Mike Friedman has spent the last two or three years talking about seeing the future and to him, it was a future without the middleman. He wanted to find a way for a group of writer friends to come together, bringing our audiences with us, to a site where people could buy our newest works and older works which are no longer in print.Last year at Shore Leave, Mike exited the Men’s Room and saw the very writers he wanted to work with and a conversation began. Many of us saw merit in the notion and wanted to hear more. The next several weeks saw this evolve through numerous e-mails, resulting in a meeting at Mike’s house in August. We needed a name, we needed a schedule to launch, and we needed a business model everyone was comfortable with.By the October New York Comic-Con, we had settled on Crazy 8 because at the time, there were eight of us committed. We met again at the con and recognized there was a lot to hash out including some fundamental philosophical differences that led two of the group to bow out. We kept the name because we’re just that crazy.On Saturday, keeping to our first goal, we formally announced the operation. Crazy 8 will be a place where Peter David, Mike, Aaron Rosenberg, Glenn Hauman, Howard Weinstein and I will be selling our older works and offering up new stories and novels. These will be made available for purchase in a variety of electronic formats along with a Print on Demand option for those who still like traditional paper books.Starting in July, at Shore Leave, we will have our first new books available for sale along with older works by the six of us. There are numerous options for the debut books but it looks like Aaron and Peter may well have a double-barreled first shot. Peter, by far the most prolific of the bunch, announced that he has regained the rights to his Sir Apropos of Nothing books and will be selling these on the site in addition to a 2012 fourth book in the series.At present, we foresee a bimonthly schedule of new works along with our older stories and novels available. We’ll also have blogs and message board and probably some related merchandise.One of the advantages to the electronic marketplace is that we can be responsive to the readers. If they want us to give them more Apropos by Peter or mythology from Mike, we can deliver. We’re thinking of holding a poll for a theme and all six of us would write stories for an anthology, sort of On Demand storytelling. At the panel, we showed off two final logo options, took votes, and then had someone suggest the logo would work better on its side and sure enough, that was our winner, so already our readers’ voice has been heard.We’re not the first to do this, that’s for sure, but we think we’re part of a growing wave of writers taking control of our work and avoiding marketers who say they can’t figure out how to sell a book or editors who can’t be bothered to read delivered manuscripts. We can write to our own schedules and publish as we finish our works and keep most of the money rather than splitting it with the publisher, distributor, and bookstore.As we continue to refine the plans, we have launched our website and if you visit, you can sign up for our newsletter which will keep you posted as to our progress and schedule. We’ve also launched a Twitter feed (@Crazy8Press) to keep the news out there and a Facebook page is sure to follow in the spring, once we have things to show.What will I be writing for the site? Way back in the late 1990s, I wrote a short story for an anthology called Mob Magic and have always wanted to revisit that world so may start there. Or I may finally finish the outline for my urban fantasy and get that written. We’ll see since that is likely to be my summer writing project.It’s all new and exciting and yes, a little risky, but we need to do something to remain viable commercial writers. Do check us out.