Parts of me are allergic to New York. Not my feet, which is amazing considering the walking required here, and not my head, also amazing considering the noise level of this place compared with my normal haunts, but my machines fling themselves to the floor and kick their virtual heels like overstressed children.
My laptop has developed a case of sticky h (and that is a letter one uses a fair amount, unlike q or z, wic makes it unlikely I’e2’80’99m going to get muc done on that sort story I promised Micael Connelly for Marc.
And then it has accepted my introduction of the high-speed internet cable into its orifices, but when it comes to my home provider’e2’80’99s web page where I can fetch email, by persisting (ie, walking away in frustration) I found that it simply demands four minutes to download each of the three separate stages. Not for any other page, you understand, just email.
And my cell phone is similarly challenged, preferring to give me a series of quick beeps instead of a ring tone.
I’e2’80’99ll let you know when my (analog) wrist watch bites the dust’e2’80’a6
Tuesday was as busy as I thought it would be, but with periods of rest that rescued me from gibbering insanity. The day began with breakfast at Random House, overlooking Broadway (but not by much’e2’80’94the dining rooms are only on the second floor) in one of RH’e2’80’99s utterly anonymous private dining rooms, which probably aim at tranquil but come perilously close to sterile’e2’80’94couldn’e2’80’99t they frame a few pieces of cover art for the walls? The server is the closest one comes to a butler on this side of the Atlantic, silent and efficient as he whisks in bowls of oatmeal or granola parfait and refills cups of coffee. I suppose the lack of hominess guarantees that everyone gets back to work in a hurry, designed along with the colors in Denny’e2’80’99s to discourage lingering, but I like my editor and my publicist too much to succumb, and we had a good time despite the feeling that we were in that room at the end of the movie 2001, a bubble inside a busy outside universe.
And you may be pleased to know that the book after TOUCHSTONE will be a Russell. And that my editor adores the characters in TOUCHSTONE and has every confidence that after I pick it up and shake it hard, all its problems will fall into place and it will become a work of pure genius.
You see why I love her? Even after all these years in publishing, she retains her dewy-eyed innocence and enthusiasm.
I walked back down Fifth Avenue to my hotel on 41st and fought with technology for a while, then traveled down to meet my Recorded Books editor on 16th, for lunch and then a tour of their new studio nearby, appropriately over Strand Books. There I filmed an interview that they’e2’80’99re going to post online, I’e2’80’99ll let you know where when I find out.
Later, writers and readers gathered inside and on the steps and pavement outside Black Orchid Books on 81st, where everyone from Rochelle Krich to Margaret Maron came together to schmooze and booze. Bonnie and Joe, the Black Orchid owners, are long-time supporters of mystery in general and Laurie King in particular, so I’e2’80’99m always happy to see them, sign their books, and drink their wine. Good people congregate around mystery bookstores, have you noticed?
Before the rain began (and Black Orchid has remarkable luck with arranging the postponement of showers until everyone is ready to leave) Margaret Maron and I slipped away for a long dinner at the marvelous Italian restaurant on the ground floor of the Library. Margaret and I have known each other for years, since at least 1994 when we were on a panel together at the one and only Malice Domestic I’e2’80’99ve attended (BEEKEEPER’e2’80’99S APPRENTICE was nominated for an Agatha). However, in the way of the writing life, she and I tend to see each other briefly and sporadically, such as the perfectly lovely hour we spent with her wry and handsome husband Joe beside the river at the Chicago BoucherCon last September. This time, however, we could take out time and close the restaurant down, talking about everything from Biblical criticism to raising children.
The rain came, the rain went, and Margaret climbed into the cab we pulled off Madison Avenue, and I to bed.