Contagion

This week’s post will be brief because I woke up this morning with flu-like symptoms that have been making me feel achy-breaky most of the day. Authorities tell us that any flu this season can be assumed to be H1N1, formerly known as swine. The good news is that most cases are going to be relatively mild. But don’t take that for granted–the husband of a close friend of mine (who suffers from asthma), spent three weeks in St. James Hospital here, and it was touch and go for a while after it it settled into his lungs as pneumonia. If you have any type of lung or pulmonary issues, and you come down with flu, don’t wait before getting treatment. Do it right away.

The flu has fallen out of the media spotlight, but it has spread to just about everywhere by now. Here’s the CDC flu map, in case you haven’t been following the story lately.

Muscle aches aside, I do want to pull the topic back to writing, so I’ll list some of my favorite stories involving viruses: The Andromeda Strain, The Hot Zone (nonfiction and not well written, but it did scare the hell out of me). And now I’m putting Robin Cook’s Contagion on my TBR list. I saw Mr. Cook speak at Thrillerfest, and it’s amazing how brilliant and prolific as an author he is.

What are your favorite medical thrillers? Did any scare the bejeezus out of you?

0

Notes from Thrillerfest

I just returned from my first Thrillerfest–it was a fantastic conference! Fellow Killers John Gilstrap, Joe Moore, and James Scott Bell were there, and it was great to see them. Thanks to everyone here for holding down the blog-fort while we were in NYC.

A few notes from the Thriller front:

Drumroll, please!

As a former journalist I know better than to bury the lead. During the conference it was announced that our own Joe Moore is the incoming co-president of ITW!

Joe moved onto the board of directors last October as Vice President, Technology, and will officially take over the co-presidency on October 1st 2009. He replaces James Rollins as he steps down due to term limits. Joe’s fellow co-president is Steve Berry. Joe and Steve are in charge of setting the direction for the future of ITW as well as acting as executive directors.

Congratulations, Joe! You deserve the honor; we’re proud to be your blog-mates.

Star power
Thrillerfest ’09 featured some of the brightest lights in the thriller-writing cosmos: Sandra Brown, Clive Cussler. Robin Cook, David Baldacci, David Morrell, and many more! We got to ask them lots of questions during the breakout sessions. I brought home many writing tips that I’m already putting into practice.

Panel fun

I was on a panel with NYT bestselling author Peter De Jonge and Kathleen Sharp, where we shared stories about what it’s like to jump from journalism to a career in fiction. I got a lot out of all the panels I attended, especially “Can you cross genres?” with James Rollins and Jon Land. I hate to miss anything, so I brought home CDs of many of the panels I was not able to attend.

Goin’ to the dogs

There was a dramatic K9 demonstration of “tactical” dogs (the preferred term instead of attack dogs) and explosives detection. The very brave Panel Master, Andrew Peterson, put on a padded sleeve to demonstrate how the tactical dog takes down a suspect. An ATF officer explained that the dogs think they’re playing a game when they attack. But this is one game that the criminals are bound to lose!

To sum up, Thrillerfest ’09 was indeed a thriller–I can’t wait until next year!

0