Whoa!! QUEEN Is Nominated (and Help Is Needed)

June 28th, 2011

This is totally unexpected.

The bookish little feline up there is the Macavity Award, named after the “mystery cat” in TS Eliot’s Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats, and it’s given each year by the members of Mystery Readers International, who nominate and vote for their favorite mysteries in four categories. THE QUEEN OF PATPONG has just (like 90 minutes ago) been nominated for Best Novel.

Allow me to type that sentence again, minus the parentheses: THE QUEEN OF PATPONG has just been nominated for Best Novel. Damn, that sounds good.

Mystery Readers International publishes Mystery Readers Journal, one of the best and toniest of all mystery-based publications.  It comes out four times a year, and it’s themed – the last two have focused on London mysteries. But sooner or later, if I live long enough, they’ll announce a theme my books qualify for, and in the meantime, it’s a total, head-to-foot thrill to be nominated for the Macavity.

I’m in fearsome company, as I was for the Edgars.  GREAT writers here, and it’s an honor to be on the same page with them.  The other nominees are:  the protean James Lee Burke for THE GLASS RAINBOW; Tana French (also nominated for the Edgar) for FAITHFUL PLACE; South African powerhouse Deon Meyer, who pins me to the wall, for THIRTEEN HOURS; the miraculous Louise Penny for BURY YOUR DEAD, and Nancy Pickard, whom I haven’t yet read, for the book with the most elegant title, THE SCENT OF RAIN AND LIGHTNING.

The Macavity Awards will be given out this September in St. Louis at the year’s biggest mystery convention, Bouchercon, which is always a great party.

Another nice piece of news: All four Pokes will be available as audio books from Audible beginning July 1. They’re read by Victor Bevine, and I’m really, really happy to be able to announce this.  I’ve had perhaps 100 letters from people with sight issues who wondered about audio books, and now they’ll be available.

Yet another nice piece of news:  LITTLE ELVISES, the second Junior Bender Mystery, is coming to the Kindle some time in the next month or so.  I could have had it up months ago, but I was jammed with SHAKEN: STORIES FOR JAPAN and the new Poke, which (surprise!) is called THE FEAR ARTIST.

So I need your help.

Below are some possible covers for LITTLE ELVISES.  In the book, Junior gets involved with an old Philly mobster who in the 1960s discovered and made stars (briefly) out of Philadelphia Italian kids who looked something like Elvis.  The case takes Junior back in time, gets him closer (and then not so close) to his daughter, Rina, and much closer than he wants to get to an old and almost infinitely powerful mob figure named Irwin Dressler, who ran Los Angeles for nearly 40 years and who is very closely based on a real-life figure whom I prefer not to name, and you wouldn’t either. Anyway, that’s probably all you need to know about the book, except that, like CRASHED, it’s both serious and funny.

Please let me know which of these you like and how you might change it or them.  You can click on them to make them bigger, but it’s very important that they work small, because people who are shopping on Amazon will see thumbnails.  Please tell me which one or two you like best and which you like least, and give me ideas on improving the ones you like best.

Everybody who gives me feedback will be entered into a drawing, and two will win a complete set of the Poke Rafferty books, signed by my very own hand.

Thanks, everybody.

64 Responses to “Whoa!! QUEEN Is Nominated (and Help Is Needed)”

  1. Gary Says:

    Running out of superlatives, Tim. “Congratulations” is getting old, “awesome”, “amazing”, “fantastic” all overused. We’ll just have to agree that your latest high-powered book nomination puts you beyond description!

    There’s always gotta be one, hasn’t there? Coz I’m gonna be difficult and say that I like the last cover. The cover has to say “Elvis”, and I think the sunglasses say it in a much more understated way than the two ghost images in Cover 3.

    A complete set, huh? Signed by your own hand? Hey – I’m still waiting for Number Four.

  2. Murphy Says:

    Congrats on the award! My vote goes for the first cover for Little Elvises

  3. Colleen Kennedy Says:

    Comhghairdeas Timothy!

    Great design elements on each cover. I’m in for #2 with a bigger title, though I’m not sure how black on red will translate into grayscale for the Kindle cover.

  4. Vena Says:

    Happy news again, Tim! Congratulations on QUEEN’s nomination. I’ll be sending positive thoughts with you to St. Louis in September.

    I’m totally digging the second cover. It’s jazzy without being busy, though it’s missing Junior’s name. (I see there are over fifty responses, so if the lack of Junior’s name has already been mentioned, I apologize. I’m ill which also means I’m too lazy to read.) I was going to say the first cover was overwhelming, but it’s actually really, really good. I like the handgun/fall away effect of the Elvis silhouettes, but I still like the second cover more.

  5. Susan O Says:

    Definitely #2. Lots of red around the figure reinforces the title name. #1 is an ad for Capitol Records which seems confusing. Congratulations on the nomination Tim. Really excited about the audiobooks!

  6. Harvee Says:

    I like the first best because of the bright yellow/green color and I like the red cover second. The last two made me dizzy looking at the print. If you can simplify the first one just a tiny bit, I think it will be great! Just a thought.

  7. HemRaj Singh Says:

    Hello Tim,
    I think the fourth (the last from the top) is the best of the four. It looks subtle and underplayed.


  8. James Says:

    Hey Tim,

    No need to comment back or send books cause surely I’ll own everything you produce quicker than you could get ’em here and then only just long enough to devour, then enlighten someone else with (quite a run on sentence). Which is how I got turned on to your art – a gentleman with very good taste by the name of Dean DeHart passed on some novels which thankfully included your first Poke. I am indeed blessed. Now that I think about it I’m probably just the guy to send your novels to as they’ll get into serious rotation. Postage to the DR could be taxing though!

    Primal call led to number 2 though with modifications (less is more theory) I’d likely go with number 1.

    Cheers, James

    PS – Happy Macavity no matter how it works out. You obviously deserve it!

  9. Larissa Says:

    So I didn’t cheat and look at the other people’s votes. I like #2 the best. It’s clean, it shows off your name nicely while still showcasing the title and the color is great. (c:

    As far as the Macavity-one I love the name! Macavity is probably my favorite cat out of all them…most likely due to the adorable human I saw play him in Cats: The musical-but also because he is the embodiment of mischief. (c: I’m out of adjectives so I’ll throw another “Congratulations” at you. Do let us know how it turns out. If you win, you’ll have to come by KC!

  10. michael hallinan Says:

    Hi Tim, still voting for number 2. Do you remember that our dentist when we lived in D.C. was named (and I’m not making this up) Phil Macavity.

  11. Timothy Hallinan Says:

    Boy, what a response. I’ve totaled everything up, and #1 is the winner, but not by as much as I’d originally thought. Will do a blog about the whole thing tomorrow.

    I’ll also announce the winners of the sets of books then.

    GREG: Thanks for expressing your preference, and you’ve obviously got a good eye. I have to say, it’s going to be difficult for me to let go of either of these.

    ROSE, Okay, she wasn’t ACTUALLY named after you, but you do have one of my favorite names in the world. Most flower names don’t work anywhere near as nicely as “Rose” — “Daisy” is dated, “Iris” is antique, and “Calendula” sounds like something deep in the throat.

    JAN and MIKE, well it was close — #2 almost won out. I don’t know which it’ll be, but it’ll be one of them. Thanks for the congrats, Mike.

    EVERETT, it also helped that I put the question, along with #1, on Facebook, where I have more than 500 fweinds.

    Thank you, STEPHEN and GARY, two actual f2f friends, even though Gary has to vote for the third-most popular cover. Sort of like voting for the Vegan candidate in Korea.

    MURPHY — You’re the VILLAIN of THE FEAR ARTIST, and you’re maybe the worst villain I’ve ever written. You might want to change your name, no matter how good your taste in covers is.

    Hey COLLEEN, are we in discussion, via Mun, about getting together sometime in the next 2-3 weeks?

    VENA,nice to see you here. I’m actually sort of with you, although I would also hate to lost the first one. Yikes.

    SUSAN O, I’m kind of jacked up about the audiobooks, too, although I haven’t heard them yet. I went on the site today and entered my name in the search box, and there they were. Pretty cool. Thanks for the good wished on the Mac.

    HARVEE, thanks for playing and for making such a good case for your choice. I really like this book, and it deserves a good cover — we shall see which it is.

    HEMRAJ, nice to see you, and thanks for the vote. Please come back and visit some more. Where are you, by the way? If you’re in India or Pakistan I may not be able to send you the books if you win them. Please let me know.

    JAMES, please thank Dean DeHart for me — seriously — and I’m glad you like the books. And I didn’t mean you have to thank him seriously, I meant I seriously hope you’ll thank him. Frivolously, if he’s that kind of guy.

    RISS I always love to see you here. Vote notes and kind words appreciated. I may come by KC for the 2012 book.

    Thanks, all — the voting is now closed.

  12. HemRaj Singh Says:

    Hello Tim,
    Thanks for responding. And I am from and in India. You need not bother much about sending the books. Let me explain why I voted for number four.

    I am not very sure about the content of the book in question. But the first two covers lay a little too much of emphasis on Presley. Frankly, that’s rather loud. The fourth hints at Presley with those characteristic, and the title does the rest. There is no reason to overemphasize the Presley element. Any more emphasis is bound to be visual noise.

    A silhouette, many a time, says it better than a portrait in colour.


  13. Sphinx Ink Says:

    So glad to see you name all over the place nowadays, Tim! I have a NookColor reader and I’ve been buying the Simeon Grist series in epub format for that. Too bad your anthology for Japan is not available in epub, but obviously since you did it in conjunction with Amazon it is only in Kindle. Kudos to you, your fellow writers, and Amazon too, for stepping forward to help out the recovery in Japan. Good luck on the Macavity!

  14. Timothy Hallinan Says:

    Hi, Sphinxy — long time no hear.

    Yeah, the Amazon connection works better for charity because the money is transferred automatically to the Association’s account at the end of every month, while you can wait entire seasons to get paid by B&N, and Apple is a pain in the ass.

    Hope you’re doing well and your part of the world is well into recovery mode post-post-Katrina.

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