New York, New York

The Hint Fiction event at McNally Jackson last Wednesday night was a blast. I almost didn't make it in time, though. Let me explain. My wife and I arrived in New York the night before. We stayed at The New Yorker Hotel, which, thankfully, was bedbug free. The view, however, was not ideal.

The next day my wife wanted to visit Ground Zero so downtown we went. There really isn't much to see except a lot of construction and some homeless-looking people trying to sell you pamphlets of 9/11, holding the booklet open to a picture of heavy smoke coming out of the two towers. I can't decide what's worse -- the fact they try to sell that stuff or the fact people actually buy it.

Anyway, the trip wasn't a complete loss. While we were down near the financial district we stumbled across the Amish Mafia's New York headquarters.

Then we went back to the hotel. As you can imagine, parking is horrendous in the city. I'd printed out two coupons before we went for two separate parking garages. You save $20 bucks for 24-hour parking. So in the process of moving my car from one garage to the next, I happened to take a wrong turn and found myself headed for the Lincoln Tunnel. This was around five o'clock, rush hour, and the event at McNally Jackson was supposed to start at seven. So there I am, stuck in traffic, wondering not only how long it's going to take me to go through the tunnel, but how long it's going to take me then to come back and get changed and take the train down to the bookstore. I even called my wife to let her know the situation.

She said, "You're joking."

"No, I'm serious."

"You're right outside the door, aren't you."

"I am completely serious right now. I'm stuck in traffic and about to go through the Lincoln Tunnel."

Luckily, seconds later, I managed to spot a way out of the gridlock and did a (what was no doubt illegal) U-turn and made it back to the hotel with not too much time lost. Then we headed down to McNally Jackson. In the door was this nice big sign.

The contributors who attended were Randall Brown, Frank Byrns, Tara Deal, Bruce Harris, Donora Hillard, Jason Rice, Samuel Rippey, Jess Row, and Kathleen A. Ryan. Even some Norton people came: my editor, Amy Cherry, her assistant, Laura Romain, and my publicist, Jessica Purcell. Pictures are posted at the Hint Fiction Facebook page but I definitely need to include here a picture of my wonderful editor. Amy's e-mail a year and a half ago made all of this possible and I'll be eternally grateful.

The next day my wife and I went down to Fifth Avenue and braved the Veteran's Day Parade to meet up with Jess who took us into the NPR studio. I showed the picture of me in the booth last week, so instead of showing it again here is me and my awesome publicist just outside the studio.

What were we doing at NPR? Well in case you missed it on Twitter or Facebook or even on the radio over the weekend, the one and only Scott Simon invited me on Weekend Edition Saturday to discuss Hint Fiction. It was a great experience, though I must say it was rather nerve-wracking being in the recording booth. I was told to sit in a chair, position my mouth beside the microphone so I wouldn't be talking into the microphone -- which, by the way, picked up everything. Any little movement, swallow, whatever, was amplified in my headphones. Even when I picked up the anthology and grazed my finger over the cover it created a massive scratching noise. So I basically just sat as still as possible and waited until Scott Simon came on the line. He conducted the interview out of their Washington, D.C. studio. It was definitely a once in a lifetime opportunity and I'm glad everything worked out as well as can be because later this past Saturday when the feature aired the sales ranking for the anthology skyrocketed on Amazon, so much so that for an hour or two it made it into the top 100.

So this past week? I can't complain.