Wednesday, May 16, 2007


By Annette Dashofy

At the risk of running afoul of our Working Stiffs therapist, I’ve been obsessing a lot lately. My cat has cancer, so I watch her every move and question whether or not that behavior is something new—some sign of the cancer progressing. Yesterday, she slept all day and I freaked out. Maybe she’s getting worse!

Or maybe she’s a cat. Cats sleep. A lot. Today, she’s fine.

All last week I obsessed over the new neighbors. I’m not used to new neighbors. I’ve had family living in the houses around me all my life. Until last week when STRANGERS moved in. Honestly though, I don’t know if I’d call it obsessing. More like curiosity. Okay, RABID curiosity. But the window in my home office looks out at their house. Just because I turn my head (and crane my neck…and squint through the new foliage on the trees—damned leaves) to see what’s going on over there every time I hear a door slam, doesn’t mean I’m obsessing.

Well, maybe a little. But I’m better now. The novelty has worn off. Besides, I’m too busy watching my cat to see if she’s drooling to bother with the folks next door.

And now it’s D-day. The day the Short Mystery Fiction Society names the 2007 winners of the Derringer Awards. Actually, YESTERDAY was supposed to be D-day according to the website. I waited patiently (all right, NOT so patiently) all day for the announcement. Then I learned that it wouldn’t happen until today.

You see, I’m a finalist.

You know how those TV and movie stars on the Oscars and Emmys red carpets always proclaim that it’s an honor just to be a nominee? It’s true. When I heard that my story “A Signature in Blood” had made the short list, I was beyond ecstatic. It is an honor. One that completely blindsided me. I didn’t know that my story had been nominated (along with 170 other stories) until it had survived the judging panel to be one of five finalists in my category. What a rush!

And that was enough for me. I’ve been telling everyone that I don’t expect to win and don’t care either way. I’m a finalist. That’s huge.

Yesterday, I realized I’ve been lying to myself. I do care. I mean, how cool would it be to be able to list 2007 Derringer Award Winner on every query letter, every cover letter, every bio I ever write again in my entire life? Very cool.

Do I expect it to happen? No way. Not considering the competition. But then again, I never expected to be on that list of five, either. I’ve already made it through the judges’ panel. My story has already survived this far. Who knows?

And so I wait. And wait. And chew my nails. And, yes, I obsess.

But it is definitely an honor just to be nominated.


brenda said...

Annette, good luck!

Judy Schneider said...

Fun post, Annette! I love the part about your obsessing over the neighbors. (Sounds like you need to do a little pruning to clear your, um, head.)

Good luck with the award! You deserve it!

Gina said...

Good luck, Annette! Even if you don't win, you have made the playoffs.

And stop obsessing about the cat. A few months ago, the vet asked if my cat Taffy was "lethargic." I requested clarification -- "Do you mean is he sleeping 23 and three quarters hours a day instead of 23 and a half?" At that point, the conversation was cut short when Taffy, who had been a perfect gentleman, must have realized why the vet was searching for a vein in his front leg. Claws flew, I apologized on Taffy's behalf, and the assistant with the big gloves was called in. Lethargy was never clarified.

Tory said...

Good luck, Annette!

I saw an ad yesterday on TV for a listening device that might just help you with the neighbor issue. Hmm ... didn't manage to write down the 800 #.

P.S. I think you're worrying about running afoul of me is what's called projection: maybe a little guilt over your looking in on the neighbors? Believe me, I'd be more than happy NOT to know anything about my neighbors' business.

Annette said...

The cat wants me to stop obsessing over her, too.

Hey, Tory, if you see that ad again, get the 800 number.

Just kidding. The neighbors are fine. I'm just...well...nosy. There. I've admitted it.

Still no word on the Derringers.

Jan Christensen said...

Hi Annette. I'm with you--waiting for the announcement. I honestly did not expect my story to be nominated, so of course do not expect to win, but still, there's always that slight hope. Good luck!

Annette said...

Good luck to you, too, Jan! Glad to know I'm not alone in my anxiety.

Anonymous said...

Good luck, Annette and Jan!

I'm always looking around at what the neighbors are doing during the day, especially the ones across the street who partake in some questionable activities. Sometimes a writer needs some entertainment.

Annette said...

EXACTLY, Kristine. That's what I say!

Susan Helene Gottfried said...

Hey, Annette -- I hear you. When I was up for that Preditors and Editors award in January, I felt the same things.

Hoping you win! (and your friend Jan, too; is it possible that you both can?)