Saturday, February 25, 2017

Literary Awards-a Stoker Nomination

It's been some years since I was honored by being nominated for both the Edgar
Award for Best Paperback Novel (NIGHT CRUISE from Berkley) and the Bram Stoker Award for Most Superior Novel (WIDOW from Berkley).

This week I have another nomination to add and it's sweet. It's a Stoker Award nomination for Anthology, FRIGHT MARE-WOMEN WRITE HORROR from DM Publishing, my own imprint.

How it came to be:
I had a little extra money and I began noticing more and more that anthologies in the horror genre were dominated by male contributors. Ten men, maybe one woman or two, or no women at all. That's not fair, I told myself. I know I write good horror and often sell what I write, so there must be dozens, hundreds, of good fiction female writers. Why weren't they represented in tables of contents then?

What if...? What if I used some of my newly found money and created an all-female anthology myself? I had to do it. I was on a mission and most people think that's bad, don't be a crusader. I couldn't help it.

I decided I would not include any of my own stories. This was going to be a pristine example of women writing horror. Other women. Not me. I'd pull it together and edit, that's what I'd do.

Let me tell you something straight and true. I received HUNDREDS of stories. I had to enlist help to read them, there were so many. My "maybe" file grew and grew and grew. I couldn't possibly publish them all. But they were so good, so creative, so original, and so well-written. You see? I said to myself. You see what I'm talking about? Women write horror beautifully and they bring you to fear and trepidation. They can scare you and make you feel you're in another, more menacing world. I knew they could. I knew they were out there, submitting to anthologies, and being turned down. I would publish them! I would let the world know that women were being discriminated against just because of their gender. I was indeed on a crusade by then. I would do this despite the cost. I would probably lose money and that was okay with me. I'd get a great cover (from JK Graphics) and show the world just what women were made of when it came to writing horror.

It was published and I was such a proud editor, such a proud mama. These women, these women, these glorious great writing women. I'd done what I could and reached my goal of showcasing twenty of them. If I'd had the money I could have filled three or four or five volumes with the rest. I regret that, that I couldn't afford to publish more than twenty authors when there were at least a hundred worth publishing.

Now yesterday the Final Ballot and the Nominees in every category was announced by HWA, FRIGHT MARE-WOMEN WRITE HORROR, having made the preliminary list, was on the Final list. It was a Nominee!

Did I do it? I didn't campaign or advertise how well the anthology was doing with the horror community. I only had the idea to uphold and respect women writers and tried to pull together a variety of the work out there. The women did it. The writers did it. They superseded expectations and it is THEM who are being honored by this nomination of excellence.

I am happy for them and for me for having done what I felt needed doing. Not that it hasn't been done before--an anthology of women writers. But this was my effort and I never dreamed it would garner attention and become so honored.

I don't have a track record of winning nominations, alas. Don't ask me why, hell if I know why. This may not turn from a nomination to a win, either, but by God you know I try. I really try. Every time a work of mine was nominated it was from having tried my darnedest. NIGHT CRUISE took it all from me, WIDOW took the rest, and now FRIGHT MARE-WOMEN WRITE HORROR has taken some happy effort.

Here is what I have to say about awards, whether they are in horror or mystery--You don't write to win them. You don't even have it in your head. You simply do your best, do what's right, and see what happens.

This time I did what's right.




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