Bouchercon, the Shamus, and a missing car

Margaret maron
Wink of an Eye in the book room, before it sold out.

I’ve been back from Bouchercon a week today. I think I’m recovered now.  It was my first big conference/convention and the one word that describes it best is overwhelming.  I could spend hours detailing my fan-girl moments with all the greats. All the thought-provoking panels and show-stealing panelist with their one-liners. Having lunch with friends and peers you see once a year. Rubbing elbows in the bar with the leaders in the industry.  Discovering the book stores in the book room no longer have Wink of an Eye isn’t because they shipped it back to the publisher, but rather because it sold out. Sold out. A good problem to have in the grand scheme of things.

But I won’t spend hours telling you all that stuff. I’ll get to the nitty gritty of what you want to know. No, Wink didn’t win the Shamus but man, is it ever in good company! I never knew so many well-known, A-list authors have lost that award. To lose in the same category as some of the names who have lost the Shamus is humbling. Made me feel like quite the somebody.

All of that—the Bouchercon experience, the Shamus Award, the stories!—take a backseat to the story you’re waiting to hear. The missing car.

Let me just throw this out there and see if you can piece together the puzzle. Like I had to do…

  • Ten parking decks located within four blocks of one another. Unfortunately, each parking deck can accommodate 4,567,823 cars. Dark blue cars.
  • Not knowing until it’s too late that leaving the parking stub/ticket from the little electronic dispenser thingy in your cup holder is not a good idea. If it had been in my purse, I would have found it. Eventually. Probably sooner than it took me to find my car.
  • All parking decks look basically the same. They’re made of concrete.
  • As writers, we invent details for the reader to visualize. We can’t actually be expected to notice such real details as a parking deck name.
  • The City of Raleigh actually has an entire department called “Parking Ambassadors” who do nothing but help people find their lost cars. The guy who helped me was super friendly. He said the weekends were their busiest time because you know, people get drunk and can’t find their cars. I wasn’t drunk. And it wasn’t the weekend.

Go ahead….piece it together. I’ll give you time. Like oh, maybe three hours to link it all together.

I’d like to thank the Academy…

56th Annual Primetime Emmy Award Nominations If you hop over to my Facebook timeline and scroll to last year about this time, you’ll probably see a status update about writing my Emmy acceptance speech when I was a little girl. I’m a big TV fan. Always have been and always will be. The Emmys will be awarded tonight. When I was a kid and wrote my acceptance speech it wasn’t for acting, directing, producing — it was for writing. I even wrote a spec script for a show called “The White Shadow” while I was in high school.

Of all the award shows, the Emmys have always been my favorite. Except for the year they snubbed Robert Duvall for best actor for his role in Lonesome Dove. Still shaking my head on that one.

Well, as I aged, my acceptance speech never really wavered. It always ended with the line “dreams really do come true.” Of course the older I got, the more fleeting the dream seemed. But the more encouraging it was to younger writers because, even at my, um, older age, I was living proof it can be done.

IMG_20130922_114506So…where is all this leading us? To my acceptance speech. No, not for the Emmy you silly goose — that’ll be next year. My acceptance speech for winning the 2013 Minotaur Books/Private Eye Writers of America Best First Private Eye Novel competition. Thanks to the Private Eye Writers of America and St. Martin’s Press, my favorite PI, Gypsy Moran, will come to life!

The award was presented Friday night at the Shamus Awards Banquet, coinciding with this year’s Bouchercon. I wasn’t able to actually attend because, well, it costs money and I’ve got six grandkids with birthdays coming up.

So anyway, Robert Randisi, founder and past President of the Private Eye Writers of America, sent me an email last week congratulating me on the win. He says he understands I will not be at the conference but would I like to make a comment to be read. Oh….Robert….you don’t know how long I’ve had this little speech written.

IMG_20130920_195908Dreams really do come true.