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Monday, April 12, 2010

August 29, 2004

Well, it's been a long strange summer, folks. First, and most exciting, Artifacts won the Benjamin Franklin Award in Mystery/Suspense. This is a national award given by the Publishers Marketing Association (PMA) to recognize excellence in small and independent publishing, and I was simply thrilled to receive it. It was presented in Chicago at the PMA's annual awards banquet in a very Oscar-esque kind of ceremony. As the nominees for each category were announced, the cover art for each nominee was projected on a huge screen behind the dais. After the "and-the-envelope-please" moment, the winner's cover grew and filled the screen. Très Hollywood. I had a blast at the ceremony, as well as during a whirlwind tour of Chicago given by my friend and fellow Franklin nominee, Libby Hellmann. (She wrote An Eye for Murder, A Picture of Guilt, and An Image of Death. All good books, you should check them out.)

Why is it taking me so long to tell you this great news? Because I left immediately after coming home from Chicago for a long-anticipated trip: three weeks in Italy and Greece with our two older children. Our younger daughter stayed in Mississippi with her Mamaw because she's just too young to withstand our travel style. We fly tourist (for free--God bless frequent flyer miles.) We sleep cheap. We linger in museums. We think taxis are for wimps. If you have older teenagers, I encourage you to travel with them before they leave home. Young adults are interesting people, particularly for parents who remember when those self-same people called them Muh-muh and Pop-pah. And the rewards keep rolling in. Our son started college this week. He'll be taking Art History, studying works of art he just saw in person, and Modern Greek Politics, learning about a society he just visited. I don't think the trip will influence him much in Calculus, though...

Since returning from Italy and Greece, I've been to Tennessee and to Mississippi three times. (Yes, I've traveled more than four thousand miles by car in the last two months.) And in the meantime, I'm nearly finished revising Relics. In other authorial news, my first published short story, "Starch," will appear in Plots with Guns ( ) this fall, and my essay on the relationship between mystery fiction and the art world, "Stealing Mona," will appear in Mystery Readers Journal in early 2005. I've been a busy woman, but that's a good thing. Who wants to get bored?

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