Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Stuff I actually read

For a while last year, I'd stopped writing in my blog - not only because I had little to say, but because I thought it was unfair of me writing more and more material without taking the time to read other blogs.

That said, I'm going to take a moment to post a couple of blogs that I actually read on a regular basis.  That's not to exclude any blogs of any of my friends!  This is a list of blogs I've been reading for six months or better, and doesn't necessarily include those blogs I've started following.

Naturally, I have to mention two of my buds - Tobin Elliott over at Left to Write, and Michael Lorenson at...well...Michael Lorenson, both publishing through WordPress.  Tobin's usually got a laugh or two for us, though you never know when he's going to hit you with some naked and uncomfortable honesty.  And Michael - bless his heart - is trying to write a blog post a day as part of his New Years' Resolution.  So far so good!  And I know, because I've been salivating for the moment when I can pop him in Facebook and tease him for not writing that day.

There are a couple of other blurb-worthy blogs I follow, written by folks I've never met.

Now you have to understand, I'm a slow reader - I find it painful and frustrating.  So if I read something on a regular basis, it must be super interesting!

Graveyard Shift, by Lee Lofland (whose name I always read as "Lee Of Land").  According to his "About" page:

Lee Lofland is a veteran police investigator who began his law-enforcement career working as an officer in Virginia's prison system. He later became a sheriff's deputy, a patrol officer, and finally, he achieved the highly-prized gold shield of detective. Along the way, he gained a breadth of experience that's unusual to find in the career of a single officer. 

I love, love, love reading his stuff, because it helps me to separate out "real" from "TV".  This blog forces me to examine the assumptions I make in my own writing.  Plus, Lofland writes in quick, short bursts on a daily basis.  Sometimes it's funny, sometimes it's bittersweet.  But I've never been disappointed.  On Friday, he pays hommage to those who have fallen in the line of duty that week, and sometimes, that's the grounding I need.  It brings a perspective I need:  it prevents me from glorifying gun battles and it prevents me from underestimating the courage of a police officer, or what they put on the line every day and night.

Annie Off Leash is another one I read on a regular basis, though she doesn't write as frequently as either Tobin or Mike.  She actually started following me before I started following her.  I don't know what it is about her style - except to say that when Annie Boreson writes a retrospective on her life, there's something indy-cinematic about her style, as if she writes using Super 8 film.  If there's one thing I really enjoy about her blog, it's that she doesn't write a lot about writing!  And that's something I need to learn to do.

I would be remiss if I didn't add the Crime Writers of Canada National Crime Writing Blog.  If you go there RIGHT NOW you'll find a funny blog post by Melodie Campbell, about firearms and their (mis)use in crime fiction.  If you don't get there in time, follow this link and you can read the same article at your leisure.  This is one of those blogs I should have been reading more often, but haven't been.  Must get back into the habit!

So, like I said, this is just a short sample of some of the blogs I've made a point of reading over the last six months.  This list should grow over the next couple of months, as I add more blogs to the list.

I like reading blogs that are about more than just writing, or being a writer.  Take Graveyard Shift, for an example:  Lee writes about what it's like to be a cop, and about, as a cop, how he reacts to things he sees in the movies or that he reads in crime stories.  I find blogs like this endlessly fascinating - not only because it helps me challenge and improve my own writing, but because it gets me out of my own head and into someone else's for a change.

Feel free to leave your recommendations below!


  1. I give Michael a lot of credit...one million words and 366 blogs in one year. Dude's either got a secret stash of uppers or he's crazy. Either way, it'll be fun to watch.

    Annie...well, Annie's quite simply a genius. The woman can turn a phrase like no one else I know. I love love love Annie's blog.

    I'll have to check out the CWC and definitely check Lee's. Thanks for letting us know about these.

    And thanks for the props, for my blog, P!

  2. Some interesting links. Thanks for sharing them!
    And I'm not going to miss a day! Though there are going to be days, many many days, when I stare at my screen because I have no bloody clue what to talk about..

  3. Thanks so much for mentioning my blog, The Graveyard Shift. I'm pleased that you've found it to be both interesting and helpful. Have you considered attending our Writers' Police Academy? Lee Child is our keynote speaker for the 2012 event.


  4. @ Lee - it's a dream of mine! It's a bit tricky for me to get to for 2012, but I'd love to make it there in 2013!

  5. Who can think that far ahead, Pat? I'm lucky to live through this thing one year at a time!

  6. You are now, officially, the best salesman I know. I'll keep an eye on the WPA website for details for 2012.