A Virtual Montparnasse (Part One)

by J.T. Ellison (with Kaye Barley)

I’ve been talking for some time about our virtual Montparnasse, the various groupings of artists who coexist online: encouraging, sharing, bickering, feuding and cheering for one another. It’s a precious resource, this institutional knowledge, and with the ease of use of the interwebs, we can all interact. The playing field is level when you’re virtual. It’s a world where readers, writers, librarians, booksellers, editors, publishers, agents, screenwriters, movie producers, actors, playwrights, artists, photographers, bloggers, critics and reviewers all float around, bumping into each other like little dust motes in an abandoned room.

And while there are curses to the Internet, something I’ll discuss next week, there are bonuses. Friendships blossom out of these interactions. Strangers become friends, and sometimes become enemies. Relationships bloom and fade, deals are made, books sold. It’s a very, very powerful medium, and as such is open to great abuse as well as scintillating intellectual largesse.

This is the first part in what I hope will be a series of essays about
our Virtual Montparnasse. Some will be by me, some will be by guests
who I think have a unique perspective on the subject, or embody the spirit of the global collective, the artistic social consciousness that I believe has been created by the Internet.

With that in mind, I hope you’ll welcome a dear friend of Murderati, Kaye Barley, while she sits in for me this week and opens the discussion about the Virtual Water Cooler we call our online community.

Take it away, Kaye!


I am tickled and honored to have been asked to drop in here by JT while she’s off gallivanting.   I have no idea what the woman was thinking, do you?  I’m no writer and my resume includes exactly one blogging gig besides this one.  But, we all love her, and I for one don’t want to disappoint her so what the heck, let’s see where it takes us, and have some fun with it.  Being invited places is always nice.  But dang – being invited someplace to speak your opinion is just about as cool as it gets.

My one and only other blog gave me the opportunity to write about my experiences and feelings about smoking and quitting.  That I was invited by the delightful women at The Stiletto Gang was a kick and I had a lot of fun.   After reading what I had written, JT suggested I consider writing my impressions on how the internet compares to the figurative office water cooler.  Smoking and quitting was a fairly easy thing for me to write about since it was all direct experience.   After thinking about JT’s suggestion for this piece, and fretting about it a little, I realized how the two pieces are actually part of the whole.

The first thing that pops into my mind when I think about the office water cooler is probably the same image that pops into your heads as well.  It’s the cartoon we’ve all seen for years  –  a group of people clustered around the cooler, little paper cones of water in hand, engaged in conversation and looking thoroughly entertained with themselves.  We know, of course, they aren’t really there for the water.  Nope, this is where everyone knows to come to meet up with co-workers and buddies to exchange a bit of gossip, catch up on office news, talk about last night’s ball game and/or night on the town, and, in some cases, over time, form significant friendships.  It’s the place I might have gone for some words of encouragement while I was trying to walk away from my cigarettes. 

There’s just not a lot of hanging out around a water cooler these days.  Literally or figuratively.  Offices that once had plenty of staff to get the necessary work done are now making do with a lot fewer people, which means not nearly as much free time to hang around and visit with co-workers.   Not as many co-workers either.  With the economy the way it is, and jobs disappearing the way they are – who can afford to be seen goofing off and hanging around the water cooler?   Much easier to goof off and visit with friends over the internet.  Hooray email, discussion groups, Facebook and blogs!  The newest equivalent to that tired old water cooler.  And an answer to an introvert’s prayers.  Someone who may not have felt comfortable joining these water cooler groups may find their niche in an internet group.  (A fun topic for another day, don’t you think?)

Some of us have worked long enough that we can easily remember when the water cooler hangout was a reality.   And if, come Monday morning, you didn’t care about discussing football, you knew which office water cooler to avoid.   There were days you just didn’t want to listen to that guy tell you why your favorite team lost again.  Same deal with internet cruising, but better  –  no one can force you to listen to their opinion, ‘cause you’re in charge.   You can even walk away without hurting anyone’s feelings.  You are the master of your browser.  Don’t like what that person’s got to say?  Ta da – Hit that delete key!  Or your scroll key, or, by gum – just leave.  You can go anywhere you want to go, and meet a whole lot of people along the way.  You can collect a group of like-minded souls to hang out with, and you can leave behind those you don’t want to spend time with.  Leave one water cooler and find another.  We’ve all managed to find our own special on-line water cooler.  We’ve all met friends who may have started out as “virtual” friends, and who may in fact still be “virtual” in that we have not yet met face to face.  But their importance in our lives has, in many instances, become every bit as important as the friends we see on a regular basis.

Those of us who hang around the internet a lot have learned that you bump into the same people quite often while you’re cruising around, which makes sense, of course.  Those interested in books and reading are going to be hanging out at websites, blogs, and discussion groups that focus on books and reading.   Folks who are interested in building treehouses probably run into the same group of people wherever they tramp around on-line.  Bumping into the same people at different internet groups brings, at first, name recognition.  After awhile you’re able to remember certain little things that go with the name – if they’re smart and funny, or dreary and sarcastic, if they seem kind, or tend to be grumpy and cynical.  From this initial awareness, a casual acquaintance might blossom into a friendship.  The casual camaraderie we experience over the internet has become a daily part of our lives.

There is, of course, the dark side of this relatively new social networking in the cyber world we’re all a part of, but for today, let’s focus on the positive.
We’ve all met people who have become quite dear, and quite important to us.   I’m still a bit amazed and in awe of this phenomenon, and would enjoy hearing from some of you about your experiences with it and feelings regarding it all.

And to the Murderati group – Thanks so much for having me.  You’re the best!

(Thanks for being here today, Kaye!)

Wine of the Week: From a Texas winery, in honor of all our friends in Houston and Galveston who are suffering this week –  Pheasant Ridge Merlot

48 thoughts on “A Virtual Montparnasse (Part One)

  1. Earl Staggs

    Kaye Darlin’, there’s is such a charm and cheerfulness to everything you write that I would buy your shopping list if you published it. Tonsahugs from a big fan of yours.

  2. Alexandra Sokoloff

    Kaye, it’s so great that you’re the one to do this blog because you’re one of the people I feel like I “know” from the Internet water cooler, and I really cherish that friendship.

    It’s funny, I’m such a physical person – not someone to ever do the Internet dating thing because I need to hear someone’s voice and see them move and yes, even smell them to know if I want to know them. But I agree with Earl, above – there are some people who are just charming and appealing even without all those senses to judge , and you are definitely one of them.

    As to feedback on the Internet gathering holes – I far, far, far prefer message boards to the other Internet formats because message boards are so much cleaner and clearer – and you can put trolls and BSPers on IGNORE – a software function from God, if you ask me!

    The Yahoo groups and other lists are driving me just about insane and blind with their stupid formatting and the people who copy the ENTIRE discussion to their posts. But some of the best groups use that format so I grimace and bear it.

    I recently figured out Twitter and it’s also a godsend – you can very easily link your tweets (little posts, okay, I hate the word tweet, too…) to Facebook and MySpace and keep those sites up at the same time.

  3. Kaye Barley

    Well, there you go! Two of my favorite people – even though we’ve never met face to face. Not yet anyway. Alex – I will see you in Baltimore, cutie!

    Earl Darlin’ – I don’t know when I’ll ever meet you face to face, but I know it’ll happen. In the meantime, since the point of this blog was to bring up some of the good things we’ve gleaned from the internet, the virtual wedding Earl and I planned for ourselves, with help from a large and crazy wedding party, would have to be one of them. It may not have been one of the more tasteful weddings in the world, but it surely was fun!

  4. Dana King

    I’m a mamber of Crimespace, and regularly read Murderati and several other writers’ blogs. They are all invaluable resources for me. I learn something every day: writing tips, other resources, new writers and books I should know about, and get to contact people who have many of the same questions and doubts I have. Thanks to JT for starting this thread, and to Kaye for her insights.

  5. JT Ellison

    Earl, so great to see you! Now everyone knows why I chose Kaye to start this off — and Alex nailed it as well. Some people are angels in disguise, and their mere presence brightens your day.

    We meet people online, become efriends and sometimes, somewhere along the way those relationships deepen into friendship. I met Pari online, and look where it got us. ; )

    Honestly, I met 90% of the people I know in this community online first, and I have to say, it’s been an invigorating and blessed ride.

    I’d never met Santa Tom but cried when I heard he’d died, simply because his online spirit was so strong.

    Good things can come from the internet. Thanks, Kaye, for starting us off on the right track.

  6. JT Ellison

    Dana, I liked Crimespace but got so tired of random people from other Ning groups bombarding me with invitations to join their groups that I finally left. But while I was there, it was a great resource, and there were names all of us know participating in the discussions. A good example of how something good can get mixed in with something negative and blow it for the rest of us…

  7. pari

    Kaye,What a wonderful and warm post. Thank you for gracing our blog with your observations.

    For me, the internet has been such a boon 🙂

    Living in NM, I know many writers but feel isolated from the broader mystery community. Through yahoo groups, blogs, websites and some of the social networks such as CrimeSpace and MySpace, I’ve begun to build a network of like-minded people that I never would have met any other way.

    What makes it even better is that through some of the conventions, I get to meet these people in the flesh and have the kind of extended conversations that truly enrich my life.

    As JT says, we met online. I’ve never met Rob, Tess or Ken Bruen in the flesh. If I’ve seen Toni, Zoe or Allison, it’s been in passing at best. Still I cherish these cyber friendships and hope they’ll grow in the same way those with people I HAVE met such as Louise and Alex, JD and Brett are.

    Oh, I could go on and on, but then I’d be the gasbag at the water cooler.

  8. Pat Browning


    Thanks for the upbeat take on the virtual community. You rock!

    There aren’t enough hours in the day to do it all, so I limit my participation. Signed up for Twitter but have not followed through. Signed up for LinkedIn but have not followed through. So I have stopped signing up.(-:

    Two blogs,two websites,and four lists are my limit.

    Cheerio —

    Pat Browning

  9. Kaye Barley

    Dana and JT having different takes and experiences with one of the more visible mystery/crime spots on the internet brings up a point. As does Alex’s preference for message boards over other venues.The two on-line spots I started hanging out at years ago were DorothyL and RCTN (a needlework group). Both are still going strong and have some of the original members hanging out there. But “back in the day,” they were the only place to be if you wanted to meet folks who shared your interests. Now there’s a wealth of spots to choose from, or we’re free to choose them all. But, as Pat points out – there’s that precious time factor. I’ve kind of grown up with DorothyL and I expect we’ll just grown old and gray(er) together. The blogs have added still another dimension to those discussions, which, shamefully, I resisted for awhile. Now, I wish I had more time to spend to read them all and participate in a bigger way.

  10. Kaye Barley

    Pari – thank you.I must say – I am stunned to learn that the Murderati writers don’t all know one another in the “real” world! You all seem to be a cohesive and close knit group, and I just assumed it grew from, well – the real world. Now how ’bout that. See what I mean? Even though I’ve experienced this on-line closeness, I’m still a bit surprised by it all.

  11. Louise Ure

    Hi Kaye! I count you as one of my favorite water cooler buddies.

    You’ve got me thinking about online friendships today. Let me tell you about one of mine.

    Three years ago, while I was touring with my first book, I needed to reach one of the guys I was working with on a “Best Paperback Original” judging panel. I didn’t have his email address with me, so I guessed at what I thought it was.

    It wasn’t his.

    But it started a conversation with a Vietnam-era POW now living in Costa Rica. We’ve shared tears and jokes and photos now for three years, and I’m proud to say that he’s now begun to write about the horror of his days of captivity. “It’s healing,” he says.

  12. Bill Cameron

    I’m of mixed feelings about the online water cooler. On the one hand, it makes possible social contacts that are difficult or even impossible to maintain in the analog world. Being able to chat, even by text only, with friends and colleagues from around the world is a wonderful capability.

    But I also suspect that the nature of the online world makes it often too easy to isolate ourselves intellectually and socially in the sense that we gravitate toward online communities that serve as reinforcing echo chambers. The internet makes it easy for us to avoid being challenged. It accentuates our instinctual tribalism and, I suspect, has contributed to a general erosion of the implied social contract in the face-to-face world.

    I think it’s clear that most people interact very differently online than they do face-to-face. And yet what I’ve noticed of late is that the generally more volatile and rancorous communication styles which seem so prevalent on the internet have started to infuse the analog world. I’m no wilting flower, but I do appreciate a generally courteous approach to interactions and I am troubled by a public discourse that seems to reflect the kind of “lmao u r teh suk” approach to communication that seems foundational on the internet. The internet makes it incredibly easy for us to talk past each other, congratulated ourselves for our cleverness, and then rush off to the next shiny thing.

    Obviously it’s not all bad. There are plenty of online communities which are friendly and respectful and offer genuine opportunities for communication. My hope is that the internet is simply not a mature environment yet. I certainly appreciate being able to gab with friends, play online games, share favorite books, movies, music, and get introduced to new ideas.

  13. Jake Nantz

    Ms. Barley,What a great, insightful post. I love the online community, even though my school still fosters the water cooler talks in the halls and between classes (no real cooler, though). What’s been best for me are the blogs and, like Ms. Sokoloff pointed out, the message boards. And I’ve learned so much and expanded my interests, reading lists, and the number of research spots and sounding boards (and e friends) I have because of it. Any career I ever have in writing has been improved to a tremendous degree by the online community, especially the mystery community. I always assumed authors were far too busy to help out an unpubbed writer with a question, or to sen more than a form email. And yet now I’ve discovered authors who not only are willing (and wonderful) to give a hand or answer a question, but offer encouragement and support and a peek inside the world so many of us are working to enter.

    And the thanks go to Al Gore, I suppose 😉

  14. Kaye Barley

    Louise, this is lovely. Unbelievable, isn’t it how that teeny little assumption which ended up being the wrong one led to a friendship that’s become so meaningful to two people who otherwise would never have met? I love this story.Louise, you are full of interesting stories and I always enjoy hanging out around the water cooler with you.I’m still waiting to hear if the guy who will come sit on your bed and read to you while dressed in his jammies is going to be available at LCC???CanNOT get that guy out of my mind . . .

  15. Kaye Barley

    Awwww . . . man.Bill Cameron.I’m so glad you stopped by.Y’all – I’ve recently “met” Mr. Cameron, virtually only, and in the short time we’ve known one another, he has kicked my fanny royally at the Scramble table AND the Wordscraper Table at Facebook. Talk about a wordsmith. I asked him to drop by ’cause I was scared to death I’d be sitting here all by myself today. I would have died.Bill, you bring up exceptionally good and valid points. And the “tribalism” is one I find especially interesting. I’m VERY much hoping that JT will have someone do a “virtual Montparnasse” piece exclusively about this.A short while back we hit on some of the volatile and rancorous communication issues right here at Murderati, and those responses were emotional ones. It IS, I think, easier for some people to say things in the virtual world they would NEVER have the guts, gumption, or wherewithal to say face to face. And, oh boy – couldn’t we all go on for days about this, the rights people are exercising in their speech, the bully factor, etc. More great topics for JT’s exercise!!!

  16. Bill Cameron

    It’s been great to become virtual friends, Kaye — soon to meet in person in Bawlmer! And that’s a wonderful example of what’s good about the virtual water cooler, as is Louise’s story, and so many others. I certainly don’t want to suggest that I think the internet is all bad, because it’s definitely not. And not just because of my recent Wordscraper success!

    Anyway, I gotta dash to a face-to-face meeting!

  17. Kaye Barley

    Hi Mr. Nantz! I would have missed you today if you had not dropped by. I’ve gotten used to finding you here whenever I stop in to see what’s happening at one of my favorite spots, and I must say – I agree with what you say about how lovely and refreshing it is to learn that there are people out there who will offer the kind of encouragement found here to people trying to break into the writing field. I’d say that you and some of the other writers still finding their way have found a nurturing place here at Murderati, and there are other groups on the internet who are gracious in their encouragement. Writers in the mystery/crime field just do seem to be some of the nicest people around, don’t they?

  18. Hank Phillippi Ryan

    Kaye–you’re the perfect example. I’ve never met you, and yet I can almost hear your voice. I know to expect charm and humor and insight when I “see” your smiling face at the water cooler.

    And now, when I see books on shelves–well, instead of the the suthor photos being of strangers, they’re people I’ve chatted with, or, often, just happily listened to.

    And with many of us (I’m raising my hand here) being somewhat shy in real life, it’s so much less stressful to belly up to the virtual bar.

    Besides, you can decide to “come visit” a pal on the spur of the moment–or host a whole slew guests wthout having to dust.

    “See” you soon…

  19. Kaye Barley

    Hank!! Hey!!I am so happy you dropped by! And yep – don’t even have to make apologies for the dust bunnies – that is grand, isn’t it?!In the case of “seeing” you soon though – I will! See you soon! In Baltimore! Hooray! Laws, y’all – I am a bit tooooo excited about the whole Baltimore thing.

  20. Evelyn David

    Hi Kaye,This is the Northern half of Evelyn David. Today’s blog, like the one you did for us at The Stiletto Gang, is thoughtful and beautifully written. It made me think about the wonderful friendships I’ve made at the virtual water cooler. As you know, it’s at that water cooler that I met Rhonda, the Southern half of Evelyn David.Congrats on another great blog – please come back and write another column for The Stiletto Gang!Evelyn

  21. Shane Gericke

    Kaye hits the nail on the proverbial head with her knowing, spot-on comments. And so does Bill Cameron, when he says we’re losing something as the real water cooler shifts to the virtual. One of the best reasons in the world to “go” to work is to hang out with people. As more businesses close and downsize, we lose that humanity that is essential to our society. Yet, as Kaye points out, the virtual water cooler is helping rebuild that community.

    Only problem with virtual: nobody brings baked goods for me to dive into 🙂

    Thanks, JT, for asking Kaye to join us. I know her from other forums, and she is a delight to the many, many authors she supports through buying, attending signings, and places like DL.


  22. Kaye Barley

    Well dang.I am just gonna cry.for real.Julia – I just love you to bits.Sweetie – you have heard SO many of my stories the past couple of years that you could step in and tell them. (please don’t!!).

    And lookie here – the Northern Half of Evelyn David. Girl – see what you’ve started?! And its FUN! May I please come back to The Stiletto Gang again? oh man – I would love that! (see you in Baltimore!)

  23. Vicki Lane

    Wonderful post — I love how many folks I ‘know’ just from reading their blogs or their posts on lists. And in your case, I have to remind myself we’ve never met face to face, your voice is so clear in my head. Looking forward to seeing you at Bcon! ~Vicki

  24. Dave Bennett

    Hi Kaye:Great essay and some of the points raised by others only add to it. I think I can say that being online has widened my horizons, deepened my perspective, and been an all-around pleasure (for the most part :O) ). I “met” Earl several years ago when he was head of SMFS and the gang there sure helped me become published, though not as frequently as I would like. All the other mailing lists and groups I’ve joined have only increased the pleasure. Being not so forthcoming as some, I feel I can express a point of view on line that I might not be able to face to face. It’s good to know others feel the same way. Have fun in Bawlmer, Kaye, and good on you giving up the weed!

  25. Dave Bennett

    Hi Kaye:Great essay and some of the points raised by others only add to it. I think I can say that being online has widened my horizons, deepened my perspective, and been an all-around pleasure (for the most part :O) ). I “met” Earl several years ago when he was head of SMFS and the gang there sure helped me become published, though not as frequently as I would like. All the other mailing lists and groups I’ve joined have only increased the pleasure. Being not so forthcoming as some, I feel I can express a point of view on line that I might not be able to face to face. It’s good to know others feel the same way. Have fun in Bawlmer, Kaye, and good on you giving up the weed!

  26. Jake Nantz

    While I agree with Mr. Cameron’s concerns (I see the lack of social development in my H.S. seniors every day), I think the greatest thing about a forum like this is that everyone feels equal and welcome. My opinions, while less informed (especially in terms of publishing) carry just as much or as little weight as everyone else, based solely on how articulately I deliver them. If I act like a tool, my opinion is discounted because, well, I acted like a tool instead of a conversational and amenable adult. It’s not about what status I have, or who’s the boss and who’s the laborer. We’re all names on a comment trail.

    Oh, and Ms. Barley I’ll make you a deal. I’ll refer to you in whatever way you please, if you’ll call me Jake (or Nantz, as my students/colleagues do). I know, I know. I still call everyone Mr. or Ms. until asked/told otherwise, just because I try to be respectful of everyone else (I would feel foolish walking up to someone like Jeffery Deaver in real life that I’d ‘met’ online and saying, “Hey Jeff, it’s me, Nantz!!”) But still, ‘Mr. Nantz’ from anyone who isn’t on their first day of my class just feels funky. Fair?

  27. Suzanne Adair

    Dear Kaye,

    You’re the perfect person to kick off this series of essays on the “Virtual Montparnasse.” You’re the quintessential virtual water cooler conversationalist! I count myself among the most fortunate of mystery authors, for not only have I chatted with you at the virtual water cooler for more than a year, but you and I got the opportunity to meet in person last weekend. You are just as kind, gracious, and insightful in person as you are in Cyberspace.

    I’m pretty sure that you wouldn’t be headed to B’con this year had it not been for the virtual water cooler. Yes, ma’am, one of the best features about meetings in Cyberspace is the Del key, and the fact that you don’t have to deal with turkeys. On the Internet, you can socialize with as many sweeties or cynics as you want and ultimately decide whether you want to meet them face-to-face.

    I hope you have a sweet tooth, cuz you’ll get bunches of hugs in B’con from all the friends you’ve made at the virtual water cooler. Thanks for your thoughtful post today.

    Regards,Suzanne Adair (www.suzanneadair.com)

  28. Kaye Barley

    oh my.Shane and Vicki -Thank you.I think we’re all in agreement that one of the loveliest things about the “virtual water cooler” is the fact that it brings people into our lives that we probably would not have met otherwise.Like Louise and her POW friend. That story will stay with all of us.Less dramatic is Mr. Nantz’ experience with the encouragement he’s found here which is helping him live his dream of writing.Along with that – the fact that so many virtual friends are dear enough to come by and show a bit of support when you need it.Along with some of the Murderati regulars, who have been gracious enough to welcome me.Y’all. I was scared to death about doing this blog. As JT can attest to.This little experience has just added to my joy of life around the virtual water color.But.When the darker side of the water cooler comes into play here – I can promise you I’ll have stories to add, as will all of you I’m sure.Shane – I’m gonna plan a baked goods reconnaissance effort in Baltimore!How’s that?

  29. Kaye Barley

    Dave! Hey There!! We do find ourselves away from DL every once in awhile, don’t we?!Your point about expressing your views on line in a way you might not be able to face to face is one I’d love to see explored more.Several of the folks here have heard me say this before – I am by no means a shy person (big surprise there?!), but I am a bit of an introvert. The facilitator of the Myers Briggs test group I was a part of says most introverts, unless way off the scale, are fine with social situations IF they’re with people of their choosing, in an environment of their choosing, at a time of their choosing. Well, most of the time in real life we can’t have all those things at the same time. On the internet we can, and we can bloom.

  30. Suzanne Adair

    Vicki Lane!

    You and I have done the virtual water cooler in reverse. We first met in person last weekend at the Carolina Mountains Literary Festival. Now, here we are meeting virtually on Murderati.

    The virtual community concept has so many possibilities. We cannot imagine many of them.

    Regards,Suzanne Adair (www.suzanneadair.com)

  31. Kaye Barley

    Jake, you’ve got a deal.As long as you’ll call me Kaye, please.And I SO agree. Everyone feeling equal and welcome does make for a nice even playing field, doesn’t it? Its up to us to choose if we want to play well with others, or, as you said – make fools of ourselves and be placed in the status of those whose remarks will be discounted based solely on how they were presented. ” . . . names on a comment trail.” Lovely!!

  32. Kaye Barley

    I had no idea today would make me cry. Unless, of course – no one came by.JT??Next time you invite a guest, tell them about the possibility of tears, O.K.?Suzanne. oh my.thank you.You’ve left me a bit speechless. Not something that’s gonna happen too often.and you’re absolutely right.I’ve heard about B’Con and other mystery cons for years. It never ever crossed my mind that I might want to attend one of these biggies until this year. Some on-line friends I’ve grown quite close to are responsible for the decision to make this trip. Seeing as how I’m not really comfortable around crowds of people I don’t know, we’ll just have to see how this turns out.

  33. Becky Hutchison

    Thanks, Kaye, for today’s topic. Since quitting my job last year, I spend most of the workday by myself writing and doing research. All of my close friends work out of the home now that our kids are older. So I don’t get much conversation or interaction with people until my hubby comes home from work.

    I’ve found that people who post to Murderati, and the other blogs I visit daily, are intelligent, friendly and helpful. I’m always learning something new, and I enjoy their smart, insightful posts and replies. But most of all, I enjoy talking (in the virtual way, of course) to others who understand my love of books, and the need to read, write, and live books. What a treasure! And all thanks to the virtual world…

  34. Becky Hutchison

    Kaye, I’ll look for you at B’con. Then you’ll have one more person to say “Hey” to and sit with at the sessions. (It’ll be my first time there too.)

  35. Kaye Barley

    Becky – thank you.And I agree with every word you say! Its a delight to find intelligent outlets with like-minded people to share some conversation with. AND it isn’t always available in our real worlds – although we’d like to think it is. Sometimes we work at jobs where we’re the odd duck out, or some things just aren’t as in sync in that area as we’d like.I will look for you in Baltimore – thank you!!

  36. Kaye Barley

    Well, JT Sweetie – Thanks for having me! Tears and all, I have loved it.Pari & Louise & Alex – see you around the water cooler, cuties!!!!!Huge Hugs!

  37. Jake Nantz

    Kaye,”An even playing field.” Considering the ‘spirit of coopetition’ spoken of in KILLER YEAR, I think that’s the perfect analogy. Something about the mystery/thriller world that lends itself to people who are just more open, friendly, and cool perhaps?Anyway, have a great time in Baltimore. I’ll see you guys at B’con one of these days.

    And Alex, I hope you don’t mind me trying to pack the house for you, but our school has a couple of kids interested in screenwriting that are really excited to hear you speak at that series the Library is putting on. I told the film club sponsor how wonderful and helpful your posts have been on here, and she said she thought some of her kids would really benefit. I promise the ones who do come will behave, they’re all creative and just really neat kids.

  38. Alexandra Sokoloff

    Jake, if you have a film club at your school I would be completely up for coming to talk to the students. I couldn’t be more serious. I love teenagers and this really is the age that they should know that writing for a living is a perfectly viable option – if they want it badly enough and are willing to sweat blood. 😉

  39. Jake Nantz

    Wow. Kaye, see what I mean about this community? Alex, I am truly awed. Thank you for offering that. I’ll email the film club sponsor back and let her know about this, and how to email you. That’s so cool of you Alex.

  40. Ken Lewis

    HA! You people think you know Kaye Barley? Or for that matter, Bill Cameron? Well, I interviewed both of them on my crime fiction podcast, NETDRAG…Kaye on episode #1 and Bill on episode #6…and let me tell you, the things I learned about the “real them” were shocking! For instance, did you know that Kaye’s honeysuckle sweet, southern accent is really a long practiced affectation to cover up her true south Bronx brogue? And that Bill Cameron’s family are major stockholders in the Columbia Sportswear factory in Portland, and those trademark Columbia fly fishing vests he wears tooling around town and from writer conference to writers conference are “disposable” to him, even though they go for over a hundred and fifty bucks a copy? Yeah, he wears one for a few days, chucks it, and gets a fresh one from the trunk of his car where he keeps boxes of them. Hey, who needs a “water cooler” these days, when you have a $29.95 microphone from Radio Shack, a digital tape recorder, and the internet? Not me!

    PS: And for the record, I was the FIRST one to propose to Kaye, not that interloper, Earl Staggs. I interviewed him, too, on my podcast, and you do not EVEN want to know his real story!


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