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Dateline: Washington, D.C., May 20

05/21/2006

Exhausted from the day before and a dinner given by St. Martin’s for other St. Martin’s authors, including Sherrilyn Kenyon, Julia Spencer-Fleming, and Will Shortz (the crossword puzzle editor of the New York Times), I slept later than I’d planned to. I wanted to get a workout in – it had been 3 days since I’ve worked out, and I needed it badly – but didn’t have a chance.

First I got a call from St. Martin’s Publicity Director that I should put on the Today Show (Weekend Today). The book editor of Cosmopolitan, John Searles, was on, recommending the “must-read” books for summer, and started with Killer Instinct. A great way to start the day. Then a friend e-mailed me to say that the Wall Street Journal had just reviewed Killer Instinct – in its Weekend Edition. A terrific, enthusiastic review. The reviewer really got the book. A burst of e-mails followed – my editor, my publicist, friends – and by the time I answered them, it was time to get back to the show.

No workout today either.

In the afternoon, I did a panel with George Pelecanos, Mark Bowden, and Jim Belushi. We all met up beforehand in the Green Room – green rooms, I’ve learned, are never ever actually green – and hit it off immediately. The immensely talented Pelecanos is a great guy, as is Mark Bowden. Belushi was trying to figure out what this whole gig was about. He’s on book tour himself and says it’s way harder than the TV-star gig or even touring with his band.

The panel went great. It was moderated by Scott Brick, who reads my audio books. I’d never met him before, though we’ve e-mailed each other. I told a couple of stories about what a rock star Scott Brick is, among audiobook devotees, and one story about a problem I had last year while doing research at a company… and my zipper broke. Belushi, who’d worried beforehand about what he was going to say, was extremely funny, no surprise.

A bookseller in the audience raised her hand at the end and asked if she could get a hug from him. He complied. I said into the mike, “Hey, what about the rest of us?” Afterward, one of the women in the audience came up to me and gave me a hug. Now everything was OK.

Rushed out of the BEA, into a car to the airport, and now I’m on my way to Miami. Looking forward to the warm weather, my appearance at the remarkable Books & Books…

And the season finale of “24,” Monday night. Thank God I don’t have a signing scheduled Monday night, or I’d have to cancel it. Forget taping – I need to watch this show in real time.

But apparently I’m scheduled to go out to dinner Monday night. I love the folks I’m having dinner with, but sorry – I’m not missing “24.” Not sure how I’m going to handle this. Stay tuned.