Monday, July 11, 2011

An Empire State of Wallet

So.  Thrillerfest was fabulous, New York is fabulous, I have no money left now.

To deal with the first one last then.  A three dollar banana?  A sixty dollar walk-in manicure?  An extra fifty cents for ice in your club soda from a cafe?  New York has it all.  Plus tax, of course.  I'm a great fan of tax, let me say.  Paying tax is one of the privileges of living well in a civilised country, but it does drive me gently nuts that a vendor won't tell you how much money you're going to have to hand over (which is all you really care about, right?).  Instead, it's a taxi from the airport that's $50 + tolls, a hotel room that's a bargain + 8.875% sales tax, 5.875% city sales tax, $1.50 NYC hotel unit fee and $2 occupancy tax.   I'm going to a book event tomorrow.  If someone asks me how much the paperbacks are, I think I'll say they're 75 cents + a little something for the bookseller, printer and publisher.


Thrillerfest was worth it.  Thrillerfest was wonderful.  I met a crowd of inspired and inspiring writers - Kate Brady, Kathleen George, Sandra Brennan, Dani Brown (with an i), Jonathan Maberry, Jim Macomber, Matt Hilton, Steve Forman, Deb Lacy, Rick Helms, Rick Hutto, Karen Nikkel . . . and Willy.  Here are some them.

It was great to listen to the keynote speakers - John Lescroart, Karin Slaughter, Ken Follet and the incomparable RL Stine.  All were funny, charming, still grateful, still striving, apparently without a shred of ego amongst the lot of them.  RL Stine was the biggest surprise of all.  I'm going to admit that I didn't know Goosebumps was a series, didn't know Stine was a person.  I thought Goosebumps was an imprint and assumed that "RL Stine" was about twenty writers.  Nope.  He really has written 600 children's novels.  I wish I were twelve now.  Or maybe I'll just read some of them anyway.

And after the end of Thrillerfest, as an unearned treat, I get two days in one of my favourite places in the world - Manhatten.  My hotel window looks out onto this:

My publisher, St Martin's Press, is in here:

And looks out at this:

And perhaps most thrilling of all to a wee girl fae the 'Ferry, I sat next to a scary, skinny woman in a pale green suit who stabbed the buttons on her phone and snarled: 'I biked those affadavits over yesterday'.  A sentence I've never snarled in my life, and never will.


  1. Lovely to meet you, Catriona, and to hear a familiar accent too.

    Those taxes? Yup, they got me, too ;-)

  2. $60?? You went to the wrong manicure place. I hope they gold-plated them for that.
    I went to one and at the next station was a silver-haired Texan cowboy. In a Stetson. (He had a file and buff, no polish. I know, DISAPPOINTING. I was hoping for rhinestones glued to his pinkie nail.)