Killer Year–The Class of 2007

We Interrupt Our Regularly Scheduled Programming
November 30, 2006, 5:30 pm
Filed under: JT Ellison, Killer Year Founders


The deadline for ITW award submissions has been extended to December 15th, 2006.

Please contact Alex Kava ( for the list of judges, addresses and rules of submission. Also, a reminder to authors that ITW allows authors to submit their own work rather than go through their publisher or agent.


A Bottle of Time
November 29, 2006, 9:30 am
Filed under: Sandra Ruttan

An author recently sent me an email, telling me that the weeks following the release of their first book were extremely depressing. All the build-up, all the anticipation… And it was over. The book was out there. Most of the reviews had already come in, so the only question was whether or not readers were buying the book, and if they liked it.

We live in a society that almost demands instant gratification. It’s both the blessing and the curse of the virtual world. Letters no longer need to pass through physical hands and be transported across the miles. Data can be sent through the internet instead, in the blink of an eye. We expect our fast food in five minutes or less. We even have drive-through banking.

The funny thing is, a lot of the process of being published involves waiting. Waiting to get and sign contracts. Waiting to hear from your editor. Waiting to see the final cover design. Waiting for the review copies to be ready. Waiting for the reviews to start coming in…

I hate waiting. I’m not good at it, but that isn’t the only reason. It robs me of a full appreciation for where I am, because the waiting mentality, that niggling part of me that wants to see the next thing happen, keeps part of my focus on the future instead of letting me completely enjoy the present.

I thought about this after Harrogate, back in July. I thought about it after Bouchercon.

I got thinking about it again, yesterday, and this time I decided to turn to some friends. Some debut authors from 2006, other authors more years of experience behind them, and ask about their memorable moments and what they’ve learned through their experiences.

If there was an author moment that you could harness like a ship in a bottle, what would it be? What’s the moment you’d like to preserve and be able to relive forever, or a pivotal moment that made a huge difference for you?

I rank this as one of the best days of my life. My wedding and the birth of my daughter are numbers one and two, but number three is the publication party for Beneath A Panamanian Moon. The invitation read, “12 years, 5 major rewrites, 3 agents, 2 titles and 1 hell of a good reason to party.” Twelve years I’d been working, dreaming of the day I could hold my novel in my hand.

We threw the party at The Blue Bayou in Hillsborough. The bar owner donated food. The Monarchs played for free. Friends brought their instruments and jammed. People came from up and down the coast to raise a glass with me. My daughter sang “At Last” and blew the room away. There were so many people there to help me celebrate that I told my wife it was like being at my own funeral, without having to wear a suit. I’d never felt so rich in all the things that matter.

If I ever publish a second book, I know the party will be great because I’ve made so many writer friends this year and I expect they’ll mix well with the musicians. But I also know it won’t be anything like that first party. It was a day I’ll remember until the day lay me out, suit and all.

David Terrenoire
Author of Beneath A Panamanian Moon.

The moment of my debut year that I would want preserved – the most exciting moment… was actually pre-debut. It was at ThrillerFest, and the amazing fact that writing and getting my first novel published qualified me to sing in the Killer Thriller Band. I guess I’m just a communal kind of girl, but being able to sing and dance in a band of that caliber with authors who have been my idols for years… that was coming home, in a way I’ll never forget.

Well, and also that thing in the stairwell with — (all right, never mind that…)

Alexandra Sokoloff
Author of The Harrowing

The best part of last year for me was the book launch party. I live in a fairly tight-knit neighbourhood in a big city and I know a lot of the people around here. Mostly I know the other people in the schoolyard where I drop off and pick up my kids everyday. They all knew I had a book coming out for a long time – I sold it more than a year before it was published – and were all really supportive. I don’t know if it’s typical, but in my schoolyard there are almost as many stay-at-home Dads as Moms. I’d been asking the other parents questions for years, all kinds of stuff from women’s fashions to money transfer laws and they were remarkably helpful.

So, the night of the book launch, a great spring evening, was a chance for a lot of us to get together at a nice place – without our kids (that’s very important) – and let loose. Usually we all see each other in the schoolyard and are pretty rushed getting our kids home for lunch and back and to all kinds of lessons after school, but at the party we got to just sit around and chat. And eat the free food the publisher supplied.

But what was really great for me was the terrific reception all these people gave me when I got up to read a little and thank them all. They all seemed so happy for me. And for my wife. I mean, for years these people wondered who was married to the weird guy asking the questions. It was a great party.

It was also good to get pretty positive reviews in the Globe and Mail and the National Post on the same day and in the Toronto Star a couple weeks later, and it’s a great feeling the first time you see your book. And the first time you see it in a bookstore.

John McFetridge
Author of Dirty Sweet
Coming in 2007: Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere

I don’t know if this counts as the most exciting moment, but I think the moment that I was most nervous about that turned out okay was during my first joint signing with Lee Child.

We were at the Poisoned Pen bookstore in Scottsdale, which I had heard so many great things about that just being there was intimidating, much less to be sitting up on a barstool holding a microphone in one hand and a bottle of water in the other in front of a couple of hundred people who were there to see Lee.

He gave me the kindest introduction I could ever have imagined, and was of course totally witty and charming and articulate, and then it was my turn to say something.

I remember thinking, “okay, I now have to open my mouth, so I just hope it’s not to throw up AND that I don’t make him look totally nuts for having invited me to do this.”

I had no idea what I was going to say, and I don’t actually remember anything I DID say (something about Lawrence Welk and Jell-O salad?), but the people in the room laughed, and after that I knew it was going to be okay.

That was an amazing day. I still don’t quite believe it actually happened.

Of course, the next day at the sublime Murder by the Book in Houston I actually *did* throw up—right before we started the gig there–but luckily it wasn’t in front of anyone. Lee especially.

Cornelia Read
Author of A Field of Darkness

My best moments this year were the moments that I spent at Bouchercon and at The Midwest Literary Festival, because I had so many e-mail relationships that came to fruition when I was able to meet those people: my editor, fellow writers, fellow bloggers, DorothyL friends. Knowing some people not only helps me feel like I’m not alone as a newcomer, but it gives me a sense that I am part of a wonderful industry. And then writing is that much less lonely.

Julia Buckley
Author of The Dark Backward

One day in March I opened the front door and there stood the UPS guy with a handcart loaded down with boxes from my publisher, Poisoned Pen Press. I cut open the boxes and there they were: copy after copy after copy of THE HEAT OF THE MOON. Until that moment, some part of me had persisted in believing that the whole sale-and-publication thing was an elaborate practical joke that some unknown enemy was staging. But that day, it became real.

Sandra Parshall
Author of The Heat of the Moon

Moments after I hit store number 500 on my Rusty Nail tour this summer, I drove up the street to a restaurant, bellied up to the bar, and ordered a shot of Jack Daniels. It was the single best drink I’ve ever had, and probably ever will have.

JA Konrath
Author of Bloody Mary, Whiskey Sour and Rusty Nail

My novel, 47 RULES OF HIGHLY EFFECTIVE BANK ROBBERS, debuted this year. The moment I’d like to replay was when I was in the midst of a grueling 47 city tour to promote my book. Right when I was dog tired, I think between my third and fourth bookstore signing one day, I got emails from both a film company wanting to buy the rights to my book, and a big NY publisher wanting to do my next book. It felt like a Cinderella story.

Troy Cook
Author of 47 Rules For Highly Effective Bank Robbers

The highlight of my debut year was seeing my first reviews come in, and receiving kind words of encouragement from people who read a LOT of mysteries.

Bruce Cook
Author of Philippine Fever

May Day came out in March 2006, and here is the moment I wouldn’t trade for anything in the world: that first fan email, the absolute stranger from Massachusetts or England or Montana who says they loved your book so much that they just had to let you know and they’ve never contacted an author before but jeez was it a fun read.

Moments I couldn’t sell for a penny: every single signing I did at any Barnes & Noble. Humiliation writ large. I think I sold three books at one. The rest were all about me trying not to act like the chick with greasy hair that no one wants to dance with.

Jess Lourey
Author of May Day

For me the crucial moment was the one when I understood at last that if I listened to that small interior voice and wrote what I wanted to write in the way I wanted to write it, instead of following other people’s instructions, the work would be much better. I only wish I’d come to this realisation many years earlier!

Natasha Cooper
Author of Gagged and Bound

Natasha’s new website ( is coming soon.

My friend, a New Yorker, runs the big bookstore here… His sister hangs with the Hell’s Angels in California and he sent them my novels.

God forgive me, I didn’t know The Angels read. They loved the books and gave a blurb, which said:

“Read Bruen or die muttahfuckahs.”

Point being, you put the books out there, you just never know who they’ll reach.

Ken Bruen
Author of American Skin

What was the most important thing you learned?

I’m still learning, and the stuff I’ll carry with me are: don’t do booksignings unless invited or you have a built-in fan base; your time is much better spent giving presentations at libraries or other venues where you can sell your books afterward. Don’t blog (sorry, but it almost killed me). Send out review copies all over the world; it’s expensive but rewarding. Carry a “guest book” with you wherever you go so you can get the addresses and emails of people interested in your books. If you’re going to buy postcards advertising your book, invest in an address list of libraries; they’re the best audience for those. Don’t spend a lot of money on promo items unless they’re truly unique (I invest in Nut Goodies). Get involved in MWA and other writer’s organization; connecting with other writers is one of the great treats of the business.

And here’s something I JUST learned that has nothing to do with writing. My conservative college students don’t know Stephen Colbert is a liberal. Yes. Chew on the implications of that, and best of luck with your writing!

Jess Lourey, author of May Day
p.s. June Bug comes out March 2007.
p.s.s. Sandra Ruttan is a lost virgin and she rocks.

Jess tells me her website is down until mid-December, but will be back big, bionic and graphically amazing. The ‘lost virgin’ comment will be explained in a forthcoming interview…

I think the most important lesson I learned was that promotion is something you need to spend a LOT of time doing. Or you can’t be in the right place at the right time for a bit of luck to fall your way. If you want to know more about 47 Rules, the movie deal, or my tour, visit for more info.

Troy Cook
Author of 47 Rules For Highly Effective Bank Robbers

That novels are IT, for me. It’s bloody fucking hard, but when I write a novel, at least creatively I’m not responsible for anyone’s inadequacies but my own, and that’s a world of difference from Hollywood. The intimacy between author and reader is priceless. Your primary responsibility as an author is to tell your story to your readers in the most perfect way you’re capable of – and, staggeringly, publishing people actually GET and support that. It’s a miracle.

Alexandra Sokoloff
Author of The Harrowing

Two lessons, really. One: Stay calm, because things will inevitably go wrong occasionally, but that doesn’t mean the world is coming to an end. Two: Sad to say, there are nasty people in the world who enjoy trying to bring others down, and it’s best to be on guard against them.

On my web site I have a piece in the Writing section called “The Perils of Publication” in which I distilled the lessons of my first months as a published writer. I hope it will help somebody else avoid the mistakes I made.

My second book, DISTURBING THE DEAD, will be out from Poisoned Pen in March 2007. I know I’ll be just as thrilled to get my boxes of DTD as I was when the copies of THOTM arrived, but I hope the rest of the process will be smoother the second time around.

Sandra Parshall
Author of The Heat of the Moon

What did I learn? It’s just a book. Enjoy it and get back to work.

John McFetridge
Author of Dirty Sweet
Coming in 2007: Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere

My thanks to all who chimed in, knowing I’m in galley edit hell and didn’t have time to finish the original post I started for today.

My question to you is, what have been your moments, the ones that you wish you could harness and hold forever?

Sandra Ruttan
Author of Suspicious Circumstances
January 2007
On Life and Other Inconveniences

November 27, 2006, 4:27 am
Filed under: Killer Year Members, Toni McGee Causey


I’m telling you, it’s getting a little disconcerting, this writing gig. Things keep happening… things I’ve written about are showing up in my own life and I’m just a shade worried. For example, in the first Bobbie Faye book, the story opens with her trailer being flooded. Just a few weeks after writing those scenes, one of our rooms had a major flood which would have spread to the rest of the house, had I not caught it. In all my life, I’ve never had a room or a home flood. But surely, that was just coincidence. Then I wrote about Bobbie Faye having to deal with a certain scary critter, and a couple of weeks later, I open my back door and there was the very critter, bigger and scarier than I had described… on my welcome mat, attempting to come into my house. (Yes, I slammed the door.) If Bobbie Faye had car trouble, I had car trouble later. If something showed up unexpectedly for her, it showed up later for me. Now, if the reverse had happened… if something had shown up and I had said, “Gee, wouldn’t this make an interesting twist?” and then used it, there’d be no problem, because that would be normal.

Unfortunately, my life has never been “normal.”

I’m steadily working on book two, and there’s a tremendous amount of chaos going on in Bobbie Faye’s world, with a rather large number of people showing up at her door and complicating her life when she was just minding her own business. These characters are odd, walking far enough outside the beaten path to make you wonder if they’d ever known there was a path in the first place. And I had this moment… I distinctly remember it… when I sort of chuckled to myself, grateful that I hadn’t ever had a large number of people suddenly converge on me and create havoc in my life. That was the moment I should have smacked myself and started thinking about lucky things instead, but it flew by me with nary a suspicious thought attached to it, not even a little tiny hint of precognitive worry to warn me. A couple of weeks later, my husband called in the middle of the day, in the middle of a torrential thunderstorm, and the conversation went something like this:

“Would you mind,” he asked, all politeness, “if I helped some people today?”

“Helped how?” You see, I know my husband. This is never an innocent question.

“Oh, there are some girls here. They’re bicycling to LSU. They’ve got a performance there tonight and they’re soaking wet. I don’t think the storm’s going to let up soon enough for them to bike the rest of the way in.” (He was about an hour by car from LSU, so they would not have made it.)

“How many girls?” I asked, knowing exactly which part of that entire explanation to focus on.

“Oh, a couple,” he said.

“How many exactly is a couple?”

“Uh, ten.”


“Yeah, and they’re pretty ragged. They’ve been biking up from New Orleans, and they slept outside last night and got eaten up with mosquitoes. I thought we’d give them a ride to the house and then Nick [our employee] would shuttle them the rest of the way to LSU.”

“Well, sure,” I said, knowing it couldn’t possibly be that simple, “but you know I’m writing, right?”

“Right, I’ll handle everything. You won’t even know they’re there.”

Uh huh. Are you buying that? I wasn’t buying that, but still… I thought, how big a deal could it be? They’ll get to the house, and get shuttled the rest of the way to LSU, maybe take an hour out of my day, good deed done, etc.

I went back to writing the chaotic scenes with Bobbie Faye and the crazy crew following her, and a little niggly worry started nudging my brain, but did I pay attention? No. No, I did not. Because apparently, I’m not very smart. About thirty minutes later, when my husband and Nick were en route, I got another phone call.

“I hope you don’t mind,” he said, “but some of them might need to use the bathroom.”

Well, of course some of them will, I thought. What’s the big deal about… oh.

“What do you mean by ‘use’ the bathroom?”

“Uh, they kinda need to take a shower. You know, before their performance, and I said it’d be okay.”

“Showers? And by some, you mean…”

“Well, all. I think.”

“Uh huh. I don’t know if I even have ten clean towels. But I’ll see what I can do.”

So I frantically ran around and started cleaning and finding towels and soap and making sure the spare bathroom was actually inhabitable.

When they arrived, Carl came inside first with a really sweet, sheepish expression and said, “Thanks for doing this.”

“Sure. No problem.” (That translates into: “I will chop you into little pieces later when there aren’t ten witnesses.”)

“They might sleep outside tonight. Would that be okay?”


“Well, they have sleeping bags and tents, but no place to set up, and…”

“Carl, it’s storming. It’s going to keep storming.”

“So, inside’s okay?”

I looked around at our living room, mentally calculating the square footage per body ratio, and figure if they can deal with the carpet instead of a bed, sure… inside’s okay.

He went outside to tell them, and I went to the door to meet the first one, who’s not that much younger than myself. She was the sort of de facto leader of the group, and I shook her hand, and introduced myself. Then I asked her name. She looked at me with a completely straight face and said, “Thistle.”

Yes. Thistle.

I could not make that up if I had tried.

After the introduction, in marched the most ragged, muddy, bedraggled, bohemian, merry band of troubadours I’ve ever seen. They were many ages, shapes and sizes, (seven women, two men, and one whose gender we were never quite sure about). To a person, they were very polite. They had lived such a phenomenally different life than I had, they were quite fascinating to talk to. Later on that night, three of them danced with fire for us and one breathed fire (quite the sight to see up close). They were sweet and polite and cooked for themselves and refused all food, in spite of the fact that I had plenty and I don’t think they had nearly enough. They cleaned up after themselves and were nothing but neat and kind, totally debunking my younger son’s rather astounding freak out that his parents had completely lost their minds and had let in murdering thieves.

(“Mom! They could kill you in your sleep and take the TV!”)

(“Son, they’re on bicycles. Where would they even put the TV?”)

By the next morning, they had gone on to their different lives; Baton Rouge, it turned out, was their last show on their folk-song tour, and some of them were going back home, some on to other adventures. It was a bit frantic there for a while, getting everyone in, showered, fed, back to out to the performance and then setting up a place for everyone to sleep, but I did at least have it much much easier than Bobbie Faye’s chaos, and no one shot at me (unlike her).

However, now? Now, one of the characters is named Thistle.

And next time I decide to contemplate Bobbie Faye’s world? I am going to seriously contemplate having Bobbie Faye win the lotto or become filthy rich. I may be slow, but eventually, I learn.

I’m now itching to see that movie, Stranger Than Fiction, because seriously, it’s getting weird. Has art ever imitated your life? Or your life, art?


Toni McGee Causey

Bobbie Faye’s Very (very, very, very) Bad Day


November 24, 2006, 7:00 am
Filed under: JT Ellison, Killer Year Founders

Happy Thanksgving!

This is a year to give thanks — for many of us, for many reasons.

But Toni Causey did it so eloquently that we’re giving her the stage today. Please understand that we can all sign our names to these sentiments. Personal details may change, but the heartfelt emotion of what we’re thankful for as writers, readers, and people, is all below…


I don’t think my list is terribly original, but it is deeply felt:

I am grateful for the health of my family. We’re all here, we’re all in pretty good shape, we have been able to visit with one another fairly often, and I don’t know how much longer we’ll be able to have that, given that our parents are growing older.

I am thankful for the closeness we’ve managed as a family; we’ve had a blast with many family events, large boisterous affairs with everyone telling funny stories and riffing on each other’s comments and, generally, laughing and enjoying one another. I know a lot of families don’t have that, and we’re lucky.

I am so very grateful for my husband and children and friends. (And the Internet, which helps us stay in touch.)

I am grateful to live in a country where the average American asks, “What can I do to help?” when there is a catastrophe, like Hurricane Katrina. Where they give money and send boxes of supplies and feel horrified alongside us when the government fails so miserably. And where, in spite of the wish that the problem would just go away (as we all feel), they still help. Or where they volunteer for their own local programs, whether it’s literacy or being a Big Brother or Big Sister or many of the other deserving concerns. In spite of the fact that there is negative out there, people who profit off harming others, there are far far more people who help, who look at whatever they have, however little it is, and figure out a way to share.

I am extremely appreciative to live in a country where it’s not only possible for dreams to come true, but where we are encouraged to try. And to that end, I’m grateful for my dream coming true, of being able to write, having someone publish it, a company who seems to love the book and has hopes for it bigger than my own.

I am grateful that many years ago, my husband realized just how necessary it was for me to write, and how unhappy I was not doing so. He took me back to the university (and I was afraid to go back), and he said, “You are my greatest asset. I would be doing us both a disservice if I let you procrastinate on following your dream. You were meant to be a writer and that’s what you’re going to be. I believe in you.” He forced me to re-enroll, where I not only graduated, but ended up in the MFA program, landed an agent, and started a career. I don’t know that I would have been brave enough if not for his belief. I know I would have kept trying in my own small way, but his actions gave me access to the tools and teachers I needed, just when I needed them.



So what are you thankful for today???

43 Years Ago Today
November 22, 2006, 11:56 am
Filed under: Bill Cameron, Killer Year Members

Where were you when Kennedy was shot? If you’re like me, your answer may vary. I have no memory of the event, but it’s suffused into my personal experience–as it is with so many who were alive at the time. So when someone asks where were you? I have to rely on secondhand accounts.

Where was I? In the Jewish Hospital, Cincinnati, Ohio. Not quite three days old. Given the times, I was probably watching television.

This time of year we have our obligatory Kennedy retrospectives. We get to see the Zapruder film a few dozen times. Nowadays, of course, we have computer enhanced Zapruder, and wireframe 3-D Zapruder. CSI:Dallas gives us both an eagle-eye and a mole’s ass view of events in Dealy Plaza that day. Re-enactments and laser tracking. And we still don’t know shit. Yeah, probably Oswald was acting alone, and yeah the whole Grassy Knoll thing is probably a canard, but damn what a confusing mess. And every year we’re sure to get one or two new nuggets to confuse the matter. Is there a classified CIA file somewhere with all the answers? Or have we had all the important answers for the better part of forty years and it’s just time to shut the hell up about it? I come down on either side, depending on my mood or whether or not I’ve had too little coffee, or too much beer.

As a child, there were lots of stories about the impact of Kennedy’s death on my life. It upset my mother so much she lost the ability to nurse me. Now if that sounds like Attack of Too Much Information Man, picture a thirteen year old boy and his friends being regaled by his mother with the tale. “Kennedy’s death changed little Billy’s life.” Aw, geez, Ma.

In all honesty, its effect on me was downright trivial in a big picture sense. But that doesn’t change the fact that every year this time I start to think about it again. Some years I watch the documentaries, some years I don’t. This year was a don’t. (“Where were you when Kenn–” *Bill punches questioner out*)

1988 was probably the year it had the biggest effect on me. We’re a milestone-luvin’ people, and we especially love to cast our milestones in the most dramatic terms. My birthday and Kennedy’s death, despite being three days apart, are effectively the same thing in my mind. And in 1988, it had been twenty-five years. Twenty-five is an important anniversary in our social consciousness, so a bigger fuss than usual. And around the Kennedy anniversary that year, there seemed to be a particular joy in casting it as “A Quarter Century Since Kennedy.” (Movie Trailer Voice and swelling music.)

Now, twenty-five is pretty damned young. But when you associate your age with a seminal event, and the event is all over the tee-vee and newspaper (thank God for no real internet in 1988), and when you hear the passing time described as “a quarter century”, well, if you’re me, you freak out. Some people freak out at zero ages, 30, 40, 50. I freaked at a quarter century.

Damn you, Oswald!

Another thing my mother used to say was that I was “marked” by the Kennedy assassination. I don’t really know what that means. My grandmother, my mom’s mom, used that phrase a lot too; she told my aunt that the baby would be marked because my aunt went to see The Exorcist while she was pregnant with my cousin. (My cousin seems just fine, by the way.) If I was “marked” by the Kennedy assassination, I suppose that could explain my interest in crime fiction. Certainly it’s one of the great mysteries of the twentieth-century, and inspired a veritable deluge of fiction, much of it couched as “fact.” And the marking might explain my particular bent. After all, I am the “sick and twisted one,” according my acquisitions editor at Midnight Ink–an appelation I don’t really have a problem with.

These days, of course, we have our new crimes of the century, and I don’t wonder if Kennedy has dropped off the radar screen for most people. How many folks watch the obligatory History Channel and Court TV dramati-mentaries anymore? How many of us fret over conspiracies and wonder what that imagined classified file will tell us? And will 2008 (a -fifth anniversary) or 2013 (Half a Century After Kennedy!) awake the increasingly somnolent Kennedy beast again? Or is it too far behind us, significant only to a dwindling few with obscure and perhaps only ephemeral attachments to the event.

I do know is I’m fascinated and repelled by this event. Marked or not, it feels like something that’s inside of me, a piece of who I am. Maybe my interest in crime fiction grew partly out of it, or maybe it came from somewhere else. Hard to say. But I also know that come Thursday as we prepare to slice the turkey and pass the stuffing, one thing I’ll be thankful for is that I survived yet another anniversary of the Kennedy Assassination.

Bill Cameron
Author of Lost Dog
Available April 2007

Living and a little news…
November 20, 2006, 12:03 pm
Filed under: Brett Battles, Killer Year Founders, Killer Year Members

I received an interesting piece of mail last week. On first pass, maybe it was something most people would have thrown away. I almost did. It was obviously junk mail. This time from my “good friends” at AT&T. But it was the subject of the mail that caught my attention. Written in bold letters across the outside were the words:


The answer to that question is no. Mainly because I didn’t realize I was moving.

But it did get me thinking…

What did AT&T know that I didn’t know?
Had my life been transferred somewhere else but someone forgot to tell me?
Couldn’t be my job. My job isn’t going anywhere.
But am I?

And the more I thought about it, the more I realized the truth is, I am.

In fact, we all are. It’s a little corny to say “life is a journey,” but it’s also true. Life is a journey. It’s a learning process from Day First to Day Last. It’s up to us whether we choose to participate or don’t.

If we buy in, we move through a life full of questions and discoveries and heartaches and joys and friendships and family and disappointments and successes. Everyday is the opportunity to learn something new. To learn about ourselves and others – both the good and the bad. Learn about the world around us.

And ultimately, it is the chance to grow.

If we opt out, we become members of the living dead. We roam the earth perpetually pissed off, closed to new ideas, to understanding others. We think we know everything there is to know. We think everyone around us is stupid.

I don’t want to be the living dead. I’ve never wanted to be the living dead. I enjoy learning too much. I enjoy hearing other people’s ideas. I enjoy knowing I’m not the smartest person in the room.

What does this have to do with writing or stories or the business?



Killer Year Anthology is announced!

Killer Year Friend Phil Hawley makes Germany sale of his upcoming release STIGMA.

And my novel, THE CLEANER, will be in hardcover and the release day has been moved up to June 26, 2007.

Brett Battles
Arriving June 26, 2007 from Delacorte

In Case You Missed It…
November 16, 2006, 8:25 pm
Filed under: JT Ellison, Killer Year Founders

Long ago, in a galaxy far, far, away…

Oh, wait. Wrong genre.

As many of you have heard by now, Killer Year is poised on yet another new threshold. A few months back we began talking about ways to elevate our group to the larger stage, and the idea of an anthology was born. And trust me, we knew it might be an uphill battle – 14 short stories from people no one has ever read? Yeah, right.

But the ever-gracious Lee Child agreed to edit the anthology. MJ Rose and Laura Lippman decided to participate with introductions and codas. Suddenly, we had some steam. Ken Bruen, Duane Swiercynski and Allison Brennan arranged to provide stories. And the indefatigable Scott Miller took a chance on us. What happens when this many great minds come together?


Killer Year: A Criminal Anthology

Coming from St. Martin’s Minotaur

Winter 2008

To Michael Homler, and St. Martin’s: May I just say that I am thrilled to have a chance to work with you? Thank you for taking on this exciting project.

To Lee Child: What can you say to a man who has already done so much, for Killer Year, ITW, the genre as a whole, and me personally? “Thanks” doesn’t quite cut it. We raise many glasses of quality scotch in your honor.

To MJ Rose – Killer Year Mentor Extraordinaire: I owe you one.

To Scott Miller: Dude, you rock.

To Sarah Weinman, Jon Jordan, David Montgomery and Ali Karim: We couldn’t do this without you guys.

To all of the friends of Killer Year who have provided us with so much support and showed us the love: May free copies of your favorite books rain down upon your houses.

And last, but certainly not least…

To the Killer Year: You have taken a twinkle of a dream and made it into a reality. It is your hard work, enthusiasm, allegiance and constant support that make these pipe dreams into reality. Special thanks to Brett, Marcus, Jason and Sandra for believing in this project (okay, so I had to talk a couple of you into it, but when the decision was made you stood strong 😉 )

We’re very pleased with this new development. And just think. In less than 50 days, the first Killer Year titles will be available. Now get out there and pre-order!!!

I’ll leave you with the note from my fortune cookie this week.

Dream lofty dreams, and as you dream, so you become.



Humbly submitted,

JT Ellison