Am I Bummed About Bram?

Since the official Bram Stoker Award announcement came out, I’ve been asked a couple of times: Am I bummed about Bram? Um, yeah! I would have loved to be on the official roster and hang out with a bunch of really cool authors and probably buy last minutes tickets to go to the awards ceremony and totally overspend on a fancy dress to look like a million bucks. I would have loved to slap that sweet label on my website and draw my name with “Bram Stoker Nominee” in pink glitter gel pen with a heart above the I, and most importantly, I’d have felt like my book was worthy.

And that’s where my little brain that played out the sad what-ifs after I read the email announcement screeched to an immediate stop. Is my book worthy? Is my book worthy? Buck up, Buttercup, you know it is! I might not have made the official roster, but I was on the preliminary ballot and that was genuinely something I never ever thought would happen. As I thought about what I wished would have occurred, it all really focused on… hanging out with people like me. People who like creepy stuff, who like to be scared and get that adrenaline rush, writers who struggle against the odd, weird publishing industry, writers who are constantly making art.

And, when the preliminary ballot was first announced, that’s what I did. I chatted with authors online. I was inspired by their posts. I had the courage to jostle shoulders with other authors I’d never dream of interacting with, all because we were on the same list. It was cool. But more than that, it felt like an unexpected sign.

I’m always looking for signs. Signs I’m on the write – er… right! – path, that I’m doing what fate foretold, that I’m honoring the gifts and creativity I’ve been blessed with and that I practice on honing every day. Getting on that preliminary ballot was a sign I needed that I was creating amazing work and readers and reviewers saw it and noticed it. Not only that, but would I quit writing if no one in the world read my stuff? Or if I never won an award in all my time on Earth? Nope. I would absolutely be writing, because it makes me feel like a million bucks. It makes me feel like I’m in an award ceremony with an audience of characters I’ve created that I know better than I know myself, and that makes me feel worthy. It’s my art and my calling.

So yeah, I’m a little bummed about Bram. But I’m also a pretty damn happy to be on that list in the first place, that my work got the head nod that it did, that both me and Stephen King didn’t make the cut. Tough breaks but a thousand congratulations to those who did make it, who have probably are just as excited and hopeful about it as I was. They all deserve it. And now? I’m going to write the next story and see where it takes me and what unexpected surprises it will show me.

Oh, and just for kicks, here it was announced in Locus. Locus! Freaking cool.

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