Sunday, April 29, 2012

Agatha Awards and Big Daddy Title

Congratulations to all the fine authors nominated for a 2012 Agatha Award. The winners were announced at Malice Domestic's 24th annual Agatha Awards Banquet on April 28th, 2012 and are listed below.

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)

Two weeks prior to Malice Domestic's banquet, a very different type of award ceremony occurred at the Malaga Inn in Mobile, Alabama. Home to Carolyn Haines' Daddy's Girls' Weekend, the ghost-haunted Malaga witnessed fast and furious campaigning by three men vying for the title of "Big Daddy" of 2012.

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.

In the end, neither Strout nor James could tally the number of votes given to the ultimate winner, esteemed scholar and Southern gentleman John Hafner. Dressed in his seersucker suit, the distinguished professor of English literature wowed the ladies with his innate charm and Hemingway-like good looks. The booze flowed freely on Saturday evening as hostess Carolyn Haines crowned Hafner official "Big Daddy" amid the cheers of an adoring crowd.

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!



  1. Wonderful remarks about a wonderful weekend. It was a pleasure to meet you, I look forward to seeing you again next year!

  2. We all had a terrific time, Mary, and it was great to see you there.

  3. Wow! Thanks, Mary! It was wonderful meeting you and I'm so very glad you had a good time.

  4. Damn! I'm not unknown! I'm Sarah Bewley! (don't know why it's not getting my name.)

  5. Good to hear from y'all! Yep, I had a great time in Mobile and enjoyed meeting everyone there. And Sarah, you are definitely NOT 'unknown'! After seeing that picture of you accepting your scholarship award at Malice, I'll always think of you as "The Lady in Red". :)

  6. Mary:
    Enjoyed meeting and learning from you! Hope to see you again in the near future.