Still Clueless After After All These Years

I am in Berlin…and too busy and jet-lagged to post, so here’s some feldergarb-from-the-past. This post is from Sept. 2004 is about a group of fans clamoring for the return of  "Battlestar Galactica" with the original cast…despite the fact that there’s a hit revival of the show already on the air.   What’s even more amazing is that these clueless morons are still at it, three years later…

Yesterday in Variety, a bunch of clueless morons calling themselves The Colonial Fan Force ran a full-page, color advertisement clamoring for a "Battlestar Galactica" movie starring the original cast.

Millions of fans still dream of seeing the Battlestar
Galactica roam the heavens once more in a big screen continuations of
the epic story that began in 1978 with the original cast and characters
leading a new generation of warriors

Yeah, right… there are millions, no TENS of millions, of fans
clamoring for the return of Herb Jefferson, Laurette Sprang, Dirk
Benedict, and Richard Hatch (who is not nearly as powerful an actor as
the nude guy of the same name on "Survivor"… nor as successful). I
suspect the real audience is about 100 fat guys in their 40s, who at
this very moment are busily duping all their Heather Thomas videos onto
DVD…
Galacticaad
That said, I am always amused by the losers who spend their comic book
money on pointless ads like this (or, worse, the ones who publish a
synopsis of, or excerpt from, their unsold screenplays). The
advertising guys at Variety and the Hollywood Reporter must laugh
themselves silly with glee every time one of these suckers comes in.

In the case of the "Battlestar Galactica," the folks at "The
Colonial Fan Force" urge the readers of Variety (most of whom are
entertainment industry professionals) to write writer/producer Glen A.
Larson and Tom DeSanto, a guy who once tried to launch a movie version
of the TV show. This shows just how little the people who paid for this
ad understand about how the business works…and even sillier when you
consider the SciFi Channel is already in the midst of shooting a new
"Battlestar Galactica" TV series from NBC/Universal Studios with an
all-new cast led by Edward James Olmos.

I suppose we have Gene Roddenberry to blame for this, ever since he
cleverly engineered the so-called "viewer campaign" to save "Star Trek"
from cancellation. So now we get ads demanding the return of dull
supporting characters axed from TV shows (the "Save Marina" campaign on
"The L Word" comes to mind) and from the millions of fans still crying
over the demise of "Manimal." I’m looking forward to the "Bring Gloria
Reuben back to MISSING" ads… maybe the Colonial Fan Force can take up
the cause.

I’m sorry, I shouldn’t joke. This "Battlestar Galactica" stuff is
serious business, as is clear from the Colonial Fan Force website:

We’ve got to buckle down, and get to work. It’s going to be
up to each member of fandom to make sure our efforts come to fruition.
The CFF and its leadership will remain active in coordinating fan
efforts as much as possible, but everyone reading this page has got to
accept individual responsibility for making sure that we, as a group,
rise together and speak with one voice. None of us can afford to think
that "someone else will do it." We’ve all got to find some time (and
some stamps), and make it happen. We’ve got to make some collective
noise.

This would be funny if it wasn’t so sad. Think of all the truly
worthy causes that could benefit from the same time, effort and money
these morons are devoting with such earnestness to this idiotic
pursuit…

Read moreStill Clueless After After All These Years

Tit for Tate

I am getting lots of hits today from people looking for information about the vanity press Tate Publishing. Here’s what I wrote about the company last year, when I got the following email from someone…

My daughter (14 years
old) recently submitted (through her school) a children’s book that she wrote.
  Surprisingly, she received a contract to publish her book from Tate
Publishing.  However, they are asking us to invest almost $4,000.  I am simply
trying to determine if Tate is a vanity publisher, POD publisher, or what?  I
want to support my daughter, but I want to be educated first.  I cannot find
much on the internet about Tate Publishing.  Any information you could provide
would be greatly appreciated.

I
can’t imagine why any school or responsible teacher would submit
student work to a vanity press, but that issue aside, here’s what I
told her (which will be familiar to any of you who read this blog on a
regular basis):

Legitimate publishers pay YOU, not the other way around. Any publisher that asks you for money in return for "publishing" your
book is a vanity press.  If you are intent on publishing your
daughter’s work in book form yourself, go to iUniverse, it’s a hell of a lot cheaper.

Here’s another email I received about Tate:

What can you tell me about Tate Publishing Co?
Unfortunately, I have already invested almost $ 8,000 in 2 books, both of
which are now published. I visited their offices twice, met the staff and felt
they were legit Christian organization.

I
don’t know what being Christian has to do with anything. What makes him
think that a Christian won’t rip him off? I guess he ‘s unfamiliar with
most TV evangelists and their "send me your cash" brand of faith and
spirituality. But that’s a different issue. As far as Tate goes, I told
him basically the same thing I told the other person: 

They
are a vanity press. I’m sure you can find some legit Christians at
another vanity press who will print your manuscript in book form for
much less money.

Call Me if Jessica Fletcher is Unavailable

I just love going to conferences….people always say the strangest things to me. Today, I was a guest speaker, along with Harley Jane Kozak and Nathan Walpow, at the Anaheim Public Library’s HOLLYWOOD AND CRIME luncheon, which was attended by 350 people.  I had a great time and everyone was so nice. But here’s a sampling of the odd conversations I had before and after my panel:

A woman asked me if she could visit the set of MONK when she’s in Los Angeles with her family. I said it wasn’t open to the public.

"You mean it’s not filmed in front of a live audience?" she asked.

"No, it’s not," I said. "Haven’t you noticed that it’s shot outdoors as well as indoors and that you don’t ever hear anyone laughing or applauding?"

She shrugged. "I just thought they were being very quiet."

******

"How come the MONK show is called MONK?" a woman asked me.

"That’s the character’s name," I replied.

"But he’s not a monk," she said.

"No, he’s not. He’s a detective named Monk."

"That’s very confusing," she said. "I’m surprised the monks don’t sue."

* * * * * *

A man approached me carrying a half-a-dozen of my books. "So you wrote all these books?"

"Yes, sir."

"Did you come up with the plots, too?"

"Yes, I did."

"Wow," he said. "I wonder how many other writers do that."

******

A man asked me to sign my books. As I signed them, he asked: "Do you get paid for writing these?"

I could see from the expression on his face that it wasn’t a rhetorical question or an insult. It was a genuine question.

"Yes, I do."

"Is that unusual? Or do all writers get paid?"

"They do if they are writing for a reputable, legitimate publisher."

He shook his head. "That’s hard to believe."

* * * * *

A woman told me she was an avid reader of my books and really enjoyed them.

"Thank you," I said.

"I think the mysteries are terrific," she said. "They are brilliantly plotted and so twisty."

"That’s very nice of you to say. Plotting the books is the hardest part for me. It’s really gratifying for me to know all that work isn’t for nothing."

"Do the police ever contact you to solve murders?"

"No," I said.

"They really should," she said. "You’re so good at it."

* * * * * *

A big man came up to me and Harley at the signing table, told us he had a lot of "Tarantino movie ideas," and that he’d been asked to play Bigfoot in a film by a screenwriter that he’d met at Starbucks.

"All I have to do is roar and look menacing," he said. "But I want to do it in an environmentally conscious way, like Steven Segal."

Hey, Did You Know That if Fanfiction Went Away, There Would Be No More Gays or Lesbians? What would we watch late at night on Cinemax?

I got a long email the other day. It turns out it’s from the same blogger who thinks I’m a sad little man who longs to write fanfiction.  She writes, in part:

I am a fanfiction writer, a slash fanfiction writer at that, I am not as illustrious or ambitious or zealous as some but I am glad to be one. I am as proud to be a slash fanfiction writer as I am to a lesbian and let me tell you it is very much the same feeling.

[…]At fifteen I bumped into my very first piece of fanfiction and it was like a bolt of lightening and then a few weeks later when I read my first piece of slash- its was very much like the first time I ever consider that I might be gay. It’s that monumental feeling of freedom, of knowledge; you finally know why the world seems a little off.

[…]My point is that fanfiction to you and (I’ll be presumptuous and say) I get the impression writing is too, nothing more than a hobby or a job and there’s nothing wrong with that. But you have to understand that for a lot of fans this writing helps shape who they are.

[…]Do you hate gay people Mr. Goldberg? I don’t think that you do, even if you just objected to slash fanfiction, I still would not think that. But what is the difference between what you do and a father who tells his 15 year old son it’s not okay to be gay? If there is one I can’t see it and you can hide behind all the copyright laws that you wish, but I assure you it will be no different then how the church hides behind over-zealously translated bible script.

Why is it that the people who write & publish fanfic feel that if I oppose what they are doing I must be either homophobic or have no passion for writing myself?

I love writing and am passionate about it.  I’m extremely fortunate that it’s also how I make my living and support my family, too. But believe it or not, loving to write…and making money doing it…aren’t mutually exclusive. 

But now by opposing fanfiction, I’m not just a passionless hack who writes only for the money…I am also preventing people from discovering their sexuality.

Call me crazy, but I think there are lots of ways you can discover and explore your sexuality without taking  characters you didn’t create or own, writing stories about them, and publishing them on the web without the author’s permission. It’s one thing to write fanfic for yourself to fantastize about or as a writing exercise, it’s another when you publish and/or post the stories on the web without the original authors’ consent. 

I believe it’s theoretically possible that women will still discover that they are lesbians without writing and publishing/posting stories about Buffy and Xena exploring the joys of sapphic love together…and that men might continue to discover their gay selves without writing and publishing/posting stories about Harry Potter giving Ron blowjobs…

King of the Hill

For a guy who says he doesn’t want people to know that Stephen King is his Dad, Joe Hill is making sure everybody knows it.  From Publisher’s Weekly to yesterdays Los Angeles Times,  he seems to be coming out everywhere as King’s s0n to promote his new book "Heart-Shaped Box." Publisher’s Weekly wrote:

Joe Hill, whose debut novel, Heart-Shaped Box, will be published by William Morrow in February 2007, is so intent on not trading on his father’s fame that he years ago stopped using his given name, Joseph Hillstrom King. And before setting up an interview with the author, Morrow publicist Seale Ballenger warned, "Joe really doesn’t want to talk about his relationship with Stephen King."

Fair enough. But in the battle to win attention for an emerging writer, it’s pretty hard to resist using such a potent weapon. So when Ballenger sent PW an e-mail stressing the importance of reviewing Hill’s book, he wrote, "This is a huge book for us (two-book deal and he is Stephen King’s son)."

Now he’s talking about it in interview after interview. The LA Times wrote:

Hill, 34, took on his secret identity to test his writing skills and marketability without having to trade on the family name.

"I really wanted to allow myself to rise and fall on my own merits," he said.

Apparently, that’s changed. But I don’t blame him or his publisher. Finding a promoteable angle for an author and his book is tough…so why shouldn’t he use the fact that he’s following in his Dad’s famous footsteps to get some attention? More power to him. What I find disingenuous, however, is that he keeps trying to maintain the notion that he’s not doing it…even while he’s doing it, over and over.