Saturday, March 31, 2018

Hurray for the Agatha Best First Nominees!




HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN: How great is this? I can tell you with absolute certainty, that nowhere on the planet are there five happier women than the nominees for the Agatha Award Best First  Novel.
Oh. When you've worked and worked and worried and worried, and then the phone call comes...oh. It is a life-changing moment.
So it looks like I am typing, but I am really standing and cheering and leading the standing ovation for our fabulous wonderful talented Agatha Best First nominees.
Hurray!  and now, I am thrilled to let you meet them all.  With a very tantalizing question for all of us!

NOMINEES:  Thanks for having us on Jungle Red Writers! As we bask in the glow of our Agatha Best First Novel nominations, we thought it would be fun to share our first bylines. Such great variety, just like our books!
 We’d love to hear about your first foray into writing. Was it life-changing? Funny? The bite that gave you the writing bug? Please share!

Micki Browning
As long as I can disregard a poem published in my elementary school anthology, my first byline was in 1986 for “The Call of the Sea,” an essay on underwater sound that went to press in The Diver magazine. It was magical to learn the very first article I’d ever submitted had been accepted. It still makes me smile to think that my first foray into publishing and my debut novel both involved scuba diving.

V.M. Burns
My first byline (or the first one I remember) was for an editorial I wrote for a school newspaper (middle or high school – it’s all fuzzy). I wrote a commentary on student athletes and SAT scores. At the time there was a lot of public discussion about requirements that student athletes needed to maintain a minimum GPA and SAT/ACT score to receive college scholarships. I felt the standards weren’t that high and athletes should be held to a similar standard as other students pursuing college educations. Interestingly, in The Plot is Murder, Samantha Washington’s assistant, Dawson Alexander is a student athlete who is placed on academic probation and Sam and Nana Jo tutor him. I guess, I’ve been writing this book a lot longer than I realized. 


Kellye Garrett
I have known I wanted to write since I was five years-old. In the ensuing thirty-plus years, I have probably attempted every form of writing except for poetry, which is honestly probably for the best. I used to start and immediately discard stories as a kid. My mom still has them somewhere in her garage. They are definitely blackmail material. I vaguely remember winning some award for an essay contest at a local Jack and Jill event. I can’t remember what the topic but I must have known a lot about it at the time! One “first byline” I will never forget is my first television credit. I was a staff writer on a CBS show called Cold Case, which was known for using flashbacks to key periods of American history. My episode was about the World War II Japanese internment camps that falsely imprisoned many American citizens solely because of the color of their skin. It’s such an important and painful part of our history, yet also one we often ignore. So I was happy to be able to help spotlight it on national TV.

Laura Oles
There’s something special about going to your favorite bookstore in search of a magazine and being able to flip through it to find your byline. When I was asked to be a columnist for Digital Camera Magazine back in the late 1990’s, I felt I had reached an important professional goal. I remember taking a trip to my local Hasting’s to search for it on the newsstand. I purchased a copy of the first issue with my new column, even though the publisher had also sent copies. More recently, writing a guest column for Writer’s Digest was such a special experience. As a faithful reader of that magazine for so many years, being asked to contribute was a huge thrill.  Seeing a WD tweet promoting my article? You bet I took a screenshot of that! I’m just not that cool to pretend it wasn’t a big deal.

Kathleen Valenti
Early in my writing career, I dabbled in journalism, writing articles for local papers and a piece for a national car magazine. But it wasn’t until I consistently wrote for my supper that I felt that I had somehow made it. The irony? There was no byline at all.
My first experience with the no-byline-byline was as a junior copywriter on my very first assignment. The task: write a TV spot for a cable company to promote its on-time guarantee. My creative director gave me carte blanche. “Just write something funny,” he said. “And good.”
So I did. The anonymity allowed me to turn off my internal editor and take chances I would never have taken if my name accompanied the spot, which went on to win awards. It was the writing equivalent of “Dance like no one’s watching,” and I loved it—and continued loving it for more than two decades.
Fast forward to today. My name is front and center—literally—on my book. To say that it took some getting used to is a serious understatement. I even asked for the size of my name to be reduced on the book cover! Now that I’m out in the world, I’ve made peace with having a public byline. I’m even enjoying it. After all, my heart is already on those pages. It makes sense that my name is, too.  

HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN: Oh, I am so happy for all of you! Reds and 
Readers, chime in! On best firsts, on your first bylines, or just to 
say congratulations. And hey--who will we all see at Malice? 
Now, meet your talented  nominees!  


Micki Browning



A retired police captain, Micki Browning writes the Mer Cavallo Mystery series set in the Florida Keys. In addition to the Agatha nomination for Best First Novel, Adrift has won both the Daphne du Maurier and the Royal Palm Literary Awards. Beached, her second novel, launched January 2018. Micki’s work has appeared in dive magazines, anthologies, mystery magazines, and textbooks. She lives in South Florida with her partner in crime and a vast array of scuba equipment she uses for “research.” Learn more about Micki at MickiBrowning.com.



Adrift
Marine biologist-turned-divemaster Meredith Cavallo thought adjusting to a laid-back life in the Florida Keys would be a breeze. But when the host of a ghost-hunting documentary crew hires her as a safety diver and then vanishes during the midnight dive, Mer’s caught in a storm of supernatural intrigue. Determined to find a rational explanation, Mer approaches the man’s disappearance as any scientist would—by asking questions, gathering data, and deducing the truth. But the victim’s life is as shrouded in mystery as his disappearance. Still, something happened under the water and before long, she’s in over her head. When someone tries to kill her, she knows the truth is about to surface. Maybe dead men do tell tales.




V.M. Burns


V.M. (Valerie) Burns was born in Northwestern Indiana and spent many years in Southwestern Michigan on the Lake Michigan shoreline. She is a lover of dogs, British historic cozies, and scones with clotted cream. After many years in the Midwest she went in search of milder winters and currently lives in Eastern Tennessee with her poodles. Receiving the Agatha nomination for Best First Novel has been a dream come true. Valerie is a member of Mystery Writers of America, International Thriller Writers, and a lifetime member of Sisters in Crime. Readers can learn more by visiting her website at vmburns.com.



The Plot is Murder
Samantha Washington has dreamed of owning a mystery bookstore for as long as she can remember. And as she prepares for the store’s grand opening, she’s also realizing another dream—penning a cozy mystery set in England between the wars. While Samantha hires employees and fills the shelves with the latest mysteries, quick-witted Lady Penelope Marsh, long-overshadowed by her beautiful sister Daphne, refuses to lose the besotted Victor Carlston to her sibling's charms. When one of Daphne's suitors is murdered in a maze, Penelope steps in to solve the labyrinthine puzzle and win Victor. But as Samantha indulges her imagination, the unimaginable happens in real life. A shady realtor turns up dead in her backyard, and the police suspect her—after all, the owner of a mystery bookstore might know a thing or two about murder. Aided by her feisty grandmother and an enthusiastic ensemble of colorful retirees, Samantha is determined to close the case before she opens her store. But will she live to conclude her own story when the killer has a revised ending in mind for her?




Kellye Garrett


Kellye Garrett writes the Detective by Day mysteries about a semi-famous, mega-broke black actress who takes on the deadliest role of her life: Homicide Detective. The first, Hollywood Homicide, won the 2018 Lefty Award for Best Debut Mystery Novel and was recently nominated for Agatha and Barry awards. The second, Hollywood Ending, will be released on August 8, 2018 from Midnight Ink. Prior to writing novels, Kellye spent eight years working in Hollywood, including a stint writing for the TV drama Cold Case. The New Jersey native now works for a leading media company in New York City and serves on the national Board of Directors for Sisters in Crime. You can learn more about her at KellyeGarrett.com and ChicksontheCase.com.

 

Hollywood Homicide
Actress Dayna Anderson’s Deadly New Role: Homicide Detective
Dayna Anderson doesn’t set out to solve a murder. All the semifamous, mega-broke actress wants is to help her parents keep their house. So after witnessing a deadly hit-and-run, she pursues the fifteen grand reward. But Dayna soon finds herself doing a full-on investigation, wanting more than just money—she wants justice for the victim. She chases down leads at paparazzi hot spots, celeb homes, and movie premieres, loving every second of it—until someone tries to kill her. And there are no second takes in real life.



Laura Oles
Laura Oles is a photo industry journalist who spent twenty years covering tech and trends before turning to crime fiction. She served as a columnist for numerous photography magazines and publications. Laura’s short stories have appeared in several anthologies, including Murder on Wheels, which won the Silver Falchion Award in 2016. Her debut mystery, Daughters of Bad Men, is a Claymore Award Finalist and an Agatha nominee for Best First Novel. She is also a Writers’ League of Texas Award Finalist. Laura is a member of Austin Mystery Writers, Sisters in Crime and Writers’ League of Texas. Laura lives on the edge of the Texas Hill Country with her husband, daughter and twin sons. Visit her online at lauraoles.com.


Daughters of Bad Men
Jamie Rush understands what it takes to disappear because her parents taught her that long ago. Leveraging her knowledge of why and how people run from their own lives, Jamie has built a business based on bringing those in hiding back to answer for their actions. She takes pride in using her skills to work both inside and outside the law.
When her estranged brother, Brian, calls and says his daughter is missing, Jamie initially turns down the case. Kristen has always been a bit wild, frequently dropping off the grid then showing up a few days later. But Brian swears this time is different, and even though Jamie vowed years ago to keep her conniving sibling at arm’s length, she can’t walk away if Kristen could be in real trouble.

As Jamie begins digging into Kristen’s life, she uncovers her niece’s most guarded secrets. Uncovering the truth will put a target on Jamie’s back and endanger the lives of those she loves.




Kathleen Valenti
Kathleen Valenti is the author of the Maggie O’Malley mystery series. The series’ first book, Agatha- and Lefty-nominated Protocol, introduces us to Maggie, a pharmaceutical researcher with a new job, a used phone, and a deadly problem. The series’ second book, 39 Winks, releases May 22. When Kathleen isn’t writing page-turning mysteries that combine humor and suspense, she works as a nationally award-winning advertising copywriter. She lives in Oregon with her family where she pretends to enjoy running. Learn more at www.kathleenvalenti.com.





Protocol
Freshly minted college graduate Maggie O’Malley embarks on a career fueled by professional ambition and a desire to escape the past. As a pharmaceutical researcher, she’s determined to save lives from the shelter of her lab. But on her very first day she’s pulled into a world of uncertainty. Reminders appear on her phone for meetings she’s never scheduled with people she’s never met.
People who end up dead.

With help from her best friend, Maggie discovers the victims on her phone are connected to each other and her new employer. She soon unearths a treacherous plot that threatens her mission—and her life. Maggie must unlock deadly secrets to stop horrific abuses of power before death comes calling for her.


186 comments:

  1. Congratulations on your Agatha nominations Micki, Valerie, Kellye, Laura, and Kathleen . . . truly a well-deserved honor.

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    1. Thank you, Joan! I'm thrilled to be in such talented company!

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    2. I still have to pinch myself. It's been wonderful getting to know all the nominees. Thank you Joan!

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    3. Thank you. I'm super excited. It's been an amazing experience.

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    4. I'm late chiming in as we're finishing up our snow camping adventure. (We have a camp trailer, which we keep at a balmy 45-50 degrees!) Thank you for the kind words and warm congratulations! It truly is such an amazing honor.

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    5. The husband and children love winter camping. I'd prefer palm trees and sandy beaches!

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  2. I am SO happy for each of you, and can't wait to meet you at Malice! There's nothing like that first book... Tell us, how did you react when you got that nominating phone call??

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    1. Thanks Edith. Looking forward to seeing you again. I was definitely shocked when I got the call! I almost didn't pick up because I didn't recognize the number and I hate talking on the phone. But I'm definitely glad I picked up!!!

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    2. SO funny! On such things lives are changed...

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    3. It was a bit after 9pm when the phone rang. I didn't recognize the number, but it said the caller was from Bethesda... My first thought was it was a telemarketer. But... Bethesda... Could it be? Nah. But what if? I answered. A wonderful lady (whose name, sadly, I will never remember) delivered the good news. My gasp took ten years off my husband's life. When the call was over, big, bad, retired cop that I am, I burst into tears.

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    4. LOVE that story, Micki! Cannot wait to catch up at Malice.

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    5. I was driving home from work when I learned I had been nominated for the Agatha Award and I nearly wrecked my car. I then called my sister and cried like a baby (best day ever).

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    6. Thank you,Edith! Such a great question! I got the call on the eve of my pneumonia diagnosis. I was sick as a dog and had my phone turned off. I didn't know until I listened to my voicemail. I was sure I was having febrile hallucinations! Such a wonderful surprise!

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  3. Congratulations ladies! This is such a special time--enjoy every moment of it!

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    1. Thanks Roberta! I remember when you sent me a personal message congratulating me when I got my publishing deal. And then you were so nice to agree to blurb the book. I've been such a huge fan of your work that it meant so much that you were so nice to me. Super talented and super nice is such a great combo!

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    2. Thank you, Lucy. It has been a wonderful experience. It's very humbling!

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    3. Thank you. It has been an amazing experience.

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    4. Thank you so much! Enjoying every moment and love getting to know my fellow nominees. 💛

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  4. Congratulations to all the nominees. I read the synopsis for each book and I'm very intrigued by all of them. So I am forewarning everyone that when I end up filing for bankruptcy, it will be all JRW's fault...I get introduced to way too many appealing authors and their books this way!

    As for what gave me the writing bug, it first goes to my parents who encouraged reading and writing at an early age. I've always been able to string words together in a mostly coherent manner.

    But it wasn't until I saw something I wrote in print, whether it was a letter to a newspaper, a comic book or a letter I wrote to the now defunct Basketball Digest that I truly got into writing as means of expressing my thoughts to more than just the people who happen to be around me.

    That led to writing for a number of websites and eventually for Mystery Scene.

    It's not nearly as outstanding as writing your own novel, but it's good enough for me.

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    1. Thanks Jay! I feel you on the possibly going bankrupt. I'm trying to switch to e-books because the physical copies were taking over my living room.

      And what a cool story on sharing your writing journey! As a former journalist, I know being able to write concisely in such a small word count is a true art form.

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    2. My grandmother was the one who really taught me the value of reading. Like you with your parents, I owe her such a debt of gratitude.

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    3. Thanks Jay. I wish I could blame JRW for all the money I spend on mysteries. I just wish I had more time to read them all. :-)

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    4. Love that story, Jay! And kudos to your parents for instilling a love of reading and writing.

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    5. Kellye, I'm sure e-books would be a great space saver for me but I just can't do it. I'm a tactile person I guess. I have to have the book in hand. As for writing concisely, it's just the stuff for Mystery Scene that I have to be aware of a word count. When I write for the two websites I work for now, length isn't a concern so much as quality and accuracy.

      Micki, while my parents encouraged the reading and writing, I do have my grandmother to thank for my love of John Sandford thrillers. She gave me "Rules of Prey".

      V.M., I really love the setting of your book and have plans to order that today.

      Kathy, thank you!

      Hank, the blame is yours then instead of my lack of impulse control when it comes to buying new books despite 200 waiting to be read already. LOL!

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    6. Thanks, Jay! I appreciate the support.

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  5. Let me say 'Congratulations!' to each of you! I will be seeing you all at Malice. In fact, I've volunteered to help with the panel that features the group. Last year, attending my first Malice, I found that volunteering to help with panels was a great way to quickly meet the authors. So, I'm Kay and I'll be making sure your water pitcher is filled. Ha!

    Seriously, I can only imagine how exciting it is for all of you. Loved hearing about your 'first byline'. Laura, I live in the Austin area - so, hey, from Central Texas. Kathleen, I lived in Oregon for a few years. Kellye, I loved Cold Case and remember the episode you mentioned. Micki, my Dad was a state policeman for over 30 years, so I grew up knowing about that life - no scuba diving though. Ha! Valerie, I have a daughter named Samantha and I would live in a mystery bookstore if I could. Cannot wait to read all your books - they are all on my list. Again, best wishes and see you soon!

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    1. Wow—you are the perfect person for that panel! Can’t wait to come cheer you on!

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    2. Thank you, Kay! I'm looking forward to meeting you at Malice. I have to confess, I'm glad I didn't grow up in a house where my father was a cop...I was a bit of a wild child.

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    3. Thank you Kay! I'm so excited for the panel and for the opportunity to meet you too. This will be my first Malice. So, as I sit on the panel shaking life a leaf, I will do my best not to spill the water. :-)

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    4. Thank you so much, Kay! Very much looking forward to meeting you and exchanging Oregon stories!

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  6. Congratulations to all of you! Looking forward to seeing you at Malice.

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    1. Hi Triss! Looking forward to seeing you at Malice. I haven't seen you since my release ay when we were both on that panel at the library! It was so nice hearing your story of your series.

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    2. Thank you Triss! I'm looking forward to meeting you at Malice too.

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    3. Thank you, Triss!Looking forward to meeting you!

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  7. Five talented, accomplished women--I predict these won't be the last awards for which you'll find yourselves nominated--but I also predict that none will ever feel like this one: to leap off that cliff and fly so high, first time out!! Congratulations to you all!!

    Thanks to JRW, I'm never at a loss for reading ideas!

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    1. Exactly, Flora! And thank you—we try! Xxx

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    2. Thank you Flora! I'm definitely trying to enjoy every moment!

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    3. I'm still gobsmacked. It is an incredible feeling, and one I shall always treasure. Thank you, Flora!

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    4. Thank you Flora. I'm very excited and I appreciate all of the positive thoughts for the future. I agree JRW does a great job.

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    5. Aw thanks,Flora!Such kind words!! I'm still flying high!😊

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  8. Isn’t it such fun to see this? And to know what wonderful careers they have ahead. Wow.
    I also love the sisterhood of this blog tour—so gracious and supportive.
    Is Margaret Maron moderating your Malice panel?

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    1. Hi Hank! I can't tell you how much I appreciate the support (from when I first got my deal to when my book came out to now). I believe that Margaret Maron is moderating! So exciting.

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    2. That is such a rite of passage! She's so brilliant...

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    3. Margaret Maron is the moderator. I'm such a fangirl! You're right, Hank. She is brilliant.

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    4. Thanks Hank! I'm really looking forward to meeting Margaret Maron and everyone else who has been so supportive.

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    5. Cannot wait to come cheer you all on!

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    6. So looking forward to meeting Margaret Maron! So many wonderful, supportive people to get to know.

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  9. Congratulations to all of you! ENJOY THE RIDE! This is (probably) your FIRST nom, too. Wish I were going to the conference to cheer you on.

    My first real by-line was an op-ed piece in the Boston Globe about leaving public school teaching at a time when most younger teachers were getting RIFed, receiving pink slips rewarding them for the year's work. So many of us bailed from teaching. An aside: I'm so happy to see teachers (Yay, Kentucky! Oklahoma!) taking the lead from students and standing up for themselves and their right to make a living wage.

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    1. Hi Hallie! Thank you! I work in Manhattan so I'm going to be crashing the Edgars Week reception at Mysterious. If you're there, I will definitely introduce myself. And most of my family is in education so I'm so happy for teachers making sure they get their due.

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    2. Thank you, Hallie. I wish you were going to the conference as well. I'd love to meet you. I have such respect for teachers. I owe my love of writing to my 9th grade English teacher, Mrs. Simons.

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    3. Thank you so much Hallie. I wish you were going to Malice this year, but I hope to meet you next time.

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    4. We'll miss you, Hallie! Thanks for the congrats and well wishes, and I love hearing about your first by-line. My mom was a teacher for more than 30 years, and I have so much respect for the profession. <3

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  10. Congratulations everyone for your nomination ! I'm so happy for you.
    With passion and work, we can achieve anything we wish to.
    Five new universes to explore for me. Thank you Hank for introducing those five inspiring women to us.

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    1. Thank you, Danielle! I've read everyone's books and they are all amazing!

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    2. Thank you, Danielle! I agree with your assessment that with passion and a bit of work, we can do just about anything. I'd add that a trace of stubbornness certainly doesn't hurt either!

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    3. Thank you so much, Danielle! I'm so lucky to be among these wonderful women.

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  11. Writing your first book is exciting enough, but to get such recognition as a Best First nomination--wow, that must be amazing. Well done, nominees. I'll be at Malice to see who wins, but this is already pretty wonderful.

    Jay, we can shop for barrels together, when we run out of money for real clothes.

    My first byline ever was for the high school newspaper in freshman year (they removed all my ellipses, the first of many humbling experiences of having my work edited). My first national byline was in Threads Magazine, a long time ago. Very little editing done to that article.

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    1. Oh, that is the sweetest story! And I have to admit. Ellipses can usually go, right?

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    2. Thank you Karen. I thought seeing my book on the shelf at a bookstore was the most amazing thing ever until I found out I was nominated for an Agatha Award. I am looking forward to meeting you at Malice.

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    3. I LOVE ellipses...I find that they are my go-to-let's-pretend-I learned-nothing-in-English-class punctuation in informal writing. Formally, it's the em dash that gets me in trouble with the copy editors.
      You're right, Karen, this is a wonderful time. Whether or not I walk away with a teapot, I'll never forget the feeling of being a nominee or the many wonderful people I've met because of Malice Domestic.

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    4. I love them too! But… I am also a fan of —. Trying to wean myself away… We’ll chat :-)

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    5. It has been such an incredible experience. As Micki said, teapot or not, the honor of the nomination and the friends we've made have been unforgettable! My big punctuation edits have been the elimination of exclamation points. I guess I'm a little excitable! I mean...a little excitable. ;)

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    6. Yeah, I give myself one exclamation mark per book. It kind of works! Oops.

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  12. Congratulations to ALL of the Agatha nominees! I have two of the books and this is the first time I heard of other books, so thank you! I look forward to reading all of the books mentioned.

    When I was about 4 years old, I was learning to read and write. I remember a daily journal, which my parents helped me with. When I was in the 6th grade, our teacher had us write a daily journal. I wrote creative stories. That was fun for me.

    Although I have not published books yet, I enjoy writing for myself.

    Diana

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    1. So sweet to think of you and your parents working on your journal… Do you still have it?

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    2. Hi Diana. How cool that you had a daily journal. I always try to start one and never follow through.

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    3. I still take a journal with me whenever I go for a hike. The words I record are just for me, and they ground me in a way that other words don't. I think they are some of my most important musings.

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    4. Oh, what a treasure that journal must be!

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    5. Thank you Diana, That is a great memory to have of journaling with your parents. I have a journal which I use whenever I find myself waiting at the doctor's office, car repair or while sitting under the hair dryer at the beauty shop.

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    6. Everyone, thank you. My speech teacher encouraged my parents to keep a journal for me and we would go over the journal after dinner daily when I was little. It was to help with my reading and writing. I think I still have it in one of my boxes.

      These days I do not keep a daily journal, though I do keep a reading journal. I am trying to remedy that by writing happy events in my calendar book.

      Diana

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    7. I love the idea of journaling. How wonderful that you still have an early one! These days, Facebook functions as my journal. It tells me something fun or funny that happened years ago that I never would have remembered on my own!

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    8. Hank, thank you!

      Kathy, thank you. You may want to look at your privacy settings on Facebook. We all need to be careful about what information we want to share and with who on Facebook.

      Diana

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  13. Mega congrats to each of you! I look forward to reading your books.

    My first by-line was on a self-published "book" that I wrote when I was about 12 or so. My devoted mother typed it out with carbon copies that she foisted onto relatives. My writing was highly derivative of Enid Blyton, whose boarding school stories I loved. I still have one copy of The Second Form at St. Mathilda's, complete with hand-drawn coloured-pencil cover. I like to think my writing has improved since then...

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    1. Oh, I bet that was adorable! You know, I never wrote anything like that when I was a little kid… Wonder what that means?

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    2. How cool!! And it's so great that you still have one. I need to hunt down my stories that I wrote. Unlike you, I never was able to finish one!

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    3. My first poem was entitled "The Crocodile's Tea." The gist was that the crocodile wanted me for tea, and not just to share a table. Its awfulness still makes me laugh. I came across it just a few months ago. I'm so glad you still have your story!

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    4. Thanks Amanda. How cool that you still have your first published book and the knowledge that your mother typed it using carbon paper has to make it even more special.

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    5. And, Valerie, let’s see how many people know what carbon paper is! :-)

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    6. I totally remember carbon paper! (And I remember running "dittos" for my mom.) How lovely that your mother typed it out and shared with family. Moms are the best!

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    7. Yay! Wonder if you could even buy it today...

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  14. Congratulations to all of you, and I wish all could win, because you are all winners! We had planned to attend Malice this year but life got in the way. Enjoy yourselves and maybe next year.

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    1. We will fill you in on all the scoop, dear Ann!

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    2. Oh no! You will be missed and hopefully we can meet in 2019!

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    3. Thank you, Ann. I'm so sorry we won't have the chance to meet this year. Life often has a plan of its own. I hope all is well.

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    4. Thanks Ann. Sorry I won't get a chance to meet you at Malice this year, but hope there will be other opportunities.

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    5. Thank you, Ann! You will be missed. Hope to see you next year!

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  15. Congratulations to all of you!
    I look forward to meeting you atMalice.
    My first by line was at the age of ten. A local department store had an essay competition " why I like shopping at Hines" I won a pound!

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    1. And you have been shopping ever since , right? Xx

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    2. Yes! Nothing like getting paid for your work. Looking forward to meeting you in person at Malice!

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    3. Thank you, Rhys. That's a great story. I remember treasuring a silver dollar as a child, so I can only imagine your excitement!

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    4. Thank you, Rhys. I'm excited for the opportunity to meet you at Malice. How awesome to get paid for writing at ten-years-old. That is impressive.

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    5. Looking forward to meeting you at Malice! How wonderful that your first byline was a paying gig!

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  16. Oh, this is great. Five terrific sounding reads, and all so different. I'm looking forward to dipping into these. Congratulations to all of you.

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    1. Yes, isn’t that so interesting? I love the spectrum of these stories…

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    2. I love the spectrum as well! But that's why I love mysteries so much. We have so many different sub-genres.

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    3. Thank you, Susan! It's a fabulous genre!

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    4. Thank you Susan. I love the variety too.

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    5. Thank you so much, Susan! I agree; I absolutely love the variety here. <3

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  17. I'll be at Malice!

    I don't remember my first byline. But my brother sent me a text just a couple days ago that he found an essay of mine in one of our high school publications. He said it was "very good" and my brother is a tough critic.

    Mary/Liz

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    1. Ugh, typing too fast and not enough caffeine. Congrats to all the nominees!

      Mary/Liz

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    2. OK, but I don’t see any errors in that… Have I not had enough coffee either ? Xxx

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    3. Hi Mary! You already know I'm looking forward to hanging out at Malice so we can celebrate you and your book deal!

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    4. Thanks Mary! I still don't think I've impressed my brother, so you are definitely one up on me! Congrats on your book deal!

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    5. Oh, the mom thing is very difficult..mine wasn't impressed, or at least she didn't let on that she was, until she saw the actual book.

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    6. Thanks Mary. How exciting for you and congrats on your book deal. I look forward to meeting you at Malice.

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    7. Thanks all and I look forward to meeting all of you!

      Hank, no typos. Just forgot to say congrats!

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    8. Looking forward to meeting you in person, Mary!

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  18. The youthful energy and amazing talent! Thank you for this. And, I just have to say that "Cold Case" was one of my favorite TV series EVER -- I remember the Japanese internment case. These women are the future!

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    1. Oh, that is the perfect way of looking at it! And I will admit I have never seen that show… Should I start now?

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    2. Cold Case was such a great show. I have to admit my sister was into it before I was. so happy you remembered my episode.

      Hank, you can probably catch a few episodes in syndication. Besides the flashback, it also had great music. Great for the show but a main reason why it never went to DVD. (too much money for music rights.)

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    3. Oh, what a cool insidery thing to know!

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    4. Thank you, Denise. Your words are so kind (and a bit daunting! lol). I hope I have the opportunity to meet you at Malice Domestic!

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    5. Thank you so much, Denise Ann. I look forward to meeting you in person at Malice.

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    6. Thank you, Denise Ann! (Loved Cold Case, too. And Kellye, so interesting to know about the music rights!)

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  19. Oh, my gosh! I want to read each of these books! Congratulations to all the writers. Wish I could go to Malice but I'll be with you in spirit.

    Whenever I write anything it's mostly for fun, to entertain family and friends, mostly in the firm of letters and emails. I wrote occasionally for a dormitory newsletter in college. I suppose you could call it a Gossip Column, which amuses me, because I don't think I've ever read one! I don't remember if I had a byline.

    Off to count my pennies to see if I can afford to start buying the awards-nominated books!

    DebRo

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    1. Oh, another instance of wondering if you still have any of those!

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    2. Hi Deborah! The idea of a dorm Gossip Column sounds great and like the TV show Gossip Girl. You were ahead of your time!

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    3. A hand-written letter is such an amazing gift in this age of emails and texts. I bet your recipients treasure them!

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    4. Thanks Deborah. A college dorm gossip column sounds like a great setup for a murder mystery. Maybe we'll see you at a future Malice.

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    5. Valerie, that is a brilliant idea!

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    6. Thank you Deborah! And ditto what Kellye and Valerie said. You were ahead of your time and have a great mystery concept!

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  20. Congrats to the nominees! I hope you are all reveling in this time!

    My first byline was in the "newspaper" I produced at home. I did the illustrations, as well. I remember an article I wrote about Jimmy Carter, which gives you a sense of the time period!

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    1. Thank you, Ingrid! I'm in awe of all the creativity of these first bylines. I was the laziest kid ever.

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    2. Kellye, I picked up your book because one of the librarians at the Seattle Public Library was raving about it! Really enjoying it!

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    3. Thank you, Ingrid. You've got us all beat--publishing your own newspaper! That's fabulous!

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    4. Thank you, Ingrid. I'm impressed. You published a newspaper AND did illustrations. That's amazing.

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    5. The illustrations were horrible! Don't be impressed!

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    6. Thank you, Ingrid! I am indeed reveling. :) Love the homemade newspaper with illustrations! My bestie and I created a "magazine" in first grade. It included "articles" about puppies, candy and why leopard print catsuits were the height of fashion. (I thought Mrs. Wiggins on Carol Burnett was the bomb.)

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  21. Oh, congratulations to you all! Such an exciting time -- and a bit nerve-wracking, as I remember well. Malice is such a great con -- 500 of your closest friends in one place! And everyone will be so pleased to meet you and cheer you on!

    My first byline was at age 10, when the local paper ran a contest for kids on the meaning of Christmas. We'd been told I was a winner and looked every day in December for my piece. It didn't run and didn't run, and I started to think I hadn't won after all. Finally, it ran -- on Christmas Day! My sweet dad said "they saved the best for last." I was hooked!

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    1. Hi Leslie!! You're going to be at Malice, right? Please say yes!! (I'm so selfish and want to see you.)

      And running an essay on Christmas sounds like perfect timing. (The waiting probably prepared you for being a published author too!)

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    2. Kellye, yes to Malice! And the Best First Nominees panel is always such a delight. Well, okay, being ON it is terror, but as you said about waiting, great preparation!

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    3. What a great story, Leslie! Yes, they did save the best for last. ; )

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    4. Thank you Leslie. That is an amazing story and what a great memory of your first byline. I look forward to meeting you at Malice.

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    5. Oh my gosh. I love that story! Very much looking forward to meeting you!

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  22. Congratulations, everyone! Getting the Best First nom...sigh. Nothing else will ever top the elation of the first one. Also, as a practical matter, it's a GREAT way to start your career! I'm looking forward to reading everyone's work in the run-up to Malice.

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    1. Julia, I feel so blessed. Thank you.

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    2. Thank you so much, Julia. I have been walking on air since the nominees were announced and I get a silly grin on my face whenever I hear the words, "Agatha nominee." So, if you come to Malice, I'll be the one with the stupid grin on my face. :-)

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    3. And you will get a special ribbon on your name badge!

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    4. Thank you, Julia! It really is such a thrill. Thank you for the kind words and support!

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  23. I am in awe of all five of you! I can't wait to stand and cheer you on at Malice in just a few short weeks!

    What I remember most about my first official byline wasn't the story so much as the panic I felt the first time someone approached me about having read the piece. All I could think was, "Oh my God, NO. People are actually going to READ what I wrote!" I got over it, thankfully.

    Congratulations, ladies. What a fabulous group of nominees we have this year!

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    1. Thanks Annette! I have to confess, I've felt that same panic!

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    2. Thanks Annette. I'm really excited about the nomination and I have to admit my heart races everytime someone says, "I read your book." Good to know the panic subsides. Congrats on your nomination as well. I look forward to chearing you as well.

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    3. Aw, thanks, Annette! And I definitely understand that panic. I still feel it sometimes! I can't wait to see you at Malice. xoxo

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  24. Congratulations ladies all your books look wonderful, I have already reserved a few. So nice to see photos of all of you. I like seeing the face of the genius behind the words.
    I am not a professional writer buy have been published. My first self pub was a poem I typed when I was about 7? I thought it was official because it WAS TYPED. My first column was about 30 years ago appearing Tampa Parenting Magazine, It was about using books to entertain children on road trips.

    Not going to Malice but I AM GOING TO BOUCHERCON. Everyone has to come too so I can meet y'all.

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    1. Thank you, Coralee. I have an affinity for poems. I used to climb the mimosa tree in the front yard and write really, really bad poetry cradled in its boughs. I'm pretty sure not even typing would have helped.

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    2. Thank you Coralee. I think writing a poem at age 7 is impressive. The fact that you actually typed it is even more impressive. I am planning to attend Bouchercon too this year, so I will look forward to meeting you then.

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    3. Thank you, Coralee! I'm sorry to miss you at Malice, but hope to meet you soon!

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  25. I found this post so fascinating. I love learning about new authors and their books, and getting to read about the first bylines and early writing is a treat. Each of the books appeal to me, and I know that they will all be strong contenders for the Agatha. Congratulations to all of you nominees and good luck! Oh, Kathleen, I loved that last line of your piece, "After all, my heart is already on those pages. It makes sense that my name is, too."

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    1. The mystery community is so open and gracious. Thank you, Kathy. I hope our paths cross at Malice!

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    2. See you there! xoooo We can have a reds reunion!

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    3. Thank you Kathy. I hope you will be at Malice and that I will have an opportunity to meet you in person.

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    4. Aw thanks, Kathy! One of my favorite parts about being nominated is learning about my sister-authors. Everyone has such great stories to share!

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  26. Just now chiming in. Congratulations ladies! Your books all sound like something I'd enjoy reading.

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  27. Very interesting to read about your earlier firsts. And congrats once again to all of you!

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  28. And what a wonderful day! Let's all get together at Malice..and I will be there to wildly cheer you on. Congratulations to all! xoxo

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    1. Thank you so much, Hank. I am looking forward to meeting you at Malice.

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  29. Congrats to all the nominees! Can't wait to see you all at Malice! Definitely making time to see this panel :)

    My first byline was probably the short story I wrote in 5th grade. Everyone had to write their own version of the Three Little Pigs. My version had the Big Bad Wolf as a drug dealer and the pigs were trying to take him down. That's all I really remember about it. Guess I was destined to be a crime fiction writer, huh?

    Looking forward to the day I have my "byline" on a published book! Someday...

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    1. Thank you, Mia! Looking forward to your book's byline. I bet you'll have it sooner than you imagine!

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    2. Thank you, Mia. I love your creative Three Little Pigs story too. Best of luck with the next byline.

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  30. Mia! I have absolutely no doubt. xoxoo

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  31. I posted earlier but I don't know where it went...darn it! In any case, how thrilling for you all! Congratulations on this fabulous achievement and may you all have long and illustrious careers! XO

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    1. Thank you so much, Jenn. I know we are all thrilled and appreciate all of the well wishes.

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