You’d never know we’re on the brink of the dog days of August from the jam packed scene at Michael’s today. While I did notice there was a bit more wine than usual being poured, it was clear from all the glad handing and table hopping that there was plenty of business getting done between bites.
I was thrilled when Kate White invited me to join her for a celebratory lunch to mark the publication of her latest book, The Sixes (HarperCollins) that hit bookstores yesterday. Besides holding down her day job as Cosmo‘s editrix, Kate has managed to crank out five mysteries featuring heroine Bailey Weggins (a sixth is due next March), a handful of self-help tomes (including 9 Secrets of Women Who Get Everything They Want) and now, the second of two thrillers. Her latest novel chronicles what happens when celebrity biographer Phoebe Hall uncovers a secret society while tracking down a killer in a small college town and is already garnering rave reviews. Kate, who writes mostly on weekends, says she’s wanted to write page-turners ever since spotting a Nancy Drew mystery in her grandmother’s library at age 10. “I loved her,” she says of the iconic young detective. “I knew that whatever that was, I wanted to do that.”
Kate rounded up a pretty impressive group of gals to join in on the celebration. First to arrive was chick lit queen Jane Green who has written a dozen books (Babyville is my personal favorite) at the head spinning rate of one per year. I nearly fainted when Jane mentioned what a busy summer she’s having ferrying around her six children to their various activities. The former journalist for The Daily Express in Britain says it’s her training as a newspaper reporter facing deadlines that’s enabled her to find the discipline to write books. “Anybody can start a book; it’s another thing entirely to finish one.” Indeed.
Rounding out the group were best selling author Shelia Weller whose latest, Girls Like Us, is in development at Sony Pictures, ESPN SportsCenter anchor Hannah Storm, actress Donna Hanover who most recently appeared as a real estate agent in FX’s Louie, and Barbara Butcher, chief of staff and director of Forensic Science Training Program at the Office of The Chief Medical Examiner in Manhattan. While there was plenty of talk about books and writing, the group was completely transfixed by Barbara’s fascinating career as an investigator examining the dead at over 5,000 crime scenes . “I got a dissecting kit when I was 10 and my last name is ‘Butcher’ so this was kind of preordained,” Barbara quipped. Besides tackling the important tasks of identifying victims of 9/11 and the 2004 tsunami, Barbara has put her expertise to work consulting on shows like Law & Order and helping authors like Kate and Patricia Cornwall accurately depict their fictional crimes. Spending a few hours with this crew has made me swear off procrastinating on that next book waiting to be written — or at least try to give up sleeping.
Here’s the rundown on today’s crowd:
1. Kate White, Jane Green, Shelia Weller, Hannah Storm, Donna Hanover, Barbara Butcher and yours truly.
2. My good pal, investigative journo Diane Dimond who tirelessly chronicled Casey Anthony’s trial for The Daily Beast with Judy Twersky (Nice to finally meet you!) and another gal pal I didn’t get to meet.
3. Terry Allen Kramer
4. Christine Taylor with City Council Speaker Christine Quinn
5. Allen & Co.’s Stan Shuman and another distinguished gent
6. Sony Pictures Classic’s Michael Barker
7. Niche Media’s Jason Binn, presiding over a table of business types.
8. New York Social Diary‘s David Patrick Columbia and Ron Mwangaguhunga
9. Peter Brown and Thomson Reuters’ Jolie Hunt
11. Accessories maven Mickey Ateyeh and Chicago producer Fran Weissler
12. Attorney Michael Kasssan
14. Simon & Schuster’s Alice Mayhew
15. Agent Ed Victor and HarperCollins’ David Hirshey (Long time no see!)
16. Sean Cassidy (not the former teen idol)
17. Peter Price
18. Men’s Health honcho David Zinczenko and the Today show’s Noah Kotch
19. Fab fashionista Lisa Silhanek and shoe designer Alejandra G in from LA for FFANY.
20. Agent Rob Weisbach
21. Quest‘s Chris Meigher
22. Public relations princess Melanie Brandman, rocking a chic summer look. (Loved the longer dress!) with blogger Joanna Goddard.
23. Art dealer Alexander Chemla
24. Adellco’s Matt Adell
25. Author Nicole Sexton
26. Gannett’s Maryann Banikarim
27. Steinmart’s Jay Stein
28. Alex Pasques
29. Mary Berner with, so we’re told, a ‘Mr. Reynolds’
Wednesdays aren’t just for lunch anymore: A little birdie told me that starting tonight Michael’s will be hosting a mixology lounge from 5:30 to 8:30 on Wednesdays through Labor Day. Celebrated mixologist Michael Flannery will be whipping up cool concoctions for the haute crowd. Cheers!
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