Best Novel: Three-Day Town by Margaret Maron (Grand Central Publishing)
Best First Novel: Learning to Swim by Sara J. Henry (Crown)
Best Non-fiction: Books, Crooks and Counselors: How to Write Accurately About Criminal Law and Courtroom Procedure by Leslie Budewitz (Linden)
Best Short Story: "Disarming" (PDF) by Dana Cameron, Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine - June 2011
Best Children's/Young Adult: The Black Heart Crypt by Chris Grabenstein (Random House)
Best Historical Novel: Naughty in Nice by Rhys Bowen (Berkley)
Anton Strout, author of the Simon Canderous urban fantasy series, fought bravely for the title, but his Yankee accent marked him as a carpetbagger in this decidedly Southern town. Dean James, who as Miranda James writes the "Cat in the Stack" mysteries, worked equally hard to retain his 2011 "Big Daddy" title. The competition was stiff, and bribery abounded as both men sought votes from the dozens of Daddy's Girls who'd flocked to Mobile to enjoy Carolyn's company for the weekend.
I'd be remiss if I failed to mention all the other fun activities that took place during this year's Daddy's Girls' Weekend. Presentations by Haines, James, Strout, and T.R. Pearson filled the daytime hours on Friday and Saturday. Most memorable for me was a presentation by playwright and author Sarah Bewley on "Story vs. Plot". Bewley's insight on the difference between the two and the importance of both in creating a successful novel left me with much to consider re my own writing.
And of course it was a pleasure participating on the "E-books and E-publishing" panel with (left to right) Berkley editor Michelle Vega, authors Dean James and Anton Strout, publisher Ben LeRoy, author Carolyn Haines, literary agent Marian Young, and author Jeannie Holmes. (I'm in the center in the blue shirt.) While the audience as a whole favored the feel of an actual print book, approximately 50% of the crowd said they owned some form of E-reader and used it regularly.
Malice Domestic is a great mystery con for fans who enjoy the genre and can afford Washington prices. For a more intimate, less pricey, and equally fun time where authors and fans rub elbows all weekend long, it's hard to beat an event like Carolyn Haines' Daddy's Girls' Weekend. I hope to see you there next year!