I’m a crime author. But I'm also the Executive Director of a well-known crime writing association. This means I am responsible for the Arthur Ellis Awards, Canada’s annual crime writing awards night, and the resulting gala banquet.
I’ve planned hundreds of special events in my career as a marketing professional. I’ve managed conferences with 1000 people attending, scarfing down three meals a day. Usually, we offer a few choices, and people choose what they want. They’re pretty good about that. People sit where they want. Simple.
Granted, most of my events have been with lab techs, doctors, nurses, and other health care professionals.
It is not the same with authors. Nothing is simple with authors.
THE SEATING ARRANGEMENT
A can’t sit with B, because A is in competition with B for Best Novel. C can’t sit with D because C is currently outselling D. E can’t sit with F because they had an affair (which nobody knows about. Except they do. At least, the seven people who contacted me to warn me about this knew.) G can’t sit with H because G’s former agent is at that table and they might kill each other. And everyone wants to sit with J.
The damned meal is chicken. This is because we are allowed two choices and we have to provide for the vegetarians. We can’t have the specialty of the house, lamb, because not everyone eats lamb. We can’t have salmon as the vegetarian choice, because some vegetarians won’t eat fish.
So we’re stuck with bloody chicken again.
P writes that her daughter is lactose intolerant. Can she have a different dessert?
K writes that she is vegetarian, but can’t eat peppers. Every damned vegetarian choice has green or red pepper in it.
L writes that she wants the chicken, but is allergic to onion and garlic. Can we make hers without?
M writes that her daughter is a vegan, so no egg or cheese, thanks. Not a single vegetarian choice comes that way.
I am quickly moving to the “you’re getting chicken if I have to shove it down your freaking throat” phase.
Chef is currently threatening the catering manager with a butcher’s knife. I am already slugging back the cooking wine. And by the time people get here, this may be a Murder Mystery dinner.
Nobody got murdered, but a few got hammered.
John, Rob and Leigh are saying I have to introduce myself. Here goes:
Billed as Canada’s “Queen of Comedy" by the Toronto Sun (Jan. 5, 2014,) some folks would say I’ve had a decidedly checkered past. Don’t dig too deep. You might find cement shoes.
My crime series, The Goddaughter, is about a wacky mob family in industrial Hamilton aka The Hammer. This has no resemblance whatsoever to the wacky Sicilian family I grew up in. Okay, that’s a lie. I had to wait for certain members of the family to die before writing The Goddaughter.
My other series is racy rollicking time travel, totally scandalous, hardly mentionable in mixed company. But I’ll mention it anyway. Rowena Through the Wall. Hold on to your knickers. Or don’t, and have more fun.
The Goddaughter’s Revenge won the 2014 Derringer (US) and the 2014 Arthur Ellis Award (Canada) for Best Crime Novella. There are seven other short story awards kicking around here somewhere. I got my start writing comedy and seem to be firmly glued there, after 200 publications and seven novels. But others know me as the Executive Director of Crime Writers of Canada.
Canada's quirky and much-loved
award for Crime Writing