By Brett Battles


When I started to write this blog entry, I began a piece on what I consider to be the new newspaper. Interesting? Perhaps. But I found the voice in my head going “blah, blah, blah” after a while. So maybe I’ll save that for another time. That’ll be up to you (read to the end).

Can I be honest here? I’ll pretend I’m hearing a resounding SURE.

Thanks. Okay, here goes. Sometimes trying to write a blog post sucks. All of you who blog know what I mean. Am I even saying anything anyone cares about? Is this interesting? Am I making sense?

A few years ago, I used to post multiple times a week on my own blog. Some of you reading this do that now. Again with the honesty…there’s no way in hell I could do that today. I would go CRAZY. Give me a book to write any day. But two, three or, my God, four or more posts a week? Stripping me bare and dropping me in the middle of Time Square in January would be less painful! (More humiliating, perhaps, but it’s a trade off I might be willing to make.)

The problem is I only blog every other week now and I STILL run out of ideas! Okay, that’s not completely accurate. It’s more of a I-don’t-know-what-to-write-that-people-will-find-interesting kind of thing.

There are some weeks when my Thursday is getting closer and closer, and I am starting to sweat. “Pull your head out of your ass and think of something,” I tell myself. I always do, but sometimes the gap between that doing and there being a gaping blank hole on Murderati where my post should be is a razor thin line. (And just so you don’t think I’m a complete flake, there are times when I get a post written and up ready to go a week or even more ahead of time. This week was not one of those weeks.)

But those doubts about whether I’m writing posts that people are interested in remains. That’s fueled a lot by the fact that I’m pretty sure I’m Murderati’s least commented on poster. (This is not a pity plea, just stating potential facts here…if there is anything like a “potential fact.” I guess I should go back and do a scientific survey, but…yeah…I’m not going to do that.) (I should also note that about a year ago I sent our wonderful JT an email saying I was obviously not writing the kind of things people wanted to read, and was considering leaving the blog. Among other things, she pointed out that it would be helpful if I actually commented on the other Murderati folks posts, to remind our readers I was out here, and to engage more in the general conversation. OUCH! But damn if she wasn’t right. Though I did comment on occasion, it was rare. Duly chastened, I forged on. My commenting has still be somewhat sporadic, but I’m trying. But I know me, and on the perfect/not-so-perfect scale in this area the needle of my meter will always to tend to trend to the not-so-perfect side. Sincere apologies to all my fellow Murderati contributors…I’m not giving up, though.)

ANYWAY, back to the non-parenthesis’d portion of today’s entertainment. And that would be the fact that I’m looking for your help. What I really want to do is write about things you’d be interested in reading. So far, I don’t know if I’ve hit that mark. Perhaps, but perhaps not. (Maybe what I need to do is to go off on a rant like Rob did a few weeks ago. That was HILARIOUS. But, see, I’m generally not a ranter. I’m the appeaser, the peace-maker, the Vaseline on dry skin…wait, strike that last one.) Oops…more parenthesises, sorry about that.

So back to what I was trying to say… Today, I want you to be “where I get my ideas from.” (At least, blog-wise. Story ideas, I’m good.) Parenthesises, Brett! Parenthesises! I can’t promise to address every topic suggested, but those I either have knowledge of or an option about, I will.

So tell me Murderati faithful, what do you want to read about here?

In anticipation of your suggestions, I’ve lined up a little something interesting.

It’s an idea, that, whether you think it’s good or not, you have to admit is pretty ingenious.

Via Boingboing.net I bring you part of a patent request for the latest idea in coffin technology:

(click here to see the boingboing article, and click here to see the whole patent)




  1. Chris Hamilton

    Holy crap, do I feel your pain. I write seven blog posts a week for the Florida Writers Blog. Granted, they aren’t typically very long, usually 300-400 words. But sometimes getting those 300-400 words is harder than churning out 20 pages in my WIP.

    Once, I couldn’t think of anything to write about so I wrote about writer’s block. Brilliant. Until the next time I couldn’t think of anything to write about. Usually, though, the ideas come and our traffic is gradually increasing, so it can’t totally suck.

    I hope.

  2. Zoë Sharp

    Hi Brett

    Love the screw-in coffin idea. Inspired. Erm, what were you saying…?

    Seriously, coming up with interesting blog topics is always a headache. Why do you think there’s never anything from me in the Draft folder before the day the blog is actually due? That’s because I never know until the deadline is looming exactly what I’m going to write.

    So, I’m no bloody use at all for suggestions, because my mind is a total blank, and will probably remain so until next Thursday morning … ;-[

  3. anonymous

    I cracked up with the screw coffin. A year or so ago my friend had the same sort of idea. The vertical burial thing. He emailed me this suggestion.

    "The perfect murder:

    You have a nice patch of lawn…you cut a 22 inch circle in the sod and careful remove it. You then dig a vertical hole 6 -8 foot deep with an auger bit on a tractor…remove the dirt to plastic bags. You get the person drunk..they pass out. You kill them and drop them head first into the hole…You then fill it in and carefully replace the sod. You water…fertilize. Two weeks later the hole is indistinguishable from the rest of the lawn. "

    So after I followed your link to the coffin patent, I started surfing through more and more links to "odd" sites. Dude, there is serious bizarre out there!!! I found something perfect for you murder freaks for a graphic Halloween party prop (warning…don’t go here if you’re squeamish): http://planetoddity.com/the-perfect-gift-for-halloween-axed-up-body/

    Somehow I found and followed a link to a Japanese site for fluorescent light bulb fighting. !!?? New one on me. http://2leep.com/news/1733/287/more/

    and that scariest mountain bike trail thing!!!!!! Whew! http://2leep.com/news/164/478/more/

    I think that what you started here is great. Especially if you have insomnia like me and tend to surf the net in the wee hours. I began at your boingboing link and went on clicking on interesting crap for an hour and a half. Best not to start this kind of oddity scavenger hunt if you are on deadline.

    Here are some cool places to waste time:


    2leep.com check out body modifications

    opulentitems.com check out the hanging fish tank


    Any of these should give you ideas for weirdness in your writing, I would think.

    Thank you, and goodnight Brett!! or is it morning now?

  4. JD Rhoades

    I been there, brother. The "oh shit, it’s my Murderati week" feeling begins coming on Sunday night and many’s the Tuesday when I’ve been scrambling for something, ANYTHING to write about. Something usually turns up, but it’s often a damn close-run thing.

    One thing I do is see if there’s anything mentioned in passing in recent posts or comments that might be expanded upon.

    I also enjoy writers commenting on what they’re reading or have just finished reading that they really liked.

    As for the invention,it looks like it was inspired by an old Southern insult: "he’s so crooked, when he dies, they’ll have to screw him into the ground like an auger."

  5. PK the Bookeemonster

    Here’s the thing: why does it have to "be" about anything? When you talk to friends, do you have prepared statements? Do you have a list of topics handy? Your approach to blogs seems to be putting you into this weird performance anxiety place. And blogs are not a reflection of your writing in book form, they’re completely different animals.We’re not judging you, we just want to have a conversation with you. So just talk to us like friends (which we are). What’s going on in your life? What do you think about things (though don’t go into politics)? What are you reading? What’s the best thing you ever ate? What’s the worst job you ever had? What happened today?

    I feel sorta like a mom coaching a son on a nervous first date — we already like you or we wouldn’t be here (and don’t slouch!).

  6. Dana King

    Have you considered the idea that your posts are so lightly commented on because your points are so well and concisely made there’s really not much left for anyone else to say without exposing their own relative ignorance?

    Nah, me either. 😉

  7. Dana King

    The new coffin patent gives a whole new meaning to the term "being screwed."

    (Notice how I made two brief comments instead of rolling them both into one? I’m trying.)

  8. berenmind

    I have been lurking on your blog for awhile now and so far I haven’t been bored except when yall have to bring up your football teams <g>

    One thing I did, not too long ago, when I was trying to find something I had read and forgot where I read it, I went back to The Naked Authors blog and reread all of Cornelia’s posts. (Trying to find something she said) I didn’t know where to look for it so I just started at the beginning of their archives and scrolled through and read everything until I found what I needed. In the course of looking for my specific, I read some of the best writing I have read in a long time. Cornelia is genius, but the other posts were wonderful, as well.

    The Nakeds have shut down their blog and I think it is because they ran into the same thing you are talking about here. They got burned out of ideas and also didn’t have the time to fuss with the blog anymore. I think they started it in April 2006 or thereabouts. In the beginning the posts were fresh and inspiring. Then, over the years, you could see the deterioration and that at the end they were more or less "fillers", just trying to honor their post-day obligations. Now they are closed and I miss the blog. I am glad they kept it online, however, because new people who have been linked to the site are still visiting there and reading the old stuff.

    How bout if you guys just mutually decide that you don’t have to post every two weeks? What about once a month? Or just post when you have something you are excited about? That would be ok, wouldn’t it? It is sad that the blog has become stressful for yall. That’s not good. You don’t need that and neither do your "visitors". Maybe you could invite some of your writer friends to guest blog for certain weeks to give you a break. Maybe some new writers who aren’t published? I am sure they would have a lot of things to share about their journey and have questions to ask The Blog. You could leave "expert" comments. Or maybe it’s time to go back and tell us your stories again. Where you came from. How you started to write. Go back to a time when you were intimidated by the whole idea of writing for profit, etc.

    I DO like it when you list books you have on the night stand and such. The TBRs. It is helpful when you talk about other books and what worked and didn’t for you. (Good suggestion J.D.) Opinion pieces are good, too. Talking about what bothers you about "stuff" and what inspires you to be better or write better.

    Maybe you don’t have to make your posts so long. Just keep it short but provocative. Themes maybe? (This sounds like grammar school.) One month you all post a different take on a certain subject like the act of murder or the variety of detective personas and their appeal or creative ways to avoid writing……..hell ……what do I know. But I will tell all of you this……that it is always very clear to the reader when you can’t think of anything to post about ! Thank God for Super Bowl, right? Now we have The Olympics. That should be good for a post or two….. (just kidding)

    ; – }

  9. anonymous

    Dana. That’s funny. We are all trying to make as many comments as we can to bolster Brett’s ratings so he won’t leave in a huff.
    Such a pouter, Brett. "ooooo I never get as many comments as the rest of you guys. It’s not fair. I’m gonna take my keyboard and go home. You’ll miss me THEN, alrighty!" (kisskiss….just kidding!!) Now you have us all feeling guilty. (Just consider that Dana’s first comment might not be too far off the mark, OK?)

    (Now I’m doing it……so much muttering and whispering in parentheses……)

    I like what PK said. That’s the ticket!

  10. anonymous

    Ok. So I went back to check out the amount of comments you and Zoe have. I thought maybe I could compare hers with yours and blame it on ‘your day’, thinking that Thursday is a blog suck day. Nope!
    She has GAZILLIONS more comments than you do. All of those great pictures of snowmen and icebergs, too!! And she’s WAY cuter than you are.

    So. There ya have it.

    (Are we up to 12 yet?)

  11. Brett Battes

    All right…totally cracking up here. Not trying to boost my number of comments by complaining that I don’t have many comments…honestly interesting in finding out what you Murderati readers what to here.

    That said…thanks for the comment boost. HAHAHA

    Also Anon for all the great links/suggestions. I too, love to just click through things and see where they take me. Maybe I should just concentrate on randomness! That could be fun.

    JD, great suggestions! Thank you.

    And thanks, PK. I’m sitting up straight. 😉

    Dana, I think you need to work on your building-confidence-in-others techniques. HA!

    Berenmind…a bunch of good stuff there. Thank you!

    And Chris and Zoë…no suggestions, so no gold stars for you! But you did add to the comment total, so we’ll call it a wash! hehehe.

    Okay, I’m heading out for a few hours, so I’ll get to anything new when I return!

  12. Stephen Jay Schwartz

    Hey Brettster – listen man, you’re an inspiration to me and many others. I’m always entertained and informed by the things you post. And I’m with PK all the way – I just want to hear what the other authors are up to, what’s on their minds, what they are struggling with at the moment, how the writing is affecting their lives. I don’t need a master class in plot, and yet there’s a place for that, too. It’s all good. I totally get where you’re coming from, though, about that nervous feeling that comes when the post is due and you feel like there’s nothing to say. But you’ve always got something to say, and what you say is always worth hearing. I do like the way Murderati works, and it feels like two blogs a month works well. I also like how we interview other authors instead of simply giving up the blog space…it keeps a connection between us and those who read our blog. And I also think it’s a great idea for everyone to examine what we’ve got occasionally and suggest new ideas, like we’re doing today. I only wish I had the time to read everybody’s blog every day, and post comments throughout the day. But life gets in the way.

  13. Louise Ure

    I like the comments and suggestions from PK and berenmind. It’s a conversation.

    So why don’t we more often write about "that one big thing that’s on our mind right now." Or just chat.

    I’ll do it.

  14. Gar Anthony Haywood

    Responding strictly as a Murderati reader, Brett, I’d like to second berenmind’s suggestion:

    Why don’t you guys just post when you’ve got something to post?

    I’m sure the orderly schedule you’re all on has its advantages, but I really don’t think your fans would mind if you mixed things up to accommodate the capricious nature of literary inspiration. While I’ve developed a habit of dropping in on the site daily, expecting to see something new and exciting posted every twenty-four hours, it’s not like I’m addicted to heroin or anything. If I didn’t get a new post from somebody every day, I wouldn’t perish from withdrawal.

    This whole subject reminds me why I don’t believe in daily quotas for my writing: Because some days, you just don’t have X-number of pages in you, and if you write them anyway, just because you’re obligated to do so, guess what? You’ll probably end up with X-number pages of dreck.

    Not to suggest that you’ve ever posted dreck, but…

  15. Mari

    Wow! One of the best post, Brett. You gave us a dozen Murderati blogs in one!

    I don’t think any of you realize or are told enough how much you help and inspire. Everything doesn’t come from Posts with a Purpose. A lot of answers and inspiration comes from the little things you probably don’t even notice.

    Murderati is like having a visit with a friend who happens to leave you with encouragement and ideas!


  16. Alafair Burke

    I’m with PK, Stephen, etc. At least for me, I can only blog about what I happen to feel like sharing. Try to guess what people want and you’ll make yourself crazy. I’ve been all over the map in my few months at ‘Rati: TV shows, Tiger Woods, missing women, lots of me, me, me. I figure if people hate me, the rest of y’all will find a polite way to cut me loose 🙂 Until then, go for it!

  17. Cornelia Read

    Brett, I think your posts are great. And I was a terrible commenter here too, for many months. I usually just start thinking of random crap and trying to find pictures, when I blog, but Tess’s post about pirating images this week has made me wonder if I should rethink that.

  18. Jeff Abbott

    This is why I’ve only written on my blog once this year — to announce a new book deal. I just don’t have that much to say right now, and more of my online time has been taken over by Facebook and Twitter. It hasn’t left much for the long form blog writing. I think blogs are like critique groups: they have a natural life span. I’ve quit reading a number of blogs because they’ve simply run out of gas.

  19. Robert Gregory Browne

    Don’t sweat it, Brett. Blogging is a dying art form. So are wall comments on Facebook. And tweets on twitter.

    We’re at the point now that all we need to express ourselves is one word. That’s it. One word. Nothing more needed. Sometimes even three quarters of a word will do.

    For example:


  20. Jake Nantz

    I have an idea, based on your screw-in coffin and the "burial in the backyard" thing someone else posted earlier (wouldn’t work, by the way…has to be at least a few feet deep and covered in some serious plastic or the decomp will smell). Hey Brett, a lot of us are crime writers, why not a post or two from the master of disposal, Mr. Quinn (not really his name folks…dammit, there we go with the parentheses again!!)

    In other words, you write a series about a cleaner. Why not, every once in a while, present a situation–purely fictional, of course–and see if others would get rid of said "situation" in the same way Quinn might?

  21. Judy Wirzberger

    Since you asked
    I love the Murderati blogs – I learn so much about writing and that’s why I read them. I don’t care how your dog Spot is doing after surgery, or how your daughter decorated her dorm room. However, I will skim through those to absorb your writing experiences, new ways to say old things, insight into the writing, publishing world. The comments you all have made about your self doubts, writing crap, and Cornelia’s "I suck" helped me realize that KFKD plays in all our heads.

    Each of us readers cull information that we need at the time we read it. And if you need to write about how often Spot craps on the carpet to remind me that you often feel crappy about your writing, blog on!

    I look forward to meeting each of you some day. You affect my writing life. So, Pari, see you in New Mexico.

  22. Pete

    Hi Brett
    I think a lack of comments is more an indication that WE have nothing to say rather than anything YOU wrote about. The reason I visit Murderati is to find out what all of you are up to. Anything you want to blog about –from fears,frustrations, accomplishments… to books you’ve read, trips you’ve taken, favourite places to write, even favourite bookstores…it’s all good. I have wondered about one thing though. I’d like to know about a book’s release date. How does the time of year a book is published affect it sales? Dumb question???

  23. pari noskin taichert

    Am I weird? I never run out of ideas for blogs. I love to write them. Love to explore thoughts and see what other ‘Rati readers might say about them. When I was writing weekly, I always found something that interested me and that I wanted to share.

    When few people comment, I try not to take it personally. It’s like sending our fiction out . . . we can’t deduce anything from a lack of response.

    The world interests me. Every day there’s something that makes me think, "Gee, I wonder what other people would say about this." I take those ideas and start blogs — a line or two for each one — and when it comes time for me to post, I pick the one that intrigues me most that week.

  24. Alexandra Sokoloff

    Why is it always about size, with men?

    Aside from that, "Oh, god, I have to write a fucking BLOG today" is probably the most complained complaint I hear from every author friend I have.

    It’s finally sunk in that blogging is NOT OPTIONAL. And we resent it.

    We are all damn lucky to be on Murderati, and that’s a fact. Thanks largely to Pari and JT this blog was established just before the – glut, I guess I would call it, and most authors would kill for a widely read platform like this, and for such a fantastic COMMUNITY of participants, who carry the day much more often than we do.

    And still, some weeks – even at only 2 blogs a months – it is just BRUTAL to come up with anything even vaguely interesting to ourselves. We all know that.

    And that’s why picking a shiny bright newcomer like Stephen is essential – we vampirically feed on his optimism until we drain him dry, and then find another newcomer to suck on.

    Okay, now I’ve really gone too far.

    Anyway, great post, Brett. We love you. Don’t worry about that size thing. "It’s not the…" well, you know.

  25. rashda

    As a regular reader, I know I really enjoy reading about different aspects of the writing and publishing process, esp. from your personal pov because the way you write and get inspired will be very different from another rati….

    Also, any topic you really care about and share.

    Just so you know, tho i lurk most times i visit this blog every day. 🙂

  26. anonymous

    Well looky here! All of your whining and sniveling has bagged you 27 comments. Waytago Bretto !!!! The squeaky wheel and all that.

    I think that what PK and others are thinking is that you might be trying too hard. Being too conscientious. Blogs aren’t all about being brilliant…they are about communication. You are giving us too much credit, here, Luv. I almost feel honored that YOU are worried you don’t have anything profound to say to ME. Yeeesh. I get the flop-sweat goin’ HUGE every time I punch "Create Post". Like who gives a flying fuck what I have to say about the price of bananas in Alaska (God that one was from 6th grade). Who am I to be commenting to famous authors, lawyers, cops and bookies? To anyone for that matter? Shit.

    I grieve for you if this blog makes you nervous, I can only imagine how you must feel when you send out a manuscript. I think you are blue for some reason today, that’s all. Maybe? Then EVERYthing is frustrating and seems worthless.

    Gar is right about only blogging when you WANT to. We are all growed up now. We shouldn’t have to worry about the paper due tomorrow or the big date with that hot chick when you have a zit on your nose…ya know? Blogging should be fun.

    We all want to hear from each and every one of you Murderatis because creative people have a great eye on the world. You could be talking about your run-in with a nuthead in the produce department and we would eat it up …….or not. Forgetabouit….
    Go here:


    This will clear it all up for you.

  27. John Dishon

    I personally think it would be good if more writing blogs got back to talking about, you know, writing. The craft part, not the marketing, how can I sell one more book part. I don’t read this blog as much as I used to, and that’s why. It got to the point where very few entries were about writing. I don’t really know how it’s been recently, though.

    It depends on the purpose of the blog though. If Murderati is supposed to be a blog about crime fiction, it would be nice to see some posts actually talk about that, such as the different characteristics that make up crime fiction. But if Murderati is intended to be more of a personal blog for the contributors, then there doesn’t need to be a change. Just talk about whatever. It’s not really a big deal. If I see a post I’m not interested in, I just leave and go elsewhere. No harm done.

    It does seem, in general, not just here, that the only thing writers are interested in talking about is selling books, especially with the ebook stuff going on right now. The writing blogosphere ought to get back to talking about storytelling, not storyselling. But that’s just my opinion.

  28. anonymous

    I think it’s all about the name.




    (this one is just to push the stats again)

  29. anonymous

    I am laughing. I think this post is going to go down in Murderati history.

    The Day That Brett’s Mind Stood Still.

    "I don’t know whether to get drunk or quit the practice of medicine."

    "Brett! Klaatu barada nikto! "

    It will become your "in" joke.

  30. Nancy Laughlin

    Hi Brett,
    I’m another lurker who visits daily but doesn’t comment much, and I’ve loved your blogs. If it helps, I’ll try to comment more on your days. LOL
    One of the reasons I love Murderati is because your honest about your writing. If your struggling, you tell us. If something is going well, you share that too. It helps those of us who aren’t yet published to know that 1) published authors struggle to and 2) that the struggle will continue after publication so if and when we get there, we’ll know it isn’t just us. I’ve learned a lot from all of you, and I hope you keep on.
    For ideas, maybe try broad categories: Characterization: what do you love about characters in books you’ve read? What drives you nuts about certain characters? What elements have you built into your character to make him different? Plot: I’ve read books that are good about dropping clues and read herrings (sp?) for readers and some that spend more time on the characters than the plots. How do you feel about that? You could also pick a topic about voice or themes or even setting. Is it better to make up a city or use a real one in a book? What is your editing strategy? I’ll come up with more if you want them. <g> Good luck, Brett!

  31. Mike Dennis

    Brett, topics pop up in the strangest places. They’re not always obvious. For instance, you might try blogging about how you’re not the ranter, you’re the appeaser, the peacemaker, the Vaseline on dry skin.

    Seriously, take it and run with it.

  32. Robert Gregory Browne

    Hey, John, here’s the problem with always talking about writing. A) It’s what we do, so we tend to get a little tired of the subject sometimes (at least I do); and B) there’s only so much you can say about it.

    Seriously, once you’ve covered narrative, dialogue, characterization, pacing, plot, story development and so forth — which we’ve all done about a zillion times on Murderati — it’s a bit difficult not to repeat yourself should you decide to talk about it again.

    Now, there was a time I’d try to relate every post I did on Murderati to the profession, but that can’t always happen. Then again, the way I figure it, pretty much EVERY subject does relate in some small way, simply because we writers tend to absorb everything around us and use it sooner or later.

    So if Brett’s bringing up screw top coffins (or whatever the hell those things are — they look pretty phallic to me) — you can bet somebody’s going to find a way to use that in a story somewhere.

    If you’re tired of Murderati straying from the subject, I urge you to go out and read the greatest blog ever written about writing — which wasn’t a blog at all, but a series of columns in Writer’s Digest. I’m talking about Lawrence Block’s TELLING LIES FOR FUN AND PROFIT.

    I don’t know how Block keeping talking about this stuff for so many years, but everything you’ll ever need to know about putting words to paper is in that book.

    I’d also give my website Casting the Bones a plug, and Alex’s new Kindle book (which you can also read on your iPhone or Windows PC).

    I think you’ll find more than enough in those three places to satisfy your itch, and I hope that you’ll still pop in to Murderati once in a while to hear us bitch and moan.

    Especially Brett. He’s good at it.

  33. toni mcgee causey

    Ha. bereinmind, that cracked me up. And here I had three more posts lined up about the Saints. Dammit. (kidding)

    Brett, I know how you feel. I’ve been blogging online since about 96 or so… I can’t remember if the first one went up in 96, but I’ve blogged relatively consistently for roughly 14 or 15 years. Mostly about writing, or this journey. (Most of my early blogs got lost in a computer crash where the back-up copy was destroyed. I’ve even tried the wayback machine to find it, but apparently, the software I had back then blocked the wayback machine from logging it…. man, I wish I had that feature for some of the boneheaded things I’ve done in life…)

    I see your parentheticals and raise you ellipses…

    Anyway, if I’ve learned anything, it’s cyclical. I’ll go through spells of thinking I have absolutely nothing of value to contribute, that I am somehow dishonoring the effort my fellow ‘Rati members put into their posts because I’m winging it, and then I have other times when I know three weeks ahead what I want to rant about and I’m champing at the bit to get to my day. (Gar, I think your idea would work if we didn’t have 14 of us… we want to keep the conversation going with all of you here, and if we sat out until inspiration hit, there’d be big lulls in the conversation.)

    So, sometimes, you won’t have something profound to say. (That’s when you put up SAINTS PHOTOS, my friend. SAINTS.) (WHODAT!!!) And sometimes, you’ll rock our world and we won’t be able to quit talking about it. We’ll love you either way.

  34. Tom

    Brett – have no fear. All the little daily stuff contributes to what eventually hits the page.

    Other than that, I’m with Rob. Wha – ?

  35. Brett Battes

    WHOA!!! Seriously, I’m overwhelmed at the responses here…tons of great ideas, so many in fact I’m not going to point them all out now.but do want to give Jake a hat tip about the Quinn idea. That’s brilliant. I’m going to have to do that. Thanks everyone else for the comments and ideas. I’m making a list!

    (…and it’s good to see my secret plot to up my comment count worked!…wait, I was only supposed to think that.)

  36. BCB

    Poor Brett. Everyone is having a field day teasing and mocking you. Not I. I will give you a serious answer to your question. (Because I’m nice that way.) Also because I realized while reading this that I *don’t* usually comment on your posts. And my gut reaction was it’s because I don’t know you very well. (Which is silly, I "know" you as well as I know anyone else over here.) (Not very well at all.)

    So I went back and re-read several of your posts. (You’re welcome.) So I could give you a serious thoughtful answer. (Really, no need to thank me twice.) And I got to the post where you told us about writing thirteen proposals (instead of the usual ONE) and how your agent and editor loved ALL of them and told you to just pick one and write it and it would be awesome. (I skimmed these posts rather quickly, but that was the gist of it.) (And I started to realize why I don’t comment: It’s not nice to say, "Brett, I think maybe I might hate you. Just a little.") And then I read the one where you said it took you two whole weeks to write the damn thing. (And I remember stopping myself from commenting back then because it’s just impolite to say, "Yep, I’m pretty sure I hate you. Maybe more than a little.") Then I got to the post where you realized your story was too similar to someone else’s book and had to re-write it and you sat down and did that in about 20 minutes. (I seem to remember deleting a comment that said, "Are you fucking kidding me? That is IT. I totally hate you.") (That would have been Wrong.)

    But then there was also the recent post with dorky pictures from high school and I almost commented, "Okay, I forgive you. I can’t hate someone who willingly shares ANY pictures from HS." (Except, of course, I couldn’t take back comments I’d never made.) But then I went waaaay back and re-read the post about how you’d lost 40 pounds without even really raising a sweat. (Oh yeah, we’re back to pure hate again.)

    But this was really a very helpful exercise. (Yes, I know you appreciate it.) Because I discovered the *real* problem. You’re too freakin’ perfect. I recognize it because I have an older sister who has the same exact problem. (It’s okay, sometimes I hate her too.) (Just a little.) (SHE hasn’t lost 40 pounds.)

    I think the obvious solution is for you to get completely shit-faced drunk before you write your blog posts. And then you’re not allowed to edit them. (No, not even for spelling.) (Or parenthesises either.) That way, maybe you won’t sound quite so confident and accomplished and productive and successful. (And thin.) I’m sure this would produce extremely comment-worthy blog posts. Really.

    Pretty sure you’re now wishing I’d never again comment on one of your posts. (Sorry, too late.) After re-reading all those posts, I feel I know you much better now. (No longer feeling shy and inadequate by comparison.) (Familiarity breeds… um, you know. Comments.)

    However, I am going to refrain (because I don’t know you all that well) from asking about the picture with the two guys screwing that person in the casket and whether one has to be dea— never mind. (I didn’t ask.) (Really.)

  37. JT Ellison

    Wow, here I am, late, and what do I see? Mr. Battles’s Flying Circus. This is awesome! See, B? I told ya!

    Seriously, I think there’s a lot of truth to the fact that your story is intimidating as hell. We all bow before your prowess, your abilities, and your introspection. You’re living the dream and putting your money where your mouth is (Pari, you see? I finally came up with some cliches!)

    That said, I know for a fact that you are the Vaseline, and that’s a very special ability that not a lot of people have. So don’t sell that particular skill short – Killer Year would have fallen apart without your ability to soothe the masses.

    Great convo today though – I’m inspired for my next few blogs! This is the greatest blog ever because we are a community. I love you guys!

  38. anonymous

    Words on the ground!!

    Dude. 47 comments. You won’t make Gold but a Bronze is def in reach.

    Baby you SEE! It’s about being vulnerable. Yes. We love it when you all get serious and mentor us on writing skills. That is valuable. But…..HELLO…….what the fuck do you think you are doing when you post to a blog?…….it’s called WRITING…..and the best writing comes unexamined from the viscera. It doesn’t have to be Edgar award chow.

    Did you go to the Donnie Brasco YouTube I sent? This is all it is.

    But enough of this maudlin shit. We can’t forget it’s ultimately all about……fame, wealth, prestige, the Lamborghini, Harry Winston and Patek Philippe. Amen.

    What a great "recess break" Brett. Did us all good.

    See what a whimpass post turns into when you just relax?

    (Have we cleared 50 yet?)

  39. JT Ellison

    I figured I’d take us to page two….

    I think it’s blatantly obvious, folks. Blogging is hard work, and we LOVE to hear from you. So keep those comments coming.

  40. anonymous

    Let’s lower the Limbo bar one more notch. He can do it!

    Another for his record:

    You extracted all of the Orwellian/Proustian/Freudian/Parkerian/Wildeian (did I forget anyone?) emo from all of us.

    Now. We look at the reality of Brett’s blog post. The next guy is totally fucked. Better come up with the money shot Stephen. ; – }

    Let’s hear it from our cheerleader! :

    " I’d like to have money. And I’d like to be a good writer. These two can come together, and I hope they will, but if that’s too adorable, I’d rather have money."
    — Dorothy Parker

    Common. I’m ALMOST kidding! What a giggle this was. Perfect Thursday.

    and Zoe? <g>

    Goodnight, Brett…….Goodnight Murderati…………


    (and that was not an abrev. for anonymous)

  41. Stephen Jay Schwartz

    Can we rev this thing up to 60?

    I’m going to take it all down a notch tomorrow, Anon. Give us all a chance to catch our breath.

  42. anonymous

    and before you think you can go tripping off to bed with a self-satisfied smirk, Brettness……….you promised us a "new newspaper", Laddy. Did you think we had skipped that part? Stuffing the comment "box" has it’s price Baby Doll…………

    We’ll be WAYting………………………….!!!!!!!!!


    A deafening roar from the coliseum crowd reverberates through the eery stillness left in the aftermath of the valiant gladiator’s triumph over writer’s obstacles……HHHHHWWWRRRHHH…….. hitherto doubting patrons have risen…. stomping their approval ……BRETT BRETT BRETT BRETT BRETT………the wailing cry of yearned victory is heard far and deep away……electrifying the darkness in the brutal swale of the publisher’s encampments outside the walls of the Murderati stadium……a swift glance to his consort ….. the Emperor smiles benevolently………..and raises his little thumbellino

    ad multos annos

    age quod agis



  43. kit

    I am a *lurker* as well…I always feel like I’m sitting at the *big people’s table*….sometimes, I’m driven to comment, and when I do..it doesn’t always come out the way I meant it, or I wish I’ld just been quiet.or I could take it back.
    Murderati has also reminded me of a *round table discussion* or something similar to going out with friends at a bar and while enjoying each other’s company everyone adds to the discussion and sometimes several conversations are going on at once.
    I’ve learned alot…and the times you’ve all shared have shown me….well, you never exactly ARRIVE. so much as SHOW UP and have the guts, determination, sheer will (stubborness???) to do it.

    There was a topic I wanted to bring up, a while back, if and when it fit in. But, damn, for the life of me…I cannot remember what it was….the older I get, the more I find my life is driven by post-it notes, reminders,and lists.I no longer tell my children, half-threateningly,"I’ll remember that!!!" and somehow, "I’ll DOCUMENT THAT!" loses it’s bite.

    There have been many posts on themes and how each person delivers their own take on it. And that’s what makes the stories different,well tonight that was really driven home to me. I mean, I KNEW it …however, a reminder is a good thing every once in a while.
    I also wanted to share this to illustrate it…..
    Most of us listen to music, and we’ve all heard different versions of the same song, some good and some bad.
    We are going to Louisiana this summer and my SIL asked me to look up music I would like to listen to …I have a deep love of cajun and zydeco music. Because, while we are on different sides of the country, in it’s own way it represents the roots of the people involved. So I was going through YOU TUBE…and I ran across something.
    I first heard this song back in the 60’s , the version I first heard was by Tommy Cash, then later on by THE ANIMALS and since then, many other versions in-between….
    here’s the ANIMALS version…

    now, that’s a good version, possibly even a great version…..

    But then just a while ago….I heard this one. I wasn’t going to listen….I thought" 7 FREAKING MINUTES! WTH???!!"
    then I listened to it…and listen to it again, and again…..maybe you won’t get the same thing from it….but, this 7+ minute version, I believe is played by people that understand it originated in the late 1920’s and want to do FULL JUSTICE to the story, through music.

    I used to shoot some pool, especially when I was a broke college student. It was an untaxable, untraceable source of income….one of my mentors, at the time said..".Just remember, Kit, it’s the Person behind the stick, it ain’t table roll, bad cushions…you make the difference."

  44. Chris Hamilton

    Suggestions: As an aspiring published author, I’d like to know what you went through to get there. What your thoughts are on the future of the industry? Tell me why, when the digital world comes, Stephen King needs a publisher (assuming digital hits critical mass). Tell me about the challenges you had before you were published and the challenges you have now that you thought were luxuries then. Tell me what works for you. When you create a scene that you step back from and admire like a Manny Ramirez home run, how did you get there?

    Also, those coffins seem like something that should turn up on LOST.

  45. Stephen Jay Schwartz

    Just a couple more comments and we’ll hit the SIXTY mark. I know we can do it. Wait for it….wait for it…

  46. toni mcgee causey

    kit, what a perfect quote: "It’s the Person behind the stick, it ain’t table roll, bad cushions…you make the difference."

    I really *really* hope we don’t manage to intimidate people from not posting comments. We are all of us just regular grouchy hopeful wishful people, all with flaws (well, Brett may not have any, since he is His Vaseline-ness)… but really, we’re just regular folks.

  47. anonymous

    Kit!!! Damn ! Thank you for that fiddle and a a haunting version of a great classic.

    I love Caroline Dahl. She rocks the booji wooji when she sits down to a big ol’ concert grand with the lid torn off!

    I got so carried away that I ran over and sat at my daughter’s Steinway grand which I am "storing" for her and looked at my fingers…"WELL ??…….YOU HEARD THE MUSIC DIDN’T YOU!!?? WHAT THE F……?" Nothing. They just stared back at me accusingly. "It’s called PIANO LESSONS you dumbass!"

  48. Melanie

    I love your posts, I just don’t comment on Murderati very often. I will say I’m very glad you included the diagram because I’d seen that headline but didn’t read the article and was wondering how that worked.

    Keep it up, even if it’s just rambling. As a three-times a week blogger, it’s nice to hear when others struggle too.


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