by Toni L.P. Kelner
I love award shows. I enjoy the pageantry, the award show banter, and the statistics. (You know, statistics like, "This is only the third time the director of a Best Picture nominee did not wear a cummerbund with his tuxedo.") And I absolutely adore a good acceptance speech.
Well, this year, I might get a chance to make one of my own. My short story "Sleeping With the Plush" was nominated for an Agatha Award for Best Short Story of 2006.
For those of you not familiar with this award, it's given at Malice Domestic, an annual convention dedicated to the traditional mystery. (For a list of all the Agatha nominees, visit www.malicedomestic.org.) Since Malice was the first mystery convention I attended, this nomination means more to me that I can possibly say. Which doesn't mean I won't try to say it anyway, should I win.
Of course, since there are four other stories nominated, I only have, at best, a twenty percent chance. So no matter how good my acceptance speech is, I might very well not get a chance to use it. So, just in case, I'm going to give my speech here.
Imagine me in the banquet room at Malice Domestic, dressed in a charming outfit with my hair and makeup perfect. (If you could subtract a few pounds and/or years while you're at it, that's okay, too.) I've just heard my name called, and after smooching my husband, I gracefully making my way through the room with a warm smile for everybody I pass, and climb the stairs--without tripping--to accept that lovely teapot. And this is what I'd say:
Thank you all so much! I cannot tell you how much this means to me.
Yes, I know I said that already in the blog. Pretend you haven't just read it, and move on.
I want to thank Linda Landrigan at Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine for publishing "Sleeping with the Plush." My friends Charlaine Harris and Dana Cameron, and my agent Joan Brandt helped immeasurably by reading the story and fixing as many of my mistakes as they could--they're the best cheerleaders a writer could ask for. And most importantly, always, I have to thank my husband Steve, who is the best spouse any writer could want. I don't think I've ever written a thing without his help and support.
I then pause to let the audience say, "Awwww...."
And finally, at the risk of my speech being longer than the story, I'd like to thank all the editors out there who support short fiction. I love mystery short stories, and if it weren't for the editors, I wouldn't be able to read them or publish them. So thanks to Linda again, and to Janet at Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine, and to Kate, Susan, and Ruth at Level Best Books and all those other magazine and anthology editors, for giving short stories a home.
Another pause, for the audience to applaud the editors, all of whom I hope to sell stories to in the future.
Thank you all!
Wouldn't that be swell? Of course, I'm more likely stumble up to the platform, wearing a wrinkled outfit I spilled salad dressing on during dinner, and I'll be lucky to remember my own name, let alone this unrehearsed bit of gratitude. I would almost certainly get my tangue tongled up and end up saying something embarrassing, like, "You like me, you really like me." But that's okay. And it's okay if I never get a chance to make any kind of a speech.
Because it really is a tremendous honor to be nominated.