A few months ago I was thinking, Kim, you know, you've got some good freelance work going on, maybe that second novel needs to go on the back burner for now. Be practical. Then wham! My work got chosen for not one but TWO short story anthologies! Okay, Universe, I'll keep writing fiction....
First, I got word that my short story "The Gardener" would be included in the 2016 edition of the Chesapeake Crimes anthology. The long-running series is put together by the Chessie Chapter of Sisters in Crime. This writers organization is the brainchild of Sara Paretsky, founded in 1987 in response to the lack of mystery award nominations being offered to women writers. The Chessie Chapter has been a source of inspiration and encouragement to me for years. I used to read my daily Chessie email digest and think, man, someday I'm going to be adding announcements about my book release parties, my signings, my award nominations! And now, exactly that kind of stuff is starting to happen!
Just because my story was selected, doesn't mean it was ready for prime time yet--not in an anthology as polished as Chesapeake Crimes. Indeed, the real prize was having my story edited by Barb Goffman, a mystery short story-writer who has been nominated for the Agatha Award seven times, the Anthony and Macavity awards twice each, and the Pushcart Prize once. She won the Macavity Award in 2013, and in 2014 her book Don't Get Mad, Get Even was awarded the Silver Falchion Award for best single-author mystery-short-story collection published in 2013! Now, thanks to the connection made with "The Gardener," the second novel in my Jamie August series will undergo her relentlessly sharp line and copy editing.
All of this is so great, right? But wait, there's more! Just as I was coming off of that high, I received word that I'd been awarded third place in the Mystery Times 2015 short story competition for my story "Pesticides Can Kill You." (I seem to be running with a gardening theme with these two, but the stories are quite different.) "Pesticides Can Kill You" will be published in an anthology due out in April of this year.
I hope all this horn tooting conveys my giddy enthusiasm, and not just the endless patter of self-promotion that seems to be a requirement for any writing career these days. I mean, both of these awards plus five bucks will get you a coffee at Starbucks; I won't be giving up the freelance writing any time soon. But this--THIS is the kind of writing I always dreamed of doing.
(Note: I grabbed the Christmas Story picture from hookedonhouses.net, which I stumbled onto while looking for the right leg lamp image. I'm afraid this site is going to become my newest online addiction.)