I'm writing from the kitchen of my friends Ian and Lexa on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. They insist they enjoy putting me up when I'm in town, and I love staying with them.
In keeping with my new gig as a full-time writer, I've become more frugal. I took the Airtrain from JFK instead of a cab. You have to make two transfers and it's kinda hot and sweaty, but I did save $35. As always, Ian, Lexa, and I spent my first evening here at a restaurant, Telepan this time, and it was scrumptious. I managed to gobble down a smoked trout appetizer, asparagus, halibut, and a sorbet dessert. All highly recommended except the raspberry sherbert (the mango sorbet was fine).
Yesterday I had lunch with my college buddy Rick, who's now a muckety-muck at one of the big publishers in town. I hadn't seen him since graduation. Yet he was recognizable. He gave me even more insight into the tricky game of the 21st century book business. Old school ties can be great.
Last night I, along with three dozen other authors, got two minutes to pitch the volunteer staffs of Jewish book fairs around the company. The Meet the Author Program is sponsored and run like clockwork by the non-profit Jewish Book Council's Carolyn Starman Hessel, Miri Pomerantz, and Joyce Lit. One expects authors to be less than articulate when moving lips rather than writing words. Wrong. Almost every book sounded worth reading to me. Not much fiction, though, and no other mystery writers. Spoke to a few fellow authors too including Ann Kirschner, author of Sala's Gift and a colleague of the aforementioned Lexa, and Mia Fontaine, co-author with her daughter of a harrowing memoir of redemption that was recently a "Bookmarked Club Pick" at Target. The poor book fair people who'd come in from around the country looked a little shell-shocked. Who could blame them? They had listened to pitches the night before us and will be listening to more tonight. I schmoozed with people from Maryland, Austin (including a fellow Palo Alto High grad), Indianapolis, D.C., Rockland County, Richmond, Ann Arbor, Rochester, Atlanta, and Detroit. If all goes well, I'll be on the road some during Jewish Book Month in November.
Flying home today (with a coupla dozen H&H bagel) and starting work tomorrow on Draft #3 of Two Graves. As much as I love New York, it will be good to get back to a place where the temperature goes down at night.