission for the night. Believe it or not, I'm a bit shy in social settings and I have to really suck it up to approach someone.
At the tail end of the reception, Sylvia Mendoza and her roommate Lilliana talked about rushing out to see a show, even though it was 7pm. We all decided to go for it, hopping into a cab and heading for the TKTS booth. When we got there we were surprised to find that THE COLOR PURPLE had some really good seats left, so we grabbed those tix and made a mad dash for the theater, which was at least five blocks away. Sylvia took off her pumps and we hoofed it, getting there on time to our seats in row K. Nice!!!
I wasn't sure what to expect, and I found out that Fantasia from AMERICAN IDOL hadn't started her run as Celie yet, so I had no major expectations. But, you all, if you make it to New York and see a show, you should seek out this one. Celie's character arc is wonderful to behold--from timid mouse to roaring lionheart--and the story retained all of its emotion and humor from the movie (I haven't read the book.). We saw the understudy performing Celie, and she ruled. The songs got straight to the heart of what the characters were feeling while moving the story ahead, as well. And most of the tunes were catchy, too. At the end, when there's a reunion of two long-suffering characters, there wasn't a dry eye in the house. In fact, two rows behind us, a woman started bawling and then laughing because she was so embarrassed about her loud sobbing.
Dog tired, we went back to the hotel, ready for the start of the conference tomorrow. And we had tickets to a preview of THE PIRATE QUEEN, as well....