Friday, May 6, 2016

Awards and Appreciation

Since my last post, I've had a whirlwind of book launch events for HARD COLD WINTER (huzzah!), signed the contracts for my next two books (double huzzah!), and joined the annual Mystery Writers of America celebration that is the Edgar Awards.  

As a first-time attendee to the Edgars, let me tell you: It was worth the transcontinental flight and every moment of the mild headcold that came with it.

No, I didn't win for Best First Novel, and yes, that was a little disappointing (hey, I'm human).  More on that emotion after the photos.  But to let Not-winning spoil the honor of being nominated and especially all of the fun my wife and I had meeting old friends and making new ones would be ignorant, not to mention profoundly ungrateful.  It really was a spectacular time.

A few snapshots, and then a heartfelt comment...   

At the famed Mysterious Bookshop, in Tribeca.  We came straight from the airport, dragging luggage behind us.

With fellow authors Nadine Nettmann, Jay Shepherd, and Dan Hale (right), who was awarded the Charles Todd Distinguished Service Award on the night of the banquet.

The panel "A Dram of Poison" at the symposium, with new friends Brendan DuBois, Susanna Calkins, Gilly MacMillan, and Lori Roy.  Let's just assume I'm saying something profound.

Photobombed by a Grand Master: Walter Mosely!

At the banquet itself, with my superb editor Lyssa Keusch and my exemplary agent Lisa Erbach Vance.

Congratulations to the MWA directors and volunteers who carried off a huge event with style and panache.  It was a magical night.

One last note, or rather, a list:  
Patricia Highsmith.  Donald E. Westlake.  Tony Hillerman.  Martin Cruz Smith.  Bill Pronzini.  Elizabeth George.  Walter Mosely.  Don Winslow.  Janet Evanovich.  C.J. Box.  Gillian Flynn.

What do all of these authors have in common?  They were also nominated for Best First Novel.  And they lost, too.  There's a whole lot of success and acclaim and even a couple of Grand Masters listed there.  

Incredible company, in other words.  See why I'm not too upset?  

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Dancing with Edgar

About four weeks ago, while hustling out the door to the day job, I did the habitual preoccupied squint at my cell phone to see if any messages had blown in on the night wind.

Notifications Galore.  Double digits coming in on every feed.  If I’d had the phone’s buzzer turned on, the device would have rattled its way off the damn table before six a.m.  What the hell?

January 19.  Edgar Allan Poe’s birthday, and the annual announcement of Edgar Award nominations.  I’m such a rookie, I hadn’t thought to mark the date on my calendar.  Friends in the writing community were claiming my book PAST CRIMES had received a nod for Best First Novel.

After a very careful re-reading of the tweets and the texts – and double-checking the Mystery Writers of America website for myself – I held back an extraordinarily loud Howl of Jubilation.  The family was still sleeping.  I managed to grant them an extra thirty seconds. 
The rest of that day was a joyous frenzy.  When telling family and friends, I would start out explaining that the Edgars are sort of the Oscars for mystery writers.  And their usual reply was “Yeah, I know.”  I had forgotten that people outside our cabal of plotters and pantsers might have heard of an award whose recipients include authors from Raymond Chandler to Ruth Rendell. 

What my friends might not know is that all of the judging is finished before the first announcement hits the virtual streets.  Unlike the Oscars, the MWA voting process determines both the nominees and the eventual winner.  Somewhere in an envelope, the answer awaits... 

Which is a relief.  The results are already decided, so all the nominees get to enjoy the time before the awards banquet, without anything more pressing than searching the couch cushions for plane fare or finding a suitable dress (mine is electric blue).  No second-guessing, and Thank God no lobbying.  Can you imagine For Your Consideration ads for the Edgars?  I might mock some up, as a spoof.  “Best Mixing of Metaphors”.  “Outstanding Fingertip Calluses”.  “Best Use of Caffeine and Whisky in a Three A.M. Random Word Spew”.  I might be a shoo-in for that one. 

A month has passed since that morning.  While the initial shock has worn off, the excitement remains.   My gratitude has only increased. 

I’ve got a book launch to keep me busy before April 28, but I’m making time to read my fellow First Novel nominees.  Not to compare my book to theirs—an impossibility; I don’t know how the MWA judges manage the volume, let alone the decisions – but to admire the range and skill of their writing.  It’s encouraging as hell, to read great work and know you’re in that company.  

And on the banquet night, whatever happens, I’ll celebrate.  Howls and all.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Opening Volley

Happy New Year, everyone!  Here's a little post-holiday present, courtesy of my excellent friends at William Morrow: If you can't wait the two months until HARD COLD WINTER is released, just scroll below to read the opening chapters!

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Larceny is Gradual

I've been pretty lax about writing posts here recently.  Partly because -- a lame excuse is better than none, right? -- I've been very focused on the proposal for Van Shaw Book 3.  

Proposals, for those not familiar, usually consist of a plot description (tough) and a few opening chapters that will hopefully knock the collective socks off of anyone who so much as glances at the title page (really tough).  For me, the process involves multiple re-writes and lots of chewing on pencil erasers.  Since I write with a laptop instead of a pencil, I chew on the Delete key.  

Without any real planning, Facebook has become the channel where I post more frequent updates for friends and readers. Twitter is the collective online cocktail party, BYOB.  At the start I thought Larceny is Grand would be my regular journal, but perhaps it's best as it is: a place to capture random moments in a new career, and put writing that doesn't really fit anywhere else.

But in the next few months, you'll see more activity here as I prep and celebrate the launch of HARD COLD WINTER in March, and the paperback of PAST CRIMES.  And there will be a tour of other blogs as part of the fun, too.  So more to come, is what I'm saying, and huge gratitude to those who have been following along and have asked me when the next post is coming.  

(And of course, in the meantime there's always Facebook and @GlenErikH.  Don't be shy; pop by and visit!)

And within the next couple of weeks, the proposal for my third book will be in the hands of my publisher.  I'm nervous.  I'll probably write about being nervous here, because that's how writers deal with crap like that.  Place butt in seat, place words on page.

Stay tuned.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Raleigh Rally: Preparation for Bouchercon

In one week, I'll be deep into Bouchercon, the largest mystery and detective fiction convention in the United States. Three and a half days of panels, speakers, cocktail receptions, and (if time allows) sleep. I also get to be a New Author this year, which will be loads of fun. I'm only slightly worried about the hazing rituals.

B'con has had forty-five years of practice before this, while I've only had one, just down the road last year in Long Beach. This year the convention is all the way across the country in Raleigh, NC, so I'm looking forward to the barbeque and the Southern hospitality.

Even with only one previous year under my belt, I've learned a few important lessons. Here are some of the essentials on my packing list: 
  • The first three books off the tall stack of novels written by friends, which I'm months behind in getting around to reading. Thank heaven it's a cross-country flight.
  • Chocolate-Peanut-Butter Luna Bars, for those critical boosts of energy between panels
  • Toothpicks, because CPB Luna Bars are really chewy
  • Breath mints (self-explanatory)
  • Cash for coffee, in case the cocktail party the night before runs really late
  • Visine, because of course the cocktail party the night before will run late, it always does, why do I fool myself
  • Extra Bag to bring home books that I've bought
  • Backup Extra Bag to handle the overflow of additional books from the Extra Bag
  • Credit Card to pay for all those books. And in case I need to buy a Auxiliary Backup Extra Bag
  • Spot remover, because at some point I'm bound to get barbeque sauce on my shirt and possibly my shoes

Tragically, galleys of my second book HARD COLD WINTER will not be ready in time for Bouchercon. We *barely* missed the date, but I console myself that I'll be able to hand out a whole raft of copies the next weekend at the Northern California Independent Bookseller Association (NCIBA) in San Francisco.

If you're coming to the convention, I'm on the panel "Keeping it Moving: Maintaining Pace in the Narrative" at 10am on Saturday. Come by and say hello! I'll be the guy with the toothpick and the stained loafers.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

It's been a fairly quiet summer, much of it spent hunched over the keyboard finishing the rewrites for Book 2.  Except it's not quiet anymore, and it's not just "Book 2" anymore!  

Announcing the second book in the Van Shaw series:  


Much more to come soon, with launch plans, Bouchercon in early October, and the paperback release of PAST CRIMES.  But for now, I'm just gonna bask in the glow of this gorgeous cover design!

Sunday, July 12, 2015

ThrillerFest X-ploits (Part Two)

We've just crossed the finish line at ThrillerFest, the annual convention for ITW (Int'l Thriller Writers).  The festivities wrapped up (late late late) last night.  Here's a rundown of the last two fun and frazzled days.

Although the entire week is called ThrillerFest for convenience, Friday and Saturday are T-Fest proper, and aimed at the genre's fans.  Since most of us writers are also fans, it's huge fun for everyone.  We get to see and often chat with leading authors like Lee Child, Gayle Lynds, Steve Martini, Kathy Reichs, Karin Slaughter, Douglas Preston, John Lescroart, Tess Gerritsen, and David Baldacci, among many many others.  My first year, David Morrell talked to me (I didn't corner the man reverently called the Professor, I promise!) for twenty minutes about the journey to first being published.  

Their are panels on various topics, like this one hosted by Peter James on International Thrillers.  Panelists from left to right: Kathleen Antrim (USA), Mark Billingham (England), Eric Giacometti (France), Maria Gustafsson (Sweden), David Khara (France), Mark Leggatt (Scotland), Chris Pavone (USA), and Anne Trager (USA and France, and publisher of mysteries translated from French.)

There are interviews with and by famed authors.  Here's the crowd for this year's Thriller Master honoree, Nelson DeMille, being interviewed by David Morrell.

For authors like me who have publishers in New York City, there's even more fun.  HarperCollins hosted a giveaway and signing for us.  Handing out free books to book lovers is one of the great joys of writing.
Here I am with friend and fellow HC author Simon Toyne, who is making sure I spell my name correctly.

For authors in their debut year, ITW hosts a breakfast banquet on the final day (just this morning; I'm still decompressing!) Last night, we met for a much more relaxed dinner of genuine NYC pizza.  

And this morning, each of the thirty or so authors had a chance to stand up in front of the very large audience and promote their book, ideally without freezing up and falling over.  Here are SJI (Susi) Holliday, me, and Simon Gervais, all putting on brave faces before the carnage begins.

One true cliche of writers: we like a good drink, and the conversation that comes with it.  Most nights there is a cocktail reception thrown by a publisher or literary company...

...HarperCollins hosted a reception for their authors at the famed Algonquin Hotel...

...and when those are over, the bars are still open.  Yes, that is the hugely popular and successful author F. Paul Wilson on the left...

Finally, there is the annual Thriller Awards banquet, where we all get dressed up to celebrate the year's honorees, and cheer on the friends nominated for ITW awards.  For a large event, it's very informal and welcoming.  Which is true of the mystery and thriller community in general; it's the company that keeps us coming back.

Of course, the banquet is preceded by, and followed by, (what else) cocktail receptions.   

with Jay Shepherd and James Ziskin (author of the Ellie Stone mysteries)
Jamie Mason (Monday's Lie), Nancy Matuszak, and my amazing wife Amy
Amy and me with Liz Nemeth, Ursula Ringham, and Cara Brookins (Little Boy Blu) 

It may be a shock after all of the carousing mentioned above, but I'm not writing this while in the grips of a hangover.  I've learned to pace myself at these things.  

It's worth mentioning that while ThrillerFest is one of the more expensive conventions (adding up registration, NYC hotel, and the general cost of Manhattan) that it's also an entirely volunteer shindig.  The authors and supporters donate their time and energy to make TFest one of the biggest and brightest gatherings, and also to keep ITW a dues-free organization.  

Okay, enough of this online stuff.  We're off to enjoy a last day in NYC.  See you soon!