It all started with an invitation from Otto Penzler, asking me to his afterparty co-sponsored by Grove/Atlantic. I’m not the kind of girl to turn down a personal invite from crimewriting’s greatest editor, but my entertainment budget isn’t exactly robust enough for airfare to New York from my home in LA. So what’s a girl to do? With Otto’s cocktail-reception invite glowing onscreen, some dialogue rang in my head from a conversation a month earlier. It was from a contact at Jet Blue that I’d done some work for, “Elaine, if you ever want to fly anywhere, just call me. You’ll have to fly standby, but I can arrange tickets as a thank you.” At the time, the offer rolled off my back. I hadn’t been on a plane in ages, I drive everywhere. But the offer proved prophetic, because suddenly I had somewhere I was burning to go.
I got on the horn to my man at Jet Blue and reminded him of the offer. Pronto, I had a pair of tix, flying out on the redeye Wednesday April 28th, landing at JFK at 5-something ayem. Whoo!
Once that was set, I figured if I was already making the pilgrimage to NY, why not attend the Edgars Banquet too? It’s the 65th gala hosted by the venerable Mystery Writers of America. On went my thinking cap. Hmmm. Spinetingler Magazine is an MWA-approved online publisher. Perhaps they’d like me to schmooze on their behalf, talking up the magazine while covering the event as a reporter? I really put my all into a persuasive email to sell myself, and sho’nuff, they took my offer. What no one forsaw were the high-tension negotiations over press credentials that ensued, where the virtues of online writing and reporting were vigorously defended from a number of angles and individuals. Grace under pressure won the day and a press pass was awarded. I’m on my way to the banquet!
Now I’m deep into researching the nominees, so I can make intelligent dinner conversation, and offer informed questions while chatting with a few nominees and winners. My pal Albert Tucher will fill in as journalist co-pilot as I try to keep all the what, where, when and why straight. Al earned himself “a place at the MWA table” with his short story “Bismarck Rules,” published in Best American Mystery Stories 2010, edited by Lee Child. (Newest Kindle edition pictured here. Available on Amazon.)
My greatest disappointment is that literary agent Stacia Decker says she won’t be there because of a previous family commitment. However, I will get to see The Center for Fiction, where Otto’s mixer is being held, and meet a who’s-who sampler of crimewriting authors, editors and publishers. If anybody reading this has questions for me to ask of a high-profile attendee, ask away. I’ll add it to my arsenal.
My last challenge is putting together a “dress to kill” outfit in balmy California, for a black-tie event in NY where it’s still winter. A dozen obstacles down, a few more to go. Big Apple, here I come.