Since we last met…

Last year around this time, I had a novel deal with a Big-5 publisher and was looking for an agent, which I got after a very stressful and horrifying search (FYI, conventional industry wisdom says that agents will look at your manuscript immediately if you contact them with a deal in hand, they are wrong: I contacted over 20 agents and got only three replies, of which two were rejections. A deal in hand is meaningless if you’re a woman who writes sexually explicit horror – most agents don’t want to read or represent that.) Anyway, by the end of the year, I had nothing, again – no deal, no agent, and no career. I won’t go into what happened, only that it was a perfect storm of mistakes and acts of a very dark and humorless god, who had put me through something similar two years ago.

I stopped writing for a while. I pretended this website no longer existed. I thought about doing other things besides writing. I did a lot of nothing.

Yesterday, the single short story of mine that was published last year – “One of These Nights,” in the anthology Cutting Edge: New Stories of Mystery and Crime by Women Writers (Akashic Books, edited by Joyce Carol Oates) – won the 2020 Edgar Award for Best Short Story. I know I’m supposed to say that it’s not a big deal, but after 15 years of writing, I’d come to assume that winning just wasn’t going to be in the cards for me for me, that I wasn’t going to be the kind of writer who wins things and gets book deals and gets that level of success I think most writers want. I wanted to win, but it never occurred to me that I actually would win. I guess what I’m saying is that I really needed this. I know it won’t change things, because I’m still writing the kind of fiction that most people make “yeesh” faces at when they read it, but to be completely honest, I feel like a little black cloud of despair that’s been hovering inside my chest for the longest time has lifted, if just for a moment.

Maybe something might come of my writing, after all.

The full list of Edgar Awards winners is at Crime Reads.