Monday, June 02, 2008

How writers spend their weekends

Patty here…

This past weekend, BEA came to Los Angeles. Book Expo America is an annual trade show for the publishing industry. At BEA deals are made and hearts are broken. During the show, hundreds of authors, including me, give away free, signed books to anyone who pays the price of admission. Here's an article about BEA in this morning's Los Angeles Times.

As an adjunct to this event, I organized a cocktail party on Friday night for Mystery Writers of America at the Edison Downtown, a building that originally housed the first private power plant in Los Angeles. The place was dark and atmospheric. The bouncer wore a fedora. Need I say more? It was tres noir.

On Saturday I worked at the MWA booth. I hobnobbed with Les Klinger, Cara Black, Libby Fischer Hellman, Naomi Hirahara, Denise Hamilton, Michele Gagnon, Harry Hunsicker, Linda Johnston, and the indefatigable Margery Flax from the national MWA office. Lee Child stopped by and chatted a while, as did T. Jefferson Parker and Lee Goldberg, novelist, TV writer/director/producer. Lee just finished filming a movie in Germany called "Fast Track." It's about hot cars, hot women, and speeeeed. Here's the trailer.

I had the opportunity to meet NYT best-selling author Heather Graham and chatted with Paulie’s buddy, the charming Bill Bryan. He's a TV writer/producer (including “Night Court” and “Coach”) and author of Keep it Real, an irreverent and hilarious novel that pillories reality TV shows.

Saturday night, I took a break from the book biz to attend a screening of “Kung Fu Panda,” DreamWorks’ latest animated feature. Here’s the set-up:

An overweight, out of shape panda named Po is working as an apprentice in his father’s noodle restaurant in China, while secretly dreaming of becoming a Kung Fu warrior.

His father, who is a duck (more on this later), has his own dreams. He yearns for the day that he can pass down the duck family’s secret noodle recipe to his only child. Po wants to please his father but finally confesses that he sometimes dreams of more than noodles. Frustrated over their conflicting desires, Po blurts out his frustration, ”Sometimes it’s hard to believe I’m your son.”

Believe me, the audience roared.

Due to a twist of fate, Po is designated as Dragon Warrior and charged with fulfilling an ancient prophecy: save the valley from the brutal Kung-Fu-Warrior-Gone-Bad, Tai Lung.

I loved this movie. The animation was brilliant and the writing was filled with hilarious as well as tender moments.

Sunday, I participated in the El Segundo Book Fair, an intimate event at the local library. Here are a couple of my fellow writers, looking very authorly.

Left to right: Gary Phillips and John Shannon

So, how did you spend your weekend?

Happy Monday!


  1. The suspense is killing me.

  2. Sorry about that.

    Other BEA observations:

    1: If everyone at BEA bought your book the same week, you would be number one on the NY Times list.

    2. The L.A. Convention Center is huge. Getting from the West Hall to the South Hall takes longer than a five-set match at the French Open.

    3. Thank Goodness the L.A. Erotica festival this weekend at the Convention Center is smaller than Book Expo, both for our feet and our culture.

  3. Damn, it was a lot quieter up here in SF this weekend.

  4. We missed you at the events, Louise.

    Paulie, sorry we didn't conect at BEA, but as you mentioned, the Convention Center is HUGE. Besides, we talked about you so much it was almost as if you were there.

    Another BEA observation: It's amazing how long the lines get when you're giving away books.

  5. Sounds like great fun....but I had a blast at home doing n.o.t.h.i.n.g.


  6. Patty, I last went to BEA in Los Angeles when my first novel was about to come out, and I was like the proverbial rabbit caught in the headlights - talk about overwhelmed! I couldn't believe people wanted me to sign books for them, for a start, and then later, trying to get something to eat and drink - you can die for want of water in that place! Sounds like a great time though - and I should add that the other event I love at the same location is the auto show, except they don't give you free samples of new products, sadly.

    This weekend my bro and I took our parents down to LAX for their flight back to the UK - always an emotional event, but I'll be seeing them in mid-August anyway. Then I came home and worked like crazy on my manuscript, which had to be submitted yesterday. Today I feel like a woman who can take a day off!

  7. WOW!

    I spent my whole weekend wondering how authors spent their weekends.

    I also worked on a sales pitch to sell a bridge I recently acquired in Brooklyn.

    See you Saturday.


  8. Our J, I will agree that BEA is overwhelming...and humbling. Made me feel very small.

    Rae, on Sunday night I was so ready to do n.o.t.h.i.n.g. Your weekend sounds heavenly.

    Yay Groupie!!!!!

  9. I like the regional shows.