Insanity Presses

Writer Kristine Kathryn Rusch talks about tie-in writing and the publishing biz in an interesting interview with Along the way, she had this to say about self-publishing:

Vanity presses are called "vanity" presses for a reason. They appeal
to the writer’s vanity, not the writer’s sanity. Stay away if you want
to be a serious writer.

Good advice!


Author Jeff Mariotte talks on his Amazon blog about the unique obstacles he faced writing the first original LAS VEGAS series tie-in novel. He worked up an outline, turned it into the show’s creator/ep Gary Scott Thompson, and went off on a road trip with his family before hunkering down to write:

During that
time, Gary had a new idea.  Since I wasn’t checking e-mail every day on
the road, I missed an e-mail scheduling a new conference call.  Gary
kindly agreed to yet another to make up for the one I missed, and he
told me his new idea.  At the end of Season Two, the Montecito Hotel
and Casino was blown up.  Season Three picked up six months later,
during which time a new one had been built.  All the characters had
been scattered to the winds, relationships had ended or changed, and
one character, Nessa Holt, wasn’t returning.  Gary wanted the show to
pick up with the opening of the new Montecito, and didn’t want to have
to fill in the missing six months on the air.  So he wanted the novel
to do that, to tell fans where Nessa went, what happened between Danny
and Jenny, how the new Montecito was built so quickly, etc.

In many ways, I bet this was a creative blessing for Jeff.  It allowed Jeff to break new ground creatively with the characters and yet, at the same time, still remain true to the show.  It will be a hard act to follow for his second LAS VEGAS book…assuming another calamity doesn’t befall the characters in this season’s finale.

Dr. Who Taken Prisoner

The long gestating remake of the cult TV series THE PRISONER is on the fast-track for the UK’s Sky One.  Zap2it reports that Christopher Eccleston, who starred in the first season of the revived DR. WHO series, is now taking on the role of Number Six, originally portrayed by Patrick McGoohan:

The new series, slated to run for six
episodes, would likely premiere sometime next year, 40 years after the
original debuted on ITV. Rumors of a new series have been percolating
for some time, but Sky One didn’t greenlight the project until this
week. Bill Gallagher, writer of the BAFTA Award-nominated series "Conviction"
(no relation to the NBC show) and "Clocking Off," will pen the scripts
for the new "Prisoner."

The TV Geek In You Will Never Die, and That’s the Frakkin’ Truth

You never outgrow being a TV geek. I’m proof of that. But you can’t even shake it off if you become an Emmy-winning producer of a cult hit series like, say, LOST. My friend Javi is proof of that.

it’s no secret that one of my favorite shows is “gilmore girls” (the
third spoke in my triumvirate of televisual greatness along with
galactica and 24) – so imagine my surprise when – during a quick break
from the mountain of work under which i currently find myself (remember
hulk in the secret wars – that’s me right now) – i happened upon an
instance, in a three-week-old episode, of lorelai gilmore saying
“frakking celine dion!”

i must have tivo-d that moment about a dozen times.

that may have been the most transcendent vignette of television i have
experienced in recent memory (although the recent actions of secretary
of state james heller on 24 were pretty awesome – and reminiscent of
the famous punchline “you’re not gonna make a canoe out of me!”).  it
is also as decisive an acknowledgment of galactica’s newfound hipness
as you are likely to find. to have a character in a show that is as
relentlessly incompatible with most of the conventions of genre as
“gilmore girls” acknowledge ron moore’s reimagining of glenn larson’s
contribution to the vernacular is – to quote another sci-fi icon

I’d pity Javi if I wasn’t just as bad as he is. For me, the high point of MISSION IMPOSSIBLE III was hearing musical cues from the TV show in the score.

It’s a Tie-in World

News about the IAMTW’s Scribe Awards has already started to show up around the web. The folks at Galleycat can’t escape tie-ins lately.

All of a sudden, it seems, tie-in books are everywhere. OAKDALE
CONFIDENTIAL, the mystery novel written to tie in with As the World
Turns’ 50th anniversary, spends its third consecutive week on the NYT
bestseller lists. A new organization for tie-in writers has announced its own awards.
And Hyperion, after doing pretty well with THE DIARY OF ELLEN RIMBAUER
(a prequel to the 2002 miniseries RED ROSE) and THE KILLING CLUB (a
mystery written by a character from ONE LIFE TO LIVE) has just released BAD TWIN by "Gary Troup" – a character who died before LOST began airing.

Incidentally, OAKDALE CONFIDENTIAL is written by one of our talented IAMTW members. If you want to find out who that is, you’ll have to read the latest issue of Mystery Scene.

I’m Buying My Wife A Dozen Harlequin Romances

Author HelenKay Dimon pointed me to this article that claims romance readers have a lot more sex.

Experts agree that readers of romance novels find it easier to “get in the mood” and on average, even have sex with their partners more often. Psychology Today
states that women who read romance novels make love with their partners
74% more often than women who don’t. Why? Because, according to a
scientific study conducted by Harold Leitenberg of the The Journal of Sex Research and Psychological Bulletin,
when women fantasize frequently (as they do when they read romance
novels), they have sex more often, have more fun in bed, and engage in
a wider variety of erotic activities.

I’m told DIAGNOSIS MURDER books have the same effect on women.

Movie Posters as Cover Art

Bookslut pointed me to an interesting article in The Guardian on movie posters as cover art.

"It’s a no-brainer. You’d be crazy not to do it," says Marcella
Edwards, senior commissioning editor at Penguin Classics. The sales
surges that come with a film or TV tie-in book cover are irrefutable.

[…]The film or TV tie-in cover, which generally lasts for around three
months (the life of the film, and sometimes the DVD), often running
alongside the original paperback design, is an ever-growing trend in
publishing. "It’s happening more and more often," says Edwards.
"Publishers have got wiser. You’d be stupid if you didn’t do it."

[…]Film tie-in covers might be glossy and glittering and force a surge in
sales, but they are truly the Ivana Trumps of the book jacket world.

Mystery Scribes Score TV Deals

Oxygen has gone shopping for new series at their local mystery bookstore. The network is developing NICKY VELVET, based on the stories by Ed Hoch, and ROBIN HUDSON, based on the books by Sparkle Hayter.  Congratulations to them both!

In other TV news, NBC has officially picked up STUDIO 60, Aaron Sorkin’s new series about the making of a SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE-esque show starring Matthew Perry. The network has already picked up THE BLACK DONNELLYS and KIDNAPPED for next season. HBO has ordered SEXLIFE, a one-hour comedy/drama about relationships in the SEX IN THE CITY mold and Fox is reportedly snagging the hostage drama PRIMARY.  Last season, there were shows about invading aliens on multiple networks, this fall it looks like kidnappers are going to be everywhere…

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I’m a Fraud

That’s how I feel today. I have spent the whole day working on my latest book and all I’ve managed to write is absolute swill. One whole paragraph of it. Yeah, that’s it. One measly, rotten, pathetic paragraph…one so bad, so inept, no professional writer could possibly have written it (nor would he have spent all DAY doing it).

I don’t often have days like this, but when I do, it’s miserably depressing. I know that the best thing to do would be to just walk away from the computer and do something else, but I can’t. Instead I torture myself by counting how many days I have left until the book is due, how many pages I have to write a week, a day, an hour to make the deadline…and that’s not counting the days I will set the book aside to work on my next script (which should be getting the go-ahead from the studio any day now). So I have to take advantage of every free hour. Which of course, only makes me more anxious and upset at my lack of creativity. When it’s going this bad, I have to keep at it, trying to hit upon that one sentence or image that will break me out of this writing funk. Because it will happen. I know it will. I’m praying it will. Okay, enough screwing around on the blog, avoiding the unavoidable, it’s time to go back to it…

(I know what you’re thinking, "how could he post this after linking to Garrison Keillor’s essay about writers who whine?" I’ll tell you why. Because I’m a FRAUD.)