So This is Why I Spent Three Hours Yesterday Organizing my iTunes Library…

Author Donna Andrews is on deadline and procrastinating.

I'm only one day behind where I want to be on the book.  I'm
chugging along, slowly but steadily.  But my writing avoidance
behaviors are in full bloom.

One of the most common writing
avoidance behaviors is nesting. Cleaning, organizing, and tidying. 
It's not just me; a year or so ago, a writer friend reported a
bafflingly  sudden and uncharacteristic urge to clean her desk. . . her
office . . . perhaps her whole house.  Several of us asked if,
perchance, she was on deadline.  Of course she was.  You may tell
yourself that you can write better in a tidy office; you may claim that
you're thinking about your book while dusting, mopping, scrubbing, and
sorting; you may even be telling the truth.  But never try to fool
yourself that these sudden domestic urges aren't writing avoidance.

I know exactly how she feels. Last night I "cleaned up" my iTunes library and playlists and when I looked up again, three hours had passed. I've also been obsessive about trimming our trees. I think it's because I'm nervous about actually starting to write the "standalone" book that I've been noodling with in my mind for months…

I'd start to write it at this very moment but I have to Twitter somebody, make some more connections on LinkedIn, and clean out my office closet first…

Talking to a Blogger is Treason…

…at least that's what the execs at the Los Angeles Times think about employees who pass info to the excellent LA Observed blog, which reports:

According to multiple sources at the Times, new publisher Eddy
Hartenstein has been calling it "treason" for employees to share
information with LA Observed. Now, it's easy to dismiss his rhetoric as
beginner jitters — history has seen plenty of media publishers who
naively try to muzzle the journalists who work for them, only to learn
that it can't be done. (Never mind that it's antithetical to why the
paper exists.)

[…]So take precautions — use your personal email, our PO box,
or pick up the phone — and don't presume they aren't watching. And be
assured that I will continue to report accurately on the Times with
your help and, as always, will never divulge my sources.

UK Prosecutors Target SickFic About Real People

There's a whole sub-culture of fanficcers who get off writing fantasies about famous people having sex with one another and others. You know, stuff like Leonardo DiCaprio giving Jude Law an education in male coupling or the Spice Girls re-enacting their favorite sex scenes from "The L Word." The authors of this kind of SickFic argue that because they are writing and distributing stories about fictional sex between "public figures," it's okay. Well, prosecutors in the U.K don't think so. They think it's obscene and a violation of the law. The Register reports:

The legal world is buzzing at the announcement last week of the
prosecution of 35-year-old civil servant Darryn Walker for the online
publication of material that Police and Crown Prosecution Service (CPS)
believe to be obscene.

This is the first such prosecution for written material in nearly
two decades – and a guilty verdict could have a serious and significant
impact on the future regulation of the internet in the UK.

The case originated in summer 2007, when Mr Walker allegedly posted a work of fantasy – titled Girls (Scream) Aloud – about pop group Girls Aloud. The story describes in detail the kidnap, rape, mutilation and
murder of band members Cheryl Cole, Nadine Coyle, Sarah Harding, Nicola
Roberts and Kimberley Walsh, and ends with the sale of various body
parts on eBay.

The piece was brought to the attention of the Internet Watch
Foundation, whose remit includes the monitoring of internet material
deemed to be criminally obscene: they in turn handed details over to
the Police.

The case goes to trial on March 16, 2009 in Newcastle. Other newspapers report that Walker wrote the story under the pseudonym "Blake Sinclair" and posted it on Kristen's Collection, SickFic site that also includes a "Real Person Fic" about raping and mutilating Britney Spears.Article-1066435-02DF55C700000578-300_468x286

I'm sure that the Organization for Transformative Works, which thinks that writing and distributing this kind of swill is a God-given "fannish right," and Dr. Robin Reid, the creative writing instructor at Texas A&M who writes and champions "Real Person Slash" (her favorite SickFic fantasy is Viggo Mortenson and any male actor in Hollywood) will be watching this case very closely. A conviction could lead to a long overdue crack-down on this garbage.

Absolutely Scary

The wave of British TV series remakes on American networks is continuing. Variety reports that Fox is developing a U.S. version of  "Absolutely Fabulous" set in Los Angeles. Christine Zander, a writer for "Saturday Night Live," will write the script and exec produce with Mitch Hurwitz, Ian Moffet and the original creator/star/producer Jennifer Saunders. This is not the first time a U.S. network has tried an Abfab redo.  Roseanne Barr and Carrie Fisher teamed up for a U.S. version ten years back for ABC but it went nowhere.

Selling My Signature

 I was on ebay tonight, listing some old textbooks for my daughter. Since I can't pass a search box without typing my own name into it,  I discovered  that there's someone selling cards with my signature on them at five bucks a pop. I can' t imagine who'd want it…especially since it's not my signature. It's not even close, as you can see from the signed copy of MR. MONK IN OUTER SPACE that somebody else is selling.Monkouterspace
Which makes me wonder…why would anyone waste their time faking my autograph? There can't possibly be any money in that.

UPDATE: The guy has corrected his auction. It turns out the signature is my brother Tod's and that's worth at least five bucks. Maybe as much as  $5.25.

Mr. Monk and the Family Affair

Reading MONK has become a family affair for the Richardsons of El Segundo, California,  who sent me this photo and this nice note: "Sorry to beat you out of book sales but we pass each copy from one generation to the next; Grandma, Mom & Daughter.  We are looking forward to Paris! Ellen, Susan, & Robin." They won't have to wait long — I am sending them a galley of MR. MONK IS MISERABLE.