One of my techniques for getting through the pandemic has been to avoid thinking of what I might have been enjoying had everything gone to plan. It's far better to be positive wherever possible. I must admit, however, that over the weekend inevitably I was thinking about Bouchercon in Sacramento, a trip I was very much looking forward to. As I write these words, I should be on a flight back to England, and looking forward to the Daggers Dinner on Thursday, complete with presentation of the Diamond Dagger, the highlight of my career.
Oh well, things haven't turned out quite as hoped or expected, but that's the same for everyone. And a lot of people have been doing good work to give us crime writers and readers opportunities to get together, even if in a restricted way. The Bouchercon organisers set up a virtual event, for which I pre-recorded my interview with Anthony Horowitz. I also took part in a live panel (thank goodness I worked out the correct time zone and didn't miss it!), talking about cold cases with an old friend, Marcia Talley as well as a number of American writers who shared some fascinating insights.
I was also delighted to see several friends' names among the Anthony winners, including Hank Philippi Ryan, Verena Rose and Shawn Reilly Simmons, Gigi Pandian, and Art Taylor's wife Tara Laskowski. Congratulations to all of them, and also to the hard-working people who made it all possible. I just wish I could have bought them all a drink - but there'll be time for that in the future, with any luck.
Similarly, thanks go to Matthew Booth, who organised a virtual meeting of the CWA northern chapter on Saturday. So good to see people, albeit remotely. It's not the same as a proper get-together in person, of course, but it's much better to stay in contact in whatever way we can. The pandemic has really underlined the importance of our social lives - and how vital it is to enjoy every opportunity of being with our friends and family.
The CWA folk have also been busy organising a virtual version of the Daggers awards. Whilst I won't be able to get my hands on the actual Diamond Dagger (which is brought out once a year for the ceremony) I have received my personal award and I've recorded two videos for the occasion. Ann Cleeves kindly agreed to the CWA's request to 'present' the Diamond Dagger to me, and in addition to the video, we also recorded a conversation, reflecting on our personal journeys as writers. You can bet that I'll be quaffing champagne on the night, even if in my own living room rather than in a glitzy hotel in London. And it will be a good opportunity to reflect, not on the frustrations of pandemic life, but on all those good things which far outweigh the negatives.