Bouchercon 2007 and the Anthony
I figure I’ve got about three posts on my trip to Alaska, and being that I trade in fiction, I’m going to take the writer’s prerogative and describe things out of chronological order.
The big news, for me: Ashes and Bones, my sixth Emma Fielding archaeology mystery, won the Anthony Award for Best Paperback Original at Bouchercon! I’m still stunned by this, and very happy (r: with my editor, Sarah). Actually, I hope that’s the take-away most people had from my acceptance (I won’t call it a speech) at the banquet: I was not cool. I stammered. I did, I think, remember to thank everyone, possibly more than once. But people said I seemed happy, and if that came across with my thanks, then I’m satisfied. Thanks again. And congratulations to all the winners and nominees!
BEST MYSTERY NOVEL: Laura Lippman, No Good Deeds, Harper
BEST FIRST NOVEL: Louise Penny, Still Life, St. Martin’s Press
BEST PAPERBACK ORIGINAL: Dana Cameron, Ashes and Bones, Avon
BEST SHORT STORY: Simon Wood, “My Father’s Secret,” Crimespree Magazine, Bouchercon Special Issue 2006
BEST CRITICAL NONFICTION: Jim Huang and Austin Lugar, Editors, Mystery Muses, Crum Creek press
SPECIAL SERVICES AWARD: Jim Huang, Crum Creek Press and The Mystery Company
(For a link to the Shamus, Macavity, and Barry winners, click here. )
The award itself is beautiful: a small oil painting of Denali by an Alaskan artist (I’m still trying to track down the details). It’s in my dining room, as it’s too nice to go in my office. (The office depicted on my website is a happy fiction, designed to make you think I’m a nice person. No one looking at my real office would think I’m nice. It’s most kindly described as a “lair.”)
Hic Sock Puppets…The rest of the convention was pretty busy. Thursday, I had an Author’s Choice section, and yes, I came across with the sock puppets. I made the mistake of joking to B’con organizer Dana Stabenow about interpreting a chunk of my short story “The Lords of Misrule” with puppets. Word got out. Without boasting, I can safely say I had the finest 18th-century sweat-sock puppets of anyone at the Anchorage Hilton that day. It would be easy for me to rationalize the sock puppets as highly functional social facilitators and tools for introducing complex issues of bygone culture, but really je m’amuse. It’s the idea of a sock with a tricorn hat using “Ever read any Jonathan Swift, baby?” as a pickup line that drives me to it.
(Thursday was also when I, with Mr. G and fellow Femmes Charlaine Harris and Toni Kelner, took a flightseeing tour over the Knik Glacier. For more pictures of that, please check out the Femmes Fatales blog.)
Friday afternoon, I was on a panel called “Raising the Genre Flag,” with (l-r) David Corbett, Laura Lippman, James Sallis, and moderator SJ Rozan. I really liked the way the discussion shaped up, more about how genre fiction succeeds in its ultimate goal— communication—than how we crime writers get no respect from “literary” reviewers. We talked about the history of criticism (I blame Samuel Richardson) and how the best genre fiction, whether mystery, romance, or science fiction and fantasy, allows society to address issues metaphorically when they might be too hot to tackle directly. We could have gone on for hours, and had some great questions from the audience.
Saturday morning was devoted to a panel on short stories, with Toni Kelner, Andrew Gulli, Tim Wohlforth, and Adam McFarlane. It was useful to me to hear how authors tackle short stories and consider what short stories are meant to accomplish—as well as how their venues have changed over time.
It was a fun Bouchercon, not only for the physical setting, but also for the way the panels were organized. I liked the three-track system (including the Alaska track). I haven’t even touched on the socializing that went on, catching up with old friends (r, with Margery Flax), and meeting new ones (though when I post about my pre-Bouchercon travels, we’ll see that started earlier than the convention…).
Sunday was spent getting Mr. G back to Boston and preparing to spend a few days out in the Alaskan bush. But there was one more treat: dinner with Toni and Charlaine, who bestowed a gift upon me in honor of winning the Anthony. I wonder how they knew?
Next installment: Takotna.