Tag: Edgars

Edgars

Who’s the best? Time for writing awards season.

Every year I feel that spring launches writer’s conference season. For writers and fans alike there are many choices to fill the schedule. Interested in networking, there’s a conference for that. In advancing craft? Connecting with an agent, meeting your writing idols? Still other choices. This week at MissDemeanors we’ll take a look at a range of choices and weigh in on a few of our favorites. Later this month, the Mystery Writer’s of America (MWA) host a symposium followed by the Edgar Awards (yes, named for THAT Edgar…. he of the tell-tale heart). The groups mission is to promote higher regard for crime writing and the writers in the genre. As part of this mission, the symposium features the Edgars’ nominated authors in categories ranging from Best Novel and Best First Novel, to Best Fact Crime, Best Juvenile, Best Short Story, and Best TV episode, among others. Held annually in New York City, this is a great chance to hear from the best of the year, and meet them in person. The size of the event makes it possible – almost inevitable – to speak to your favorite authors. Ask that burning question about how they started in their […]

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Short or long the stories are good

 At the Mystery Writer’s of America symposium the afternoon took a turn both dark and short. The authors nominated for Best Short Story shared the many ways they are inspired. SJ Rozan (“Chin Long-Yun Stays at Home”) pointed to the draw of an unusual situation or a phrase. The imagery of the pile of shoes in a Primo Levi story led Lisa Gray (“The Queen of Secrets”) to her obsession with shoes and eventually her nominated story.  Kenji Jasper (“A Moment of Clarity at the Waffle House”) started his story as a love letter and ended up killing his demons. Jeffery Deaver (“Hard to Get”) claims that he tries to ‘know his limitations’ and approaches the short story with plot in mind, knowing that he needs ‘the zinger’ before he then populates with characters.  There were commonalities among the panel. Most notably, a short story takes time. Time to germinate. Time to prune and hone.  Altogether a day of authors sharing stories that make us want to read….. and inspire us to write.     

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Writers talk.

 Today is the Mystery Writer’s of America symposium in Manhattan. The three day event kicked off with a party at the Mysterious Bookstore…… but those stories need to stay in the room. The actual symposium kicked off with a panel of Best First Novel Nominees. The panelists may be ‘firsts’ but they had a wealth of knowledge to share.  Jordan Harper (She Rides Shotgun), Deborah E. Kennedy (Tornado Weather), Winnie M. Li (Dark Chapter) and Melissa Scrivner Love (Lola) discussed how they got their start, what inspired the creation of their protagonist, how their own history played into their work, and their path to publication.  It was a fantastic panel but there were a few overarching takeaways. – Don’t be afraid of the dramatic changes to the manuscript (both Harper and Love rewrote their manuscript from an entirely different character’s point of view).– Writing is based in place, but the place doesn’t have to be exotic (Kennedy makes the point that digging deep into a place you know well can be as rewarding and rich as drawing from wide travels).– Experience, and therefore character, may come from explicit personal experience (as with Li’s fictional account of violence in her own life) or from taking one element of common […]

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And the Winner is…

 Welcome to awards season! The Golden Globes, the NAACP Image Awards, the BAFTA Awards, the SAG Awards, The Academy Awards… Rotten Tomatoes lists about forty-one awards shows between September 2017 and March 2018. All focused on film and TV. Books win awards, too. Everyone’s heard of the Pulitzer Prize, the Nobel Prize, the Man Booker Prize, the National Book Award. These well-known literary prizes represent only a few of the accolades awarded to outstanding examples of writing. Many less well-known (although no less impressive) awards focus on particular genres. The Nebulas and Hugos honor achievements in science fiction in fantasy, The Edgars do the same for mysteries, and the RITA honors romance. As a mystery author, I pay the most attention to awards given to crime fiction: The Agatha, the Thriller, the Barry, the Lefty, the Dagger, the Anthony, the Nero, the Macavity…I’d be here until next award season if I listed them all. Crime fiction prizes are generally awarded at banquets, often in conjunction with conferences. The Agatha is presented as part of Malice Domestic, The Lefty is awarded at Left Coast Crime, the Anthony at Bouchercon, the Thriller at Thrillerfest. The conferences give readers a chance to meet authors, authors […]

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Conferences–Worth it?

 I am writing this blog when I should be booking a ticket to Nashville. I’ve already signed up for Killer Nashville, you see, and–though I’ve paid my conference fee and for my hotel–I have yet to book a flight. I will. I’m hemming and hawing about airline prices and not yet wanting to part with the money in my savings account.  Conferences can empty wallet. I’ve yet to attend one that didn’t ultimately set me back a grand with all the travel expenses and registration fees–not to mention the cost of promotional swag. So, a natural question is, are they worth it?  I think conferences help build an author’s brand and enable writers to connect with other novelists, both of which can sell books. Though I think anyone that believes he or she will go to a conference and see a resulting spike in his or her Amazon ranking will be ultimately disappointed. Conferences are largely attended by other writers. And, though writers buy and read lots of books, they are there to sell their own work–not to spend a bunch of money on their friends’ novels. What’s more important, though, is that writers talk about other writers and, ultimately, will read and promote authors whom they […]

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Honoring Excellence in the Field

 Award season is upon us. The Golden Globes have been handed out, honoring Hollywood achievements, and the Oscar nominations have been announced. The nominees wait, breaths held and fingers crossed, hoping to hear their names called when the presenters open the envelope and read, “And the Oscar goes to…” The literary world awards its share of prizes, including the Pulitzer and Nobel. Some honor excellence in writing in general, some awards are genre specific. The Lefty, the Agatha, and the Edgar, three that honor excellence in crime writing, just released their nominee lists. The Lefty Awards are presented annually at the Left Coast Crime convention for the best humorous, historical, and debut mystery novels, as well as a prize for a mystery not in the above categories. Winners are selected by votes of registered convention attendees. This year’s nominees are:Lefty for Best Humorous Mystery NovelDonna Andrews, Die Like an Eagle (Minotaur Books)Ellen Byron, Body on the Bayou (Crooked Lane Books)Timothy Hallinan, Fields Where They Lay (Soho Crime)Heather Haven, The CEO Came DOA (Wives of Bath Press)Johnny Shaw, Floodgate (Thomas & Mercer)Diane Vallere, A Disguise To Die For (Berkley Prime Crime) Lefty for Best Historical Mystery Novel (Bruce Alexander Memorial) for books covering events […]

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