That's me on the right at age 8, with my sis Marianne and our grade-school teacher, Mrs. Feely. I ran this heartwarming photo to trick you into believing I write warm and fuzzy essays, which I do not. But they are, on occasion, funny, which I hope is the case today, so that you will be amused.
By Shane Gericke
Hi, everyone, it's Shane, filling in for Our Kel, who's out charming readers today with tales of derring-do and heartfelt pleas of "Buy my book, pleeeeease, it's real good, I promissssssseeeeeee, you don't have to like it, you just have to buy it . . ."
Or perhaps I'm projecting my marketing strategies onto her . . .
Anyway. What's on my reference shelf?
Fast answer: Dust.
Slow answer: I got rid of my printed reference books several years ago. The dictionaries. The thesauruses. (Thesauri?) The style books. Stephen King's book on writing. Dean Koontz's book on writing. Folded maps for every state I've used in any of my books. All given away.
Replaced by the Internet.
I love the Internet. It's the finest author writing and research tool since Gutenberg looked at those crazy monks and said, "One at a time? WTF, dudes?" and created the printing press. (And, several centuries later, my career as a writer.) When I'm stuck, one or two clicks, and I'm in whatever reference tool I desire, in real time, real world, whether it be maps, synonyms, distances, eye colors, street photographs, names of viruses, or the language spoken in the Iraqi city of Tikrit. I can be at my desk (like now), or at my favorite coffee shop (like this morning), or on the banks of a fast-flowing river (like the other day), simultaneously writing and researching and referencing.
Those printed reference books were fine for their time. But their time has passed. The world changes at lightning speed, and only digital reference material can keep up with it.
Oh, and that language Iraqis speak in Tikrit?
Arabic is the majority. Kurdish is spoken by 20 percent of the population, Turkmen is spoken by 5-10 percent, and the rest is split among Assyrian Neo-Aramaic, Shabaki, Armenian, Roma and Persian. Not to mention the scattering of Chechen, Georgian and other Caucasian languages, and the occasional "Fuck you, Charlie," in our own American English.
Yeah, I looked it up.
Shane Gericke's TORN APART was named best thriller of 2010 by Suspense Magazine, an honor that shocked his dark, cynical soul, because Shane never expects to win anything after losing that Magic Eight-Ball contest to Artie Fuller in the fourth grade, the bastid. Shane is a national bestselling thriller writer, chairman of ThrillerFest and an original member of International Thriller Writers Inc., but he still cuts his own grass, dammit, cause he's humble that way. Read all about him at www.shanegericke.com