I got a call last night from my friend Nan, the book production manager at Poisoned Pen Press, telling me that The Old Buzzard Had It Coming won the Arizona Book Award for Best Mystery! I almost swallowed my teeth. First of all, the book is two years old, and second, I didn’t even know it had been nominated. But apparently the Arizona Book Award is only given out every two years, and the book that were eligible for this award had to have been published between Jan. 1, 2005 and Dec. 31, 2006. Seems the Press nominated the book for the award right after it came out in July of ’05, and much to my delight, the judges liked it better than any other mystery that was published over then next year and a half! A couple of years ago, I posted an entry on this blog entitled “Always a Bridesmaid,” about all the award nominations that Buzzard had gotten without winning any. It took a long time for the book to finally be the bride, but I’m entirely gratified no matter how long it took.
And now back to the ordinary business of the day, which is more of my report on Bouchercon in Anchorage. One of the very best things about attending these big mystery conferences is getting to meet other authors and compare writing lives. Writing is a solitary profession, and you have no idea whether your worries and pains are normal or you’re just a neurotic. It’s so nice to know that you’re not the only one who wonders if anyone will ever read what you wrote or if indeed you’re ever going to be able to write another word, anyway.
At this Bouchercon, my press, Poisoned Pen, was celebrating its tenth anniversary by throwing a big reception on Friday night. It was quite a party, with gourmet catering and a jazz band. Because of the Poisoned Pen Press presence (if I may be alliterative), many of the PPP authors attended Bouchercon this year, and I think I got to meet all of them. I spent some time with Charles Benoit from Rochester, NY, who is the most entertaining person I’ve met in I don’t know when, and with Vicki Delany from Nelson, BC, who did a web-radio broadcast from Bouchercon and was kind enough to ask me to participate. You can hear the broadcast, Dear Reader, by clicking on www.internetvoicesradio.com/happening.html, and scrolling down to “Vicki Delany at Bouchercon”. She talked to several authors, some certainly more famous than I, including Dana Stabenow. Other PPP authors I was privileged to meet or see again included Michael Normand, Larry Karp, Asha Graves, the gorgeous Deborah Turrell Atkinson, Ann Parker, and Fred Ramsay. I’m sure I’m leaving someone out – it’ll come to me later.
I crossed paths with some famous authors, as well. It’s always nice to rub shoulders with the rich and famous, in hopes that some of their talent will stick to you. Laurie King bought me breakfast (along with 15 other people at the same time, but maybe I’ll mention that when I tell this story at parties and maybe I won’t.) I made a point of seeking out Julia Spencer-Fleming, since she was gracious enough to give me a lovely cover-quote for Hornswoggled last year. Her husband, Russ, drew me aside later and told me that he couldn’t find any copies of Drop Edge in the booksellers’ room, and wanted to know if it would be available since he wanted to buy a signed copy for Julia. (aside: The Drop Edge Of Yonder was officially launched by the press at Bouchercon, along with Benoit’s Noble Lies and Atkinson’s Fire Prayer. The press sent copies of all the books to Alaska several weeks ahead of the event. Charles’ books and Debbie’s book made it just fine. Did mine? No, they did not. Fortunately Buzzard was there, and a few copies of Hornswoggled. Both those titles sold out. That’ll teach them.)
So, I told Russ that I had brought one copy of Drop Edge with me, which I would bring to the PPP event that evening, and I’d love to give it to Julia. At the reception, I looked for Julia and Russ for quite a while, before I finally decided that they may not have come, so I put the book on my chair and covered it with my wrap and circulated around the room to generally schmooze for half an hour or so, and when I finally got back to my table, who should be sitting on my book but Julia Spencer-Fleming herself! I took that as a sign that that book was meant to find her.
This entry grows long, Dear Reader, so I’ll save the rest for later. I’m also writing about my B’Con experience on the Type M 4 Murder blog (www.typem4murder.blogspot.com), as are the other three authors on that site who attended.
And last, I’ll remind you that I’ll be at Poisoned Pen Bookstore in Scottdale tomorrow night (Mon., October eighth) at 7:00. Hope to see you there.