I was speechless the night I got the call that From Beer to Eternity had been nominated for an Agatha Award for Best Contemporary novel. As I listened to the voicemail I started gasping—repeatedly. My husband came running out to see what was wrong, but nothing was wrong. It was absolutely beyond right.
After the call, I waited, wondering who would be nominated with me. Five days later the list came out and I couldn’t be happier to be nominated with this group of incredible authors and women.
Donna Andrews nominated for The Gift of the Magpie – I met Donna at a Chesapeake Chapter of Sisters in Crime meeting about eight years ago. She’s a legend. I didn’t even have the courage to go over and say hello. As time I went on and I observed her at meetings, I came to love her sense of humor. I remember talking on the phone to Barb Goffman about something. Barb suggested I call Donna to find the answer. I said, “I can’t call DONNA ANDREWS.” I was still in complete awe.
As time passed I got to know Donna better and realized I really could call her. She helped me with a plot problem for my third book All Murders Final. I ended up helping her with two garage sales. Donna is a woman who would give you the shirt off your back if you asked her to and I love having her as a friend.
Ellen Byron nominated for Murder in the Bayou Boneyard – I met Ellen at Left Coast Crime in Phoenix, Arizona. Julie Hennrikus was up for an Agatha Award for Best First Novel that year. Many of the nominees – including Ellen – were there and they asked me to take a picture of them. How fortunate they did because Ellen became a friend after that.
Ellen stands out in any room with her beautiful hair and big, lovely personality. I liked her immediately. We’ve seen each other at conferences and gotten closer. I’ve loved watching her success as she received more and more nominations and awards for her books. I even got to meet her husband and in-laws when we gave Ellen a ride after Malice a few years ago. Once the Agatha list came out, Ellen called me to say congratulations (that is just so Ellen!) and we had an over-the-phone celebration. Ellen is a fierce advocate for other authors and generous with her time.
Louise Penny nominated for All the Devils are Here – ah, Louise I admire you from afar. I’ve been at several conferences Louise also attended. Whether she’s on a panel or receiving an award, Louise is always charming, funny, and her ease in front of a crowd is something I marvel at. Louise is an example of how to be a gracious author.
Lori Rader-Day nominated for The Lucky One – my first contact with Lori was via an email when Robin Burcell put us on the same debut author panel at the 2014 Left Coast Crime in Monterey. Lori moderated the panel and it became clear to me early on that she was smart, witty, and a take-no-prisoners woman. We stayed in touch and after one Malice Domestic, my husband and I gave Lori a ride to the airport via a car tour of the monuments in DC. I say we kidnapped her. We ended up in the middle of a demonstration and there was a LOT of traffic. We managed to get her to the airport on time–barely. (She forgave me. And Ellen aren’t you lucky that we delivered you promptly back to your family?!)
We stayed in touch and watched each other’s careers grow. When I became president of Sisters in Crime, I knew I wanted Lori to run to be my vice president. I was worried she’d say no and I didn’t have a backup plan. Thank heavens she said yes. All those traits I noticed when we were on the debut authors panel served her and Sisters in Crime well when she was president and as she continues to serve as immediate past president. I’m the lucky one (see how I did that) to have Lori as a friend.
As you can tell, being nominated is thrilling, but to be nominated with this group of women, makes it even more special. So cheers to all of you. I’m lucky to know you. And cheers to all the 2020 nominees in all the categories. You can find the complete list here.
Readers: Do you like to read books that are on lists of awards?