Cabbages and Kings

A diary by the authors of the Louis Kincaid series

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Location: Fort Lauderdale/Elk Rapids, Florida and Michigan, United States

We are the New York Times bestselling authors of the Louis Kincaid series and other stand alone thrillers. We have taught writing at major conferences for ten years.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

And The Whimper Is...

So I am doing my usual warm-up before hitting the computer this morning: folding laundry and watching "Frazier" reruns. I love Frazier because beneath his smooth surface is a roiling bog of neediness and insecurity.

Today was the episode where Frazier and his producer Roz are nominated for the Seebee Award, given out to Seattle's best broadcasters. Frazier tries to be above it all, but he just can't. He wants to win, dammit! But at the banquet, he finds out he is up against the aging icon Fletcher Grey. Fletcher has been nominated 11 times in a row and lost 10. Fletcher's date is his 84-year-old mother who has flown in from Scottsdale -- for the 11th straight year. Fletcher is also retiring. Frazier tells Roz, "if we win, they'll string us up." Roz says, "I don't care. I'd crawl over his mother to win this award!"

Frazier loses, of course. His agent Beebee deserts him. Roz gets drunk on Pink Ladies.

Sounds like a couple award banquets I've been to. Kelly and I have been lucky to have been nominated for some awards over the past ten years. But we've never won. Yes, it is an honor to be nominated. But it bites to lose. I can't lie and tell you otherwise. So last weekend, when we won the Thriller Award in New York City, all the little toads and newts in my bog of insecurity bubbled to the surface.

The International Thriller Writers conference had been great. But I went to banquet with no expectations. I sat between my agent and Ali Karem but I was filled with dread. Elaine Flinn kept saying it was our night. Doug Lyle wished me luck. Kelly couldn't make it, so I felt pretty alone despite all the good vibes. We might write hardboiled, but I am not. Finally, I couldn't take it anymore. I bolted for the lobby.

Jim Fusilli was standing there and barred my way. He put an arm around my shoulders. My friend Britin Haller grabbed my hand. Each nominee was announced by reading the first line of the book. Ours is "The Christmas lights were already up." I remember thinking, "God, that sucks."

I heard the title of our book announced as the winner. I started crying. I don't remember what I said on stage. Many authors, when they are up for awards, jot down a few bon mots so they don't make asses of themselves. They at least think things through. These are the authors whose gracious and often clever speeches are quoted in the blogs the next morning.

This is what SHOULD have been in my head as I went up there:

"Thank you so much for this great honor. First, I want to thank the ITW judges who put their careers on hold for months. Their job is doubly hard in that they first must read hundreds of books but then, they must decide on just one when any of the five finalists would be worthy. Second, I want to thank my fellow nominees. I am honored to have my book mentioned among their fine works. Third, I want to thank my agent and editor who...."

This is what was REALLY in my head:

"God, I can't believe I am crying! How pathetic and needy! Where's the friggin' stairs? I can't see! Who is that man at the podium? Shit, I forget his name! THE LIGHTS! I CAN'T SEE ANYTHING! Do I have lettuce on my teeth? Agent...mention her name. My bra is showing, I just know it. DON'T PULL AT YOUR BRA!! He's handing it to me. Jesus, it's heavy...don't drop it...don't drop it...don't drop it. Say something nice about the other nominees! Can't...can't...can't remember their names. YOU TWIT! You just sat on a panel with TWO of them this morning! Wait, it Paul LeVEEN or Paul LeVINE??? Forget them a drink later. I should have gone to the hairdresser before I left home. My roots are showing. Shit, did I thank my agent? JESUS! THE LIGHTS! Stop talking're rambling, you ass...stop now and just go sit down. Okay, leaving now. TAKE THE AWARD! Don't drop it...don't drop it...don't drop it. Good grief...I'm here in New York City wearing Nine West because I was too cheap to spring for those black Blahniks at Off Fifth. Dear God, just let me just off this stage so I can get to the john and pull up my Spanx and get a glass of wine....

I made it off the stage okay. Here is the photo to prove it:


Blogger Sandra Ruttan said...

Congratulations on the award, and welcome back to Blogdom. You have been missed!

5:33 PM  
Anonymous Julia S-F said...

Delighted to see you back in the blogoverse and even more delighted you finally got your just desserts with the Thriller award! I believe that means the drinks are on you next time...

8:49 PM  
Blogger JA Konrath said...

You rock!

Welcome back. :)

2:17 PM  
Blogger JA Konrath said...

You rock!

Welcome back. :)

2:17 PM  
Blogger Toni said...

Welcome back -- and congrats again -- so very pleased for you!

1:50 AM  
Blogger Jude Hardin said...


A Thousand Bones is next up in my TBR pile. Looking forward to it!

6:01 AM  
Blogger Ali Karim said...

Hey PJ -

It was great meeting you and so glad to see you win!

Well done


1:42 PM  
Anonymous J. Carson Black said...

I was overjoyed to learn that you won. And welcome back to the blogosphere. THE UNQUIET GRAVE has stuck with me for a long time, and it's one of my favorite books, period.

And think about this: at least you weren't that female Oscar winner who was in the bathroom at the moment they called her name. You did good, kid!

9:45 PM  

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