Malice: Agatha & More

As I write this, I still can’t believe my great good fortune over the weekend. At this year’s Malice Domestic, On the Road with Del & Louise: A Novel in Stories was honored with the Agatha Award for Best First Novel—and I felt honored really just to be in the same company as my fellow finalists: Tessa Arlen, author of Death of a Dishonorable Gentleman; Cindy Brown, author of Macdeath; Ellen Byron, author of Plantation Shudders; and Julianne Holmes, author of Just Killing Time. Congratulations to them, to all the finalists, listed here, and to this year’s other Agatha winners, as follows:

  • Best Novel: Long Upon the Land by Margaret Maron
  • Best Historical Novel: Dreaming Spies by Laurie R. King
  • Best Nonfiction: The Golden Age of Murder by Martin Edwards
  • Best Short Story: “A Year Without Santa Clause?” by Barb Goffman
  • Best Children’s/Young Adult Novel: Andi Unstoppable by Amanda Flower

As I said Saturday night in accepting my own Agatha, I have plenty of people to thank for their support of my work: Donna Andrews, Janet Hutchings and Margaret Maron, who provided blurbs for the book but more importantly endless support throughout my career; Alan Orloff, who has been a great friend and great first reader every step of the way; and Kendel Lynn and Rachel Jackson at Henery Press, without whom my book would not only not exist but certainly wouldn’t be the book that it is.

It was terrific hanging out at the banquet with a table full of supportive friends: Alan, LynDee Walker, Paula Gail Benson, Gerald Bartell, Susan Shea, David Burnesworth, Mo Walsh, Janet Costello and Helen Nelson. Hope they had as much fun as I did!

And the weekend itself was tremendous fun—seeing too many friends to list here, but a handful of stand-out events as highlights of each day.

Friday included Malice-Go-Round, lunch with the Guppies, moderating the Best Short Story panel (and congratulations again to Barb Goffman!), the Henery Press cocktail party, a dinner in honor of B.K. Stevens (but sadly without Bonnie herself), and then the signing for the Malice Domestic: Murder Most Conventional anthology—with dessert!

Saturday was a Sisters in Crime breakfast (with a shout-out about my work with Debra Goldstein and Deborah Lacy on SinC’s new short story initiative), the panel for Best First Novel finalists, lunch with those same finalists (a fun bunch!), and then a signing for the new Chesapeake Crimes: Storm Warning anthology at the Wildside Press table before the big Agatha Awards banquet (and a wee bit too much to drink after that).

Sunday included the New Author Breakfast hosted by Mystery Scene and Cindy Silberblatt, a second breakfast hosted by Janet Hutchings of Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine, a terrific chat between Amelia Award winner Doug Greene and Martin Edwards, and then Dame Agatha’s tea, where I ate way too many finger sandwiches. (Seems a theme: overdrinking, overeating, yeah?)

It was a great weekend overall. Thanks to great friends for all their kindness and support. And thanks especially to the Malice Domestic board and volunteers for all their hard work: Verena Rose, Janet Blizard, Caroline Craig, Joni Langevoort, Marian Lesko, Anne Murphy, Rita Owen, Janet Powell, Harriette Sackler, Shawn Reilly Simmons, Tonya Spratt-Williams, and Angel Trapp. A hard-working group of women there, a wonderful and unforgettable event. And can’t wait until next year!