Life Sentences, Day 110: The Name is Bond. Edgar Bond

January 19th, 2011

This is late today because everything went out the window this AM when I learned that THE QUEEN OF PATPONG has been nominated for an Edgar.

What is an Edgar, you might ask?  It’s the mystery equivalent of an Oscar.  It’s awarded annually by Mystery Writers of America, and — well, you can tell who they are.  So it’s a peer-to-peer honor, and it means the earth to me.

It’s named for E.A. Poe, an obscure American writer who is often credited with inventing the detective story with Murders in the Rue Morgue. And frankly, I wouldn’t care if it had been named for Edgar Guest.  I’m just floored to be nominated.

Within a couple of hours of the nomination’s announcement, by the way, we sold audio rights to all four Poke books.

Here’s the full list:

Caught, by Harlan Coben
Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter, by Tom Franklin
Faithful Place, by Tana French
The Queen of Patpong, by Timothy Hallinan
The Lock Artist, by Steve Hamilton
I’d Know You Anywhere, by Laura Lippman

This is a formidable list, and it’s an enormous honor to be on it.

So I haven’t responded to anything, including yesterday’s comments, for which I apologize.  I will, but right now I’m up to my ears in stuff related to the nomination and the re-do of this entire website, not to mention Pulped, which I haven’t written a word of today.

Also, have decided to expand the Finish Your Novel section of this site into a writing book with the title Life Sentences: Finishing Your Book No Matter What.  Will offer it as an e-book. Comments, anyone?

And thanks for all the congratulations, everyone.

24 Responses to “Life Sentences, Day 110: The Name is Bond. Edgar Bond”

  1. Peg Brantley Says:

    Tim, congratulations up one wall and down another. This is just too cool.

    And funny you should mention your novel writing section . . . I was hoping just the other day it was on .pdf. So . . . e-book it, Tim. E-book it.

  2. suzanna Says:

    Gasp! OMG!!!! So happy for you Timmy! You know who I’m rooting for but what an honor indeed to be nominated for such a prestigious award. Congratulations!

    As for turning your Finishing Your Novel section into a book I think that’s a great idea. Love the title too. I can just imagine all the writers out there who are aching for your advice so it will be a great service to them and could really fly off the cyber shelves at the same time.

    Yahoo!!! Just completely tickled about your nomination. Will raise a glass of something festive to you asap!

  3. Lil Gluckstern Says:

    Yay, again, couldn’t happen to a nicer guy. Definitely e-book your book on writing books. I need a lot of reinforcement.

  4. Gary Says:

    Oh, boy! This is just wonderful.

    It just has to start taking off now.

    All congratulations and best wishes, Tim.

  5. EverettK Says:

    Congrats, again, Tim! As for your being so busy because of the nomination… well, success, like most other things, is a double-edged sword. And then, of course, there’s that old Chinese proverb about “interesting times.” 🙂

    I think turning the book writing advice into a book is a good idea.

    I’m still working my way through all of your back blogs (there’s a LOT of them!), and I haven’t been around here all that long, so I’m unaware of the details, but…

    It’s my impression that your current Poke publisher has dropped you. Do you think the Edgar nod might cause them (or some other publisher) to reconsider? Do you want them to?

  6. Peg Brantley Says:

    Oooh, Everett. Great question.

  7. Philip Coggan Says:

    Hugest possible congratulations. So your publisher listens to the voice of the bean-counters and drops the series and then it gets nominated for the Edgar – I hope the bean-boys are called in to explain.

  8. Munyin Says:

    You know how happy I am for you AND I agree with what Phiip Coggan says about hoping that the bean-boys at Harper Collins are called in to explain. And I hope you get a super contract somewhere, soon!

  9. Debbi Says:

    Congrats again, Tim! You deserve to win. Hugely.

  10. Robb Royer Says:

    Geez.. cool! Does this mean I have to use more respectful tones?

  11. Gary Says:

    Yeah, Rob, unfortunately you’re right. More respectful tones.

    Everett and I have both bowed to the inevitable – we’ve stopped insulting him. (Except under extreme provocation, of course.)

  12. Timothy Hallinan Says:

    I love all of you enough to wish I had a much bigger car and we could all go to the beach together,

    Today yielded 122 e-mails (all of which had to be answered) and about 50 responses to a blurb on Facebook as well as a couple of pleasantly prolonged conversations with my agent. And, of course, the audio sale. Which is very much to the good.

    Does anybody NOT like the title for the writing book? I think it’s cool, but when you publish professionally (you know, the way I used to do), the publishers argue every syllable of the title. (THE QUEEN OF PATPONG was the last title in the world I ever wanted a book of mine to carry, and it turned out to be the best possible title because it keeps changing its meaning as you read the book.) So I personally love LIFE SENTENCES; FINISHING YOUR NOVEL NO MATTER WHAT but am open to argument (or positive reinforcement).

    Yes, Everett, HarperCollins passed on continuing with the series, which is a somewhat gentler than saying they dropped it, and no, Philip and my beloved Munyin, I don’t think they’ll reconsider. I have nothing but kind words for HC — they put hundreds of thousands of dollars into this series (and my pocket) and never managed to get it the attention they felt it deserved. But I like the people there very much and would go back with them in a shot on another project, if they wanted me.

    There are talks going on with other publishers, but it’s difficult to sell a series another pub walked away from, so we shall see. One thing is certain, though: there’s no way the Edgar nomination is going to hurt.

    And, no Robb, after all these years of trying to train you to talk to me with respect and admiration, I don’t expect miracles because of some award nomination.

  13. EverettK Says:

    Life Sentences: Finishing Your Novel No Matter What.

    That’s a perfectly good title, Tim, I like it. But since you like to have 10 or 20 titles to choose from, forwith…

    Your Novel or Your Life: Reaching the End

    Finish Your Novel Before It Finishes You

    There Are No Words To Describe A Finished Novel

    Filling The Blank Pages: A Four-Fingered Solution

    How To Reach an Alphabetic Orgasm

    Writing Punctually: Finishing Your Novel

    More Words From Timothy

    Press On, Push On, Type, Type, TYPE!

    Ignore Your Life: Finish Your Novel

    Finish Your Novel Before the Finns Finish You

    [okay, getting a little punchy here…]

    What’s In A Sentence? 1/10,000th of Your Novel

    Type, Scribble, Scratch and Chisel: Finish Your Novel

    Finish Your Novel: The Tortoise Beats the Hare

    A Completed Novel Is the Cat’s Meow

    A Completed Novel Is the Poke’s Miaow

    Inch By Inch, Slowly I Write

    Born Writing, Living Writing, Forever Writing

    Nowhere To Go But Forward

    Words Are Free — Don’t Be A Cheapskate and Finish Your Damn Novel

    [I’m beyond punchy, I’m going to bed now…]

  14. Sylvia Says:

    Woohoo, that’s GREAT news! Of course, we already knew Queen of Patpong was awesome but it’s about time everyone else finally realised!

    I want to go to the beach.

  15. Jen Says:

    More congratulations! That is fantastic news, and well deserved.
    I got myself into some serious inter-library-loan overdue fines for Fourth Watcher, and consider it money well spent 🙂
    I’d pony up for ‘Life Sentences’
    As a new writer looking for writing advice on the interwebs, I was disappointed/got huffy with 99% of what’s out there: sometimes didactic, often formulaic, and in a lot of cases, just plain condescending. Your ‘Finish your Novel’ series stood out for me because it made me feel like I was involved in a discussion (not lecture) with someone who had read pretty widely, who understood that there was no one ‘right’ path to writing a story, and who considered me a reasonable, reasonably-intelligent adult. It was niiiiiice!
    Anyway, ‘congratulations, and yes please do’ from snowy south Ontario.

  16. EverettK Says:

    After a night’s sleep, we continue with:

    Hallinan’s Guide To Finishing Your Novel

    Hallinan’s Work In Progress: How To Finish Your Work

    Finish Your Novel: You Too Can Be An Edgar-Nominated Author!

    Never Stop Writing: How To Finish Your Novel

    Words Make Sentences, Sentences Make Novels

    Two Fingers Or Ten, Type To The Finish!

    Hunt and Peck: A Novel Way To Finish Your Novel

    [No, wait, that’s the name of my first mystery novel: Hunt-And-Pecked To Death]

    Finishing Your Novel: Turn Off The Judge, Let The Words Flow

    Quitting Is Not An Option: Finish Your Novel

    Okay, I’m done, I have a novel to write…

  17. Laren Bright Says:

    I can’t even begin to imagine the huge benefits to being an Edgar nominee. I really don’t think there’s a super difference in the impact of having Edgar Award <> or Edgar Award <> in a starburst on the front of your books or e-books. Just having Edgar Award on there is what speaks volumes about the author. It’s like the difference between NY Times Best Seller & New York Times #1 Best Seller.

    Go Tim!

  18. Laren Bright Says:

    Oh phooey — so much for trying to italicize something.

    What I was trying to say was that I didn’t see a huge difference in benefit between sauying Edgar Award NOMINEE and Edgar Award WINNER. It’s the Edgar Award that makes the impace.

  19. Joyce Yarrow Says:

    Hi Tim – I think that LIFE SENTENCES: FINISHING YOUR NOVEL NO MATTER WHAT is a great title for your book! I love the double meaning and I think many hard-working scribes on the verge of giving up will flock to buy this book!

  20. Lil Gluckstern Says:

    I really like the title, because of the play on words, and its simplicity. At the risk of being a wet blanket, however, Laura Lippman has a novel called Life Sentences. Does it matter? Does that bother you? I don’t care. At this level of groupie-ness, I would probably buy a guide to Hollywood Stars’ Homes if you wrote it, because I would learn something, and laugh.

  21. Phil Hanson Says:

    A well deserved honor, Tim. Congratulations!

    I’m pleased that another of my favorite authors (Harlan Coben) is also on the list. As for the others, I’ll read them when I get a chance. Who knows? Maybe some (or all) of them will become my favorites, too.

  22. Timothy Hallinan Says:

    Well, I’m abashed and hopelessly late in responding. I’ve completely lost control of my schedule, with (still) more than 100 unanswered e-mails that I have to reply to.

    Everett, your energy is really daunting. If I wasn’t sure of the title before, I am now because I’ve now read every single potential alternative and I like mine best. So LIFE SENTENCES it is, and I think that may be the new title for this blog, too, at least until I get tired of it.

    What do you mean, your first mystery novel? Have you been keeping something from us?

    Thank you, Sylvia, and thank you, Jen. The FINISH YOUR NOVEL stuff is a revision of class notes for the course I used to teach on precisely that. A lot of it seems half-thought by now, and I’ve written perhaps seventy-five blogs about writing, both here and elsewhere, that say some things better and say a lot of things that don’t get mentioned at all in the FINISH section. So the book will be a considerably expanded rewrite of these materials. I’m glad you’ve found the original useful, though, Jen.

    Laren, that’s EXACTLY the point I’ve been making to myself for two days. I have very little actual hope of winning (I really think it’ll go to the amazing Laura Lipmann has a lock on it.) What matters to me is that, out of perhaps 2000 mysteries published in 2010, the country’s biggest organization of mystery writers chose mine as one of the six best. I’m not actually thinking about winning it. Although I did write a thank-you speech in my head while I was running today.

    Hi, Joyce, and thanks for the vote for LIFE SENTENCES. I checked on Amazon, as I always do with a new title, and there are a couple of them, but no writing books.

    Hi, Lil, and isn’t it amazing that I choose a title and then get nominated opposite someone who wrote a book with that title? I was completely unaware of it — in fact, I’ve only read three of her books, all of which are really splendid, but there you are — it was in the zeitgeist. And if you can come up with 90,000 others who would buy a guide to the Hollywood Stars’ Homes, I’ll crank one out ASAP. I’m not proud.

    Thank you, Phil — I like Coben, too, and Steve Hamilton’s book is killer. But I think Laura’s got it. Just feels right to me.

  23. fairyhedgehog Says:


    You already know how much I love the writing advice on your website, so the ebook sounds like a wonderful idea.

  24. greg smith Says:

    I’m late getting in on the celebration but I wanted to chip in my heartfelt congratulations on your nomination for the Edgar. That’s just fabulous news, Tim, and clearly we, your fans, know how much you deserve it. Bravo!

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