And the winner is . . . Don't Sabotage Your
I'd previously warned myself to prepare
for the remote possibility of actually winning a Benjamin Franklin Award -- having learned my lesson
two years earlier when Don't Murder Your Mystery won the Agatha Award and I reacted by freezing in my seat, then stumbling toward the stage, facing the microphone, and discovering that I was speechless, literally. This time I did have a remote idea of what I wanted to say if I should be so lucky as to get the chance.
Nevertheless, as the oversized photo of my book suddenly took over the screen (above), I was stunned. I began to stand, then realized my legs were straddling
the leg of the large round dinner table at which I and my guests had enjoyed the banquet. I managed to rise to a half-crouch only to discover that I had further entwined my legs around each other, probably in nervous anxiety. Members of the audience that packed the giant ballroom were no doubt wondering whether anyone would stand to claim this award.
By the time I disentangled myself from my own self, pushed
back in my chair and actually stood, I took one step and got my foot caught in a strap from the heap of purses
and conference bags piled next to me on the floor -- precisely where I'd
placed them before dinner.
Somehow I made it to the stage, breathlessly stumbled through
my words of appreciation, and remembered -- as I'd
failed to do two years earlier at the Agatha Awards -- to
thank Pat Meller for all her work in helping me get
my two latest books to completion. As I spoke her name and waved my arm toward the table where I had left her only moments earlier, I saw only two
empty seats. One was mine, but two? Confused, I then noticed something moving at the edge of the stage: furious waving. My dear friend stood just below the stage, camera in hand, and took the photo you now see above.