Friday, February 05, 2016

News Flash: BRIDGES BURNED nominated for an Agatha!

Last Saturday, I'd spent a wonderful day out with my writing buddies of our local Sisters in Crime chapter. We met for lunch and conversation at Chelsea Grille in Oakmont before walking across the street to Mystery Lovers Bookshop for our business meeting. The weather was lovely. We had a great turnout. I was re-elected as vice president.

When I came home, I noticed the light blinking on our answering machine. I expected a hangup or a telemarketing computer-generated voice, which is about all we receive on our landline any more. Instead there was a real, live person stating she was from Malice Domestic and could I please call her back.

Malice Domestic?

Last year, I'd received a similar call congratulating me for having my novel, Circle of Influence nominated for an Agatha for Best First. But that was last year. I knew it couldn't possibly be anything like that this time. They probably needed to confirm something with my registration.

Still, my hands shook so bad, I had to dial the number TWICE. "Hi," I said. "This is Annette Dashofy returning your call."

I don't really know what she said. I picked out certain words and blanked on the rest. Basically she congratulated me because Bridges Burned had been nominated for an Agatha for Best Contemporary Novel.

I hope I made sense in my reply. I don't think I screamed. I think I faked being professional but very very (VERY) happy.

In fact, I was delirious. And in shock. I never ever in a million years expected another nomination. I mean, I was in the BIG pond now. This is a category frequented by my idols and role models. My favorite authors. Hank Phillippi Ryan. Margaret Maron. Lousie Penny.

Last year after the Best First nomination phone call, I hung up and squealed. And happy danced. Hubby thought I was nuts. Well, okay. He already knows I am. Never mind.

This year after I hung up, I walked slowly up to Hubby who had no idea what was going on. I threw my arms around him and broke into tears as I told him. This year, Hubby's a little more savvy about what these things mean. He held me while I cried. And I think he smiled.

I was sworn to secrecy for a few days while the other nominees were notified. Thank heavens they called my home phone. Had I received that call on my cell phone in the middle of the meeting and been told to keep it quiet, I'd have imploded.

So here we go again! My expectations are decided low. Besides Hank, Margaret, and Louise, I'm sharing the nomination with Catriona McPherson whom I adore and admire and whose books I love. I plan to go along for the ride, breathe the rarefied air of being in the company of the elite.

Thanks to all who nominated me. I'll try to act respectable. I know I'm deeply honored.

Friday, January 29, 2016

From the Past to the Future

A little over a year ago, we had to make the difficult decision to move my mom from her house to an assisted living home. It’s been difficult for both of us on many levels, one of which being the fact I’ve lived two doors away from her for decades. Now I live two doors away from an empty house. Seeing it day in and day out makes my heart heavy. Going through it in preparation to put it on the market has been gut wrenching. I do well for a while, tossing stuff that Mom saved for heaven-only-knows what reason. But then I come across something that has sentimental value, and I choke up. I lock the house, come home, and weep.

But this weekend, we’re turning a page. Moving from the Past to the Future. We have a buyer for the house. My grand nephew. Yes, the family home is staying in the family. I couldn’t be happier.

He’s moving in over the next few days. I still have to go through Mom’s “stuff” and clear it out. But some of what’s left after a year of my slow archeological dig can stay. He and I will go through it and determine what he wants to keep, what I want to take, and what can be sold or tossed.

I’ve noticed many of the houses in this area are now owned by younger generations of the same families I’ve grown up with. So it will also be with Mom and Dad’s place. My grand nephew will be the SIXTH generation on the property that’s part of the old Miller Farm, dating back to my great-grandparents.

I like the feeling of continuity. And it brings my mom some peace, knowing her great grandson will be living in the house she hated to leave.   

Monday, January 18, 2016

With a Vengeance!

As promised, today is the BIG REVEAL of my next book's cover! With a Vengeance will be in stores May 3rd, but you can get a sneak peek AND a chance to win your choice of any of the Zoe Chambers mysteries at Dru's Book Musings!

Friday, January 15, 2016

Coming Attractions

As always, I'm behind on updating my website. This will be a priority next week, however. For one thing, I have a bunch of new personal appearances and guest blog dates either already confirmed or in the works. Stay tuned for the list.

For another thing, Monday is the big reveal of my next book cover! I'm super excited about this one. It seems like a long time coming. After all, the first three came out boom boom boom--six months apart. It's been a year for this one. I'm as eager and impatient as my readers!

Dru's Book Musings will be rolling out the new cover for me. I'll post the exact link as soon as it goes live.

One other small request: If you've registered for Malice Domestic already, and IF you've read and enjoyed Bridges Burned, I would very much appreciate it if you would consider nominating it for the Agatha Awards (Best Contemporary Novel). I don't stand a chance of being a nominee without my readers' support.

Saturday, January 02, 2016

New Year Redux

Yes, I fell off the blog map for a while there. At the risk of sounding redundant because I've apologized for it multiple times over the last few years, I'm sorry. One of my goals for 2016 is to blog more. Another goal is to finally set up a real newsletter.

But I digress.

Happy New Year a day late. And since I didn't do my usual look back on New Year's Eve, I'll lump that in here, too.

My goal for the last two years has been to find balance. Hey, it's a work in progress. I'll give myself a solid C+ and try to do better.

Another goal for 2015 involved travel. I definitely fulfilled that one. I went to Williamsburg VA with Hubby (strictly vacation, no work) in March, Bethesda, MD in April/May, New Jersey in August, Colorado and New Mexico in September, and Raleigh NC and Nashville TN in October. And that's not counting the numerous Pennsylvania road trips I took. I loved every second of it. Except maybe the four-hour flight delay getting out of Raleigh. But I was with friends, so even that wasn't horrible.

This year's travel itinerary is a little lighter. Another road trip to Williamsburg as well as Bethesda. Pennwriters Conference is in Lancaster in May, so I'll be hitting the road for that one, too. I have high hopes of getting out to Colorado and New Mexico again this summer. And the NEW spot will be New Orleans in September for Bouchercon.

Okay, back to my goals for 2016. Blogging more. Newsletter. And cutting myself some slack. That'll be tough. But I'm working on it.

By the way, we're counting down to the cover reveal for With a Vengeance coming January 18. The actual book release is scheduled for May!

Monday, July 27, 2015

Views from the Trail

The SECOND draft is done! Yes, I’ve crawled out of the writing cave yet again.

With a Vengeance has been sent off to my beta readers—fresh eyes to read the entire manuscript straight through. In the meantime, I’m taking two weeks off to do other things. Like blog. And begin outlining the next Zoe Chambers mystery.

And get out in the sunshine!

This weekend, my camera and I hit the bike trail between Ohiopyle and Confluence on a beautiful summer day.

I wasn't the only one enjoying the day. This guy was fly fishing at the confluence of the Casselman River, the Youghiogheny River, and Laurel Hill Creek. My hubby was out there on the Yough (pronounced YAWK) somewhere, too, but this wasn't him.

 Here's a view of Confluence...both the town and the spot where the Casselman comes in from the upper right, is joined by Laurel Hill Creek on the upper left, and merges with the Yough at the bottom of the frame.
Further along the trail, I took a few moments at this little mountain stream, which slices through the wooded hills on its way to the Youghiogheny.

 There were kayakers aplenty on the river.
 The Great Allegheny Passage is an old railroad bed. Across the river, a still-active line carries a lot of train traffic. One train passed while I was taking photos.
 Lots of rafts float the river, too.
I love this abandoned railway trestle over the bike path. Notice how the town's kids have created murals on the supports.
The one sight I didn't photograph was the beautiful, but camera-shy doe, who crossed my path.

I'm glad I took advantage of the day off. And I hope the rest of you take some time to enjoy the view from wherever you are, too.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Coming Up For Air

I have spent much of the last month sitting in front of my computer, writing like a crazed woman. That’s my excuse for not having blogged recently, and I’m sticking to it. However, this past week, I typed two lovely little words (The End), so I’ve resurfaced, albeit briefly, to catch up.

My first bit of news: Circle of Influence has been nominated for the David Award for Best Novel. This announcement came completely without warning. I awoke one morning to congratulatory posts on Facebook.

Let me just say, don’t assume I know about good stuff happening to me. More often than not, I learn about this stuff from Facebook or Twitter friends who bring it to my attention. I did set up a Google Alert for myself once, but it doesn’t seem to work. The only one I ever received was about a particularly scathing review. I can do without being alerted to bad news.

Anyway, I am now registered to attend the Deadly Ink Mystery Convention in New Jersey in August for the awards banquet.

Another bit of news: Bridges Burned was given a fabulous review in Mystery Scene Magazine! Since it was good news, Google Alerts didn’t clue me in on that one either. I subscribe and was eating my lunch and scanning the new issue in blissful ignorance when I turned the page and there I was!

And more recent news: the Zoe Chambers mystery, formerly known as Book #4, now has a title. With A Vengeance. Some titles come easy, some not so much. This one took almost as much thought and research as the book itself. But I love it.

In the process of completing the first draft of With A Vengeance, I pretty much fried my laptop. Last weekend, while hunkered over it, the poor beast starting making terrible sounds and got so hot I expected it—or the table it was sitting on—to burst into flames. Not wishing to lose my manuscript, or even part of it (I do backup religiously), to a computer meltdown, I shut it down and ordered a new machine. However, the new one hasn’t arrived yet, so I’m still using the old one, which of course, is functioning just fine at the moment, thank you very much.  

After taking this weekend to relax and read, I’ll crawl back into my writing cave on Monday to begin revisions.

See you all next time I come up for air!