I've been so incredibly blessed when it comes to the book blogging community. I met the most generous woman, blogger and librarian, Lesa Holstine. She's fostered not only my love of the mystery genre, but also my love of blogging. She's supported me, advised me, encouraged me and indulged me. It's been through her generosity and kindness that I've been able to build my sense of security and my willingness to take a risk. While Lesa and I live on opposite sides of the country now, we both share a background of Northeast Ohio. We discovered each other through blogging, and it is my distinct pleasure to call her both mentor and friend.
Another blogger who is a vital part of my community is Naomi Johnson at The Drowning Machine. Naomi and I both live in Ohio: me in the Northern realm and Naomi in Central Ohio. We met through our mutual love of Robert Crais and began talking on a Crais discussion board. She was one of my first "regulars." Since then I look to her for everything from advice to laughs to attending book events with me. I look forward to every chance I have to interact with Naomi, as I know my heart will be in a constant state of smile.
Michael Alatorre is the author of It Rains...You Get Wet. I also met Michael on the Robert Crais discussion board and he too was an early regular of Jen's Book Thoughts. In addition to our shared love of Robert Crais and crime fiction, Michael is my guru when it comes to audiobooks. He is such a wealth of knowledge and he's incredibly generous with his willingness to share it. I often find myself emailing him with pleas for help. He never bats an eyelash, he's so tolerant of me! I made my first visit to Los Angeles for the L.A. Times Book Festival in 2008 and Michael shared the whole experience with my sister and I. His generosity went above and beyond. I returned to the Festival in 2009 and was able to meet Michael's family, who are as wonderful as I imagined from his hilarious stories. And I'm looking forward to seeing him again this week when the Craisies converge on St. Louis where Robert Crais is a guest of honor at this year's Bouchercon. I'll be giving RC a special thanks for bringing both Naomi and Michael into my life and my blogging community.
The last blogger I'm going to mention today is another blogger in the crime fiction community as well as the book blogging community and that's Pop Culture Nerd. I met PCN through Michael Alatorre because she too shares a love of Robert Crais with us. I'm continually inspired by PCN: she's energetic, fantastically funny, smart as a whip and creative. I wish I had a fraction of the wonderfulness in this spitfire! PCN and I will be embarking on a project together soon and then I'll be able to sponge off her wonderfulness. ;-) It's a special kind of person that you can disagree with but still completely respect the opposite opinion. With PCN, I know we can always have great conversations whether we completely agree on a topic or not. There's always a mutual respect and understanding. I cherish that part of our friendship. I am honored and humbled to call her friend.
I could write about the wonderful bloggers that make up my "community" for days and days. Tomorrow I'm going to share another small group of bloggers because I was unable to participate in the blogger interview exchange this year - Bouchercon and all. I hope you'll stop by and I hope you'll check out the blogs of the folks I've highlighted here in this post. They are wonderful, wonderful bloggers and well worth checking out! They inspire me regularly!
Before I wrap this up, I'd also like to take this opportunity to remember a very special member of our collective community (myself and my friends I've mentioned above). Corey Wilde started The Drowning Machine and due to his health, asked Naomi to join him in maintaining the blog. When he could no longer contribute, Naomi took the blog over completely. We haven't heard from Corey since that time and feel his absence regularly. He helped to nurture the community we are all a part of. It wouldn't be the same without his contributions. While I think of Corey regularly, today, I think of him especially. This blogging thing...it's really about far more than the books.