I attended the International Thriller Writers' (ITW) annual conference, ThrillerFest, in New York City about a week ago. I've been to every one of them since I'm closely involved with ITW. I started out volunteering as registrar, then as chair of the event, and now I'm on the ITW board as VP, Membership. If you want to make the most of any writers' organization you belong to, I highly recommend volunteering. The networking opportunities are great!
One of the many fun things I did there was attend a group signing for an ITW publication, Thrillers: 100 Must-Reads. It's a great collection of essays about each of the books ITW thinks made an important contribution to the thriller field. My essay in the book talks about the significance of Katherine Neville's The Eight. Dozens of authors who'd contributed essays were in the room, and after the rush of readers going around getting their copies signed by multiple authors, we had a good time getting our own books signed by our contributing friends. I even managed to get mine signed by Bob Gussin, the publisher of Oceanview Books and a great guy.
Read the Washington Post's review of Thrillers: 100 Must-Reads at http://www.tinyurl.100thrillers for more information.