Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Growing the Outfit

by Libby Hellmann

It’s spring, and the growing season is upon us.

The Outfit is growing, too.

We’ve been posting as a group for nearly three years – hard to believe it’s been that long – and with the same cast of characters. (See the bar to the right) That’s got to be some kind of record in the blogosphere, but if it isn’t, we’re just proud we survived that long. I’m not sure any of us expected to last more than six months.

Whether you’re new to the Outfit or you've been reading us from the start, thank you for spending your precious time with us. Hopefully you’ve enjoyed our takes on writing, crime, and Chicago – eclectic as they may be -- with an occasional political rant thrown in. And hopefully, you’ll continue to follow us as we add three new voices.

With ten members we’ll each share a week-day, which should keep us more organized and will make it easier for you to keep tabs on us, too. We’ll have new blogs up pretty much every week day, and the topics we’ll cover, thanks to the infusion of fresh blood, should be fascinating. I’m pumped, and after you read our "made members'" backgrounds, I suspect you will be too.

Laura Caldwell is a Chicago trial attorney turned novelist. She is published in the legal field and is currently an Adjunct Professor of Law at her alma mater, Loyola University School of Law. She is also founder and director of the “Life After Innocence” Project, a program to help recently exonerated and wrongfully prosecuted people reclaim their lives; in fact, she’s currently writing a true-crime book about one of her cases. As for fiction, Laura began publishing thrillers and suspense novels in 2005 and has 7 novels under her belt. This summer Mira will release a trilogy of thrillers by Laura, starting with RED HOT LIES. All of them feature her new protagonist, entertainment lawyer Izzy McNeil. Follow her on Twitter at LauraACaldwell

David Ellis is an attorney, too, and he’s currently working as Counsel to the Speaker of the Illinois House of Representatives. In that role, he led the impeachment effort of former Governor Blagovevich. He is also the author of five acclaimed legal thrillers. In fact, David won the Edgar for his first novel, LINE OF VISION. Although he currently lives in Springfield, he used to practice law in Chicago, and he grew up in Downers’ Grove. That qualifies him as a Chicagoan.

Dave Heinzmann has covered crime for the Chicago Tribune for nearly a decade. He covered the Chicago Police Department beat from 2002 to 2007, and has written extensively about street gangs, drugs and murder, gun-running, as well as police misconduct scandals and a range of other criminal justice and political issues. He started his journalism career with the Associated Press in Baltimore and Atlanta. He lives in Oak Park with his family. Dave’s first crime fiction novel, A WORD TO THE WISE, will be published by Five Star in December. In it, his lawyer protagonist, former FBI agent Augustine Flood, is faced with a case that carries him deep into Chicago’s crooked politics, wheeler-dealer development and organized crime. His website will be up soon, but you can follow him now on Twitter at davidheinzmann.

As long as I'm posting pics, you might like to see an original Outfit photo, taken by Crain’s Chicago about 18 months ago.

The new schedule will start somewhere around the middle of May. As always, we love your feedback – whatever it is – so don’t stop. This is your blog as much as ours. Thanks again, and please welcome our new members with a comment or two.

PS Don't forget about Indie Day, Friday, May 1. Go to your favorite independent book store and buy that book you've been thinking about...


abbourgoin said...

Welcome to the new members of the outfit! I look forward to hearing what you have to say. It is one of the best ways to start my day to see a new post up here and now I will be seeing one almost every day. I love it.

MysterLynch said...

Congrats to the new members. Ellis, the one I am familiar with, is a good writer and a hell of a nice guy.

Kevin Guilfoile said...

Awesome. Welcome guys.

David J. Montgomery said...

Dave Ellis is going to blog?

I'll believe it when I see it. The guy can't even answer email.

He's "too busy" bringing down corrupt politicians or something silly like that.

FizzWater said...

Dave Ellis is far too fine a person to be joining this lump of dumbasses.

And Laura just too damn hot to be hanging round here.

Libby Hellmann said...

So nice to see you back, FizzWater. Was wondering where you were.

Picks By Pat said...

Nice photo.

Is this your group mug shot? I'm pretty sure I saw a couple of you featured on the FBI's most wanted when I was at the post office today.

Welcome to the new members.

Steerpike said...

Welcome, Laura, David, and Dave! I've always enjoyed the writing on this site and the extracurricular writing of its authors. It'll be fun to read the views of some new blood. :)