Friday, December 11, 2009

Who's Going to Tell Carl Hiaasen?

By Deborah Sharp

I'm hiding out from Carl Hiaasen.

I fear that at any moment, the doorbell will chime or my phone will ring and it'll be the famous Miami Herald columnist turned zillion-seller mystery novelist turned author of award-winning kids' books. He'll want to challenge me to a smack-down, which I could not possibly win. Wouldn't even try. Hell, I'll give it up right now. It's over, Hiaasen. I'm throwing in the towel.

Your crown is safe, sir. I am not, nor have I ever been, ''Florida's Funniest Mystery Writer.''

I attribute the whole misunderstanding to over-enthusiasm on the part of the press-release writers from Nova Southeastern University. Either that, or they were smoking some really good dope. They used that Florida's Funniest phrase to tout my recent appearance at the campus near Fort Lauderdale. Even worse, the words weren't buried somewhere deep in the release. They were right in the headline, all the easier for the search engines to find.

Go ahead. Google ''Floridas Funniest Mystery Writer,'' no apostrophe. See who comes up. Hint: It's not Mr. Hiaasen.

I won't deny there are some chuckles and a few belly laughs in my Mace Bauer Mystery series, featuring Mace's wacky mama. But I can think of a quick list of Florida mystery writers who are funnier than me:

1. Hiaasen, of course
2. Bob Morris
3. Tim Dorsey
4. Elaine Viets

I won't go on . . . why humiliate myself further?

So, there it is. I'm Florida's Funniest Mystery Writer. It says so on the Internet. And as any of the Girls Gone Wild can tell you, once something's on the Internet, it never goes away.

Unless, that is, Hiaasen finds me for that smack-down, and he's carrying a golf club. A very big club. I get pounded, and a bunch of new headlines pop up to lower the press release's standing. I can see it now: "Florida's Funniest Mystery Writer Injured. Former Title-Holder Charged.''

How about you, authors? Ever had hype that's hard to live up to? Or, do you subscribe to the ''any publicity is good publicity'' argument? Readers, ever been disappointed by over-hype?


Lisa Bork said...

Deb, wear your crown with pride. I got a lot of laughs out of Mama.

Sue Ann Jaffarian said...

Hear, hear! I'm with Lisa on this. I see Mr. Hiaasen scooting over to make room for you.

The problem with being touted as the "funniest" anything is that folks expect you to be amusing all the time. Like it spouts out of you like a fountain of milk from your nose. I was once billed like that for a speech. When it was over, someone came to where I was signing books and said loud enough for everyone to hear, "I thought you'd be funny. You weren't."

Deborah Sharp said...

Hey, there: Thanks, Lisa (ie, the author the late, lamented (?) Kirkus Review hails as ''witty.'')
And, Sue Ann: that's a GREAT story. Haven't heard that complaint yet, but I did have someone ask during a Q&A why I didn't look as good as my author photo. Yikes!

G.M. Malliet said...

Lisa is right. Wear that crown!

Alan Orloff said...

The Internet never lies.

Sue Ann Jaffarian said...

Yeah, Deb, I've gotten the author photo comment, too. Told them next time I'd come wrapped in crime scene tape. Then others have said I look better than my photo. Everyone's a critic.

Cricket McRae said...

Bask in the glory, darlin'!

A golf club does seem to be the weapon of choice in Florida these days. But should you be called upon to defend your title, I bet you could take him.

Jess Lourey said...

I'm with the rest of the gang, Deb. Unless someone's calling you Florida's Tallest Mystery Writer, I think you get to wear your crown fair and square.

Keith Raffel said...

Deb, I checked Yahoo Search and Bing, too. They agree, too. You are Florida's Funniest Mystery Writer. As perhaps the 6th funniest person who lives in my house, I'm honored to know you.

Terri Bischoff said...

Aw, I wouldn't worry about Hiaasen - but Viets - watch your back, girl. Sure, she seems all sweet and friendly, but those are the ones you have to keep your eye on. :)

Deborah Sharp said...

Ha, Terri: I'm attending MWA-Fla chapter's annual holiday party tomorrow. I'll keep my eye on Elaine V. to make sure she doesn't drop something in my drink!
Keith ... I think I saw something pop up on a search of you, along with all Smasher's critical raves: ''6th Funniest Resident of Raffel Home.''
J: is that a short joke ;-) ?
A and G.M., you're the best.
And, C, yes, sadly the golf club is a popular weapon here in fla. Along with very large American cars driven by very old Americans.

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