Crossposted from Murderati

Fen: The plural of fan. Another word for "fans," as in people who like something, not cooling devices. The Urban Dictionary

One of the greatest parts about the writing life is the chance it gives me to meet other writers--people whose work I love, and who, as it turns out, are huge fun to hang out with. But one of the unexpected bonuses I discovered about going to conferences and such is the chance I get to hang out with fans, people who love the same stuff I do, and who love to talk about it. Among the readers that make up such an important part of this crime fiction community are a select few who go above and beyond the call of ordinary fandom. You know the ones I mean: the people who love the community so much that they become part of its infrastructure. So, herein is a list of a few of my favorite fans. Note: It’s not intended to be an exhaustive list. Chime in with your own tributes.

THE JORDANS: Jon, his wife Ruth, and Jon’s sister Jennifer. Jon is a man of boundless energy and good cheer, with an infectious grin, a wealth of sound advice, and an apparently bottomless supply of Red Bull. And Ruth? Oh. My. God. If Ruth was any cooler, the angels would come and bear her bodily up to Heaven to sit at the right hand of James Dean. And while I haven’t had as much chance to hang out with Jennifer in real-time, I love her deeply twisted sensibility as expressed on her blog Human Under Construction, a must-read for those who crave their daily dose of weirdness and/or mullets. And speaking of must-reads, the Jordans’ labor of love, Crimespree magazine, is one of the essential publications for the hard-core mystery/thriller buff.

They blog. They review. They know everybody. They’ve even been known to put touring writers up for the night. Oh, and they're organizing a Bouchercon in Baltimore. I love those guys.

ALI KARIM: My friend from across the water. According to his blogger bio, Ali Karim is the assistant editor of the e-zine Shots, a contributing editor at January Magazine, writes for The Rap Sheet, Deadly Pleasures and Crimespree magazines and an associate member [and literary judge] for both the British Crime Writers Association as well as The International Thriller Writers Inc; and also helps judge Deadly Pleasures’ Barry Awards. AND he has a day job as an industrial chemist. I've never seen Ali and Jon in the same room together; I'm afraid if they were, the wallpaper would catch fire from all the energy being thrown off. I met Ali online when we both were hanging around the USENET newsgroup rec.arts.mystery, and he was always one of the more witty and well-informed members of an already witty and well-informed group of posters.

And finally, last but not least, my North Carolina homegirl, MOLLY WESTON. I met Molly when she moderated a panel at the Virginia Festival of the Book. The panel was on humorous mysteries. You can tell she’s a hell of a moderator because she managed to get past the fact that I don’t write humorous mysteries. Not only that, she also arranged a subsequent whirlwind mini-tour for me and Florida writer Bob Morris (who does write humorous mysteries, and damn good ones too). Not only that, she brought lunch. Now when she said, “oh, I’ll bring you guys something to eat,” I was thinking Subway or Burger King or something. This is because I didn’t know Molly yet. We’re talking chicken salad and other goodies, all homemade. And, on top of it all, she insisted on driving all over central North Carolina to get us to the venues she’d arranged, and we made every one on time. Molly, you rock. Feed me like that and I'll follow you anywhere.

So, who are YOUR favorite fen?

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