Last week I got some terrific news from Bouchercon 2017 co-chairs Helen Nelson and Janet Costello: My short story, “Queen of the Dogs,” which appears in 44 Caliber Funk: Tales of Crime, Soul, and Payback (Moonstone) was nominated for a 2017 Anthony Award. The winners will be announced immediately following the brunch on Sunday, October 15, 2017.
Set in 1979 Los Angeles, “Queen of the Dogs” is about Marisol Ramirez, a young Latina housekeeper who works for a big time Hollywood producer named Miles Markham. Markham spends more time out on the town with his mistress than he does at home, which leaves the beautiful but aging Mrs. Markham to her own devices–namely, pills and alcohol. But in her own strange way, Mrs. Markham takes Marisol under her wing, telling her, “Men are dogs. Remember that.”
When Marisol hooks up with bad boy Germaine, she’s certain it’s love, even if the only dates he ever takes her on are in the back seat of his Cadillac. Germaine is impressed when she tells him she works for Miles Markham, and he suggests that burglarizing her famous employer is the ticket out of that back seat. Will she snatch up that tempting bone or let sleeping dogs lie?
Take a look at this group of nominees. To be counted among these talented writers is a tremendous honor and I’m still a little bit gobsmacked (to use one of my British husband’s words) I’m included. Having one’s work appreciated in this way feels wonderful and I’m very thankful for the recognition.
The competition is especially fierce in the short story category. Megan Abbott for “Oxford Girl,” Lawrence Block for “Autumn at the Automat,” Johnny Shaw for “Gary’s Got a Boner,” and Art Taylor for “Parallel Play” are all contenders. And if you never thought I’d be up for an award in the same category as my idol, Lawrence Block, you’re not alone. Neither did I.
If you’re looking for reading recommendations, you can’t go wrong by choosing one of the books in any of these categories. Award shortlists are where I’ve discovered some of my favorite books. There’s something for everyone here, from traditional mysteries to short stories, novellas to true crime.
I should also mention that Unloaded: Crime Writers Writing Without Guns (Down & Out), edited by Eric Beetner, also includes one of my stories. “Peep Show” is based on a real-life murder that happened in the apartment building I lived in in the 1990s. I’m very proud of both the anthology and that story, and I’m so happy the collection has also received a nomination.
See you in Toronto!