“I felt like I was watching the movie. Much the same way I feel when I read Lee Child's work. Action, vivid scenes, characters jumping off the pages. But different in that it is not from just one character’s viewpoint. Your comedic banter ranks up there with Stuart Woods and Robert Parker. The pages fly by the way James Patterson’s do.”
I was stunned. He didn't have to say any of that because the contest is based on a chapter number, not on anything a participant writes. I was touched, and grateful. David wins a full-color Advance Reader Copy of TORN APART, along with my best wishes.
Next week or the week after--depending on how my writing schedule goes this week!--you'll meet the Chicago area woman who sent in her winning answer right after David.
And the best news? I've still got a few ARCs left! So check out my website--click the "Win a Prize!" link on the Home Page--and you could win a sign copy, too.
David, if you're reading this, and I hope you are, please re-re-send me your street address. Very sorry about all this confusion, but my computer crashed yesterday and took all my Outlook mail with it. Your address is in those files. I'll get them back eventually--or so the Geek Guyz promise--but "eventually" is 7 to 10 business days. At least. Sigh. I hate being my own IT guy. Talk about horses trying to fly ...
And now, to our regularly scheduled programming--
Oops, one more announcement:
IT'S JERRLE'S BIRTHDAY!
Please join me in wishing my heart--i.e., Jerrle, my wife of 31 years--happy birthday and many more to come. How she puts up with me I don't know, but I'm happy she does, and birthdays are a lovely time to say so, aren't they?
And now, my very favorite convention memory . . .
ME 'N JEFF GO GET A BITE
So, I'm at ThrillerFest in New York, a couple years back. It was my first time simultaneously running AgentFest and the Charity Auctions, and both are finished. I was ecstatic--both went off with nary a hitch--but drained. It's only midnight, and I'm slumped in the lobby near the hotel elevators. I want to go back in the bar and talk with my friends some more, but gaaaaawd I need to sleep. I'm debating with myself what to do ... drink ... sleep ... finally choose sleep ...
Off the elevator pops Jeff.
Jeff, as in, Jeffery Deaver. One of the most famous guys on Planet Thriller. A terrific writer who's blessed with personality, talent and enough energy to power a small nation.
Back then we knew each other a little bit--not well, but some, from the author circuit. I wave, hoping he might vaguely remember me. He smiles big, waves, hurries over.
"Hey, Shane," he greets. (Holy shit, he knows my name?) "I'm hungry. You want to go get some dinner?"
Me? One-book Charlie? Have dinner with Jeffery Deaver?
Took me about six milliseconds to decide that I can sleep when I'm dead.
"Let's grab a few people and go," he enthused. "It'll be fun. Maybe head down to the Village ..."
I looked around for people. Here comes Christine Kling, a fine writer and good friend. We wave over Fred Rea, a huge mystery fan. We spot others, invite them too. We have enough now, and pile into cabs. No idea where to go--we all live out of town--but Jeff lived in Manhattan a decade ago, and recalls a place he loved from then. We head there.
We walk up and down the crowded, noisy street.
Closed. Closed. Closed. Lots of bars open, but no restaurants.
We hail more cabs.
"Thought this was the city that never sleeps," I say to the driver.
"Used to be," the driver says.
We try some places the driver recommends. They're closed too. Jeff remembers another place he used to love, and we head there.
"Holy shit," I say to Christine as we walk into the dark, inviting Italian restaurant. "This is like a DeNiro movie."
"He comes here when he's in town," Jeff says. "DeNiro."
The waiters grabs some tables, swing them over the heads of fellow diners, like the Copacabana scene in "Goodfellas" where Ray Liotta is wooing Lorraine Bracco. The place is swinging, with neighborhood folks perfecting their dance-contest moves for the upcoming weekend. They're ferociously good. The waiters plant the tables in a clear space, expertly puff out white tableclothes, and menus and wine are quickly served.
Jeff tells us about his book tour in China, from which he flew directly to ThrillerFest that morning. (Which is why he's hungry now: he's still on China time.) Says overseas tours are exhilarating, if exhausting, and he still loves them even though he logs 50,000 miles a year on airplanes. The conversation segues into antique cars, sporting gear, travel, airplanes, writing, where he grew up--Glen Ellyn, Illinois, about five miles from where I live now, I was delighted to find out--and dogs. Jeff raises show dogs--I forget which breed--that are good enough for the Westminster Kennel Club competition.
I decide I wanna be Jeff in my next life.
The food comes, and it's fragrant. Best Italian I've ever had, and I've eaten a lot of it. The huge windows are open to the hot and moist July air. The music is blasting into our spines, and we're losing ourselves in conversation and wine, and Chris and I get up to dance, then others join in, and Jeff orders more wine, and the conversation skids this way and that, and the dancers are swinging like Chinese acrobats, and all of a sudden it's after 3 and the fairy tale is winding down. We hop back in cabs and head back to the hotel.
I'm spent. Exhausted. Drained. The pillow is singing its sweet song ... Shane ... Shane ... lay down your pretty head and dream ...
Instead, I head back to the hotel bar. I gotta tell someone this story ...
But the bar is closed.
So instead, I'll tell you.
And that's why book conventions are so damn magical. Not because of the panels, and not because of the speeches, and not because of the awards.
Because you meet the nicest people.
Suspense Magazine just named TORN APART one of the best books of 2010, and its author "one of the powerhouse authors of the new century." The author believes the reviewer was perhaps addled from summer sun, or was confusing him with a real author like Deaver or Bruen, but will nevertheless wave the accolade like a giant neon flag in hopes it will prompt you to buy the book and decide for yourself. More about the author and his novels at www.shanegericke.com.