Friday, July 29, 2022

Blogroll Playing

With my latest mammoth project for another publication now completed (more on that to come), I can concentrate again on The Rap Sheet. A house-cleaning task I’ve been wanting to tackle for some while is to cull dead wood from this page’s extensive blogroll, and I am embroiled in that endeavor now.

I know as well as anybody else just how difficult it can be to post regularly to one’s blog, especially when you must contend with other personal or professional responsibilities. So I am slow to trim seemingly dormant Web sites from the directory found in The Rap Sheet’s right-hand column. I also know that blogs can look dead and dusty for long stretches, before suddenly roaring back to life. Just recently, for instance, Rex Parker’s paperback book-art site, Pop Sensation—which had lain inactive for almost two years—received a fresh infusion of posts. Other blogs are notorious for being infrequently updated, among them Dave’s Fiction Warehouse, Double O Section, Doyleockian, and Steve Scott’s John D. MacDonald-focused The Trap of Solid; I try to take it in stride that they’ll periodically be neglected for a coon’s age, before new material appears.

After developing an initial inventory of more than two dozen blogs/Web sites I thought could be weeded out of this page’s inventory, I contacted a few of the affected bloggers, just to see if they had revival plans in mind. It seems most of them do!

Craig Sisterson, the New Zealand native (but current UK resident) who writes Crime Watch—which hadn’t seen any new entries since last November—e-mailed me to say, “I’d been to-ing and fro-ing on whether to continue [Crime Watch] (perhaps upgrading the look), fold it into a newer Web site, or leave it fallow. After your nudge, and the conviviality of the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival in Harrogate [England] this past weekend, it will definitely continue now—after its wee hiatus.” At press time, one new post had indeed appeared on Sisterton’s page; I hope to see more soon. Meanwhile, Les Blatt of the wonderful Classic Mysteries blog (which has seemed unloved and uncared-for since July 2021) tells me that “while I still want to get Classic Mysteries going again—it’s not proving easy. Both my primary computers died at the same time last year, and trying to re-learn new forms of tech seems to be getting tougher. I would like to get something out by early fall, but I don’t have a specific target date in mind yet.” David Magayna of Mugsy’s Musings (apparently untouched since May 2021) sounds rather less optimistic. He says he’s been occupied of late with his studies in the Italian language and his plans to pen a memoir. Magayna continues:
I’ve been working on that [memoir] for over a year now, and it’s taken surprisingly more time than I thought it would. I don’t expect that I’ll be adding significant content to the blog for the time being, and even then, it will probably revolve around my trip to Italy, with maybe an entry about Bouchercon [2022] and the panel I’m moderating. Please feel comfortable in removing Mugsy’s Musings. If I ramp it up with significant crime-fiction material again, I’ll be sure to let you know.
Finally, I checked on the status of “Dick of the Day,” a component of The Thrilling Detective Web Site that has a prominent link above this page’s blogroll. “Dick” has been down since March 25, which is odd, as it had been regularly refreshed during the preceding year of its existence. I asked editor Kevin Burton Smith whether he intends to reinvigorate the feature. “I really hope so,” Smith remarks. “Unfortunately, like Travis McGee, I’m taking my retirement in installments, and right now I’m unable to devote as much time to the site as possible. Especially on a daily basis. But yes, it will return.”

Unfortunately, I can’t be as hopeful regarding the Web pages enumerated below. Two or three have simply disappeared, informing visitors that they’re now “open to invited readers only,” or are “currently private.” C.J. Thomas, who composed The Stiletto Gumshoe, told me months ago that he needed a bit of time away from blogging; I haven’t heard from him since. Tip the Wink is on this list because its author, Rick Robinson, passed away on the morning of June 30, after longstanding health issues led to his being in “a multiple car accident.” Following some lively years of blogging by Scott Montgomery, the crime-fiction coordinator at the Austin, Texas, bookstore BookPeople, the MysteryPeople blog went silent back in February 2021. I have no idea why the other blogs and Web sites tallied below aren’t being attended to; maybe their authors simply grew tired of all the effort. In any event, I am scrubbing them from The Rap Sheet’s active blogroll—at least for the time being.

Black Mask
Dispatches from the Last Outlaw
Femmes Fatales
Hardboiled Wonderland
International Noir Fiction
Irresistible Targets
James Bond Memes
JJ Gittes Investigations
Ms. Wordopolis Reads
Mystery Playground
Narrative Drive
Nasty. Brutish. Short.
Only Detect
Over My Dead Body
Pulp Den: Earl Norman and Burns Bannion
A Short Walk Down a Dark Street
Sons of Spade
The Stiletto Gumshoe
Suddenly at His Residence
Thrillers for You
Tip the Wink
True Pulp Fiction
Unlawful Acts
The Westlake Review

If you have any insider knowledge about the future of these sites, or if you happen to be the author of one of them and wish to contest its elimination from The Rap Sheet’s blogroll, please drop me a note in the Comments section at the end of this post.


E. Ellis said...

I really enjoy it when a blogger makes a posting that was not anticipated and how it turns out really helpful.

Several of my favorites are mentioned and I was glad to learn Crime Watch will be updating.

Several on your list that have went silent were really good for publicizing books that would fall under the radar too often (Hardboiled Wonderland and Unlawful Acts).

I have also found it seems many bloggers have moved to other platforms like Twitter.

Kristopher said...

BOLO Books is coming up on it's ten-year anniversary this Fall and I find my self contemplating next stages. Between Bookstagram and Tik-Tok, it's clear that publishers are putting all their eggs in those baskets - maybe rightly (I have no idea) - so I often think it's time to move on. But then the authors reach out to me personally and I find it harder to turn away. I've cut back on how regularly I post and that seems to have quelled the burnout, so maybe I have another five years in me.

J. Kingston Pierce said...

I hope you have more than five years ahead of you, Kristopher. BOLO Books is consistently good!