Monday, October 19, 2009


Wow! Bouchercon in Indianapolis was wonderful! Absolutely fabulous! Okay, I admit that part of my excitement is from winning the Barry Award and Anthony Award for State of the Onion, in the Best Paperback Original category. I was utterly and completely stunned.

This is the Barry Award. Named for Barry Gardner, it is given by Deadly Pleasures and Mystery News magazines. George Easter (who runs Deadly Pleasures) was just about the nicest man ever. He was so sweet and so great. And I was happy to have met him because then we were able to chitchat here and there over the rest of the conference. Going into the award ceremony I was certain I had zero chance of winning this. I can't tell you how surprised I was. Just amazed.

Winning these two awards was the thrill of a lifetime and I still can't completely believe it. In fact I've been looking at some pictures that are appearing online, such as this one of the Anthony Award ceremony: Riordan's Desk and I've noticed something. Most of the other award winners are actually holding the award as they speak. I'm not. The very kind and perceptive Joe Stanko (Jane Cleland's husband who assisted in the award ceremony) waited to give me the actual award until after I was finished at the microphone. What a smart man!

I am so happy, so grateful, so honored to have been in the company of Vicky Lane, Christa Faust, Max Allan Collins, and the PJ Parrishes - Kristy Montee and Kelly Nichols. Kristy and Kelly in particular were so warm, so gracious, and so kind, before and after the ceremony. I have always looked up to them and I'm thrilled to have been able to interact with them a little bit at this Bouchercon.

Into every life some rain must fall, or however that goes...
So, there had to be something that went wrong, right?
There was.

I've mentioned the HOT TICKET event here a few times and I tried to promote it wherever I could. The Midwest Chapter of MWA was sponsoring this small-group meeting with Big Name authors. As Midwest president I was able to interact with some of these authors (PJ Parrish - above, as well as the lovely and wonderful Carolyn Hart, and the incomparable and fabulous SJ Rozan). I was also supposed to interact with Sue Grafton on Saturday. She was one of my assignments and, of course, I was excited about meeting her.

Guess what? I had so much going on Saturday morning that I forgot about my appointment with Sue Grafton. Actually, I didn't really *forget* - I just lost track of time. Easy to do at Bouchercon, but still incredibly stupid. I had my list of stuff to remember, and I consulted it, but somehow just lost track of time ticking by. I had intended to give her a copy of Mystery Muses, the award-winning anthology of essays from Crum Creek Press because in it I have an essay written about ... you guessed it ... Sue Grafton.

Oh well. It isn't as though she would have missed me. She had Beverle Graves Myers and Jess Lourey there and both of them are wonderful Midwest chapter authors. Bev and Jess took care of the HOT TICKET event with their usual panache, and all was well.

I'm flying high and every time someone calls the house today they ask what's up because I'm so cheerful. This has been a wonderful, wonderful weekend and I thank everyone who had anything to do with Bouchercon, Indy. A superbly run conference and great people. Thank you!!!

I'm mad at myself for missing the opportunity to meet Sue, but at least no one was hurt by my oversight. The only one who suffered was me. And that's okay.

The rest of the day (Anthony Awards) was pretty darned spectacular, so I am *not* complaining.

I'll be posting more about the awards and celebrations tomorrow on Mystery Lovers' Kitchen, so if you care to, please stop by. There's another contest running, too!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Bouchercon, here I come!

I am so excited - Bouchercon is finally here! I still have a few more things to throw in my suitcases. Yes "suitcases," plural ;-) and then I'll be taking off about noonish to meet a friend about 20 minutes from here and we'll drive together to Indy!

Two suitcases are necessary, by the way. With all the Hot Ticket supplies (bags, mostly) and MWA banner, pamphlets, etc. I need to bring, I think I'm justified in bringing along a second bag. And that means I now have room for more shoes!

Interestingly, Robyn dropped Violet (her cat, and Kitka's sister) off yesterday for us to watch for the next five days while she and Andrew are out of town. I thought I would be suffering double with two cats in the house (in case I haven't mentioned, I discovered I'm allergic to cats. I've never been allergic to *anything* before). But the two cats keep each other company so well that they mostly leave me alone. Of course, right now they're making a liar out of me and sleeping here on my desk as I type this. But yesterday was an easy breathing day and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Cats are fun to watch. And when they tumble around themselves instead of constantly crawling into my lap, my nose appreciates it!

I'm now thinking I could have maximized this and gotten a lot of writing done while Violet is here, but I'll be getting home just when Robyn and Andrew get back. Hmm... maybe I should "borrow" her until this manuscript is done. (Have I mentioned I'm not writing while I'm in Bouchercon? Yikes. Time is getting short...)

Anyway, I won't be popping in here until next week at the earliest. Not that I post regularly or anything ;-) But I hope to share some pictures and fun stories from the conference when I get back.

Okay -- can I just add one more thing?

I'm incredibly excited about both the Anthony and Barry nominations. That's, of course, part of why I'm giddy about this particular Bouchercon. From the moment I learned of my nominations until this moment -- when the conference is actually here -- has been the *best*! I wouldn't trade this experience for anything. This has been one of the finest honors I've ever enjoyed and I am so thankful.

So ... thank you ... to everyone who has have read my books, sent me e-mails, posted positive reviews on Amazon, nominated State of the Onion for the Anthony or the Barry - and those who have supported me always. You are all wonderful and I thank you so much!

Okay, gotta run. Still a lot to do!


Monday, October 12, 2009

A little fun with Ten-Twelve

Today is 10/12.

That may not mean anything to you, but it does to me. In fact, every 10/12 I wait in breathless anticipation, wondering what this year's date might hold. In fact, a friend of mine just commented on the date and it occurred to me that the topic might just be bloggable. A little weirdness, a little fun. You ready?

I was born --ahem-- number of years ago at 10:12 AM.

My husband was born --ahem-- number of years ago at 10:12 PM.

And his birthday is exactly 10 months and 12 days before mine.

Pretty cool, huh?

Ever since we put this together (years ago, when we went on a cruise and needed to carry birth certificates), we've been hyper-vigilant every October the 12th. So far, all our 10/12s have been unremarkable and that's okay. Although I keep hoping for some exciting and fun surprise, I need to keep in mind that 10/12 might be an omen...

Hmmm...I think we should probably avoid traveling together on this date....

Bouchercon is coming up this week!!! I absolutely can't wait! Hope to see you there.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Diana Gabaldon

Yes!! My friend Rene and I went to Diana Gabaldon's book signing last night. The event was held at North Central College, sponsored by Anderson's Bookshop in Naperville. Wonderful event! Ms. Gabaldon is just so entertaining. As Rene put it, we could have listened to her for three more hours.

This is us before the event started and before the "pre-show entertainment" began. Can you imagine being such a popular author that you get a warm-up act? We listened to bagpipe music and watched highland dancers for about a half hour before the 7:00 PM start.

Ms. Gabaldon was gracious enough to pose with us and I think it was probably her husband who took the picture. Look at this woman (I'll have what *she's* having!) - she's absolutely lovely and claims to have been married for 34 years. She barely looks that old. Oh my gosh - I would *love* to look half that good when I'm married for that long.

Let me tell you a secret.... I really, really hoped that when we first got there and picked up our tickets, the Anderson booksellers would say, "Julie Hyzy? Don't you write the White House Chef books?" But of course ::: sigh ::: that didn't happen.

No matter. We had an absolutely *great* time and I can't wait until this manuscript is done so that I can lose myself in the Outlander series once again.