Killer Diller

by Rob Gregory Browne

As I write this, the Killer Year anthology has just come out.

What started in the summer of 2006, just a few months after I got my first publishing deal, has now blossomed into something I’m truly proud of — and I know my fellow Murderati/Killer Year bloggers, Brett, JT and Toni are just as proud as I am. (And let’s not forget that Ken’s in there, too.)

And since I’m less than a week away from my deadline for book three and sweating bullets over it, I’m going to take the lazy route today and offer up my final post from the Killer Year blog. 

It went something like this:

What can I say about Killer Year that
hasn’t already been said? Not much, I suppose. This past year has gone
by in a blur of emails and conferences and late nights getting drunk
and reveling in the knowledge that we all finally made it, finally
fulfilled the dream we’d been nurturing for years.

I don’t really remember how I became
involved with Killer Year. I think one of the founders sent me an
email, asking if I was interested in joining them in a little
experiment in promotion — and I said “yes” without hesitation.

Despite that yes, however, I was a
little skeptical about what our little group could accomplish. After
all, who really gave a damn about a bunch of first-time authors?

But then I met JT and Brett and Jason
and Toni and Marcus and god knows who else at Thrillerfest in Arizona
and I knew I was in good company. Knew that these were high caliber,
enthusiastic people who were determined to make the world notice us.

JT brought customized Killer Year
t-shirts — one I still wear to this day (I’m wearing it right now, as a
matter of fact) — and Brett brought hats. Or maybe it was the other way

Whatever the case, the next thing you
know, Barry Eisler and Joe Konrath were wearing them and helping spread
the word about us, and a short time later I was sitting with the crew
and MJ Rose, being told that ITW was interested in giving us a helping

From that point on, Killer Year became something of a phenomenon.

I knew we had arrived when I was down in
San Diego teaching a writing workshop, and one of the participants came
up to me out of the blue and said, “You’re one of those Killer Year
people, right?”

When the idea that we pitch an anthology
was raised, I have to admit I didn’t think we had much chance of
getting one published. But one thing I’ve learned about JT Ellison is
that she’s not only a great talent, but a very determined woman, and
she worked tirelessly in prepping the proposal. I sent her a story that
was added to the packet and when the email came saying we’d made a deal
with St. Martin’s, I was pretty much flabbergasted.

The final result is getting spectacular
reviews. And as I hold it in my hand, I can’t help but think that it’s
truly a representation of what we are as a group. The variety of
writing styles. The diversity of subject matter. The authors who
supported us and helped turn Killer Year into that phenomenon. It’s all
there in one package. A testament to what a handful of people can
accomplish if they try hard enough.

But what it represents to me most of all
is friendship. This last year has created a bond between us that I
don’t think will ever be broken. The kind of bond that few writers ever
have the chance to experience.

Because writing is, after all, a lonely profession.   An old cliche, yes, but an accurate one for the most part.

And Killer Year has managed to shatter that cliche. Many times over.



For those of you in the Los Angeles area, Brett Battles, Marc Lecard and I will be signing copies of KILLER YEAR:  Stories to Die For at 5:30 pm this Saturday, January 26th, at the Mystery Bookstore in Westwood.

Hope to see you there.


Me, again.  If you made it this far down on the post, I’d be curious to know if you’ve had any of those frantic a-week-away-from-deadline-and-still-a-hundred-pages-to-go moments like I’m having right now.   How close have YOU come to missing your deadline?


9 thoughts on “Killer Diller

  1. D.A. Davenport

    Are you guys promoting it at Left Coast Crime Denver? I saw Marcus Sakey listed awhile back as coming there. Would love to pick up a copy there in March.

  2. toni mcgee causey

    D.A., I’m not sure yet if there’s something official, but I’m going to be there as well and on a panel. I’ll write to the organizers and see if there’s something official lined up. And thanks.

  3. JT Ellison

    There will be many of us at Left Coast, so the book room should have it : )

    Rob, you know how much this post means to me, so I won’t get all verklempt here. But the year was tremendous, everyone involved amazing, and it’s so cool to have a concrete, hardcover reminder sitting on my desk. “Evermore.”

    Deadlines? Oh, we know how I feel about them. I can’t back up against them, drives me insane. I’m a turn it in early kind of girl. I know, that comes as a complete shock to everyone. Then again, I’ve got copyedits due Monday and I might have to turn them in Tuesday. That would be my first actual miss. But there was a mailing issue…

  4. Louise Ure

    I’ve never had the “one week to deadline and a hundred pages to go” problem. But I’ve sure had the “one week to deadline and I still hate it” one.

    Congratulations again, to all the Killer Year members. You’re a lesson to all of us in breakthrough promotion.

  5. Rob Gregory Browne

    JT, of course you’d be one to turn it in early. Me, I’m a cram at the last minute for the final exam kinda guy. I do the allnighter and walk into the classroom looking like a zombie.

    Hopefully, the work doesn’t suffer for it. But hey, there’s always the rewrite…

  6. Michael Haskins

    Rob, deadlines are something I got used to as a journalist, but they still play with my mind as a mystery writer. I have a Feb 29 deadline for an agent and am less than 100 pages away. What should be a long weekend’s writing has turned into weeks of stress and doubts. I wrote about it in my blog and actually broke through this weekend and the pages are adding up. I might actually make the deadline, maybe with time to spare, but my stomach will never be the same. I think my old daily deadlines were easier to deal with.

  7. Fran

    Yay that so many of you will be at LCC! I’ve been told that I’m absolutely going, so I want signatures from all Killer Year attendees, please!

  8. Zoe Sharp

    When it comes to deadlines, I’m with Douglas Adams, who said something along the lines of: “I love deadlines. I love the whooshing noise they make as they go rushing by …”

    Congrats to all on the Killer Year. Long may your careers continue to flourish!


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