Lately, I've been overwhelmed by what I'll call the fear factor. Clive James asserts there areonly so many storylines and patterns of conflict, suggesting all that's left to distinguish one work of crime fiction from another is setting. (An assertion I find absurd, but let's set that aside.)

Jim Huang offered insights from his experiences that didn't give much reason for cheer either. Elsewhere, a fascinating discussion about royalties opened the door for people to share opinions on yet another contentious topic.

And elsewhere in cyberspace, people are still going on about Rankin, McDermid and sexual orientation like it's a hot new topic.

And then there is the steady stream of spam from people. Argh... I've never been so frustrated. Oh, don't get me wrong. Jim had valuable points to make. The royalties discussion was fasinating. But everything feels so... negative lately, and I haven't even linked to the latest discussion about cutting review space. It just feels as though the consistent message is it's impossible to succeed.

Our recent decision to launch Spinetingler awards was, in part, a knee-jerk reaction to it all. We'd discussed it. We still hadn't worked out some technicalities, but I said, "Screw it, we're doing this. We'll tweak as we go."

I'm hoping people here will start thinking about nominations in the appropriate categories. We've tried to level the playing field so that authors with major profile compete against others with a lot of profile, and those without as much push get a shot at some publicity.

Other than that, I'm mostly avoiding lists and forums these days. I find myself thinking that instead of the endless discussions about the decline of review space and how hard things are right now, we need to think past the old standbys we've relied on. Thinking back to Anne's idea of some time ago, about the Book Channel, I find myself wondering if the next order of business might not be BookTube. Heavens, if GodTube can make a go of it, surely BookTube can...

Maybe we should host a virtual Crimespace Convention. Special video interviews, podcasts, articles...

Damn, okay, I have to stop thinking. I have a frickin' deadline to meet.

** Edited to add: Okay, since I didn't make this clear enough, this isn't about kickstarting a pity party or anything like that. I'm tossing out the challenge, for us to come up with some things we can do to celebrate our genre, to celebrate good books and the love of reading. We're doing our awards. I tossed out ideas like BookTube and a Crimespace Convention (by this I mean an online virtual con). What I'm saying is, let's not just keep complaining, or reading the doom and gloom. Let's put a little elbow grease into doing something positive.

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some authors I consider mystery writers are actually showing up in the fiction bays

That's a constant in Canada. Thrillers tend to be shelved general fiction, but it gets tricky. Lee Child - general fiction. Ken Bruen, Dennis Lehane - mystery. Since the fiction sections here tend to be huge and sprawling, I seldom go through them the way I do mystery. Even in mystery I rarely have the time to go shelf to shelf and pull stuff off and cover the whole section. I do it in chunks over time. But I never do that in general fiction, so I need to already be looking for a book that's there to find it.

And James Patterson has his own section of shelves here.


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