Friday, January 29, 2010

Dedicated to:

Cricket McRae

I've been thinking about the dedication for my upcoming home crafting mystery, Something Borrowed, Something Bleu. This is the fourth in the series. Above, you can see my choice for Book #3, Spin a Wicked Web. The women in my family have had a tremendous influence on my domestic passions as well as my writing.

'G.G." was what we all called my great-grandmother, Essie McCoy, because "great-grandmother" was just too much of a mouthful. And by "we all" I mean her twenty-four great-grandchildren. Well, most of them. There were a few who called her "G.G. Pickle." Her cucumber and watermelon rind pickles were quite the treat when we visited.

The second in the series, Heaven Preserve Us, was "For Kevin." Aww. At least that's what people said when my dear one would just happen to have the book in his hand and allow it to fall open to the dedication page right in front of them. (Do you know how hard it is to make that look casual?) There was a lot going on in our lives -- some off-the-hook good and some amazingly awful -- while I was writing that book. He was unfailingly supportive and encouraging through it all.

As for the first book, Lye in Wait, I couldn't bring to mind the dedication. Mortified, I walked to my bookshelf to take a look. Imagine my relief when I realized I was more stupid than forgetful. There was no dedication.

And I remembered why. I'd written that first book in a kind of vacuum. No writing group. No feedback. No one read it as I went along. Just me, rewriting and rewriting and editing, making decisions alone, sending out queries one after the other. The first person who read Lye in Wait besides me was an agent. Then about a dozen more agents and my ex. Then some editors. And, finally, the acquiring editor at Midnight Ink. The Home Crafting Mystery Series was born.

At the time, I just couldn't think of anyone I wanted to dedicate that first book to.

Likely candidates for my next mystery are plentiful, though. There are my writing buddies who comb through my prose, point out inconsistencies with a gentle hand, and are still not afraid to say things like, "What the hell does this mean?"

There are the readers who discovered the series, enthusiastically spread the word, and check in regularly to find out when the next one will be released. One of their emails can keep me going for days.

There are the independent bookstores where they ask me to come sign and then hand sell the heck out of my books. We all know how important the indies are to an author's success.

Who have you dedicated your book(s) to? Any regrets? Does it feel like an important decision, or just another thing to check off your to-do list?


Elizabeth Spann Craig/Riley Adams said...

Dedications feel important...more so than the acknowledgments. Yeah, I tend to spend a lot of time worrying over both dedication and acknowledgments...I don't want to accidentally leave anyone out.

Mystery Writing is Murder

Alan Orloff said...

Like Elizabeth, I spent a fair amount of time messing with the acknowledgments, not wanting to leave anyone out (I'm still not sure I accomplished that!). For the first book, though, my dedication was easy--my family.

G.M. Malliet said...

I've been thinking I may forgo dedications in the future. I am in real danger of leaving people out.

It is nice to have too many to thank, isn't it?

Jess Lourey said...

You have a healthy attitude about the dedications, Cricket. I worry, like the rest, that I'm going to make someone feel bad because they didn't receive a dedication and someone else did. There are worse problems to have. It'd be easier if people would just bribe me.

Keith Raffel said...

First book to my parents, second to my wife and kids. Third book? That's what an old boss of mine called a high-class problem.

Sue Ann Jaffarian said...

Sometimes I joke that I have to write so many books because I have so many people to thank. My first was to my then boyfriend (and no, no regrets). He supported me through so much of the process and still does as a friend. I've thanked my agent, Barbara Moore, a niece, a nephew, my manager, my best friend ... all of these people have influenced me and my writing in some important and distinct way, often directly to the book I've dedicated to them.

Not sure how it will be when I'm at book 10 or 12, but for now the list is endless of the people who have molded my career.

Cricket McRae said...

Elizabeth and Alan, I spend a lot of time worrying about acknowledgements. I did leave someone out once and felt terrible about it. Gin, it is nice to have so many people to thank! Jess, do you have a dollar figure in mind? And Keith -- such problems to have, eh?

Cricket McRae said...

Sue Ann, you're a lucky woman to have all that support -- and all those books where you can thank people! (Or animals, I suppose. I did see a dedication to an author's cat once...)

Sue Ann Jaffarian said...

My cats! OMG, I've never dedicated a book to them. No wonder one of them craps on the carpet. She's noticed my snub!

Mike Dennis said...

My first novel is coming out later this year and I've long promised myself that I would dedicate it to Seth Morgan, a great novelist whose tragic life ended in 1990 after only one book, HOMEBOY (but what a book!).

G.M. Malliet said...

One author, and I forget who, a few years back listed all the Indy bookstores in her acknowledgments. Maybe it was just all the Indy mystery bookstores. Whatever. It would be interesting (and sad) to go back and see how many of those are still in existence. It would be a shorter list now, for sure.

I thought it was a nice gesture.