So Long, and Thanks for all the Fish

Zoë Sharp

“I’m sure Zoë will be in a much sunnier frame of mind tomorrow—or pretend she is. So stiff-upper-lip, that woman. Bless her murderous little heart.”

Hmm, thank you to David Corbett for that impossible introduction in his Murderati  blog yesterday. How to respond? If I wail and gnash my teeth, I’m being a wuss. If I carry on like nothing’s happened, I’m conforming to a racial stereotype. Ah well.

The truth is that I’m not entirely sure how I feel about the end of such an era as Murderati. This is my hundred-and-fiftieth blog here and for that reason alone it feels slightly momentous. It would seem that only JT Ellison, Pari Noskin Taichert and Alexandra Sokoloff have written more on these pages. I had no idea I’d been quietly scribbling away to such an extent.

Things have certainly changed for me since Ken Bruen first invited me to join the crew here. I hope I’ve grown as a writer—that every book has shown some slight increase in understanding the pursuit of a craft that’s ruled my life since I was about twelve.

I hope I’ve learned even more to value the friendship of other authors—those here and elsewhere. Mainly we connect via the internet. By Facebook and Twitter and goodreads. We email and support each other via Killer Thrillers and The Hardboiled Collective. But getting to sit and talk at conventions both here and in the States is always a pleasure. That’s why the bar at Bouchercon is always so crowded until the wee small hours. It’s not so much the drink as the craic, as they say.

But most of all I love the contact this blog has given me with people who love stories, who become totally wrapped up in the characters’ lives and whose enthusiasm for what we do never fails to give me a boost and a very large cheesy grin.

Like David yesterday, I can’t help taking the loss of Murderati hard. I too feel a personal failing—if only I’d been funnier, more insightful, more heartfelt, less insubstantial, then maybe the decision would not have been made to archive and shelve and preserve this like hold baggage not required on journey.

On the other hand is it better to go out with a bang than fade away? Better to go out on a high rather than jumping the shark? Or—even more silly than that—future-16th-president-of-the-United-States-with-axe-versus-vampire-during-horse-stampede fight from the truly laughable Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter.

So, this month will indeed be the Long Goodbye from Murderati, but I hope not from the contributors who have had the privilege to take this road, and from all those who have walked with us.

And if all else fails:

This week’s Word of the Week comes courtesy of my Twitter pal Jon Cooper. It’s ultracrepidarian which is a person in the habit of giving opinions, criticism or advice on matters outside his or her expertise. Well, we’re all guilty of that occasionally aren’t we?

23 thoughts on “So Long, and Thanks for all the Fish

  1. Reine

    Bye-bye, Zoë. Lovely woman, you are very dear in my thoughts. I hope I will meet you once again. Thank you for all your work in making your books (and your website) accessible to people with disabilities. I think you are remarkable for all your effort in that regard. There are many more people than one would ever dream, who need this service. Most writers allow it, if the opportunity presents itself, but you were proactive in your effort. I know what a huge job it was, how exacting the process. I will never forget that. Never.

    R & K

  2. Sarah W

    Oh, Zoë . . .

    You've taught me so much and your support and encouragement have been invaluable. And if it weren't for your posts here, I would never have presumed to approach you at Bouchercon — seeing you there is always a highlight.

    I've been receiving your newsletter for a while and I know I'll have many opportunities to make snarky Facebook comments about your Marmite habit or trade Pratchettisms, but it won't be quite the same . . .

    Now . . . Where can I get one of those SHIRTS?!

  3. Richard Maguire

    Hi Zoe. 150 blogs! That's amazing. Clearly you've never had the time to suffer from writer's block – if such a thing really exists.

    I discovered Murderati towards the end of 2006 and very soon it became my favorite blog. I'm quite sure I didn't leave a comment for at least 2 years, and the next one was probably a year later. I think I honestly felt, and still do, that reading and enjoying the posts was enough, without adding my two cents. There are just a few other blogs I read, most days, but I've never commented. What's made Murderati special for me is the collection of very talented, and friendly, writers. I'll miss it.

    But I'm looking forward to reading the future Charlie books. I've read many, but only recently caught up with the first one, KILLER INSTINCT – as an e-book. I loved the way you set up the possibility for a series. Especially Charlie's relationship with Sean, which is done very sparingly as backstory. When you wrote that first book were you hoping a series was a possibility?

    I wish you continued success.

  4. Pauline

    I discovered Murderati because Tess had mentiioned it on her website.
    Because of Murderati, I have many more authors that I adore.
    Grin away Zoe, cause I love your books.
    And like Sarah said, Where can I get one of those shirts? So cool.

  5. Larry Gasper

    "Ultracrepidarian" I've got to figure out a way to use that in conversation with a couple of people I know who are extreme examples of the species. (not me of course. I've only got a mild case of it :-))
    Love the way to a man's heart. Same with the Charlie Fox shirt.
    I've enjoyed your blogs and the Charlie Fox books. I finished "Die Easy" a few weeks ago and have several more on my Kindle. Same with all the other Murderati writers.( Murderati may be fading away, but my TBR pile never does.)

  6. KDJames

    Oh, Zoë. I am so going to miss your sense of humour and your quick intellect and kickass attitude. And all the new words and odd Brit terms I've learned from you. *sigh* It's fun following you on twitter and maybe I should track you down over on facebook. But I sort of suck at FB and am not sure I want to get better at it. Besides, it's just not the same.

    I wasn't here for the early days, but thank you for the 150 (!!) posts and countless comment replies over here. There was nothing lacking in any of them. At least we can look forward to hearing your voice in more works of fiction.

    I've never been a fan of pulling the band-aid off slowly. Not sure I can handle an entire month of this.

  7. David Corbett

    Dearest, gentle Zöe:

    See, I knew you'd be better at this than I am. Lovely post, and so in keeping with all the posts you've had here over the years. Can't put it better than the readers who've commented, and God bless them all for chiming in so often, so heartily, so warmly.

    How strange it will be, knowing I won't be able to read your smart, sharp, witty postings the day after I blather all over myself.

  8. Zoë Sharp

    Dearest Reine

    Meeting you—and Kendall the Wonderdog—remains one of the highlights of my US convention visits. And as for the website and the books, you are always and entirely welcome. I hope we will long continue to connect on FB xxZ

  9. Zoë Sharp

    You’re most welcome too, Sarah

    And if I’ve encouraged you it’s because you have talent that is definitely worth encouraging. But what’s all this ‘would never have presumed to approach you at Bouchercon’. One of the main reasons I go at all is to meet people like you, m’dear.

    As for the shirts, I’ll dig out a link and put it up next time … ah, or on Facebook. xxZ

  10. Zoë Sharp

    As Reine’s post posted eventually I took down the comment I posted on her behalf. Sorry to be slow to respond tonight, but we’ve had a power-out this evening. Dinner by candlelight!

  11. Zoë Sharp

    Thank you so much for the good wishes, Richard

    No, I don’t tend to suffer much from writer’s block—only writers’ crashing lack of self-belief which I think afflicts all of us at some point or another. I do tend to find that nothing concentrates the mind quite like a deadline. Knowing my ‘Rati blog HAD to be up every other Thursday does kick my dusty brain into gear somewhat.

    Glad you enjoyed going back to the beginning of Charlie’s story—or the jumping-in point anyway. Yes, I always knew it was going to be a series—with Charlie moving into close protection—and I had the first four or five vague ideas in my head when I wrote KILLER INSTINCT. The difficulty was convincing a publisher … xxZ

  12. Zoë Sharp

    Bless you, Pauline

    Tess is a darling, isn’t she? She gave me the most wonderful blurb for Charlie Fox and I’m chuffed to little mintballs that you followed the trail from her blog over here and tripped over our books on the way.

    And yes, honest, I’ll dig out the link for the shirts! xxZ

  13. Zoë Sharp

    You’re a star, as always Larry

    Couldn’t resist the word ultracrepidarian, but I love all the weird and wonderful ones. I still seek them out and have a dictionary covered in Post-It notes, so I need to carry on using them up somewhere, don’t I?

    Thank you for giving the Charlie Fox series a whirl and I’m so glad you’ve enjoyed it. What more encouragement do I need to keep scribbling? Besides a whip and a chair, obviously … xxZ

  14. Zoë Sharp

    I’m going to miss you too, KD

    I’m pretty sure I suck at Facebook and Twitter. I’m really bad at using either to publicise my work and far better at using them for silly pictures and jokes <sigh> If you work out how it all works, will you let me know?

    Nothing lacking in any of them? Are you sure you’re thinking of the right day …? xxZ

  15. Zoë Sharp

    My dear Dävïd

    You do realise, don’t you, that for as long as I’ve had to follow your Wednesday posts with my own witterings I’ve been sweating about how on earth to compete with your depth and prose? If my own scribbling have ever been ‘smart, sharp and witty’ it was partly desperation and partly self-defence.

    But thank you, my dear, from the bottom of my slightly perforated heart. xxZ

  16. Stephen Jay Schwartz

    Zoe – I'll finally be able to rest without feeling inadequate for not being able to figure out how to get the dots over the e.

    I'll miss you, girl.

  17. Zoë Sharp

    "I'll miss you, girl"

    Why's that, Stephen – did someone break the sights off your rifle …?

    Seriously, if all else fails cut and paste :))

    I'll miss you too, guy, but there's always B'con and I have a nasty habit of travelling to the US on a regular basis. Bet you're glad you never gave me your address, huh?

  18. Lil Gluckstern

    You will be missed. I've enjoyed your posts and how you presented yourself here and other places. So I will have to look for you, and of course, read your books. thank you for all pleasure you bring.

  19. Jake Nantz

    Ugh. Yep, I'm still immature and mad, so I'm still posting it. Gonna miss you guys (especially since my wife and I were planning a jaunt over the pond this summer, and were hoping you could direct us to the best sights, Zoe!). Dammit dammit dammit.

    I shouldn't have gone on Spring Break…

    Still, thanks for all the great info and advice through the years. All of you. You guys rule.

    Well, you guys suck for quitting.

    But other than that, you guys rule.

  20. Zoë Sharp

    Thank you, Lil, that's so nice of you to say so. We'll all probably still be blogging, just not all in one place … I hope you do continue to seek us out, otherwise we'll miss you something dreadful!

  21. Zoë Sharp

    Y'know Jake, there's part of me that totally agrees with you – the "we suck" part. I hate the feeling of giving up on something that's been such fun. Hard work at times, but still fun.

    Much like writing itself.

    And hey, WHEN you come to the UK, who says I can't still make some suggestions about sightseeing. You still have email don't you?


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