Killer Year–The Class of 2007

December 31, 2007, 3:18 pm
Filed under: Bill Cameron

As the year ends, to the members of the Killer Year I want to say thank you for including me. This group features some amazing writers and some truly fine people. It has been both humbling and uplifting to be a part of this endeavor.

With warmest regards,
Bill Cameron


Shattering the Cliche
December 30, 2007, 12:28 pm
Filed under: Killer Year Members, Robert Gregory Browne

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 around.

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 hand.

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 which I’ll be forever grateful.

Thanks guys. Happy New Year.

Killer Year Adieu
December 27, 2007, 1:26 pm
Filed under: Derek Nikitas, Killer Year Members

Not sentimental as a rule.  Especially on the internet.  But the days wind down on our Killer Year—just four left to go.  Can’t imagine my debut year without it, without the endless string of emails, JTs gusto and dedication, Jason’s business acumen (relayed from his Verizon Blackberry), Bill’s technological savvy and personal charm, Rob’s wise-ass remarks, Marcus’s and Gregg’s “you go, bro” backslapping, Patry’s resolve, Toni’s spirit and wise advice, Marc’s inspiring humility, Brett’s unsolicited kindness except in regards to Rob, Sean’s authenticity, and Dave’s wicked enthusiasm.     

Goodbye to a group that has given me so much in my debut year, more than I could ever repay.  Never would’ve known there could be a thriller community.  Would’ve thought it a contradiction in terms, but no.  Had a blast at Thrillerfest in New York City, even though I was the wallflower.  As usual. 

I don’t mean goodbye for good, of course, because we’re always in touch.  In touch with each other and the wider community that has come to embrace us, babies in the game that we are.  Some of you will be Sophomores in ‘o8 (not me, not quite yet), and you already seem like superstars.  Never met a less pretentious, more stable bunch of writers, and I’m honored that I’ll soon be anthologized with you. 

It’s been great learning the ropes, the business and the pleasure.  Been great getting the chance to spout off occasional rants on this blog.  Never thought I’d get into it.  Realized the other day how much I’ll miss this public musing once the year was out.  Miss it so much I decided to start my own blog.  Feel like a bird being pushed out of the nest, not yet ready to fly.  Geronimo.

Maybe one or two of you will come by to visit every so often.  Until then, I wish you all—writers and oddly dedicated KY blog readers—many more Killer Years to come.    

Blatant Self Promotion
December 21, 2007, 4:23 pm
Filed under: Robert Gregory Browne

Okay, I admit it. I’m like the kid who never calls home until he needs a favor. Or money. Or both.

I promise to come back at the end of the year to share my somewhat worthless thoughts on the year 2007 — all of them good, however — but in the meantime, I have to let you all know that this Killer Year includes a special bonus for those of you paying attention. Yours truly will be interviewed on XM radio’s Fiction Nation with Kim Alexander.

Fiction Nation can be heard on Take Five on channel 155 at 6pm Eastern tomorrow, Saturday, the 22nd. I’m the guy bumbling around looking for answers to Kim’s insightful questions. If you get a chance to listen, you’ll have no doubt who the pro is.

If you miss it on Saturday, it’ll play again, same station, on Sunday at 10am, Monday at 3am (come on, you know you’ll be awake), and again on Thursday, December 27th, this time on channel 163 on Sonic Theater.

And for those of you who are complaining, but I don’t subscribe to XM, you can get a free, no obligation, no credit card necessary trial run if you go to the XM website.

Okay, interruption over. Go on back to Brett Battles post about his debut year. It really was a great year for him.

After all, he got to hang out with me….


Never to be Forgotten
December 20, 2007, 12:53 pm
Filed under: Brett Battles, Killer Year Founders, Killer Year Members

Christmas is less than a week away, and soon after that it will be New Year’s Day. It’ll be 2008. The year 2007 will be gone.

There are only a handful of years we can single out in our lives as being important. The year we were born, of course. The year we graduated from high school or college. The year our children were born. And perhaps one or two others that contained special turning points in our lives.

2007 is a year that will always be among those I treasure. Like the other authors here at Killer Year, 2007 represented the year our first novels were published. And for that reason alone, it is special.

Many of us have waited decades for this year to come. Many not quite so long, but wanting it no less than the rest. Now we have lived it. We have experienced it. We are all now published authors.

And in a little less than two week the year will be over. Though none of us have our second books out yet (Marcus, I believe, is first with AT THE CITY’S EDGE, with many of us following in the months after), our debut year is done. I guess to me, we are no longer part of the debuting class. We now enter that group of established novelists.

The road ahead is just as hard as the road behind. Some of us will have it easier than others, but because of the bond we created with Killer Year this past 18 months, we will still be there to help each other. I know I’ll be there to do what I can.

And there is more than just the past year of sharing help, and promotion, and ideas. We have a tangible marker of our time together in the form of the KILLER YEAR Anthology just over a month from today.

When someone asks me to list the years that have been important to me, 2007 will be right near the top, preceded only by the years of my children’s births.

Thank you all – both my KILLER YEAR friends, and all the rest of you that have made this year fantastic.

Brett Battles
THE CLEANER Available now in hardcover and coming in June 2008 in paperback
THE DECEIVED Available June 2008 in hardcover.

Literature and Lead
December 13, 2007, 11:54 am
Filed under: KillerYear Friends | Tags: , , , ,

James O. Born, the coolest writer/cop on the planet, has surpassed himself with his first installment of “Literature and Lead,” an exposé into the mind of a writer with a few frustrations under his skin. The link to Naked Authors can be found here.

To view the video without an explanation, try this link.

Ahh, the life of a creative gunslinger.

It’s not a gang, it’s a social club
December 11, 2007, 4:02 pm
Filed under: Marc Lecard

When I discovered (through Sarah Weinman’s blog) that a group of first-time crime novelistas were banding together for mutual promotion and protection , I was intrigued. I was a first-time crime novelist. It might be nice to have company.

And I needed some help promoting my book–boy, did I ever. I didn’t have the first idea what to do.

So Killer Year struck me as a brilliant idea.

It seemed like a good deal for me in particular. I am not the world’s most extroverted person. My preferred social position is in the deep background, or under something. The other novelists would attract the attention and do most of the talking. I would hide in the back row, like in a class photo, and yell out encouragement now and then.

This is what I thought at the time.

These guys seemed pretty talented, true, but I assumed it would be months before they figured out I was a no-talent hack, and by then it would be too embarrassing to get rid of me.

I made contact. Sure they said–they being the dozen or so writers who made up the group–hop on.

And boy it has been great.

Not only have I been able to cruise in the slipstream of immensely talented young novelists, I have actually been mistaken for one. It just goes to show what guilt by association will do.

You never forget the first time, they say. For me it has been a year of firsts: first book, first crime writer conference, first second crime writer conference. First meetings with fellow Killers at above conferences and in various bookstores.

And at every bend in the road it’s been nice to know that I could turn to my KillerYear compadres and get them to buy me a beer, or anyway email them and ask them what the fuck? Am I the only person to ever have this experience? And receive reassurance, advice, derision, support.

Now unbelievably the year is almost over. The Killers will disperse, each on his or her own brilliant trajectory, the mighty constellation of writerly talent diffusing into the skies of the crime fiction universe.

Thanks to everyone for all your help, for setting me straight when necessary, and for making me laugh. Especial thanks to the founders, who came up with this brilliant idea: Brett Battles, JT Ellison, Jason Pinter, Sandra Ruttan. Nice work.

So, hasta la vista, fellow Killers, and thanks for the ride. We’ve accomplished a lot.

It’s been real.