Back in July of 2008, the lovely Kathryn Lilley first contacted me
about joining a group blog composed of like minded authors. Originally, there were six of us: Kathryn, John T. Gilstrap, Joe Moore, Clare, John Ramsey Miller, and myself. Sundays, we hosted guest bloggers, starting with Tim Maleeny, Alafair, Burke, and David Hewson.
I confess to getting a little misty as I scrolled back through our early posts. Over the past nearly half a decade, we’ve held forth on everything from the craft of writing, our favorite books and films, and a multitude of other subjects (some more random than others). We’ve critiqued numerous fantastic works in progress, and gotten to know some of our regular commenters so well that frequently as I’m reading a post, I’m already anticipating how Basil Sands will weigh in on it (entertainingly, as always). This has become a family, in so many ways.
Most of you haven’t seen behind the curtain. There has occasionally been controversy, when some of us disagreed on whether or not a particular post was right for TKZ (the debates were sometimes heated, although they always remained respectful). We’ve empathized and supported one another through illness and loss. We’ve become a community that I am so proud to be a part of.
And over the years we’ve added other wonderfully talented novelists to our ranks; each of them has brought something to the table, adding their own insights and thoughtful commentary. The addition of Boyd, Nancy, PJ, Joe Hartlaub, Mark, Jim, and of course my every-other-Thursday counterpart Jordan, has gone a long way toward making this daily shout into the wilderness required reading. Some of our posts have been referenced by The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times. Our average daily hits have grown from under a hundred at the outset to an average of a thousand a day, and we’ve passed the one million mark for all time pageviews. We were also recently recognized by Writer’s Digest as one of the “Top 101 sites for Writers,” which has been immensely satisfying. I’m humbled to have been part of something that has proven so successful, and that has hopefully helped other writers navigate the minefields of the publishing industry. And personally, I love that our all time most popular post was Clare‘s, “Top 5 Best Sex in Literature,” (14,252 hits) followed by Jim’s aptly entitled, “Rhino Skin” (13,113). For me, that pretty much sums up the vast range of topics that we’ve covered over the years.
So it’s with great sadness that I announce that this will be my final post for The Kill Zone. Over the past five years, I’ve gone through a series of personal struggles that have changed my life irrevocably (mostly for the better, but it was a long and winding road getting there!) My career has undergone tremendous turmoil. I went from fearing that I would never get another book contract, to suddenly finding myself committed to writing three books in a year (a good problem to have, but still–overwhelming). I’m the single parent of a young child, which is immensely rewarding, but also time consuming. My daily obligations are such that something invariably always seems to fall by the wayside; too many plates spinning simultaneously, as the saying goes. In order to stay true to the spirit of this blog, I want to make sure that TKZ does not become the plate that I drop. Which means that it’s time for me to step aside.
I’ll miss you all–but will be stopping by regularly, as a commenter this time.
Side note: I released a Young Adult standalone thriller this past Tuesday with SoHo Press. It’s called STRANGELETS, and marks a departure for me. I credit TKZ with pushing me out of my comfort zone–so many of the posts here have expanded my horizons as a writer, and convinced me to challenge myself. So this is my first attempt at true world building, in a dystopian alternate universe. I hope you’ll consider giving it a read.
And I do hope to stop in occasionally with guest posts, if they’ll still have me!
Me sad…so sad…go cave & hide tears…
lose two John’s and lovely Michelle all same year…crying me…crying…
me write cave paint wall story…always remember lovely Michelle who writes killing people stories making heart go buppity buppity buppity…
Take care of from out of Michelle belly little person…take care of big Michelle own person…take care
cave painting have pretty lady in fur skin cloak slaying great horn beast with giant writing stick…working author-magic…this be next Stonehenge… no… next Newgrange…painting lovely Michelle with best mammoth hair brush in arctic…maked from mammoth long nose hair…very hard to get they are…Basil still have scar, scar of friend love.
Thursdays won’t be the same without you, my friend. I will always be grateful that you invited me to share your TKZ day of the week with me. I’m so proud of your success and wish more good things to follow. You will always be family here.
Michelle, it’s been a pleasure getting to know you as a blogmate, writer and friend. Blogging on a regular basis is work, and you’ve always delivered useful, informative and thought-provoking posts. I will miss your Thursday words of wisdom. Wishing you great success. Come back often.
Now we need find another dancer.
Godspeed in your writing and family life, Michelle.
Your gracious goodbye is a timely (for me) reminder that we can’t fully embrace something new when our arms are still wrapped around other things. Thanks for your posts here and best of luck, Michelle.
Michelle, although we’ve never met in person, I feel that I’m losing a friend…at least, a cyber-friend. Good luck and best wishes in your continued professional journey, and thank you for what you’ve contributed here.
Congrats on your new release. We will miss you here and hope you’ll drop in for visits to leave your valued commentary. New book contracts is a good reason to cut back on other obligations. There are only so many hours in a day. Good luck with all your ventures.
Sorry to see you leave, Michelle. You will be missed. Take care!
Best of everything to you. I’ll miss your comments.
Aw, Michelle, this is so sad. You’ll still hear from me on your birthday, however.
And listen up, people, THE STRANGELETS is terrific. My wife, who primarily reads YA books, simply loved it! You will too!
Thanks so much, everyone- you’re making me all teary again. I will still be here regularly, promise!
You’re leaving?! Well, that sucks. I always looked forward to your columns.
Good luck with your new challenges.
Best of luck with your new projects. You will be missed.
We’re all so sad to see you go!!! You’d better not be a stranger, Missy! Best of luck in all your new and current endeavours:)
Best of luck, Michelle. I look forward to reading your next posts in book form.
author of: SEAsoned: A Chef’s Journey with Her Captain
*lower lip quivering, folds and unfolds hand in sticky little wave*
Seriously, best to you and all the new writing gigs. TKZ rocks and you had best be back as a commenter. Everyone here is proficient in weapons (at least writing about them.) Not that that is a threat or anything . . .
Please let us know when you venture out to cons. I’d love the chance to meet you.
Thanks for the mini-history of this outstanding blog, Michelle, and those very impressive reader statistics! I feel honored to have been invited to guest blog here three times, with a fourth scheduled. (The topic won’t disappoint, I promise!)
I know you’ll be missed here at TKZ, and will be in demand as a guest blogger. But I also know a lot of us have a tendency to take on more than we can realistically deliver, and it sounds like your plate is pretty full with your writing commitments and single parenting. (I was a single parent for many years so I know all about that!) And then of course, there’s trying to have “a life,” too!
And I’m thrilled to hear about your YA novel, The Strangelets. I love YA fiction so I’m off to buy it right now!
Michelle, we are going to miss you so much! You are one of the original TKZ gang, and your contributions and moral support over the years have been so valuable. Come back often and say howdy!
This is my favorite writing blog. Thanks for all the insight and encouragement. After two years of “no” on my queries, I finally got my first “maybe” with a request for more pages.
That’s fantastic news, FL- congrats and good luck!