Today the Wicked Cozy Authors celebrate one year of blogging, and what a year it’s been. Each of us is telling you about another’s accomplishments, plus the occasional low point we’ve managed to get through. We have much to celebrate!
Edith: My conference roomie Liz Mugavero launched Kneading to Die, which was nominated for an Agatha award for Best First Novel (results to be announced May 3)! She turned in and celebrated the launch of A Biscuit, a Casket, and also turned in book three, Icing on the Corpse, (today!) despite a few struggles. She started a really cool new day job last June, too. She received good feedback from an agent on a thriller she’d written before the Pawsitively Organic Gourmet Pet Food series, and will be doing revisions this summer to see if she can find a home for it. [Edith: I’ve read a few scenes from it and loved it, so fingers crossed, Liz!] She spoke on panels at Bouchercon, New England Crime Bake, and at a bunch of other library and Sister in Crime NE events (many with Shaggy the adorable schnoodle). And she survived the year! That’s a high, for sure.
Liz: Highs and lows are a part of life, right? Barb Ross had some incredible highs this year, from launching Clammed Up to great acclaim – it’s nominated for the RT Book Reviews Reviewer’s Choice, Best Book of 2013–Amateur Sleuth, as well as an Agatha award for Best Contemporary Novel! – to turning in Boiled Over, coming May 6. The same day as the audiobook of Clammed Up, in fact. She also celebrated the release of Best New England Crime Stories: Stone Cold (with co-editors Mark Ammons, Katherine Fast and Leslie Wheeler) in November, co-chaired the New England Crime Bake (Liz: which was fabulous!) and spoke on an also fabulous food panel at Bouchercon. And let’s not forget her short story success: her story “Bread Baby,” which appeared in Best New England Crime Stories: Stone Cold, was nominated for an Agatha for Best Short Story. (Liz: Is this an accomplished lady, or what?). Personal highs? Aside from making lots of new friends in the world of traditional mysteries, Barb became a grandmother for the first time to the fabulous Viola. Unfortunately, Barb also lost her mom during this time period. And all our hearts ache for her loss. As she so eloquently says, it’s the alpha and omega of life. But still so tough.
Jessie: We all have Sherry to thank for starting this blog in the first place. I guess that’s no real surprise since Sherry is one of those people who just has a genius for getting people together and making them feel great about the experience. When we first started this blog Sherry had signed a contract to write the Sarah Winston Garage Sale series but wasn’t able to announce her news publicly. She was hard at work writing the first book, Tagged for Death and turned it in on November 14. Now she’s working on the second in the series. Sherry traveled quite a bit this year too. She returned to New England and joined the other Wickeds for two different writing retreats in Old Orchard Beach and she attended Crime Bake in Dedham, MA. Her wanderings took her to the other coast as well, where she appeared on the Deadly New Voices panel at her first Left Coast Crime conference, something she describes as “a fabulous, fun experience”. She also says “One of the best things about this year was building this blog with these amazing women and getting to know them all in the process”. I’d say we are all lucky to know Sherry too!
Sherry: I had to pop in here and say while I may have had the idea for the blog, there wouldn’t be one without the rest of you. I’d still be thinking about it. You all jumped in, got it going and taught me how to blog.
Julie: A year ago (was it only a year?) Edith made the leap to full time writer. So much has happened since then. Her first Local Foods mystery (A Tine to Live, A Tine to Die) came out to positive reviews, including being on the Edible Boston recommended summer reading list. ‘Til Dirt Do Us Part was finished on time, and is coming out on May 27, already getting rave reviews. She just submitted book #3, Farmed and Dangerous, to her editor.
Edith traveled–a lot. She was on panels at Malice Domestic, California Crime Writers Conference, Bouchercon, the New England Crime Bake, and Left Coast Crime on top of many bookstore and library appearances. Not one to rest on her writing laurels, Edith also had her historical mystery short story “Breaking the Silence” published in Level Best’s Best New England Crime Stories 2014: Stone Cold, and the story won an Honorable Mention in the Al Blanchard Short Crime Fiction contest. Tace Baker, Edith’s alter ego, finished Bluffing is Murder, which will be released in late fall this year by Barking Rain Press. AND she worked on another book which is close to her heart. All of this while real life happened, including a dear friend passing away.
Sherry: Getting to interview Julie was special for me since she is the first of the Wickeds I met — read about that in my networking post. Julie’s big writing news this year is that she became a new woman! Julianne Holmes will be making her debut in 2015, writing the Clock Shop Mystery Series for Berkley Prime Crime. This year, Julie is writing the book, which is due in September. There will likely be blog posts about that. She also started her second one-year term as Sisters in Crime New England president (from now on they will be two year terms), and joined the national board of Sisters in Crime. And this year she is really excited to be the co-chair of the New England Crime Bake. Her other lives (as the Executive Director of StageSource, and an adjunct faculty member at Emerson College) also kept her busy.
Barb: So many wonderful things have happened for Jessie since last May 1. She released Drizzled with Death which went on to become a national bestseller. She turned the second manuscript in her Sugar Grove series, Maple Mayhem on time despite kids being home for summer break as the deadline loomed. She sold the German rights to her first mystery, Live Free or Die, which will be releasing in Germany in time for Christmas this year. Jessie attended Bouchercon for the first time along with all the other Wickeds except Sherry, who attended on a stick. She had a wonderful time back in November serving as a panelist at Crime Bake for the first time. (Barb: Jessie’s too modest tell you she’s the hostess with the mostest who hosts the Wicked annual retreat, so I will. She’s an amazing host and organizer who makes the retreat the highlight of the Wicked calendar.) Jessie’s met a lot of new booksellers, librarians and readers over the past year at book events and other sorts of talks. She especially enjoyed being a presenter at the New Hampshire Writers’ Day Conference. Even with all that fun in mind, she says creating and maintaining this blog with the Wickeds has been the most enjoyable experience of the year.
We are very lucky to have two wicked awesome monthly columnists. Sheila Connolly joined us in July and her column appears on the first Monday of each month. Sheila has three ongoing and very successful series, plus several recent standalone novels. What’s next, Sheila?
Kim Gray started writing The Detective’s Daughter column in January. You can find it on the third Tuesday each month. In it she shares her stories of growing up with her father, a detective in Baltimore City. Kim won the William F. Deeck-Malice Domestic Grant for Unpublished Writers for her novel Ghost of a Chance.
So we’re all thrilled and challenged by our year together. Delighted to have found a support group, and delighted for each others’ successes. Part of the thrill has been getting to know you, our cherished readers. Please keep stopping by and let us know what kinds of posts you’d like to see in the future. Be well, and keep reading!