I love this time of year, not only because of Christmas, but because it's a great time to reflect on the past 12 months. By any standard, 2011 has been a wonderful one for me. Some of the highlights:
Edgar Week in New York City. This event draws so many great people to town — and just about everyone comes to the Mysterious Bookshop on Warren Street for the release of the latest MWA anthology. That's me with Reed Farrel Coleman, Ben LeRoy, and Ruth Jordan. It doesn't get better than this!
Attending Mayhem at BookHampton with Cara Hoffman, Linda Fairstein, and Karen Bergreen. This only happened because the amazing Ms. Fairstein is unfailingly generous towards other writers, and always seems to be looking for a new way to help them out.
Another first: I've attended Book Expo America before, but never as an author with a book to sign. My signing slot was at the Mystery Writers of America table with Megan Abbott early on the first day of the event. That was wonderful. Even better: Jen Forbus came by to see us!
Being nominated for an Arthur Ellis Award by the Crime Writers of Canada meant so much to me. Here I am at the award dinner in Victoria, B.C., with my friends Deryn Collier and Robin Spano. We had a blast at the Bloody Words conference afterwards.
ThrillerFest Debut Author Breakfast: It starts early, but it's worth getting up for. It was an honor to be part of the 2010/11 "class," which meant I was onstage with amazing writers such as Ethan Cross Jennifer Hillier, and Alma Katsu (in photograph with me) as well as Daniel Palmer, Todd Ritter, Sandra Brannan, Lynn Sheene, Taylor Stevens, and Allison Leotta. (A big thank you to Library Journal's Barbara Hoffert for covering the event.)
Reading "Necessary Evil" — my story from D*CKED: Dark Fiction Inspired by Dick Cheney — at St. Louis' Noir at the Bar was fantastic...
But being photobombed by Scott Phillips was priceless! (With Jedidiah Ayres and Glenn Gray.)
Bouchercon in St. Louis got off to an incredible start: I won the Crimespree Award for Best First Mystery for The Damage Done and Kelli Stanley won the Macavity Award for Best Historical Mystery Award for City of Dragons!
You never know who you might meet at the Bouchercon bar... (With Kent Gowran, Daniel Woodrell, Melissa McBride, Johnny Shaw, Keith Rawson, Greg Bardsley, Cameron Ashley, and Matthew McBride. If you look closely at the left, you'll spot Frank Bill, too!)
At my first Bouchercon (San Francisco in 2010), Elyse Dinh had the genius idea to suggest a "Charlie's Angels"-style shot with Brad Parks, Christine McCann, Lauren O'Brien, and me. Now we've made it an annual tradition!
What I love best about Bouchercon: hanging out with friends. I got to meet Sabrina Ogden and Kent Gowran for the first time, and to see Neliza Drew again.
Also finally got to meet Chris F. Holm (author of Dead Harvest, coming out soon!) and his wife, Kat Niidas Holm (here with Brad Parks and Lauren O'Brien).
Being on a panel — moderated by my hero, Laura Lippman! — with Duane Swierczynski, Bill Loehfelm, and Bryan Gruley.
Winning the Anthony Award for Best First Novel for The Damage Done!
It was such an honor to be invited to speak at the first-ever QuebeCrime conference in Quebec City. Not only did I get to be on a panel with Lawrence Block, Daniel Woodrell, Andrew Pyper, John Brady, and Craig McDonald, I got to be locked up in an 1813 jail (er, "gaol") with Mr. Woodrell.
At Murder and Mayhem in Muskego. Not sure that it's legal to have this much fun in one weekend, but maybe there are special rules in Milwaukee (or, at least, in Castle Crimespree). I had the good luck to be on the "Anytime, Anywhere" panel with Megan Abbott, Sean Chercover, Jen Forbus, and Martyn Waites.
I'm incredibly grateful to everyone who made this year such a special one for me. I'm looking forward to 2012 for many reasons: the release of The Next One to Fall on Valentine's Day is the biggest (the pre-order contest is open now), but I'm also excited about the book tour and conferences (Left Coast Crime, Murder 203, Bloody Words, and Bouchercon). And the paperback release of The Damage Done is just days away — it comes out on January 3rd.
Wishing everyone all the best for the holiday season and the new year!