The Jan/Feb 2018 issue of EQMM may have been the last issue to feature Bill Crider’s long running column: Blog Bytes. Here’s what he said about it in our interview for The Digest Enthusiast five:
“I’m not sure how ‘Blog Bytes’ came about, as I inherited the column from Ed Gorman, who called me and asked me to take over for him. I suspect that the column was the idea of the EQMM editor, Janet Hutchings, who wanted to start making some connections with the online world, but it could have been Ed’s idea. When I agreed to do the column (in 2007; hard to believe it’s been almost 10 years), Ed sent me some of his columns to look at. They were all between 400–415 words, so I’ve stuck to that with my own column.
“The only thing that worried me about doing the column was whether there would be enough new blogs and websites to keep it going. I needn’t have worried. Another thing that occurred to me a few years ago was that some blogs deserved a repeat mention because people might have missed the first one or might have forgotten about it. So I now lead with a repeat each time.”
Social media and the blogs of Bill Crider’s friends and fans celebrate the life of the gifted writer with tributes and recollections upon the news of his passing yesterday. Like many, I first met Bill through his wonderful blog Bill Crider’s Pop Culture Magazine.
In 2015, I was fortunate enough to meet him in person at Bouchercon in Raleigh, where he signed a copy of his—at the time—current novel Between the Living and the Dead. A year later, he graciously agreed to be interviewed via email and responded to general questions about his career, and highlighted some of his short stories and articles for magazines and zines like The Not So Private Eye, Black Cat Mystery Magazine, New Mystery, Hardboiled, and Ellery Queen.
When asked about his terrific story, “The Marching Madmen,” starring The Spider, he shared the inside information:
“I was invited to write a story for The Spider Chronicles, and the invitation came at a time when I’d been reading a lot of Novell Page Spider novels. I’m easily influenced by the writing style of other authors, so it seemed as if it would be easy to sit down and write a story like the ones I’d been enjoying. It wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be, so I’m glad you think it turned out well. Writing the story kind of burned me out on The Spider, and I haven’t read any other Page novels since then.”
Rest in peace, Bill Crider, your stories and kindness, that touched so many lives, lives on.
Bill Crider: “At an Armadillocon some years ago, I was on the “Apes” panel, along with Joe Lansdale, Rick Klaw, Mark Finn, Chris Nakashima Brown, and probably some others I’m forgetting. The talk turned to a legendary pulp cover for a story called “Gorilla of the Gas Bags” in a pulp called Zeppelin Stories. As anyone knows, there are only a couple of copies of the magazine still around, so nobody had read the story. Joe Lansdale challenged the panelists to write a story based on the cover. He sold his, and I sold mine. I don’t know if anyone else wrote a story.”
Attn. Writers:Sandra Seamans reminds us Switchblade magazine is open for submissions.
Bill Crider: “I’ve published only two stories in EQMM, and “The Case of the Headless Man” was the first. When I wrote it, I used a couple of my series characters, Bo Wagner and Janice Langtry. They’re a writing team, like Ellery Queen, and they write about impossible crimes solved by their amateur sleuth, Sam Fernando. Now and then the cops call them in and ask for their help with impossible crimes, like one committed by a man without a head. I really had some some fun with these stories, of which there are two or three. Maybe I should collect them into an eBook, except that I can’t locate the eCopy of “The Case of the Headless Man.”
“I’d tell you where the story idea came from, but I can’t do that without giving too much away. What I can tell you is that I’d been rejected by EQMM a couple of times, and I really wanted to be published there. When I came up with this story idea, I thought it was perfect for the magazine, and sure enough, the editor bought it.”