Welcome to the Thrillerfest V Blog!

We hope you'll bookmark us, just as you bookmark so many of the hundreds of the International Thriller Writers that participate in our annual conference, held in New York City in July.

ITW is a youthful organization, always ready for a new way of looking at things. You'll find that dynamism here, in blog posts from authors, agents, editors and Thrillerfest attendees, past and present.

And that same excitement you feel from your favorite reads is evident in everything ITW does, and no wonder--the organization, staffing and publicity for ThrillerFest--including this new blog--is undertaken by volunteers, most of whom are ITW authors themselves.

So pull up a chair and stay awhile ... discover the latest news on what Thrillerfest V--the fifth anniversary of the conference--has to offer. Visit old friends, make new ones, ask questions, and hear about the remarkable things in store for the conference.

Whether or not you can come see us in New York--and we hope that you can!--please join us here. It's gonna be ... a thriller!

Kelli Stanley, Thrillerfest Publicity Committee Chair

Thrillerfest Publicity Committee:
Jeannie Holmes
CJ Lyons
Carla Buckley
Grant McKenzie

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Zen and the Debut Author

Can I get a little zen on you here? Bear with me, I don’t do it often, I promise you. My thoughts are these: we hear a lot of lip service about enjoying the moment, that life is about the now, today is the only day we’ve got, and, my personal favorite, life is not a dress rehearsal. If that’s true, then are we doing what we can to live this play? As debut authors, we’re in the enviable position of living our dream for the first year. We’re not battle hardened professionals yet; at least not in this profession. Everything is new.

What brought this to mind was my realization the other day that I ‘d already settled into the “working writer” role. If you’re like me you’re writing or revising your next project, marketing the first, and juggling another “day” job while doing it. Maybe you’re fitting in kids, spouse, exercise, friends, and business travel. The day is not growing any longer, you’re staying up later, and essential chores are not getting done. (The other day I discovered that I’d left the clothes in the dryer too long without turning it on, which accounted for the strange smell that emanated from the laundry room). I felt that this new writer gig was rapidly taking over my life.

So what did I do? I marched to the store to buy a time management book. But even then I failed to enjoy the moment. I stood in line at my local Borders worrying about its debt load and hoping it would survive, while simultaneously leafing through the book to the “tips” section, because god forbid I waste any time. It was at this point that I started to laugh.

In the years before I was published I’d spend endless evenings writing into the wee hours. The family slept, and the distant wail of sirens, which is Chicago’s version of crickets chirping, was the only sound that greeted my ears. I loved it, and wished I could do it full time. I wanted to launch my manuscript into the world and let it settle where it would. In that time I would have been thrilled to be where I am today. And there I was, squandering it.

When I was done laughing at myself I bought the book and walked home feeling back on track. The bookstore, as usual, had done its magic. The time management suggestions (by Julie Morgenstern) were wonderful, as was the realization that I was where I’d hoped to be during those late night writing sessions.

I look forward to meeting everyone at Thrillerfest. Let’s celebrate the debut year. It’s a great accomplishment and there’s no denying that we’re very lucky.

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