Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Lucky Seven -- and a Book Giveaway

Despite contentions that blogging is dead, having been supplanted by Twitter and Facebook and other vaunted social media that don’t require people to string more than two sentences together at a time, I still get out of bed almost every morning of every week in order to check my e-mail (which I’m told is also dead as dinosaurs) and a regular assortment of other blogs and Web sites, and then ponder what to write about next in The Rap Sheet. With today marking the seventh anniversary of this blog’s launch back in May 2006, that means I’ve been following this routine for most of 2,555 successive days.

And what do I have to show for that steady effort?

Well, at least the following: a number of friends I’ve accumulated only as a result of my writing and editing The Rap Sheet; a few high-profile prizes and awards nominations; an abundance of opportunities to talk formally and informally with authors, illustrators, and critics associated with crime and thriller fiction; the chance to also write about this genre for Kirkus Reviews; and of course a blog of which I’m immensely, though mostly modestly, proud. The Rap Sheet is now close to racking up its 5,500th post, and depending on which calculator you watch (one posted on the blog sometime after its debut, or another, perhaps more precise tally maintained by Blogger), this page has clocked in between 1.41 million and 1.69 million page views.

Sure, blogging has presented me with some frustrations over the years. The pay is dreadful and the work hours (including many weekend hours) are long. I cringe every time some recreational scribbler suddenly loses interest in his blog, and kills the thing, leaving links to his posts dead on The Rap Sheet. (I periodically try to catch those and eliminate or replace them, but I am sure there are still more to be found.) Being a professional journalist myself, I’m embarrassed by the marginal quality of many blogs and their tendency to reprint press releases without stating the fact, repost other people’s prose without permission or attribution, and report as true what is nothing better than loose talk. I try not to feel guilty when some aspiring young author sends me her new novel, and I can’t possibly read it because I’m only one person with limited leisure time. And while I’m pleased with what The Rap Sheet has become, I know that if I weren’t devoting such effort to this venture, I’d have many more hours in which to complete that first novel I’ve been plunking away at for years.

But I have done some of my best writing in The Rap Sheet, and that’s an accomplishment that raises a smile on my face every day.

I want to thank everyone who has read, contributed to, helpfully commented on, and otherwise enjoyed this blog over these last seven years. Without your attention, The Rap Sheet might have folded like so many other Web resources before it.

* * *

To celebrate this milestone, I have arranged for a special book giveaway. Publisher Random House/Vintage Canada has set aside, on The Rap Sheet’s behalf, seven copies of Miss Montreal. This is Howard Shrier’s fourth novel featuring Toronto private investigator Jonah Geller, but the first to be set primarily in the author’s native Montreal, Quebec. I would like to make those copies available--for free--to this blog’s readers.

First, though, a little information about Miss Montreal. Synopsizing the plot of that book--which is due out next week and is the sequel to last year’s Boston Cream--its publisher explains:
After what happened in Boston, P.I. Jonah Geller can’t show his face in the U.S. again. Which is fine with him. He’s got a new case in Montreal, one of the world’s most colorful and downright scandalous cities. An old [journalist] friend has been brutally murdered there, and the police investigation is stalled. With an election looming and tensions seething, Jonah and former hit man Dante Ryan have to battle religious fanatics, gun runners, and a twisted political dynasty to get to the truth.
I’m still in the midst of reading Miss Montreal, but I can tell you that there’s an abundance of humanity and humor in Shrier’s tale. There are also some thoughtful observations about the titular city--Canada’s second largest (after Toronto, Ontario)--which I recently had the opportunity to visit for the first time. Gumshoe Geller and the perpetually armed Ryan make an interesting pair of opposites, and the former’s childhood friendship with that slain journalist, “Slammin’ Sammy” Adler, lends this new novel a dimension of personal commitment and association that’s not often been so credibly offered in detective fiction. I’ve only read one other Shrier book, but if Miss Montreal remains as creative and compelling as it is now, I shall undoubtedly want to find the other two.

So here’s how you can win your very own copy of Miss Montreal. Simply e-mail your name and snail-mail address to jpwrites@wordcuts.org. And be sure to write “Miss Montreal Contest” in the subject line. Entries will be accepted between now and midnight next Wednesday, May 29. The seven winners will be chosen completely at random, and their names listed on this page the following day.

Sorry, but at the publisher’s request, this contest is open only to residents of the United States and Canada.

On this anniversary, I can’t think of a better way to thank Rap Sheet readers than to send at least a few of you free new books to help expand your knowledge of and interest in crime fiction.

15 comments:

Ronald Tierney said...

Congratulations. I have a similar morning routine and Rapsheet is at the top of my list of mandatory visits.

Patrick said...

Wow, what an occasion! The Rap Sheet has been a regular stop for me ever since I started blogging, and I've always appreciated getting the occasional plug for my own humble blogging efforts. Keep up the fine work 'round here.

As for Shrier, well, you're the second person I really trust to give his stuff the seal of approval. I've been intrigued ever since Steve Steinbock gave BOSTON CREAM such a glowing review in EQMM. Looks like Mount To Be Read is about to grow in size once again...

[Note: In a slightly humourous twist of fate, the word capture below this post has got RESPECT written in all-caps. Looks like the anniversary is being observed by all today! ;) )

Steve said...

Congratulations Jeff and keep up the great work. If it wasn't for the Rap Sheet, I would never have attempted to blog myself.

Jerry House said...

Congrats! And here's hoping for many more years.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Congrats from a six plus blog.

michael said...

Congratulations, Jeff. Your dedication here has been appreciated by this and I suspect all readers.

Bill Crider said...

Congratulations on the milestone! Keep up the good work.

Anonymous said...

Congratulations, Jeff, on a wonderful achievement. Rap Sheet, coffee and biscuits make up my daily breakfast.

Paul D. Brazill said...

Congratulations!

Ray Kolb said...

Congratulations! I've been quietly following your blog for the last couple of years. It has led me to several blogs that also now follow regularly.

Bob said...

Congratulations Jeff. After attending the Bouchercon here in St Louis, yours is the blog I read daily.

TracyK said...

Congratulations and thanks for all the hard work. Your posts here are a huge contribution to my enjoyment and knowledge about crime fiction. Can it only be seven years? I swear I have been reading this blog longer than that? I guess I am remembering the newsletter at January Magazine.

Kristopher said...

Congratulations on The Rap Sheet's anniversary.

I have read and enjoyed the blog for over half of that time and can certainly say that it has lead me to some wonderful reading material.

You have been very supportive of my "infant" blog and I respect what you have done for the blogging community.

All the best for years more coverage and most of all THANKS.

neer said...

Congratulations. It is wonderful to see your involvement.

John said...

Viva La Rap Sheet! Long may your keyboard keep a-tappin'. I've been grateful for all the plugs my ignoble blog has received over the past three years from the lauded and well respected Rap Sheet. I continue to learn more about th egenre inal its forms whenever I visit this blog. Hope there are many more years in The Rap Sheet's future.