Tuesday, May 01, 2007

L is for Loser

By Cornelia

This past week has been SO much fun, but OMG I am SO tired in its aftermath.... I got to see lots and lots of pals in NYC and LA, of the mystery persuasion and otherwise, and would like to resort to the bullet-point format used so well by Sarah Weinman and Olen Steinhauer as they recapped the events of Edgars week and beyond:

  • I landed at JFK last Tuesday around 4:30 p.m. after two hours sleep the night before and ended up driving into the city with a kind of bizarre gypsy cab dude because I had to meet awesomely wonderful freshman-year dorm mates David Hutchinson and Christine Aebi at my hotel before the three of us sprinted uptown to make the Black Orchid party.
  • The Black Orchid party ROCKED... so many great people milling around outside the store on a gorgeous evening. Got to hang with Sarah and Declan Hughes and Twist Phelan and Marshall Karp & his terrific wife Emily and the wonderful Bonnie & Joe at long last along with these REALLY cool women from Library Journal, and then bum a smoke from bad influence Lee Child and just chatter and drink beer and be excited about EVERYTHING, plus to top it off the very kind Laurie R. King told me she likes our blog, which left me looking I'm sure like a stunned mullet, whereupon I stammered, "Um, I like YOUR blog! Wow... um... wow..." etc.
  • Rae came in on the redeye the next morning and hung out for a bit before her schmancy room was ready a few blocks uptown, and she called from Starbucks to ask what Heidi Roosa and I wanted in the way of caffeinated beverages, and a good time was had by all.
  • Got taken to beautiful lunch by Les Pockell and Celia Johnson and Susan Richman from Grand Central Publishing, who are great fun to hang out with ALWAYS, and then did a quick tour of their soon-to-be-former offices in the Time-Life building, all packed up for their move to new digs last weekend. Being there always reminds me of the two weeks of temp fact-checking I did for Martha Stewart, many moons ago.
  • Scored a copy of Nelson DeMille's latest and an old paperback of Leonard Nimoy's I Am Spock, which I hope to mail to Joshilyn Jackson because she has a bit of a Vulcan fetish goin' on. Everyone at GCP loves Joshilyn, and rightly so. Becca in sub rights said she was describing The Girl Who Stopped Swimming, Joss's forthcoming third novel, to a French editor at a recent book fair and they both got all teared up and sniffly just talking about it, because it is THAT GOOD...
  • Played Scrabble with David and Christine for the afternoon. David kicked our butts.
  • Met up with Chris Mooney and Maggie Griffin and Lee C and Rae for dinner, which was awesome and included lots of little shellfish and crustaceans giving their all for my delectation. Plus rum. YAY!!
  • My sister Freya arrives by redeye Thursday morning, much in need of a nap. Heidi Roosa and I go downstairs for the awesome breakfast buffet at the Warwick, whereupon I eat roughly five kilos of smoked salmon.
  • Sharon and Karen and Daisy and Juliann from writing group arrive, and we all go to the Carnegie Deli for lunch. More kilos of smoked salmon... tons of iced coffee... we are at a tiny back table in its own room surrounded by photos of such luminaries as Judge Ito and Olivia Newton-John. We all laughed so much I think we kind of freaked out our waiter.

  • Freya and I begin the massive undertaking of getting me into my white tie rig for the evening around 3... the shirt alone has a printed eight-step set of directions. Freya is in her "wetsuit" dress and looks awesome. Heidi in chic black suit. We set off for "pre-pre-function" drinking at Rae's schmancy digs, armed with bottle of Veuve Clicquot.
  • Rae has apparently gathered the entire Clicquot family in her room, along with plates of lamb shanks and amazing other offerings for our gustatory salvation. Maggie and Lee and Sarah and Sharon and Karen and Daisy and Juliann and me and Frey start in on the Veuve, which Rae is pouring SO fast, and we all laugh so much I think we scare Lee a little.
  • Freya and I book down to the Grand Hyatt for the pre-function drinking already feeling rather hammered. We see a Baldwin in the revolving door on our way in, then Naomi Hirahara in the elevator, who is wonderful.
  • Here is Sharon with the poster of Best First nominees:
  • Here is (left to right) Heidi, Karen, Juliann, and Daisy at the Grand Hyatt:

  • So at the pre-cocktail cocktails, I got to tell Alex Berenson that if I was going to lose, I would like to lose to him. Prescient of me.... Here's him and me and Steve Hockensmith (left to right):
  • Here are the Best PBO nominees, including our very handsome Paulie in the upper right... It was so great to see him there!

  • Freya introduced herself to Nelson DeMille as "Freya Read, former vice commodore of the Seawanhaka Corinthian Junior Yacht Club..." because we are such huge fans of Gold Coast. He was very nice to us and his fiancee is lovely.
  • Here is my "Post-Edgar Doggerel" recap of what followed:

Coben and Mooney: very tall,
Otto Penzler not at all.
Bowen's elegant in white,
Barry Eisler stops a fight.

Hockensmith arrives all swanky,
While Child, per usual, is lanky.
Sarah Weinman sparkles plenty,
DeMille's next wife looks under twenty.

Bat-Signal cufflinks on Maleeney,
The PowerPoints are pure Fellini.
Roker breaks a statuette
While King debunks the lit-crit set.

Best novel's publisher is cheap--
Left her author home asleep.
Edgar won't ride home with me,
But I scored a free trip to NYC.
  • And then I lost to Berenson:
  • On the right is another loser of the evening (best screenplay for Casino Royale) whom we ended up hanging out with in the bar. His name is Rob Wade and he has a really cool Aussie wife from whom Freya and I bummed more cigarettes:

  • A highlight of the evening was having Karin Slaughter give me a friendly punch in the arm and say, "hey, you big fat loser..." which she made sound totally charming.
  • Here are Olen Steinhauer and Denise Mina, speaking of fellow losers. They are great:

  • We ended up closing down the bar with a bunch of Dutch dentists. Freya bonded with Barry Eisler. We got back to our hotel room at 3 or something, and I had a 6:30 a.m. wakeup call to fly to LA. Painful.
  • Went to Mystery Bookstore party that night in Westwood, and got to hang out with Linda and Bobby, Mr. Crais, Rob Gregory Browne and Brett Battles, Megan Abbott, Victor Gischler sans ponytail, Denise Hamilton, and a cavalcade of cool people. Also tried to sit at Paco Taibo's feet on the sidewalk outside the store, but my friend Hillary Huber forbade me since I was wearing white pants.
  • Hillary pointed out to me after the party that everyone I said hello to I immediately told "Oh my GOD, I am SO hungover...." I said, "yes, but we are mystery writers so I think that was okay." She is most excellent, and was the brilliant reader of the audio book of Field. She got nominated for an Audie award and I hope she wins it....
  • The LA Times Book Festival is huge and wonderful and there are like a hundred thousand some odd attendees, but it is humbling after Edgars week because most of them are there to see Dr. Phil and Gore Vidal and stuff. Got to sign at the Mysterious Galaxy and Mystery Bookstore booths--all of four copies sold, but hey.
  • Two people took my picture and put it on their blogs. I will not name names since I look like a crazed hungover Bulgarian mechanic lady in them, I think.
  • Monday night, Cara Black and I did a joint talk for the Signal Hill Friends of the Libary, outside Long Beach. They were lovely and had really great cookies and gave us huge bouquets of roses. I gave mine to the TSA lady at LAX, who was very pleased and said she'd never received flowers at work before.
  • The Bay Bridge was broken,

and Cara and her husband drove me all the way to Berkeley because they are awesome. Got to bed at two. Woken up by child at three. I am still a little spacey....

IT WAS ALL SO FUN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


  1. Now I'm tired.

    Sounds like a coast to coast par-tay. I was supposed to go to LA, but then my husband had to leave LA and fly to NYC, because nerdy environmental scientists also have a jet-set lifestyle.

    I CANNOT imagine why Field didn't win. Now I guess I need to read the winning novel. It better be amazing.

  2. Hey there Miss C! I checked my email several times last Friday morning to see if we had a winner in our midst so that I could brag about it in my post (OK, I confess, until the Friday morning, I forgot it was Edgars Week as I was having too much fun watching horses do ballet).

    If the partying you have recounted is what happens to people who do not win, then not winning is the way to go. (And you must know that there is a distinction between "losing" and "not winning" - think of what it takes to be nominated, chosen from a cast of thousands. Then it comes to picking the person who goes home with Edgar, and you're one out of only four or five. Nominees are not losers, and you shall never be a loser, my dear.

    It sounds as if you had the Edgars in the palm of your hand and came out a winner - and you don't have to worry about dusting old Edgar either.

  3. She didn't want that Edgar anyway; it was broken. That has to be an indicator of some kind of curse, don't you think?

  4. It was worlds o'fun, wasn't it?

    And anything that involves a member of Clan Clicquot is always just fine with me ;-)

  5. Yeow! I'm exhausted just read about your adventures. You will always be the winner in our book, Ms. C. Now take a nap.

  6. I agree wholeheartedly with Jackie's distinction between a loser and someone who didn't win the final prize.

    But I still say, "You was robbed!"

    Glad the Cliquot and purloined cigs were handy.

  7. I'm very proud of you, Corneila. On the bright side at least you didn't jump up and yell, "This is bullshit." A lesson I learned after losing the Barry a few years ago.

    Dignity, apparently, is the way to go.

    You rock.


  8. Whee -- I wish I had been there, and uuuuu are my heeeeeero.

    And stop judging me. Spock is hot. He just IS.

  9. Whee -- I wish I had been there, and uuuuu are my heeeeeero.

    And stop judging me. Spock is hot. He just IS.

  10. Yo Edgy... you rock. And Berenson's book is amazing. Not quite a mystery, but beautifully written and about stuff that MATTERS.

    Our J, THANK YOU!!!! And I hope the horse ballet was all you hoped it would be--sounds wonderful!

    Daisy is right about the broken Edgar. I forgot to take a bobblehead Edgar off the table, though. We each got one. They looked like Weebles, kinda.

    Rae, I think we need "Clan Cliquot" t-shirts. Either that or tour jackets. Sparkly ones. Heh.

    Patty I WANT A NAP!!! YOU ARE SO RIGHT!!!!

    Louise, thank you for thinking I wuz robbed. I love that.

    Jim, you are awesome. It was fun to hear Stephen King say "bullshit" into the mike, though. Even though he was talking about genre getting no respect.

    And yo, Joshilyn, Nimoy looks pretty good in this book. There's even a little picture of him when he was two or so. And this is a followup to his first autobiographical tome, I AM NOT SPOCK. So....

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  12. Cornelia,
    I'm exhausted reading your account, and I was there!

    Hey, the idea is to have fun, meet people, and not dribble soup on the bow-tie. We both won.


  13. Paul, I am SO PROUD that I didn't spill anything on my shirt. That's a definite first.

    And I loved seeing you there!

  14. Our Miss C.: even if you didn't come home with dust collector - even a wobbly one - you made the night and whole visit your own. YOu made the whole experience wonderfully worthwhile and made new friends and caught up with old ones, and laughed the entire time. Now THAT is CLASS!

    I've always thought of you as a winner. :-) And always will.

    Good one! Now get some sleep...