Thursday, December 31, 2009
What are you doing New Year's ...
... New Year's Eve?
In case you don't recognize the line, it's the title of an old romantic standard, playable tonight and really any night, when you feel like dancing cheek to cheek after a ritzy evening out on the city. My own favorite rendition of it is by jazz diva Nancy Wilson, one of this or any year's best.
So here we are, on New Year's Eve! The last night of 2009, the last night of a decade. Strange. I don't feel as old as I must be.
It's been quite a year, for me personally, for friends and family, for the crime fiction community, for the world. But I'm not a big resolution person--or I am, just not on New Year's. It's the perverse streak in my nature, the reason why I can love Frank Capra movies and write noir. I'm also a list maker--I need to be, to have half a chance of getting stuff done--but for this "best of" post I'm going to be a little loosey-goosey.
I don't get a chance to read a lot outside research materials--I can't really read fiction when I'm writing, because I'm afraid the style or an idea will rub off (your brain is sort of open when you write, taking in all kinds of stimuli, and more susceptible to strong voices). And I generally watch classic film or film noir when I get a rare chance to see a movie. So ... rather than talk about my colleagues' wonderful books--because when I do read fiction, I read my friends', and am invariably thrilled by it (i.e. TRIGGER CITY is awesome!)--I'll run down a short (cause face it, you've got somewhere you want to be at midnight) little list of ... stuff that happened. So long, 2009!! You've been a hell of a year. :)
Nicest Dream Come True: This grog. Literally. Criminal Minds was born in 2009, and I am honored and gladdened every week by the outstanding company I keep and the wonderful reception we receive. Outstanding writers and readers all--I am proud to call you friends. Thank you, everybody, for making this such a warm and supportive virtual home!!
Biggest Surprise of the Year: As Becky and Mysti can attest, the biggest surprise in my entire life--never mind the year--was winning the Bruce Alexander in Hawaii at Left Coast Crime. I still don't know what I said on the podium, and really only remember sitting down in the bar for a drink with a funny umbrella. :)
Best Idea Since Sliced Bread: Jen Forbus' Six Word Memoir. Jen is one of the true treasures of the community, and participating in the Memoir project--and reading all the contributions--was just incredible.
Official Drink of Bouchercon 09: The gimlet, of course. I had the honor of introducing friends and fabulous writers Tasha Alexander and Andrew Grant to their first lime gimlets, and we hope to continue the tradition at many a Bouchercon to come. And I still owe F. Paul Wilson a *real* Singapore Sling ... :)
Coolest Home Decor Advice: Jennie Bentley, who blogs over at Working Stiffs and Good Girls Kill for Money, writes a killer series for Berkeley that combines a great mystery with some amazing home refresh tips. The next one out is PLASTER AND POISON (March 2nd). Jennie's also got a terrific novel releasing under her real name, Bente Gallagher, called A CUTTHROAT BUSINESS. This is a can't miss, don't miss read for the summer.
Best Fast Food: The cupcake truck in Manhattan, which some of us discovered at Thrillerfest. They also park outside the Flatiron Building, where my publisher is located. They obviously understand the writerly need for cupcakes. :)
Greatest Advocate: My agent and agent team. I'm so lucky to be represented by the fabulous Kimberley Cameron.
The Miracle Department: I still feel like I have the bends from this year. CITY OF DRAGONS just sold in January of 2009, and now it's out in a month. We've been very blessed by the reception--my gut's been in a knot for the last two months worrying about reviews--and I still can't believe my good fortune in working with my editor and publishing dream team. They've been behind it every step of the way, and I'm very, very thankful to them and the crime fiction community for all the amazing and generous support.
Miracles Can Happen Twice: On top of this, my editor also bought the sequel to NOX DORMIENDA... so my first series now has a crack at the majors.
So, folks, here's to 2009. I know many people will be glad to see it go--it's been a convulsive year, with a lot of challenges next to a lot of change. When I think about what it has brought to my career, I still can't quite take it all in ... but I'll be counting my blessings as I head toward February 2nd, and the release day of CITY OF DRAGONS.
And chief amongst them? Family, of course ... and the ability to call myself a writer ... and to be here, among such talented folks and good friends. :) Happy New Year!!