May 2010 Archives

Back to pumpkin and mice

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IMG_0736.JPGIt's been a couple of weeks since My Very Big Adventure, attending Edgars Week, as an Edgar nominee, and then Malice Domestic, as an Agatha nominee.  Cinderella's home from the ball and things are getting back to normal. 

Normal, as in before January 19.  My heart's calmed down for the first time in months, and work is again possible.  But I'm glad that it was such an adventure, I'm glad that I was entirely manic on endorphins and adrenaline, I'm glad of the sleepless hours when I thought, Hey, shit, I'm a nominee!  Hey, I could win!  I wish the experience for all of you. 

Not expecting this honor, ever, I decided I'd already won.  I can get "Nominee" inscribed on my headstone/ cremation urn/ viking ship before it's set alight.  I determined the week was going to be one big party to celebrate mystery and crime fiction.  I had a total blast.  And now, my Cinderella time line:

Tuesday:  up way early on the train with Toni Kelner.  Hate the fact I'm traveling with about theIMG_0696.JPG same amount of luggage I used for a ten-day wedding cruise through Greece, with more shoes per day than I usually wear in a month.  Love the fact there's a food car: hot dogs for everyone as the countryside rolls by!  Yes, the Acela has issues with Connecticut, but we hop the commuter rail and make it to NYC in plenty of time for the launch of the MWA anthology (edited by Charlaine Harris), Crimes by Moonlight.  The great thing is I get to meet some of the contributors I didn't know in person:  Terrie Farley Moran and Jeff Somers, with whom I share my agent.  Toni, Jeff, and I have too much fun; cackling manically at our own jokes, we draw anxious glances.  This is a bad idea, I can see the other attendees thinking.  This is gonna be great! I'm thinking.  

Wednesday:   The Symposium panels are a hoot.  The highlight is getting to see Laura Lippman and Lee Child interviewed by the wonderful Oline Cogdill.  The scrum of the agents and editors party following has cheese!  And wine!  And I'm not an agent or editor, so I can enjoy it and catch up with friends.  And eat cheese!  And drink wine!  My agent and her colleagues play cruel jokes on each other and ply us with dinner after.  Life is good.

ThursdayDer Tag.  Have a terrific chat with Linda Landrigan and Janet Hutchings at thIMG_0719.JPGe EQ/AH cocktail party (you can see me with Mike Wiecek, Toni, and Chris Grabenstein, right), then run back to change.  No, contrary to popular opinion, I did not have a wardrobe change every hour.  I wore the blue dress so I wouldn't be wearing a floor length pink gown in a cab through an NYC rush hour.  I blot and touch-up, then shimmy, hoick, and slither my way into my dress:  my thanks again to the teams from JPL and Stanford for engineering the support structures required for a strapless gown.  (Yes, guys, we are still on for doing the Mythbusters episode.) 

I am the first one down to the table with the nametags:  eager, yes, is one word, to describe my state.  Everyone looks so pretty, so cleaned up!  It is the prom everyone should have had.  All of the nominees look nervous; none of us have drunk anything or been to the loo in hours, just in case.  I'm staggered and honored to find out who the judges were in each category:  they read my story!  They liked it!  Then the serious drinking begins and I'm just staggered.

Friday: Toni and I hop the train for D.C. and the opening ceremonies of Malice Domestic.  The one picture of the Agatha nominees, and I've got my head down, making sure my certificate is open.  Everyone else is smiling for the camera.  Oy.  Dinner with the fine folks at Berkeley is always terrific. My agent, Janet Reid, who has been making the entire week a combination of a slumber party and Mardi Gras, has sent me beautiful flowers!  The princess-itude continues!
Saturday:  The panel on short stories is fun!  Running around and hugging everyone is fun!  It takes time to get from one place to another, a hundred yards away because of all the hugging.  That's what's made what could have been a frantic week terrific:  it's one big chance to see friends and tell rude jokes and catch up.  The Agathas banquet is more fun, and we have the best table. 
I'm hosting, and there's a wild bunch of women from Chicago who know how to stage a riot (left, with L.C. Hayden and Toni).  By the end of the night (in the bar, bien sur), we are hoarse and exhausted. 

Sunday:  more panels and the tea.  I don't know why, but I always make sure I have a full lunch, then go and eat sandwiches and pastries an hour later.  Just in case.  You never know, in the wilds of Arlington, on top of a mall, and in a hotel with room service.  Toni and I should be sick of each other at this point, but we can't stop giggling.  Even at the airport, waiting for a late flight (which becomes even later), with the magic fairy-dust draining away at an alarming rate (let's just say the other travelers at National didn't see me at my best), we're hunting cheeseburgers and copies of the NYT, because Charlaine has an interview in the Magazine.  On the plane, I doze.  At home, the cats take one whiff of Eau de Airport and decide they don't know me.  A shower helps, and I'm asleep in moments. 

Monday:  The horses have turned back into mice (and my cats have eaten them).  The coach is once again a pumpkin, ripejimmy.jpg for the compost pile.  Life is normal again, now the ball is over, but I still have my slippers.
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