Three of the Femmes Fatales got good news this week. Toni Kelner and Dana Cameron were both nominated for Agatha Awards for best short story, and I was nominated for best novel. (Full list of nominations here.)
Ironically, Dana's story, "The Night Things Changed," appeared in Wolfsbane and Mistletoe, edited by Toni and Charlaine Harris, so Toni the author is competing not just against her fellow Femme Fatale but also against Toni the editor. Also nominated for best short story are Carla Coupe, who's in a writing group with me and whose story appeared in Chesapeake Crimes 3, which I co-edited. And Jane Cleland and Nancy Pickard, also friends, as are my fellow best novel nominees. I'm hoping for a five-way tie in the short story and best novel categories. And did I mention that two of the best first novels--G.M. Malliet's and Joanna Campbell Slan's--are books I read and liked enough to blurb? In every category, I can see names of friends for whom I'm very happy--competing against other friends for whom I'm equally happy.
Sometimes the mystery world is rather like a small town. A small town where, to my astonishment, I have now been living for over a decade. Last month I was too busy finishing my latest book to celebrate it, but Murder with Peacocks came out in 1999. it seems like just yesterday that I was a newbie with my first book out. I still remember how amazed I was the first time I was on a panel with an author whose books I'd been reading for ten years or so. And now I've turned into the ten-year veteran myself.
I still remember very vividly something that happened at Bouchercon 1998 in Philadelphia, just before I was published. Margaret Maron moderated a session in which anyone whose first book would be out in the coming year could stand up and say a few sentences about it. And after we'd all taken our turns, Margaret spoke. I'm quoting this from memory, so apologies to Margaret if that memory has warped in the intervening decade. But what I remember her saying: "Look around you. These are the authors who are entering the mystery field the same year you are. This is your tribe."
Chills went up my spine as she said that, and I wasn't the only one.
Remember the old cliche that it's an honor just to be nominated? That's exactly how so many of us feel when we hear the news that we've been nominated--which is why it has become a cliche.
So congratulations to all the members of the tribe who have been nominated. I am honored and delighted to be among you.