I've been trying to decide whether or not to join International Thriller Writers and be a part of Killer Year 2008 with my debut novel. The only hitch is that Death Will Get You Sober is not a thriller--it's a traditional mystery with an amateur sleuth. It's much too gritty to be a cozy, and I'm told that ITW, like Crimespace, embraces a broad range of crime fiction. That phrase alone, "crime fiction," subtly indicates a distinction between whodunits--"malice domestic," if you will--and the dark side that ranges from cop and PI stories to courtroom drama to serial killer POV to "high concept" techno action stories with global stakes. Can I join whatever group I want to? Sure. Do I have to apologize or explain? Well, no, not if I don't feel like it. What I really want to know is what goes on inside the head of someone who identifies as a crime fiction or thriller writer when someone like me says, "I write mysteries." Do you think "one of us" or "one of them"? As an inquisitive character of Margery Allingham's once said, I only ask because I want to know. ;)

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Heck, writers are incredibly supportive across all genres. Join whatever you like. I belong to Sisters in Crime and I'm not anyone's "sister" and seldom dress as one. I belong to MWA and the Authors Guild and I would join everything if I could afford the dues. Soon, i will be very wealthy and I'll join some really weird groups youve never heard of...such as "HBTCMS" -- Hard Boiled Thrilling Cozy Mystery Sluts....So far I only qualify for the "S" but I'm working on the rest.

Burl Barer


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