Sunday, May 1, 2011

Mystery World Stars

I've never been ashamed to admit I relish celebrity encounters, which is why I'm sharing this rather goofy-looking photo of me to accompany my gushing about meeting some of the rock stars of the mystery world last week, including these two gentlemen:
New York Times best-selling authors Nelson DeMille (16 novels) and Michael Connelly (23 books including the Lincoln Lawyer, also the subject of a new movie by the same name).

I was at New York City's Mysterious Bookshop (owned by Otto Pennzler, co-editor of a number of the annual "Best American Mystery Stories" anthologies) with a number of mega-mystery writers including Laura Lippman (18 novels) and SJ Rozan (12 novels ), for the launch party for "The Rich and the Dead" edited by DeMille. It's this year's Mystery Writers of America anthology, which is being officially released today.

It also features the fabulous story "The Gift" by Husband No. 1.

When I pointed this out to Michael Connelly as he was autographing my book, noting the name Frank Cook was near his in alphabetical order, he replied: "Then I'll write small so there's more room for his name." (That's Michael with Frank.)

The other anthology authors are: Ted Bell, Peter Blauner, K. Catalona, Tim Chapman, Lee Child, David DeLee, Joseph Goodrich, Daniel J. Hale, Roberta Isleib, Harley Jane Kozak, David Morrell, Caroli Mullen, Twist Phelan, S.J. Rozan, Jonathan Santlofer, Elaine Togneri and Angela Zeman. In all, 15 of the 20 authors attended the launch party (including SJ Rozan shown here) and signed books until they were sold out.

Here's what DeMille's web site says about the collection: "Editor and Contributor Nelson DeMille has collected short stories from twenty of the most outstanding mystery writers in the country, himself included, for a superb collection of new and original stories."

The Publishers Weekly review of the collection even named Frank's story as one of the standouts!

These Mystery Writers of America anthologies are published annually and edited by a well-known mystery author (DeMille this year) who asks nine colleagues to contribute stories. One of the nine was David Morell (the man on the left here), who wrote the story that created "Rambo."

The remaining 10 slots are filled with tales selected by a panel of judges from a pool of “blind submissions” by MWA members. Frank and I both sent in stories for consideration. As you might imagine, there was great rejoicing when his story was chosen, but I'll admit to a tinge of regret that mine was not. Frank explained it this way: "This just shows I know more about being rich and dead than you do."

Although I laughed, I'm determined to find out more about his "rich" knowledge as he obviously hasn't shared it with me, but I'm not so sure I want to hear about the "dead" part.

However, I did get to make another trip to New York City because of him and the next day we attended the Mystery Writers of America daylong symposium on mysteries and the state of the industry. That meant more celebrity encounters (me and SJ Rozan to the left) and chatting with Mystery Writers of America President and New York Times best-selling thriller writer Lisa Scottoline, who has written 18 novels and whose latest "Save Me" is being called "a white-hot crossover book about the perils of mother love." One photo I did not get, but wish I had, was with Sara Paretsky, author of 16 best-selling novels and credited with transforming the mystery world with the first female private eye character. Sara also is a founder of the Sisters in Crime mystery organization

And because writers cannot give enough of books, this trip also included our first pilgrimage to The Strand, the nation's second-largest independent bookstore with 18 miles of books! Other than Frank Cook, there were no celebrities there, although I'm told it's not unusual to spot one among the stacks. Maybe next time.

1 comment:

Karen Kullgren said...

What fun! I had a good weekend of mystery celebrity, too, at Malice Domestic. Sue Grafton and Carole Nelson Douglas were everywhere! Here's the link for the first of two articles: