As I get ready for my weekend in Santa Barbara and my attendance at the 2012 Global Ebook Awards ceremony (any old excuse for a trip to Southern California and a fun weekend on the coast, right?), I can’t help but think about what has brought me to this point and what getting here means, not just to me, but to readers. Where is “here”? you ask.
Ice on the Grapevine, the second novel in the Hunter Rayne highway mystery series, was selected by judges as a finalist for the 2012 Global Ebook Award in Mystery Fiction. It is one of five mystery novels shortlisted for the award from the original fifteen nominees that were accepted, out of I don’t know how many submissions. The winners are being announced at the awards ceremony at the University Club in Santa Barbara, California on August 18th. I’m delighted that my novel is a finalist, but what do readers think?
“Is it like an Edgar Award?” Well known and respected, the Mystery Writers of America’s Edgar Awards have been around since 1946, the days of Anthony Boucher and radio dramas. They are open to publishers on the MWA “approved” list only, which lets out most small independent publishers and all self-published authors like myself. There’s no mention of a category for ebooks.
“Is it like an Agatha Award?” The Agatha Award nominees are first nominated and then selected by registered attendees at the Malice Domestic Convention, and are for mysteries in the Agatha Christie tradition. There are probably hundreds of mysteries nominated before the five approved nominees in each category are announced in February prior to the May convention. The main requirement is that there be no explicit sex or gratuitous violence. I’m not sure if ebooks qualify, and I don’t expect either of my books to make the list, not because they’re not good enough, but because they’re not well publicized or widely distributed.
There are many other awards for crime fiction, some regional (like the Arthur Ellis Awards in Canada) and others, like the Agathas, restricted to a certain category of crime fiction. There’s a great site that lists most awards, Mystery Book Awards on the Omnimystery site (great place to visit if you’re a mystery fan!).
Unlike most of the awards listed, the Global Ebook Awards were just introduced in 2011, and are for books in digital format. They cover both fiction and non-fiction books in a wide range of categories, and consider nominations from all publishers, including self-publishers.
Most of the readers I’ve mentioned the Global Ebook Awards to are very excited for me, and don’t ask questions about how long the Awards have been in existence, or how did my novel qualify, or how the awards are regarded by the traditional publishing industry. “An award’s an award,” a local woman said to me today as I started to explain that it wasn’t as big a deal as she might think. “I think that’s awesome!”
And she’s right. I am proud to be a finalist, and I’m going to be thrilled to shake hands with ebook guru Dan Poynter, and Midwest Book Review’s Editor-in-Chief, Jim Cox, and to meet the other authors who have entered this brave new world of ebook publishing, self-published or not. Whether or not books have been approved by literary agents and editors at traditional publishing companies, readers know what they like, and so far they’ve been liking my mysteries, at least well enough to get me on a plane to Santa Barbara.
Wish me luck!
The first two novels in the Hunter Rayne highway mystery series were released as ebooks by independent Canadian publisher Proud Horse Publishing (established primarily to publish the Hunter Rayne mystery series) in the fall of 2011, and are now available in print editions direct from the publisher. In the near future, print editions will be made available for wider distribution. The series has been receiving very good reviews from readers on various ebook review sites over the past several months.
The series features a former homicide detective who reluctantly resigned from a successful career with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and took to the highways as a long haul truck driver in the hopes that the solitude of the road would help him heal from the pain of personal tragedy. A strong supporting cast includes his irascible female dispatcher, Elspeth Watson, who is as tough a boss as they come but is always ready to volunteer Hunter’s help when a fellow trucker is in trouble. The author’s many years of experience in the transportation industry help to keep the situations and characters engaging and realistic.
The novels are traditional ‘whodunits’ with complex plots, multiple suspects and – for most readers – a surprise ending. They feature realistic subplots involving the recurring characters and have more than one fan impatiently waiting for the next novel in the series.
I am working on the third Hunter Rayne highway mystery, set primarily in the resort community of Whistler, BC, known around the world as the home of the 2010 Winter Olympics.