menton - 11:30 am on Sep 16, 2008 (gmt 0) Hope this helps.
I created a blog much like you described, hosted on a different domain and more a general blog about my topic of interest. I have linked out to both my own sites and other sites of interest, and have found it to be a great source of links. It is hard to say exactly what effect this has had on my rankings, but my rankings have improved dramatically since I launched this blog.
Hope this helps.