What if they gave a blog and nobody came?
For those of you who don't know me, the name's Kevin Burton Smith, and my chief claim to fame is being the editor/founder of The Thrilling Detective Web Site (http://www.thrillingdetective.com ).
Thrilling Detective started out almost as a joke about eight years ago, a way for a recently turfed-out graphic designer to practise html. I figured a faux web site about one of my obsessions (private eye fiction) would be a good way to get the hang of creating web sites, since I'd just landed a client who wanted me to whip up a web site for them (I said, "Sure, pas de probleme." Even though, at the time, I didn't even have a modem and wasn't even quite sure what the internet was...)
Anyway, that tiny, fledgling web site with three or four pages became something else -- a monster of sorts with over 2000 different entries on various fictional private eyes and other tough guys and gals, a time-chomping, energy-sucking killing machine that's pulled me in, and still shows no signs of letting go. It lead me, eventually, to writing articles, reviews and short fiction that people actually paid me for, it lead me to editing prize-winning fiction and even a book of private eye short stories, it brought me to moderating panels at major mystery conventions, it introduced me to new friends and brought me, eventually, kicking and screaming, to a new life, in Southern California.
And I still can't let go.
But something else happened along the way, as well. People began to pay attention to my scatter-brained opinions. And get really pissed off -- sometimes inexplicably so. I've been vilified by people for daring to post unpopular opinions -- or at least opinions unpopular with them. I've had my death wished for publicly (Hah-hah, big joke) on the biggest mystery list there is, a list I was kicked off of at least twice, in very public fashion. I've been insulted by power-hungry little Hitlers posing as list "moderators" and berated by "published authors" who were only ever published because they paid someone a lot of money. I've been attacked by alleged critics ("number one" and otherwise) who haven't read the books they're trumpeting or have displayed all the critical taste and judgement of a five-buck Texas crack whore. I've been threatened by corrupt little POD and vanity press leeches whose slimy little scams ("Enter our contest! Become a best-selling author!") I've exposed to the light of day.
Some days it seemed all I could hear was the twisiting of panties -- as the self-appointed mavens of mystery had their undergarments undergo radical (and in my opinion, long-overdue) misalignment. All because of some little thing I said.
But the hell with them. The hell with them all.
Good writing matters. Just as honesty and integrity matter. As hard work matters. As intelligence matters.
Brown-nosing, ass-kissing, incestuous Pollyanna group-hugs, dumbing down, shrill incessant BSP -- all the things the fat white complacent worms of far too many mystery writing and reading lists seem to thrive on -- they all have their place in publishing, too. But I remain convinced they'll never trump good writing.
And, despite the weasels and evil mothers out there who will tell you life is just dirt, there are -- fortunately -- plenty of people who do agree with me, people who value the same things I do. And in the last year or so, faint, half-whispered suggestions from these writers and editors and wives and friends -- people whose works and deeds I respect and have enjoyed through the years -- have swelled into a thundering chorus, and it goes: "You, of all people, Kevin, should do a blog."
Well, I'm tired of coming up with excuses for not doing it. I have no idea if I'm going to be merely preaching to the converted or simply ticking off the perverted even more -- or even if anyone will even bother to read this. But I'm going to give it a shot.
Yeah. Me. Of all people.
What will this blog be about? I really have no idea. I'll speak the truth, at least as I see it -- that's a given. And I'll probably make a fool of myself at times, as well (that's a REAL given). I'll talk about what turns my crank, and what makes me want to spit. I'll talk about the usual suspects: books, film, rock'n'roll, comics, television, writing, reading, heroes, zeroes, good guys, bad guys and everything else. I'll welcome comments, and I'll admit when I'm wrong (it always amazes me how many people think that I think I'm infallible). I'm not sure where we'll end up, but it should be a hell of a ride.