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.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

My spine is all atingle

Sometimes the writer is the last person to know. But in this case, I don't mind. I just found out our latest book A THOUSAND BONES is a nominee for the first annual Spinetingler Award. The awards will be given out by the online magazine Spinetingler.

If you don't know about ST, you should. It is devoted to spotlighting writers you won't find in the usual mainstream venues. Or as editor Sandra Ruttan puts it: "We want to entertain our audience while we promote and enhance the profile of talented emerging writers using the forum of electronic publishing. We know there are a lot of great stories out there that should have a place where they can be told, so we are providing that venue for them."

The nominees were selected by the magazine's editors but readers are the ones who will now determine the winners. Anyone can email their vote in by the deadline Dec. 30. (The rules are at the end of this post or you can go to Spinetingler.)

Just take a look at the list of nominees and you'll see why we feel honored to be included. At first, I was a little gobsmacked that we are considered "an emerging talent" -- but only because we just turned in book No. 9 and I always thought that puts us square in the midlist purgatory.

Which brings up the issue of perspective. It's hard to keep a good one in this business. You keep churning out books, doing your best to make each one better than the last. You have some success, you get some breaks, but you still feel sometimes that you're just frantically treading water hoping you won't get sweep away in the next downsizing wave.

It's all about perspective...

I heard Mike Connelly speaking at Killer Nashville a couple months back. He said that it took him a good ten years to make it to the bestseller lists. My jaw dropped because I had always assumed Mike's trajectory had been comet-like. But then he went on to say he completed three manuscripts before his agent shopped one around. He said he realized all three of those manuscripts weren't good enough to go out into the world. His agent sent out manuscript No. 4 -- The Black Echo. Which of course won the Edgar for Best First Novel.


I've heard similar stories from people like Robert Crais, Harlan Coben, Laura Lippman and many others. Folks we all assume have had an easy accension but in reality, worked a good decade before they got their big break and starting appearing on lists.

So yeah, I am pretty stoked to be called a "rising star" by Spinetingler magazine. And the next time I feel like I'm just sitting here on a plateau, I am going to try very hard to shift around and get a different perspective.

Here are the Spinetingler nominees. And if you're so inclined, we would be eternally grateful for your vote.

Best Novel – Legend
Ken Bruen, Cross
Ken Bruen, Priest
James Lee Burke, Tin Roof Blowdown
Laura Lippman, What The Dead Know
Ian Rankin, The Naming of the Dead
James Reasoner, Dust Devils

Best Novel – Rising Star
Sean Doolittle, The Cleanup
Charlie Huston, The Shotgun Rule
Larry Karp, The Ragtime Kid
Rick Mofina, A Perfect Grave
PJ Parrish, A Thousand Bones
Steven Torres, Concrete Maze

Best Novel – New Voice
Megan Abbott, Queenpin
Declan Burke, The Big O
Allan Guthrie, Hard Man
Steve Mosby, The 50/50 Killer
JD Rhoades, Safe and Sound
Duane Swierczynski, The Blonde

Best Publisher
Bitter Lemon Press
Europa Editions
Hard Case Crime
Poisoned Pen Press

Best Cover
Robert Terrall - Kill Now, Pay Later Cover painted by Robert McGinnis
Gil Brewer - The Vengeful Virgin Cover painted by Greg Manchess
George Axelrod - Blackmailer Cover painted by Glen Orbik
Allan Guthrie - Hard Man Design: Vaughn Andrews. Photo: (c) Corbis.
Nick Stone - Mr. Clarinet Designed by Emily Cavett Taff

Best Editor
Charles Ardai, Hard Case Crime
Stacia Decker, Harcourt
Alison Janssen, Bleak House
Barbara Peters, Poisoned Pen Press
Dave Thompson, Busted Flush

Special Services to the Industry
Daniel Hatadi - Crimespace
Ali Karim – Shots, The Rap Sheet
Graham Powell - Crimespot
J. Kingston Pierce – The Rap Sheet
Maddy Van Hertburger – 4MA
Sarah Weinman – Confessions of an Idiosyncratic Mind

Best Short Story On The Web
The Leap by Charles Ardai - Hardluck Stories
Breaking in the New Guy by Stephen Blackmoore - Demolition
Amphetamine Logic by Nathan Cain - Thuglit
The Switch by Lyman Feero -Thuglit
Seven Days of Rain by Chris F. Holm - Demolition
Shared Losses by Gerri Leen - Shred of Evidence
The Living Dead by Amra Pajalic - Spinetingler
Convivum by Kelli Stanley - Hardluck Stories

Here's how to vote:
ONE E-MAIL PER PERSON ONLY. You cannot send another vote in, even for a different category – multiple votes from the same sender will not be counted. Take the time to consider your votes carefully. E-mails must be received by December 30, 2007.

You may vote for one winner in each category as long as all votes are submitted in one e-mail. Simply state the category and your chosen winner for each of the eight categories. Any votes that contain more than one selection per category may be removed from consideration completely. No ties.

Send your e-mail to with AWARD NOMINATIONS in the subject line.


Blogger Sandra Ruttan said...

I like your perspective on the rising star category. It was the trickiest aspect of setting up the awards. Someone like Dan Brown has what, four titles to his name? But everyone knows who he is (and what sometimes happens in voting is that if people haven't read the nominees in a category, they just vote for who they know). So we had an 'out' that anyone with mega deals could be moved to legend.

And the best first/best splits in other awards tend to favour the well-established authors who're already on the level of Michael Connelly. How does someone with four or five books compete with someone who has twenty and a heap of awards already behind them, especially when popular vote is a huge variable?

It's not perfect, but I'm glad we tried this category split.


6:42 PM  
Blogger Joe Moore said...

Congratulations, Kris & Kelly. Another feather in your already colorful literary cap.

8:39 AM  
Blogger Jude Hardin said...

Congrats on the nomination, Kris and Kelly!

I sent my votes to Sandra last night. Best of luck!

10:02 AM  
Blogger spyscribbler said...


I love Spinetingler, btw!

11:39 AM  
Blogger Mark Terry said...


12:49 PM  

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