Friday, December 30, 2005
It's been an exhausting year.
In the past twelve months I've been to three conferences and met some smart, funny, kind and talented people. But enough about bartenders. Let's meet some writers.
Here are a few:
JD (Dusty) Rhoades - Dusty and I had our novels released in the same month and he's already sold two more in his redneck noir series while I'm still trying to finish my second. Copious envy aside, Dusty is a terrific writer and an even better bar companion, as people at Bouchercon discovered.
Duane Swierczynski - Writer of The Wheelman, a novel that's getting the kind of raves you can't buy. He, Dusty and I are all published by St. Martins Minotaur, and I'm grateful that someone has a harder name to spell than mine.
David Montgomery - He's young, too young to know as much as he does about crime fiction. I think he's an 80-year-old safecracker who stays youthful by practicing the dark arts. Besides being a critic, that is.
Bryon Quertermous - Another impossibly young person and brave enough to admit to a group of crime writers that he liked You've Got Mail more than Chinatown. That takes guts, and I salute him for that. Now get back to work.
Ray Banks - I met Ray in Chicago and we spent a great deal of time talking about offing pets. Ray also wrote a story that I thought was one of the best things I'd read in 2005 and that was Philly's Last Dance. Damn, that was a great piece. But we both lost the Derringer to Sandy Balzo.
Sandy Balzo - Sandy's book is Uncommon Grounds, nominated this year for Edgar's Best First Novel. Sandy's not only talented, but beautiful, and she's won so many awards in such a short time that I believe she's also in league with Satan. Sandy, can you give me his number?
Michele Martinez - Michele is the most self-effacing graduate of Harvard and Stanford Law that I've ever met. She's also a former federal prosecutor in Brooklyn, which means she could kick your ass in court without breaking a sweat. Her first book, Most Wanted, has earned well-deserved praise and I understand her second book in the series is another hit. Well done.
Con Lehane - I met Con in Chicago and bent his ear over some of the worst Chinese food I've ever eaten. I'm sure he was wondering just who in the hell I was and why we'd picked that God-awful restaurant. But he's a gentlemen who knows more about writing than I'll ever know.
Jeff Shelby - Another first timer, his novel Killer Swell puts murder in that glossy brochure of a city, San Diego. We spent too little time at Cape Fear because he had a plane to catch, but I'm looking forward to next year and his next book featuring his surfer PI, Noah Braddock.
Steve Miller - He interviewed me for Mystery News and then spent an hour (I'm sure it seemed longer) at Bouchercon listening (or pretending to listen) while Jim Winter and I trashed Cincinnati. Steve is another man who enthusiastically gives his support and encouragement.
Olen Steinhauer - Olen is a thoughtful, funny, and generous person I know only through pixels. But that will soon change. No, I'm not emigrating to Budapest, as good as that sounds. But I am going to pick up Bridge of Sighs. Then I'll know him in print.
John Rickards - We met in Chicago but didn't have much time to talk. I do love his blog, he's on my reading list, and in Chicago he gave me his cold. How could a relationship be more intimate?
Sarah Weinman - Although I haven't met Sarah, Confessions of an Idiosyncratic Mind is one of my daily reads. She's another one who knows more about writers, publishers, editors, critics, books and the business than any sane human should. Truly, a woman with a gift. We're all waiting for her novel. Sarah?
Without question, my year was made far more interesting by these people. And if I missed your name, it has more to do with nap time than neglect. Any minute, the orderly will be around to wheel me into the sun room.
Happy New Year to all and may 2006 bring us all the success we can handle.