Without getting sappy or maudlin about this (okay - we actually are gonna be sappy and maudlin), we've decided that FO has run it's course and we've decided that we'd like to go out while we're on top. We're just not sure what we're on top of. But after half a decade, we've decided that it's time to say goodbye. So, without further ado...
NEIL: I came to this party late, so I feel a lot like Sammy Hagar joining Van Halen (or, as Jeff said, "like that nobody replacing that gay dude in Judas Priest"). Not to say that Bryon is in any way David Lee Roth-like. Noooooo. No no no. Nope. Ain't happening.
I also came in with three books under my belt. So instead of a First anything, I was (ahem) "experienced" (am I right, ladies?)
Once I took a shot, asked if I could join, and passed the audition (God, I hope there's no videotape of that hanging around), what I expected was to completely turn the collective stomach of the other four's fan base. I'm talking firing off angry emails, a lot of "How dare you!" and "Fire that guy and bring back sweet, sweet Bryon!" Turned out all of you readers actually dig the nasty language and punk attitude. You think "douchefucker" is a cool word. You like violence and the messy consequences. You're all a bunch of sick pervs. I'm ashamed of you. Please, hide your sins and beg to be cured of your filthy habits, you fuckers.
What I didn't expect, though, was that there was more to being an First Offender than simply posting on your assigned day. There were nearly daily emails bouncing back and forth between all these cats, and I got to play along with that. Some of the funniest and filthiest jokes by all of us never made the blog, but I'm sure their somewhere in my Gmail archives. Ah, it was nice to be part of the band, even if all I did was play bass.
I wish Lori, Karen, Jeff, and Alison all the best, and I'm sure we'll still pass the emails around, keep the conversation going. The only difference is we'll keep it to ourselves and let the rest of you get on with your lives.
So it's not you, it's us. And, by the way, we're keeping all the cool CDs you left at our place.
KAREN: Words can't
say how much I've enjoyed this blog and the company here. From the get-go,
we've had loads of fun and drawn you into our conversations and lives, hearing
about yours and making new, lasting friendships. Considering that we decided to
do this about 2 in the morning at Bouchercon in
ALISON: Back when I first met Jeff, Karen and Lori at Bouchercon, I had no idea how to pronounce Bouchercon. It's amazing to me how much all of our lives have changed since then, yet this blog – dreamed up over one too many drinks and initially titled “Feels Like the First Time” – remains. Well, until now. After five years of girly music video-posting, Jim Born-insulting, cussing, song lyrics-debating, doggie pinups-admiring, glorious randomness (with occasional forays into talking about writing), Jeff, Lori, Karen, Neil and I are calling it quits. I’m sad. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t. But as Lori’s favorite musical artist Bruce Springsteen once said, “Good times got a way of coming to an end.” And these, I have to say, were some mighty good times.
LORI: Things end. It’s a fact of life. Sometimes by choice, sometimes by unforeseen circumstances, sometimes with great resistance. I admit I’m not a big fan of change in most cases. So coming to the group decision to end the First Offenders blog after an almost five year run wasn’t an easy one.
For me, things have changed drastically since the inception of this blog. In 2005 I had one book out. I had just signed another contract for the second book in the Julie Collins series and I wasn’t sure I could pull it off. I was the only one of my newbie writer “blog” friends who didn’t have an agent. And my alter ego, Lorelei James, hadn’t been born, so to speak, but was merely another aspect of my storytelling side that I hoped to explore “someday” – Now, in 2010, I have five published mysteries under my belt, another one in edits for publication in 2011, and I’ve finished, in one form or another, sixteen erotic romances, with numbers seventeen and eighteen scheduled for the remainder of 2010. So yes, my focus has shifted, and once that happened, I knew other changes were inevitable.
It goes without saying that Jeff, Alison, Karen and I have gotten extremely close over the years (and Neil in the last year) and I know those friendships will continue offline. I’ve been humbled by the people/readers/writers/fans/industry professionals who’ve visited our little blog, whether or not they left comments. Invariably at some point during any writer’s conference I heard – “I love your guys’ blog—it’s a must read.” For the last five years I’ve checked the comments daily. I’ve laughed and cried and gotten pissed off, and busted my buttons with pride. We were one of the first mystery blog groups, and part of me is sad that’s ending. But with the constantly changing social media options, it’s gotten harder to sustain a weekly blog audience, while it’s gotten much easier—albeit more time consuming—to maintain an accessible web presence.
So farewell, FOFOs. And I leave you with the wise words of the great ‘80s pseudo-metal band Def Leppard – “It’s better to burn out…than fade away.”
JEFF: Over the past five years, there has been an
enormous amount of change in my life, not all of it good. Some things I’ve made public here, some I
haven’t. But FO was the one constant positive thing in
my life, the one place I knew I could let loose on anything or anyone if I so
choose, the one thing I knew would be here each day in some form or another and
I am in no way exaggerating when I tell you that I have depended on it to keep
me sane at times. It has been a comfort
to me, a stabilizing force, which seems ridiculous when you consider the
ridiculous crap we have pulled here. But
I can look at you with a straight face and mean that. I’m not quite sure what Tuesday morning is
going to be like. If you’d asked me,
though, that night in
And while I won’t miss the Viagra spam or messing with Typepad on a regular basis, I will miss all of you and your opinions and your humor and your questions and your irreverence and your laughing at my Jim Born jokes and your friendship more than I can adequately explain. This blog has lasted as long as it has not because of the five faces at the top, but because of the people who showed up here regularly and told a friend or two. For all of that, we thank you. We really thank you.
to my four friends up there next to me on the masthead – your friendship is the
most rewarding thing publishing has given me.
Thank you to each of you for so many different things.
Now wipe your tears, FOFOs. Waste your time elsewhere. And remember – we’ll always have the Internet.