Saturday morning came early with the 2010 Debut author’s breakfast. Their mentor this year was Andrew Gross. The 19 excited authors sat on a raised dais and each had one minute to extol the virtues of their new book. Some were fun and some were emotional, but only one sang. Brad Parks decided to spend his one minute in the spotlight serenading guest speaker Brad Meltzer. The result was a tribute from a fan to an idol all done to the tune of Maria from West Side Story. It was so funny and delightful, that I talked Brad Parks into reenacting it for a Drive By Video™.
This year’s Thrillmaster was Ken Follett. Personally, I was thrilled. I’ve been reading Ken’s books for years and loved Eye of the Needle, Key to Rebecca and Lie Down With Lions. Pillars of the Earth was one of the few Oprah picks I actually agree with. Starz television sent me the 16 hour mini series that will air later this month and I can’t wait to dive into it. I did ask Ken if Oprah called him directly and he admitted that when he was asked to give all the phone numbers he could be reached at for the day, he thought something big was up. And sure enough, Oprah called him to let him know that his book was chosen for her book club. I wanted to know if he asked her if it was really Oprah he was talking to and he assured me it was. How cool is that? Then Ken asked me if we had met before. I wish.
I sat in on the panel, “What’s Love Got to do With It?” and it seemed that moderator Andrew Gross wasn’t sure where to go with this, but Anna DeStephano started things off by declaring that “Romance isn’t sex.” Touting the statistic that 75% of mass market books sold are romances, the panel agreed that most books have some kind of romance and romance can come in many forms. While the authors seem to take different approaches in their books, they all said that the books need strong human emotion and caring between people for the story to work and adding romantic tensions is a very popular and successful way of accomplishing that.
I finally caught up with Lisa Scottoline for a quick picture. She remembered a write up that one of the WW Ladies did for her and was very grateful. Just another reason why I love her. She also told me that she read in my blog that I was looking for her and she was glad we finally got together. Me too. She charmed the crowd during her spotlight interview.
I wish everyone still would wear their nametags to the Awards Banquet. I realize that they are dressed to the nines, but I really need to see the name to go with the face. When they’re all snazzy, they just look different. But I just fall back on, “Umm, who are you again?”
Daniel Palmer and Michael Palmer entertained the crowd with Daniel on the guitar and Michael on the accordian playing “The Writer’s Prison Blues.” I wish I had the words to the song because it was all about the authors who were there.
Now, here’s my favorite part of the banquet. They give awards for the Worst Amazon Review. These are hysterical and here’s the 2010 Top 5 WORST REVIEWS:
5) Karen Dionne
“This is one of the dumbest books I have ever read. Dumb, dumb, dumb. If Dionne is the new Michael Crichton, then I am the Pope.”
4) Linwood Barclay
“I’ve never read a novel where I was actively HOPING the main character would get killed.”
3) B.J. Kibble
“Reading KIBBLE’s latest thriller could be likened to watching paint dry through swollen eyes . . . it’s hero, a so called PI might as well have been a one-legged bike salesman with tourettes syndrome who couldn’t tear a piece of paper in two without major trauma. Thankfully, everyone dies.”
2) Sandra Brown
“This was just a hodge podge of word diharrea.”
1) John Gilstrap
“The glue boogers in the binding were more captivating than Gilstrap’s torpid prose.”
John’s winning prize was a beautiful box and inside was what was described as a “fossilized turd.”
If you’d like to see more reviews, check out Douglas Preston’s website.
And the Awards went to:
Best Short Story – A Stab in the Heart by Twist Phelan
Best First Novel – Running From the Devil by Jamie Freveletti
Best Paperback Original – The Coldest Mile by Tom Piccirilli
Best Hard Cover Novel - The Neighbor by Lisa Gardner
Ken Follett received his Thrillermaster award and told the audience that love scenes should have drama. The same rules apply to sex scenes as fight scenes. You have to care about the people, they need to yearn for one another, let the readers think about it for a couple hundred of pages and it should gon on for a long time in literature as it does in life.
Enjoy these additional pictures I took.
Bottom Line: I asked Brad Parks if the CD of his song would be available any time soon, but he’s still looking for an agent.