I haven't been in my office at school for a few days because I bought a terrific old Victorian house on Constitution Street in Emporia and have been busy hauling a zillion pounds of books and tools and guitar amplifiers into it from the places they've been stored for the past couple of years. When I did go into today (Saturdays are quiet and I can get some work done), I found a letter waiting for me from Christie P. Brandau, the state librarian of Kansas.
Hellfire Canyon has been named a 2008 Kansas notable book.
"The Kansas Notable Books list was created to recognize the literary richness of our state," Brandau wrote. "It is a project of the Kansas Center for the Book at the State Library of Kansas. The annual selection of fifteen books reflecting Kansas cultural heritage features high quality titles with wide public appeal that are either written by a Kansas resident or about a Kansas-related topic. A committee considered the universe of eligible books published in 2007 and met over the course of several months to evaluate and discuss titles. The culmination of the commitee's work was a recommended list presented to the State Librarian for final decision.
"As a Notable Book author you are invited to participate in several events, including a reception at the State Library this summer at which the award will be presented by Governor Kathleen Sebelius (date to be announced), and a reception on Friday, September 26, 2008, in Lawrence on the eve of the River City Reading Festival."
Hellfire Canyon also won the Spur Award for best original paperback from the Western Writers of America. I'll received that award next month at the WWA Convention in Scottsdale, Ariz. My editor, Gary Goldstein, will also accept the award on behalf of Kensington Books.
I'm heading for the Writing the Rockies workshop at Western State College in Gunnison, Colo., in a few days, to give the keynote address. Then, I'm picking Gary up at the airport in Denver and we're going to road trip it to Scottsdale. Along the way, we're going to discuss a sequel to Hellfire Canyon, which might be called Canyon Diablo.
My association with Gary goes all the way back to The Sixth Rider, which was published by Doubleday in 1991 and won the Best First Novel award from WWA. Although that book was acquired by Greg Tobin, Gary was the line editor.