Category Archives: Awards

I humbly accept this part of an award nomination…

Yesterday I got good news from the multi-talented Bill Crider, who published my story “Kids Today” in his anthology Damn Near Dead 2: Live Noir or Die Trying. DND2 has been nominated for a Spinetingler Award for Best Anthology! The Spinetingler’s are given, appropriately enough, by Spinetingler Magazine.

The full list of anthology nominees is:

I’m really delighted to be included on this list, even though my story is only a small slice of DND2. Bill Crider and the late Dave Thompson are the ones who put it together, Ben LeRoy helped shepherd it through the last stages of publication, and of course, there are a whole lot of really excellent contributors. But that’s the good thing about award nominations–the more people who are involved, the more of us who get to be winners!

If you’re interested in voting for any of the Spinetinglers, go check out their site.

Rejoicing, Cavorting, and Doing the Dance of Joy!

Just found out this morning that my story “The Pirate’s Debt” is a finalist for a Derringer Award. The Derringers are given by the Short Mystery Fiction Society. Finalists are determined by blind judging by volunteer judges from the SMFS membership. The the members have a month to vote for the winners. This year, the winners will be announced May 1. I’ll be in DC for Malice Domestic, but you can bet I’ll be checking for the announcement frequently.

Congratulations to all the finalists. I’ve listed them all below:

BEST FLASH STORY (Up to 1,000 Words)

“And Here’s To You, Mrs. Edwardson,” by Hamilton Waymire
Published in the webzine *Big Pulp*, November 23, 2009

“Awake” by David Dean
Published in EQMM, July 2009

“Gutterball” by Stephen D. Rogers
Published in Woman’s World Magazine, Sep 7, 2009

“The Right Track” by R.T. Lawton
Published in Woman’s World Magazine, 10/26/09

“Unplanned” by Libby Cudmore
Published in Thrillers, Killers ‘n’ Chillers, August 2009

BEST SHORT STORY (1,001 – 4,000 Words)

“Identity Theft” by Robert Weibezahl
Published in Beat to a Pulp, March 2009

“The Biography of Stoop the Thief” by Steven Torres
Published in Uncage Me!, July 2009

“The Hard Sell” by Jay Stringer
Published in Beat to a Pulp, 2009

“The Right to Remain Silent” by Debbi Mack
Published in Back Alley Webzine, August 2009

“Twas the Night” by Anita Page
Published in The Gift of Murder, 2009

BEST LONG STORY (4,001 – 8,000 Words)

“A Stab in the Heart” by Twist Phelan
Published in EQMM, February

“Famous Last Words” by Doug Allyn
Published in EQMM, November

“Regarding Certain Occurrences in a Cottage at the Garden of Allah” by Robert S. Levinson
Published in AHMM, November

“Snow of Bloedkoppie” by Berhard Jaumann (translated from the German by Mary Tannert)
Published in EQMM, August

“The Shipbreaker” by Mike Wiecek
Published in EQMM, March/April

BEST NOVELETTE (8,001 – 17,500 Words)

“Adjuncts Anonymous” by B.K. Stevens
Published in EQMM, June

“Julius Katz” by Dave Zeltserman
Published in EQMM, September/October

“The Last Drop” by R.W. Kerrigan
Published in EQMM, February

“The Pirate’s Debt” by Toni L.P. Kelner
Published in EQMM, August

“Uncle Brick and Jimmy Kills” by Allan Leverone
Published in Mysterical-E

It Really Is an Honor To be Nominated

When I left for Bouchercon, I was a Macavity short story nominee for “Keeping Watch Over His Flock,” (published in Wolfsbane and Mistletoe, edited by Charlaine Harris and myself) and an Anthony short story nominee for “Skull and Cross-Examinations” (published in Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine). When I flew home, it was without either award.

I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t disappointed. Of course I am. But after each award ceremony I smiled and applauded. That’s part of award etiquette. I hugged the winners, too, because they’re both really nice and good writers to boot. And when people offered their condolences, I smiled and said, “It’s an honor just to be nominated.”

You know what? It’s absolutely true. It is an honor to be nominated. Just look at the people I was up against. For the Macavity, it was:

  • Sean Chercover for “A Sleep Not Unlike Death” (published in Hardcore Hardboiled)
  • Laura Lippman for “Scratch a Woman” (published in Hardly Knew Her)
  • Tom Piccirilli for “Between the Dark and the Daylight” (published in Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine)
  • Dana Cameron for “The Night Things Changed” (published in Wolfsbane and Mistletoe). She won, by the way.

For the Anthony, it was:

  • Dana Cameron for “The Night Things Changed” (published in Wolfsbane and Mistletoe).
  • Sean Chercover for “A Sleep Not Unlike Death” (published in Hardcore Hardboiled). He won this one.
  • Jane Cleland for “Killing Time” (published in Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine)
  • Laura Lippman for “Scratch a Woman” (published in Hardly Knew Her)
  • Kristine Kathryn Rusch for “The Secret Lives of Cats” (published in Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine)

I am honestly proud to have been in the same categories as these writers. I am delighted that people nominated me, and voted for me. Even though I didn’t win and didn’t have the opportunity to say so in public, I am grateful to the editors who published those stories (Charlaine Harris, Ginjer Buchanan, and Janet Hutchings); my agent Joan Brandt; my readers Charlaine Harris and Dana Cameron; and most of all my husband Steve, my first reader.

I offer my heartiest congratulations to Dana for winning the Macavity and to Sean for winning the Anthony, and I commend the other nominees.

I really am deeply and sincerely honored.

Anthony award nomination sighted, cap’n!

Ahoy, mateys! The latest scuttlebutt is that my story “Skull and Cross-Examinations” has been nominated for an Anthony Award for Best Short Story! If that’s not enough to make you want to dance a hornpipe or two, you’ve been at sea too long. Might I suggest a generous portion of rum to help you achieve the proper state of mind? That always does the job for this here pirate.

For you landlubbers out there, the Anthony Awards are given by the attendees of Bouchercon, the annual World Mystery Convention. The convention ships to various ports, but this year’s port of call is Indianapolis, IN in October, and you can bet I’ll be setting sail for the city as soon as I can figure out which body of water comes closest.

Now I wouldn’t be much of a pirate if I didn’t seize partial credit for one of the other nominated stories: my shipmate Dana Cameron’s story “The Night Things Changed.” And I’m not just stealing the treasure of a nomination! Dana’s story was published in Wolfsbane and Mistletoe, the werewolf Christmas anthology co-captained by Charming Charlaine Harris and myself. So I’m entitled to a fair share! Anybody who says different will have Charming Charlaine to answer to, and we all know she’s a bloodthirsty wench if ever there was one.

Here’s the full list of short story nominations for your reading enjoyment. I’ve put in those new-fangled links for you to navigate to some of the stories, but some aren’t up yet and others aren’t being put up because publishers wanting to protect them against piracy. (Can’t be blaming ’em for that!) But as any new links show on me charts, I’ll put ’em up here.

  • “The Night Things Changed” by Dana Cameron, Wolfsbane & Mistletoe (Ace) 
  • “A Sleep Not Unlike Death” by Sean Chercover, Hardcore Hardboiled (Kensington)
  • “Killing Time” by Jane K. Cleland, Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine – November 2008
  • “Skull and Cross-Examinations” by Toni L.P. Kelner, Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine – February 2008
  • “Scratch a Woman” by Laura Lippman, Hardly Knew Her (William Morrow)
  • “The Secret Lives of Cats” by Kristine Kathryn Rusch, Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine – July 2008

Now the reason I’m sharing these stories, which don’t come easy to a pirate, is so that any of you scurvy dogs meaning to attend Bouchercon can read them and know just which story to cast you vote for. Of course, if any other scalawags were to read ’em without even intending to go to Bouchercon, well, there’d be nothing we could do to stop ’em.

Time to Howl: A Macavity Nomination!

So it was last Monday morning, and I was driving through the mountains of Pennsylvania on my way from Malice Domestic in DC to the Festival of Mystery in Oakmont. It’s rainy, so the scenery isn’t exactly spectacular, but I’m having a great time with writers Donna Andrews and Ellen Crosby, who’d generously allowed me to hitch a ride. Naturally we’re gossiping about other mystery writers… I mean, talking about literature. Then my phone rings.

It’s Dana Cameron, who I knew was in the DC airport to catch a plane back to Boston.

“Hey Dana!”

“Have you heard?” she asks.

My immediate thought was that there’d been a natural disaster.  “What?  What’s wrong?”

“You’ve been nominated for a Macavity!”


Excitement ensued, shared by Donna and Ellen. Eventually I get around to asking, “Who else is up for it?”

Dana pauses. “Well, me for one.”

Now that’s a true friend. She lets me cheer happily first, then gives me the chance to do the same for her. Which I did, again with Ellen and Donna’s aid. Since Dana’s story is in Wolfsbane and Mistletoe, one of the anthologies that Charlaine, it was almost like a double nomination. 

In case you don’t know, the Macavity Awards (named for T.S. Elliot’s mystery cat) are nominated by and voted on by members of Mystery Readers International and subscribers to Mystery Readers Journal. They’re handed out at Bouchercon, which will be in Indianapolis in October.

The slate of short story nominees is…

  • The Night Things Changed” by Dana Cameron (Wolfsbane and Mistletoe, edited by Charlaine Harris and Toni L.P. Kelner, Ace)
  • “A Sleep Not Unlike Death” by Sean Chercover (Hardcore Hardboiled, edited by Todd Robinson, Kensington)
  • Keeping Watch Over His Flock” by Toni L.P. Kelner (Wolfsbane and Mistletoe, edited by Charlaine Harris and Toni L.P. Kelner, Ace)
  • “Scratch a Woman” by Laura Lippman (Hardly Knew Her, by Laura Lippman, Wm. Morrow)
  • “Between the Dark and the Daylight” by Tom Piccirilli (Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine, Sept/Oct 2008)

Dana and I have temporarily posted our stories online for members of Mystery Readers International to have a chance to read them, and we hope Tom’s will be posted on the Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine web site. (I’ll post the link if that happens.) Sean and Laura are constrained by their publishers from doing the same, but the books in which their stories appear are easy to find and well worth buying.

For the full slate of nominees for all awards, click here. There are some awesome books and writers on the list, and some good friends, too.

As for the rest of the ride through the rainy mountains, it’s amazing how much better the scenery looked after that.

I’m a doofus!

Here I got so excited about posting links for the short stories nominated for Agatha Awards that I didn’t mention the nominees in the other categories! Self-centered much? So as I should have said before, here are the other nominees:

Best Novel:
Six Geese A-Slaying by Donna Andrews (Minotaur Books)
A Royal Pain by Rhys Bowen (Penguin Group)
The Cruelest Month by Louise Penny (Minotaur Books)
Buckingham Palace Gardens by Anne Perry (Random House)
I Shall Not Want by Julia Spencer-Fleming (Minotaur Books)

Best First Novel:
Through a Glass, Deadly by Sarah Atwell (Berkley Trade)
The Diva Runs Out of Thyme by Krista Davis (Penguin Group)
Pushing Up Daisies by Rosemary Harris (Minotaur Books)
Death of a Cozy Writer by G.M. Malliet (Midnight Ink)
Paper, Scissors, Death by Joanna Campbell Slan (Midnight Ink)

Best Non-fiction:
African American Mystery Writers: A Historical & Thematic Study by Frankie Y. Bailey (McFarland & Co.)
How to Write Killer Historical Mysteries
 by Kathy Lynn Emerson (Perseverance Press)
Anthony Boucher: A Biobibliography by Jeff Marks (McFarland & Co.) 
Edgar Allan Poe: An Illustrated Companion to His Tell-Tale Stories by Dr. Harry Lee Poe (Metro Books)
The Suspicions of Mr. Whitcher, or The Murder at Road Hill House by Kate Summerscale (Walker & Co.)

Best Children’s/Young Adult:
Into the Dark by Peter Abrahams (Harper Collins)
A Thief in the Theater (A Kit Mystery) by Sarah Masters Buckey (American Girl Publishers)
The Crossroads by Chris Grabenstein (Random House Children’s Books)
The Great Circus Train Robbery by Nancy Means Wright (Hilliard & Harris)

If you haven’t signed up for Malice Domestic yet, there’s still time. You’ll have a great time, you’ll get to vote for the Agathas, and you’ll get to chide me in person for forgetting the other nominees. What more can you ask for in a weekend?

Well, Shiver me Timbers! An Agatha Nomination!

Last week, I got word that my story “Skull and Cross-Examinations” had been nominated for a Agatha Award for Best Short Story! And  you can bet that I’ve been one happy pirate ever since. I’d have posted about it sooner, but I’ve been busy dancing the hornpipe and perhaps the rum flowed a bit too freely.

For you landlubbers out there, Agatha Awards are given by the attendees of Malice Domestic, which is THE convention for fans and writers of traditional mysteries. I’m not sure what tradition a pirate courtroom drama falls into, but I’m not about to argue with an honor like this. I’m as happy as a buccaneer who’s spotted a slow-moving brig full of gold and rum, with the wind in his favor.

Being a greedy sort, I’m also claiming partial credit for one of the other nominated stories: my shipmate Dana Cameron’s story “The Night Things Changed.” And I’m not just stealing the treasure of a nomination! As it turns out, Dana’s story was published in Wolfsbane and Mistletoe, the werewolf Christmas anthology co-captained by Charming Charlaine Harris and myself.

Moreover, I’m acquainted with all the authors and editors involved in these stories, and I can say you won’t find a more blood-thirsty bunch of pirates anywhere. Of course, I mean that in a good way.

Like all pirates, I like to share my good fortune with my crew. Okay, maybe not like ALL pirates, but some pirates do share. Occasionally. If they’ve had enough rum. Apparently I have, because I have a treat for everybody. Not only has my story been posted for Agatha readers to take a look, but all five nominees are now online, and I’ve got the links all mapped out…

Now the reason sending these stories on this internet voyages is so that any swabbies meaning to attend Malice Domestic can read them and know just which story to cat their vote for. Of course, if any other scalawags were to read ’em without even intending to go to Malice, well, there’d be nothing we could do to stop ’em.

So here’s some literary booty for the taking. Just be warned. If you don’t go read these stories, well, these guys here might come looking for ye to find out why…



Illustration by: Mark Evan Walker

Always an honor to be nominated…

I’m afraid that Charlaine and I did not win the PEARL for Wolfsbane and Mistletoe after all, and none of our three nominated stories won, either.  

I won’t pretend I’m not disappointed–I’m not that good an actress. But honestly, it was a delight to be a PEARL finalist, even if only for a day. It also introduced me to the ParaNormal Romance group and a lot of writers I wasn’t very familiar with. That’s one heck of a consolation prize.

Here are the winners, by the way. Congratulations to all!



Winners:  After Dark  by Sherrilyn Kenyon, Susan Squires, J. R. Ward, and Dianna Love and Blood Lite edited by Kevin J. Anderson

Honorable Mention:  The Magical Christmas Cat  by Nalini Singh, Lora Leigh, Erin McCarthy, and Linda Winstead Jones


Winner:  Dark Light by Jayne Castle

Honorable Mention:  Heart Fate by Robin D. Owens



Winner:  Cry Wolf by Patricia Briggs

Honorable Mentions:  Rogue by Rachel Vincent and Hotter After Midnight by Cynthia Eden


New author

Winner:  Ann Aguirre

Honorable Mention:  Jocelynn Drake 


Magical Fantasy

Winner:  Acheron by Sherrilyn Kenyon

Honorable Mention:  The Darkest Pleasure by Gena Showalter

Sci-Fi Fantasy

Winner:  Shades Of Dark by Linnea Sinclair

Honorable Mention:  Dragonborn by Jade Lee



Winner:  Lover Enshrined by J. R. Ward

Honorable Mention:  Wait Till Your Vampire Gets Home by Michele Bardsley

Time Travel

Winner:  Viking Unchained by Sandra Hill

Honorable Mention:  Twist by Colby Hodge

Novella/Short Story

Winner:  “Story of Son” by J.R. Ward in Dead After Dark

Honorable Mention:  “Kung Fu Shoes” by Jade Lee in These Boots Were Made For Stomping

Best Overall

Winner:  Acheron by Sherrilyn Kenyon

Honorable Mention:  One Foot in the Grave by Jeaniene Frost

A PEARL Without Price…

There is much joy in Mudville. After the snow from last night was followed by warmer weather today, I can assure you that Mudville is the right name for my town right now, or at least for my yard. But I digress…

I found out today that Wolfsbane and Mistletoe has been nominated for a PEARL Award for Best Paranormal Anthology of 2008. To add even more joy, three of the stories in Wolfsbane were nominated for PEARL Awards for Best Short Story/Novella:  “The Star of David” by Patricia Briggs, “Christmas Past” by Keri Arthur, and “Gift Wrap” by my esteemed co-editor Charlaine Harris.

I’d heard of the PEARL Awards, but in case you haven’t, they’re given by the ParaNormal Romance Groups, an online group of paranormal romance fans and authors. The full slate of nominees is listed here.

I had to be sure to blog quickly about this. You see, even though I only found out today, the nominations were actually announced February 1, with the PNR Groups voting through February 14. The winners will be announced at 9 PM Eastern Standard Time tonight. So I figured I should bask in the glow right away.

Whether we win or lose, Charlaine and I are delighted to have been nominated. We’re very proud of this book–I hope people enjoy reading it as much as Charlaine and I enjoyed putting it together. Thanks very much to the PNR Group for this nomination!

Golden Globes Glory

I like Hollywood award shows. I love oohing and aahing over the clothes, and watching the reactions of the winners and losers, and listening to the acceptance speeches, even watching the montages. And I enjoy it all just a little bit more if I have a personal stake in the race, if a favorite actor or show has been nominated.  That’s why this year’s Golden Globes Awards Ceremony may have been my favorite award show ever.

First of, there were the two nominations for True Blood.  Anna Paquin was nominated for Best Actress in a Television Series – Drama, and the show itself was nominated for Best Television Series – Drama. Since True Blood is based on the Sookie Stackhouse series by one of my best friends in the world, the multi-talented Charlaine Harris, you can bet I was cheering on Alan Ball and company. When Paquin won in her category, I screamed so loudly I scared the heck out of my daughter Valerie and may well have caused an avalanche outside. And though True Blood didn’t win its award, all I can say is that it was a true honor for the show to be nominated.

Now the True Blood connection alone would have kept me watching the show, but I also had a tenuous connection with John Adams, one of the nominees for Best Miniseries. When I was in junior high, I met a young actor named Tim Parati, and we went on to high school and college together. He went on to work in theater, and ever since I have glowed with vicarious pride as he’s shown up in an impressive assortment of plays, movies, and TV shows, including John Adams. The fact that Tim plays Ceasar Rodney of Delaware, one of my favorite signers of the Declaration of Independence, only makes it better. So as far as I’m concerned, the Golden Globe John Adams won for Best Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for Television is due mostly to Tim’s efforts. Paul Giamatti and Laura Linney did okay, too.

Again, either of those connections would have made me feel a special connection with this year’s ceremony, putting me several degrees of separation closer to Kevin Bacon that I ever would have imagined. But I got a special treat during the commercial breaks. Here in the Boston area, there were several promo spots for the WHDH investigative feature Hank Investigates. Each time it was shown, I chanted, “Hank, Hank, Hank,” which freaked out my daughter Maggie. Then the promo cut to Hank Phillippi Ryan herself, who is well known in the Boston area for her investigative reporting. This shocked the heck out of Maggie, who knows the award-winning mystery author Hank Phillippi Ryan, but only  only as one of her mother’s crazy writer friends. Which she is, of course.

So I had one friend who acted in a nominated mini-series, two nominations from a show based on a friends’ books, and another friend on a commercial. If this keeps up, Kevin Bacon is going to be trying to find connections to me! 

So Kevin, if you’re reading this? See you at the next awards show!