Authors (Girls) Just Want to Have Fun

Authors (Girls) Just Want to Have Fun

In November, Dr. Lynn Miller and I were at the New Mexico/Arizona Book Awards with our spouses and our matching gold pants, fitting to celebrate this first book awards banquet for me (but not for Lynn).

Her novel, The Day After Death, had been a finalist in the LAMBDA awards. My novel, What Survives, had been short-listed for the Santa Fe Writers Project. Both of us learned we were finalists in the NM/AZ awards, but on that night, we didn’t win. I was not unhappy with this, because What Survives, published in 2016, was my first novel. Being shortlisted and then a finalist is no small feat for me. And so, I am hardly a sore loser, especially since the legendary John Nichols, best-known as author of The Milagro Beanfield War, was the winner in my category for The Annual Big Arsenic Fishing Contest, his new novel published by the University of New Mexico Press.

The truth is that I would never have entered without my dear friend Lynn, and I probably could have had my publisher enter for me, but their staff is small, and so I don’t like to “waste” them. They are as good to me as they can be, and since I had already canceled the Library Book Fair with NM/AZ to attend my sister’s book club in Denver, it was a silly longshot.

But because Lynn pulled me, and she is my friend and mentor—and because I thought she truly had a chance to win (I loved her book)—I thought it would be fun and exciting if she did. Naturally, I would have wanted to be there. It was a hoot.

I won’t easily forget the fellow who entered himself in five categories. He’d written a self-help book to warn people against “settling” for a partner in order just to have one. He seemed a nice enough fellow, but watching him stand and then sit again, without winning in a single category, belied the myth that if one entered all the categories, one was sure to score on one of them! I was curious, but glad to see that was not the case. John Nichols was not present to receive his award.

I think it might be true that “girls just want to have fun.” Of course, it isn’t always so simple, but in this particular case, it was easy. We had many laughs planning this evening with phone calls and emails and texts. By wearing our matching pants (which not one single person either noticed or mentioned), by bringing our strong and loving spouses with us, we actually did have a good time. We clapped loudly for each person nominated at our table, and even though no one at our table won in a single category, we began to have fun with that as well. A couple of trips to the bar helped.

Wise sayings are wise for a reason, and so: “It matters not if you win or lose—it’s how you play the game.” (Henry Grantland Rice, sportswriter and poet).

The author enjoying life.

The author enjoying life.

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