Saturday Afternoon, May 31, 1:33 pm:
I’m trying to get one of my children dressed for a cello recital. I, of course, have just stepped out of the shower. It’s hot in Albuquerque. Our family is one of two in the entire city that still hasn’t turned on the air conditioning, so the front door is wide open. The doorbell rings. Wrapped in a curtain, I peek out of the window in my office and don’t recognize the car parked in the driveway. DON’T ANSWER IT! DON’TANSWERIT! I screech.
An adult calls my name, pronouncing it correctly which means the person knows me. I put on an oversized Tee, my hair still dripping.
"Do you have the invitation to Sean’s birthday party?" a parent of one of my kid’s friends asks.
"What birthday party?"
"The one tonight."
We search and can’t find the invite. We call another parent who threw hers away last week.
(Did I mention that my husband is at work? Yes, he’s at work on a Saturday.)
Our uninvited guest begins to back out of the front door, horror on her face, as she registers the condition of our house. We plan to make pillows out of all the dog hair on the floors and I think we could feed several homeless people with the crud on our kitchen counters . . .
Welcome to my world.
With three minutes to spare before leaving the house at 1:42, I turn to the Inbox. This is usually a stupid impulse, akin to gambling at a casino or using that penny to scrape a Scratcher. Most of the time I DON’t win.
But every once in a while . . .
There it was: The note from John Purcell, the Anthony Chair, telling me that Murderati had been nominated for an Anthony Award for Best Mystery Website for 2007. We’re in astounding company:
* Confessions of an Idiosyncratic Mind — Sarah Weinman
* Rap sheet/January Magazine — J. Kingston Pierce
* Murderati — a Writer’s Blog
* Stop You’re Killing Me — Stan Ulrich & Lucinda Surber
* Crime Fiction Dossier — David Montgomery
Do you notice ours is the only one that doesn’t have a single name associated with it? We’re almost a democracy here.
More than two years ago when Naomi Hirahara and I spoke about starting a blog, I had no idea it would morph into this living creature that creates and nurtures community in the mystery world. I simply wanted the blog to be different, to offer fresh content daily and to provide real fodder for thought and discussion. I hoped it would help market our books ( and J.T.’s writing enough to get her first contract). We hit the ether publicly on April 3, 2006.
J.T. is the one to credit for the look of the site. She taught herself how to design the blog and did/does an astounding job. She’s the one to credit for the name, too, though we batted around some great ones (I was pushing for Murderama).
Blogging isn’t for everyone. It takes tremendous commitment and time. We worry when people don’t comment, when our numbers aren’t growing as fast as we’d like.
In two years, we’ve had 17 regular contributors (no particular order here).
Zoe Sharp Louise Ure Alex Sokoloff JT Ellison JD Rhoades Brett Battles (congrats on the Barry nomination!!!) Robert Gregory Browne Toni McGee Causey Michael Maclean Naomi Hirahara Simon Wood Ken Bruen (congrats for the Anthony nod for Best Paperback Original) Elaine Flinn Deni Dietz Jeffrey Cohen Paul Guyot et moi.
Yeah, that’s a lot. Believe me, it hasn’t always been easy. There have been flare-ups, ego conflicts, disagreements, emails flying back and forth, friendships threatened with dissolution. I’ve had to play Mama Bear when all I really wanted to do is run away screaming.
More often, there has been a wonderful camaraderie among the very different writers/personalities on this blog.
I think we’ve got something special here, a true and honest exchange. The crew we have now — including Tess Gerritsen who joins us on June 17 — gets along well. We’ve found our groove.
Thank you to everyone who nominated us. Thank you to everyone who visits this site.
We are truly honored.
P.S. I hadn’t planned on going to Bouchercon this year; my hubby is tired of all my travel. Now I’m trying to talk him into letting me fly out for a day or two. If anyone wants a tired New Mexican to sleep on her hotel room floor for a night, let me know. I want to bask in this joy.
Congratulations to the ‘Rati!
Your Anthony nom is well deserved recognition for an exceptional and noteworthy online presence. You provide entries of substance for the mostly anonymous eyes of the Web.
This is great news, indeed. I have no idea how the nominating system works, but thanks to whoever nominated/voted for us. It’s quite an honor.
Huge congratulations – the nomination is so well-deserved!!
And I love your screeching “Don’t Answer It!” – I have done that so many times.
Right before we moved, when our old house was on the market, an older southern woman called wanting to buy our house “sight unseen” – she made a ridiculously low offer right there on the phone.
I said “no thanks” and she then wanted to set up an appt. to see the house. I said NO THANKS and went to take a shower. When I got out and was walking around trying to find clothing to put on I realized the dogs were barking their heads off. I’d always kept a lock on our front gate to discourage solicitors, so I knew it couldn’t be someone at the front door. I marched naked into the dining room to see if I could glimpse a car out in the driveway. And suddenly this little old southern woman walked in the French doors to the dining room, saying she’d been in the neighborhood when she called and decided to just stop on by and see our house!
She had tried the front gate, found it locked, and gone around to the back gate, let herself in, and come inside to take a look. When she realized she’d come into a room with naked homeowner, wildly barking dogs, and a huge mess of packing, she backed slowly out.
I wish I could say this debacle ended with a fabulous nomination, but it didn’t!
(And Pari, if Bouchercon (or any other con) ever comes w/in driving distance of my house, I’ll clean up the dog/cat hair, get the guest bed ready, and answer the door – open invitation!)
Congrats again – Murderati really is a fine blog. A daily stop for me, first blog site I go to.
I RARELY comment but I’m here every day. Congrats on the nomination. Well-deserved. Fingers crossed for the win!
Congratulations to all of you — and, hey, Tess, great to have you back!
B.G.,Thank you so much. You’ve been one of our most steadfast and vocal readers.
It’s been such a pleasure to learn from you . . .
Rob,Isn’t this something? It feels like such validation for our work. I know nominations shouldn’t matter, but they do.
Billie,I cackled when I read that. Usually, I’m a little more together with the kids; I at least have a robe on or something.
However, this was my child’s first recital and I was almost as nervous as she was.
Oh! And thank you for the invite!!!! Believe me, I’d love to meet you in person. You’re another one who brings such depth to Murderati through your thoughtful comments and worldview.
Cyndi,Thank you so much for the congrats AND for letting us know you’re here everyday. I understand that we have many readers who don’t comment, but it’s nice to know who is stopping by.
And, I do remember some of your comments and they’ve all been pertinent, intelligent and generous.
You’ve enriched our blog with reams of important information and a paucity of BS.
We’re honored . . .
And yes, I’m atwitter about Tess. She’s going to be a fabulous addition.
Wow, congratulations guys! I’ve just recently come to the blog via Mr. Rhoades, but I really enjoy the insight and have picked up some helpful tips for my own writing and that of my creative writing students.
Jake,Thank you.And Welcome.
One of the really fascinating things about Murderati is how well we “cross-pollinate.”
Each one of our contributors brings truly interesting readers and then all of our worlds expand. It’s something I cherish about this blog experience.
I, too, am delighted with the nomination. We’re in pretty rarified air with those other nominees.
Too bad we’re only allowed one vote. 🙂
Louise,I was gobsmacked when I finally found the list of nominees. Holy cow!
And we couldn’t do it without your fantastic bi-Tuesday posts.
Elaine,Your On The Bubble interviews helped put us on the map; I — we — are forever indebted.
Huge congratulations to all! I can’t think of a more deserving band of recipients!
Tammy,Thanks so much.
I’ve really enjoyed many of our conversations via Murderati and have learned so much.
We’re doing the happy dance over here at the Lunch Room, guys – so thrilled for all of you on the much deserved nominations, both as a group and as individuals.
It was my great pleasure to list Murderati on my Anthony nom sheet. Many congratulations, my friends. It’s greatly deserved. And congrats to Brett! Dude!
Pari, you made me laugh out loud with all this.Congratulations, again.And I do hope you make it to Baltimore for B’Con. I look forward to meeting you and the rest of the Murderati group face to face.
J.B.,Thank you. You’ve been one of our cheerleaders forever and a day. Of course, it’s easy to see why — what with your twin here and all.
Bill,Um . . .How many times did you vote
Thank you so much for thinking of us. That’s an honor in itself.
Kaye,I’m glad I made you laugh.
Believe me, that was only half of what was going on at the moment. I have another child and there was all the drama there — plus the dog barking at full volume and, and, and . . .
I hope to get to Baltimore at least for the banquet on Sunday morn, but quite a bit will depend on our finances and my husband’s willingness to take care of the kids during what promises to be an extremely challenging month of his career.
Hmm. I’ll need to take my shoes off to count…
Thanks for the kind words, Pari. On The Bubble was fun, and I may be reprising some of them over at Evil E now and then.
Elaine, if you’ve ever been stalled at O’Hare for any length of time, you’re an Honorary Chicagoan With All Rights And Privileges Appurtaining There Unto.
Which means you’re licensed to vote early and vote often. Use this power only for good.
Woooo-Hoooo! Congratulations, all you Murderati, you! This is a very different kind of blog – the Practical Art of Crime Fiction – and terrifically valuable to those of us struggling with the alphabet and grammar and all that (and the rest of us, too)!
Woo hoo! Congratulations!
Thanks to all who brought us to this point: to J.T. and Pari, who’ve both put in so much hard work to make this happen; to my fellow ‘Rati, for keeping things interesting so that the readers keep coming back; to those who nominated us; and most importantly, to our readers, who keep us coming back to the keyboard.
Yay! A Murderati love fest! Thank you, thank you, thank you to everyone who voted for us — and what an august group to be nominated with. I read every blog on the list, so it’s a nice thing to be included. We’ve had an incredible two years, seen people come and people go, and I know my life has been enriched for it.
I’m so glad to be a part of this incredible group. I credit Pari with getting me a deal and on the map — it just goes to show that sometimes, taking a chance pays off. It certainly did for me.
And thanks for all the kind words about the design — full disclosure — Mr. Ellison is to be commended for both the name and the blood drop design. He’s my secret weapon. Now if I could just bribe him to run the site for me… kidding! Here’s to you, babe.
When do you want us to start the smear campaign against the other nominees? I think going negative and going negative early help Murderati prevail.
Bill,It’s great to know you’re in our court. I say, “Vote and vote often.”
Elaine,I really like what you’re doing over at Evil E; it’s got the same spunk — just with more interviewers.
Tom,What a beautiful way of seeing this blog: “The Practical Art of Crime Fiction.”
I think because there are so many of us, and we come from such different perspectives, that the whole gives a broad view of the challenges, joys and shocks of this writing life.
Thanks, Fran! I heard your “whoop!” all the way in ABQ.
Dusty,What a nice acceptance speech. Are you practicing? 😉
And hey, it’s a total pleasure to have you here with us. We’re one lucky group.
JT,You’re the one who wrote the books AND you’re the one who contacted me off of DL so long ago. (See, everyone? Virtual friendships can lead in all kinds of interesting directions.)
A HUGE Shout-Out to Randy!!!! Thank you!!!!!!
Simon,You always have impeccable timing. I’ll leave the campaign in your capable hands . . .
Great to see you here today.
Hey, Bad Girl PR — talk about a seductive company name… I wanted to be a Bad Girl so bad… : )
JT,Yep, you’re a BG all right.
That “Bad Girl” moniker has gotten me in trouble, though. At my website Bad Girls Press, I had to take down the email address completely because of all the porn ads I was receiving . . .
Congrats! So well deserved….
What an honor and a privilege to be included in such a fine group of writers. This has been an amazing journey. Now if only the other nominees weren’t so damned good! 😉 (Though they are, dagnabbit.)
I have to admit, it’s been two days since I found out and I’m still just as floored.
Toni,You’re a magnificent addition to the group. I’m so glad you joined us.
As to the other nominees, I think that’s one of the reasons I’m tickled. Every single one of them is top-notch.
Just to rub elbows with them is very, very cool.
Pari, you’re welcome. Congrats to you all. I have the utmost respect for you guys in keeping the content and discussion lively and fresh. A tall order understood only by those of us who have experience in working with daily or hourly content.
And no J.T., you are doing such as fabulous job managing the site that I would never think of depriving you of the joys of typepad by accepting your bribes.
Heartfelt congrats, Pari & Co.! It’s nice to see my blogging alma mater recognized for the excellence it exhibits every single day.
And I wasn’t THAT egotistical. Geez!
Randy,I can’t thank you enough for all of your help and for, um, for keeping JT happy and . . .
J.T.,Nice try but you didn’t really think you could fob off the upkeep did you? Should be worth some very good wine.
Jeff,You? Egotistical? I don’t THINK so.
Y’all are making magic at Hey Dead Guy, too.
It’s a great time for readers/writers to be part of the blog revolution.
Congrats, Rati, Sorry I’m late. Been traveling all day and just settled in at the hotel.
Pari,I’m sooo late, but CONGRATULATIONS!!!!
Many congratulations to all of you fine, crazy follk at Murderati. It’s a well deserved nomination.
Will,Thank you so much. You’ve added insight and interest to the comments and we all appreciate it.
Mary-Frances,Thank you. How’s that writing going?
Daniel,Crimespace is one of the best things going right now. Thank YOU for the tremendous work you’re doing there.
“Crazy folk”? Nah, we’re about as sane as you are . . .
Good going folks! Y’all are in good company, but then again, you deserve to be.
Toni,YOU are too! Congrats on the nomination as well!
Congratulations to all the Murderati crew! I was thrilled when I saw Murderati on the short list. And no, you mustn’t judge by when you see or don’t see comments. Many of us lurk, then must fly with no time to think up something witty. Thanks for the entertainment and insight over the years!!!
Robin,It’s wonderful to know you read Murderati.
I know that comments don’t reflect how many people read us, it’s just that sometimes we need to have that back and forth to know that our writing here is touching those who stop by.