The ninth annual gathering of the International Thriller Writers was a huge success for the ITW organization and great fun for me. Every year, during the week after July 4th, crime writers from all over the world come to my hometown to learn from each other, show off their wit and style to other writers and fans, and drink a considerable amount of booze. You will be happy to know that this year, almost without exception, they accomplished all three with grace. Almost no one strayed into bombast, egomania, or drunken disorderliness.
The only negative observation I have to share about the gathered crowd of writers is that far too many of the men were sporting very bad dye jobs. These were almost invariably paired with truly bizarre haircuts. I imagine those men go to their local CVS and buy hair dye in the hopes of looking younger, more virile, sexy—more like Jason Bourne or Rambo or Daniel Craig—um, I mean James Bond. They want to resemble their own action heroes. They are not succeeding. If any of the thriller men who fall into this category are stopping by MIE today, I strongly advise them to emulate the natural look of the men of MIE. Not that those doufyses could ever compare our blogmates.
Speaking of the men of MIE, I had the great fun of hosting Stan for the entire week of the ThrillerFest activities. We attended some of the conference, but we also played a considerable amount of hooky, taking time out to see the revival of Cabaret with the fabulous Alan Cumming, a Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival production of The Liar presented under the company’s beautiful tent overlooking the majestic Hudson, and a visit to see the African art collection at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Best of all for me was my and Stan's rolling, ranging, amusing, stimulating week-long conversation, especially the night we had a midnight MacBook music duel, playing each other songs from our playlists during which he introduced me to some wonderful young South African opera singers. I fell completely in love with one: Pumeza Matshikiza. I urge you to visit her at pumeza.com and let the purity of her voice anoint your soul. I KNOW! I sound way over the top here. Listen to her and see if you think I am exaggerating.
Saturday evening was the awards banquet. Two of our MIE number were finalists. Our former blog mate Luke Preston’s Out of Exile was nominated for Best E-Book Original. And Stan and Michael were finalists for Best Paperback Original with Deadly Harvest. Neither of our confreres won the prize. It would have been nice if they had, but given the enormous number of books published every year, just to count oneself among the five finalists is wonderful achievement.
Annamaria - Monday