My Favorite One-Star Reviews of My Books

I like praise as much as anybody else, but I also get twisted enjoyment sometimes out of reading reviews that trash my books. Here are some of my favorite one-star reviews of my work:

Quite possibly the worst book I have ever read. Skimmed through it so to save my brain cells from the most tabloid trash movie script effort of writing. My desperate need for a book still does not justify me actually turning the pages. Read the comics, you will be much better off and not have my need to flay myself for reading such trash.

Anytime it takes me four days to read a book is a sign it’s not going good.

This is such juvenile junk! The author of this trash has a sick, degraded mind.

this book is not something you can read to your mom or grandmom. The sexual references, while not too graphic, are still too embarrassing to be read aloud.

The only book I have deleted from my Kindle. Only gave it one star because there was no lower rating

This could have been a pretty good book except the author had to ruin it with the “f” word dozens of times & even used God’s name in vein a few times. Shame on you!!!!

Depressing to know the author is so widely read.

He’s about as funny as an uninvited guest standing in a corner with a lampshade over his head.

Terrible read. Dialogue was among silliest ever possibly strung together in one book. Looking forward to read the sequel soon.

This could have been a pretty good story line but the writer needs more imagination and a whole lot more English lessons. If I could give it less than one star I would. If he cleans up his act and works a little harder he may get to be a good writer but for now it’s a “don’t bother”

Mind-numbingly bad. We read books to entertain and stimulate our brains. This written by the numbers drivel will put it to sleep, induce a coma and flush all rational thought from your mind forever. Read at your own risk. You’ve been warned.

While Lee Child, Micheal Connelly and Joseph Wambaugh will never win Nobel Prizes, trash like this shows what good and articulate craftsmen they are.

Shame on you Lee Goldberg. I am done with anything with your name on it .

I haven’t read it yet — hopefully it is good

Too Daisy Duke for me!

 

TRUE FICTION Videos Hit the Web

The first of many TRUE FICTION videos and trailers have hit the web (I shared some behind-the-scenes photos from the shoot a few weeks back). I really love this “movie style” trailer for the book:

And in this one, I personally invite you to read the book:

I can’t wait for the other videos to come out. They include short interviews and some embarrassing photos from my dark, mysterious past. They will be all over the web but I will be sure to share them here with you, too. I’ll also be sharing photos from my book tour, which begins April 14 at Mysterious Galaxy in San Diego.

The Mail I Get – Grab Bag Edition

From the grab bag…here’s a bunch of recent mail that I’ve received and my replies:

I’d like you to adapt my unpublished novel XYZ for the screen or perhaps a TV series. It could also be multiple movies. It’s about XYZ. In the alternative, I hope you will refer me to a producer who might be interested.

I replied: I’m not interested in adapting your book and I can’t think of any screenwriter or producer who would be. Studios don’t buy ideas. They buy the execution of ideas (i.e. who is writing it, who is directing it, who is producing it etc). And they don’t buy books that aren’t huge bestsellers. Since you aren’t a brand-name author, or a first-time author with a bestselling book, there’s almost no chance in hell of anybody reading it or buying it. I don’t say that to be mean, but to give you a realistic view of your chances. Your best bet is to get the book published and hope it does well enough critically or commercially to attract Hollywood interest.

Here’s a question I got about MONK:

 I’m a teenager who has become a HUGE fan of Monk just 8 years too late!!  I grew up watching the show with my Dad. Not so long ago, I discovered that there was a BOOK SERIES. My heart quite literally jumped out of my chest!!  THE CHARACTERS WEREN’T DONE!! Over the next 2 days I went to the library and checked out 10 Monk books, and I can’t stop reading them!!  THEY ARE SO GOOD!! About 2-3 times every book I get teary-eyed because the characters you’ve described in the books are so heart-wrenching.  Why did you write the series from Natalie’s perspective?

If my “detecting skills” tell me anything, you probably chose to write the series from her perspective because the television series is already told form Monk’s perspective.  We get the chance to understand him thoroughly, so it only makes sense to write from the perspective of the closest person to him… literally of course.  

I replied: I wrote them from Natalie’s perspective because I think it humanizes Monk. It gives us a necessary distance and, at the same time, a perspective to frame what we’re seeing. In a way, Natalie’s eyes become the replacement for the TV screen that was between us and Adrian Monk. Also, a little Monk goes a long way. You can overdo the joke and all the obsessive/compulsive stuff. By telling the stories from Natalie’s point of view, we aren’t with him all the time. We get some space, a breather from his shtick, and I think that’s important. It’s also a conscious homage to Sherlock Holmes and Nero Wolfe, who were seen as well through the eyes of their assistants.

And, finally, here’s a question I got about screenwriting:

I stumbled across your post Diagnosis Murder & How to Plot a Mystery, while looking for information on adapting a low-budget, niche, middle grade, mystery book series into a TV script of what seems to be 22-25 pages for a 30 minute show? I found a good article on sitcoms, but not a good breakdown for a kids’ mystery series. Is there any chance you can direct me to a script/page-timing outline? Or any information on this specifically?

I replied: No offense intended, but if you are asking about script page/timing, that suggests to me you still have a lot to learn about the principles of screenwriting. There is far more involved than knowing whether a page of script translates to a minute or five minutes of action (it depends whether its a one camera or three camera show and what is on the page — how many locations/sets there are, what action is involved, and how fast characters speak. Page count is not the issue you should be concerned with. There are “hour long” shows with 45 page scripts and 69 page scripts — every series is different). I recommend Richard Walter’s ESSENTIALS OF SCREENWRITING, Pamela Douglas WRITING THE TV DRAMA SERIES, William Rabkin’s  terrific WRITING THE PILOT, Alex Epstein’s CRAFTY TV WRITING, and SUCCESSFUL TELEVISION WRITING by William Rabkin and yours truly.

She wrote back:

Thank you very much for your quick response. I know very little about television scripts. But will get the books you mentioned.

I’m Not Jack Reacher

True Fiction by Lee Goldberg

True Fiction by Lee GoldbergThere’s a great interview with me today in Publishers Weekly about my new book True Fiction, which comes out in just a few weeks. I just wish I hadn’t suggested that I’m celibate! 🙂

Ian Ludlow is me. I wanted to create a character with zero superskills. He’s not Jack Reacher or James Bond. He’s not Navy SEALs, Special Forces, or even a superlover. He’s a writer. He makes stuff up. He has to become a hero. Ludlow is out of shape and doesn’t have sex. He’s anything but the stereotypical super character. He faces danger and runs like hell—until he’s forced not to. The only person in the novel who has special powers is utterly insane.

The Mail I Get – Convicted Conman James Strauss Edition

You’d be stunned how any people have reached out to me to share their horror stories of being swindled or harassed by convicted conman & fake TV writer James Strauss… everybody from aspiring screenwriters to stiffed shopkeepers, from enraged military veterans to swindled conference organizers, from stiffed restaurants to stiffed Hawaii vacation-home renters. There’s been a surge in those emails in the last couple of weeks. I guess he’s stirring things up in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, perhaps the only place on earth that hasn’t learned that he’s a total fraud. Here’s an excerpt from one of the many emails that I’ve received:

I live in Lake Geneva Wisconsin and today The Geneva Shore Report, which this James Strauss owns, told bold face lies […] saying [my] church and former pastors were in cahoots with the fire department where people were to vote.  His bold face lies and hurtful newspaper needs to stop. Please don’t use my name. But can you help my community?! And please hurry.

James Strauss’ mugshot, taken before he was sentenced to federal prison for fraud.

It’s YOUR community. YOU do something about it. If you, as a resident, don’t have the guts to stand-up against him, under your own name, and reveal him for what he is, how can you expect people who don’t live there, who have no stake or interest in what is going on, to do anything about it? Here’s an excerpt from a very lengthy email I received:

I am asking you to please not publish my name. Frankly, we cannot afford to feel the wrath of Mr. Strauss’s mean-spirited writings and video “reporting”. I am a long-time resident in the Geneva Lakes Area in Wisconsin. Sadly our lovely resort community is home to The Geneva Shore Report, a mean-spirited rag of a “newspaper” for which James Strauss is the creator and editor. He promotes his rag as “The most feared newspaper in America”.

I am writing to you because Mr. Strauss is damaging good people in our community. Mr. Strauss has made accusations via innuendo and flat out lies about our now retired pastors of Immanuel Evangelical Lutheran Church, the Chaplain on our Lake Geneva Fire Department, [and] slandered Karen Stein of KS Ministries who, out of her own pocketbook, invested a healthy half a million dollars in a clean and sober living house. What can I do to expose his con man lies? Please help!

I told him this: I’m sorry to hear that Strauss is continuing to ruin people’s lives…but there is nothing I can do about it. I’m not a journalist or a cop. The best advice I can give you is to spread the word that he is a convicted conman and fraud who spent years in a federal prison for swindling people. It’s information easily found on the Internet.

Outside of the Lake Geneva folks, I recently also got a desperate email from an aspiring filmmaker (he asked me not to quote his email on my blog) who was wary of doing free work for Strauss, who promised in return to use his contacts to help the kid break into Hollywood. This poor kid was shocked to learn that Strauss has zero legitimate Hollywood experience and asked me what he should do. My answer was simple: walk away. Strauss is a pathological liar and convicted felon who will screw you over.

It’s amazing to me that Strauss is still able to con people when the truth about him is so easily found in a google search. The way I look at it, anybody stupid enough to get into business with him deserves what they get.

A Brash Birthday

Lee Goldberg & Joel Goldman making a brash fashion statement

Three years ago this week, Joel Goldman and I launched our publishing company Brash Books with thirty titles, all of them acclaimed, award-winning books that had fallen out of print…and that we brought back in new print and digital editions.

Our mission was cocky and ambitious: to publish the best crime novels in existence. We believe we’ve lived up to that brash goal. We now have just about 100 titles in print, more than a dozen of them brand new books, many by first-time authors who’ve never been published before. Our books have consistently scored rave reviews from the industry trades… including three STARRED reviews from Publishers Weekly. We’ve also sorted through nearly 900 manuscript submissions.
 
We want to give our heartfelt thanks to all of our readers and especially to these amazing authors for putting their faith in us:
 
Leo W. Banks, Robert E. Dunn, Patrick E. McLean, Bill Crider, Bob Forward, Phoef Sutton, Margaret Moseley Burris, Mark Rogers, Jane Waterhouse, Jim Sanderson, Philip Reed, Robin Burcell, Gar Anthony Haywood ,Warren Ripley, Andy Straka, Dick Lochte, Craig Faustus Buck, Noreen Ayres, Michael Genelin Gerald Duff, Max Allan Collins, Dallas Murphy, A.W. Mykel, Phillip Thompson Mark Smith, Barbara Neely, Maxine O’Callaghan, Geoffrey Miller, Tom Kakonis, Jack Bunker, Michael Stone, and the estates of Jimmy Sangster, Ted Thackrey Jr. , Jack Lynch, and Stan R. Lee.
 
This year we made a big push into audiobooks and we couldn’t have done it without our amazing, super-talented narrators. So we’d like to thank Travis Baldree, Harry Dyson, J Rodney Turner, Shawn Compton and John Burlinson for their stellar work.
 
And finally, none of this would have been possible without the hard work of our office manager Denise M. Fields and graphic artist Jacqui Hair, who created our Brash logo and does all of our advertising. We’d also like to thank the many freelance graphic artists who designed our covers.
 
We can’t wait to see what 2018 brings for Brash Books, our authors, and our readers.

The Mail I Get – Long Overdue Monk Edition

I’ve been getting lots of questions about my MONK series. Here are just a few of them.

Hi Lee, quick question about the Monk books. I know they’re stand-alones, but did you intend for the characters to have gradual progressions from book 1 to book 15, which wouldn’t necessarily require the reader to read them in order, but that the reader would get more out of the overall storyline arc if they *did* read them in order?

Yes, particularly after MR. MONK IS CLEANED OUT and onwards through my last book, MR. MONK GETS EVEN. Also, early in the series, the books MR. MONK GOES TO GERMANY and MR. MONK IS MISERABLE (aka Mr. Monk Goes to France) take place basically within hours of each other, so those are best read in order.

Love the Mr Monk book series. I’m in need of a jacket cover for a hardcover book “Mr Monk on the COUCH”. Any idea where I might be able to go and get just the cover?

I don’t have a stack of dust jackets in my closet. You’ll have to buy a used book. There are plenty on Amazon and ABEbooks.

I just finished reading your last book on Monk and something bothers me. Where was the daughter of Trudy – Molly? How is it possible that she was not at the wedding Ambrose and Yuki? After all, she is part of the family. Why she was not invited to the wedding? Was there any reason why you did not mention Molly Evans in your book? Please reply.

If memory serves , I had Molly appear in “Mr Monk on The Road” and I felt that was enough attention paid to her. The character appeared briefly in the last episode of Monk, so she barely registered as a character . She wasn’t monk’s daughter, so she wasn’t related to him or Ambrose. Her character barely existed in the tv show. I saw no reason to spend any more time with a character that viewers and readers didn’t really know or care about. That approach has proven correct since you are only the second person, out of the tens of thousands of readers who bought the book, to bring her up to me in the years since the novel was published. 🙂

Thanks for writing the Monk series. I love them. I love the way you have developed the characters, especially…all of them. I am just very disappointed that you are not going to write any more of them. If you change your mind I shall rejoice.

Thank you, but to quote a cliche, the ship has sailed on the MONK books. I won’t be doing any more. I think writing fifteen books and three Monk episodes is more than enough Monk for me!

I was wondering if you still talk to the maker of monk because if you do I was wonder if you could ask him to make a monk movie! I would love that and I know a lot of fans would love it too!

Andy Breckman wrote a MONK reunion movie several years ago for USA Network. But, from what I understand, it ended up being too expensive to produce.

I’m a HUGE fan of the Mr. Monk book series and the TV series! I’m having a very hard time finding your first book, “Mr. Monk Goes To The Firehouse” so, I was wondering if you could send me a copy at your earliest convenience. Here is my address. Please sign it, too.

I’m so glad that you enjoy the MONK books. I don’t know why you’re having troubles finding MR. MONK GOES TO THE FIREHOUSE. It is widely available from hundreds of booksellers, in some cases for as little as one penny plus postage! That said, I’m not a bookseller nor do I send out free copies of my books to anybody who asks.

I am a huge fan, I have seen the Monk tv show and read all of the Monk books.  How do I go about obtaining a copy of the short story Mr. Monk and the Seventeen steps?

The short story is actually a chapter from one of the MONK books… MR. MONK ON THE ROAD. All the short stories that were published in Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine were excerpts from the books that just worked as standalone stories

The Mail I Get – Scammers Edition

Even in this age of easy self-publishing, the scammers are still out there… and there are still plenty of suckers. I recently ran into an author who not only “published” his book through Authorhouse, he also paid them extra to buy positive reviews for him in the worthless “self-published books” versions of Publishers Weekly and Kirkus. Not only that, he was seriously considering a sleazy marketeer’s $25,000 campaign to “get his book on bestseller lists” by paying people to buy copies and leave positive reviews on digital platforms. He firmly believed that this is how Stephen King, John Grisham, Janet Evanovich and others get their books reviewed and on the bestseller lists. I, of course, told him was wrong and that he’d been swindled. Afterwards, he emailed me this plea:

Okay, so I’m ready with open ears to figure out how to get my book marketed, put on best seller lists, then get it made into a movie. I asked you last week if I could send you a copy to take a look at, cause it’s pretty damn dynamic. I know you have your own writings to take care of, but If there’s anything at all you can do to help me, I would be more than happy cut a nice juicy percent of gross profits…of everything. Please, please, please guide me in the right direction and if possible, drive the damn car for me.

The first thing you need to know is that Authorhouse is a notorious scam that operates under several names (Author Solutions, iUniverse, xlibris, etc.). They prey on the desperation of aspiring authors and squeeze them for every last penny they can get. Don’t pay them another dime for anything. You’ve been swindled out of enough money by these crooks as it is. Here’s just one of many posts out there about the Author Solutions/Authorhouse scam. The good news is that people have finally gotten wise to their con and the company is in a downward spiral.

But before they crash and burn, you should demand that Authorhouse revert the rights to the book back to you, along with the PDF and Kindle files that you’ve paid for, and pull the book from sale. Your book is ranked at 2 million on Amazon, which frankly means you aren’t selling any books anyway, so you aren’t risking anything by yanking it. Nobody knows the book exists.

I’m sorry, but I don’t have the time to help you untangle yourself from Authorhouse or to walk you through self-publishing your book. But before you consider self-publishing again, or marketing your book to real publishers, you should really go back and rewrite the manuscript. I read the Amazon sample and, I mean no offense, but it needs substantial editing by a professional. It’s bloated with endless, dull exposition…and isn’t ready to sell to anybody. Rewriting the book under the guidance of an experienced freelance editor, or a knowledgeable creative writing instructor (perhaps through UCLA Extension), is really the best use of your resources now rather than investing time, effort, and money self-publishing a book that is unlikely to find an audience in its present form.

Goldberg News: Two Thrillers Coming in 2018 & A Big Screen WALK

I’ve got lots of exciting news to share…so let’s get to it!

James Grady and Lee at the Edgars

TWO THRILLERS COMING IN 2018

The big news is that I’ve signed a two-book deal with Amazon Publishing/Thomas & Mercer that kicks off with the publication of my new thriller TRUE FICTION in April 2018, followed by the sequel in the fall.

I’ve described the book as a cross between SIX DAYS OF THE CONDOR and NORTH BY NORTHWEST. So it was a real thrill when I finally got to meet James Grady, author of CONDOR at the Edgars in April.

TRUE FICTION takes place in Hawaii, Seattle, Los Angeles, Nevada, and Washington D.C…. and I finished writing it in a cafe in Paris on a rainy day in January. It’s about a thriller author who discovers that one of his fictional tales is becoming horrifyingly real. To say more now would spoil the fun. I’ll give you more details about the book, and my research and travels for it, when we get closer to the pub date.


CHASING FOX & O’HARE

Many of you have asked when the next Fox & O’Hare book is coming…especially since THE PURSUIT, which I co-authored with my good friend Janet Evanovich, was such a big success, hitting #1 on the New York Times bestseller list back in June 2016. Unfortunately, we’re still trying to work out a satisfactory agreement with the publisher for future books. As soon as I have news, I’ll be sure to share it with you. I took an extensive research trip to Australia and New Zealand for that as-yet-unwritten sixth book in the series and I’m eager to take Nick & Kate there for their next adventure.


THE WALK … COMING TO A THEATER NEAR YOU?

A movie version of THE WALK is in pre-production based on my own script. A terrific director has been signed and offers will be going out to A-list actors soon. I wish I could say more than that, but I am bound to secrecy for the time being. There have been false starts in the past but I am cautiously optimistic that filming could start in early 2018.

BEING BRASH

Brash Books, the publishing company that I launched with Joel Goldman, is going strong as we approach our third year in business. We’ve published close 100 titles so far! Our latest title is Patrick McLean’s new novel THE SOAK, a terrific thriller that evokes the best of Donald Westlake’s Parker novels. I think you’ll love it. I also heartily recommend the new audiobook edition of Jack Bunker’s TRUE GRIFT. Harry Dyson does a fantastic job narrating it and I guarantee that you’ll laugh your way through your next traffic jam or gym work-out.

LOS ANGELES TIMES FESTIVAL OF BOOKS

I had a great time, as usual, moderating panels and hanging out at the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books. Here are a couple of photos from the event:


Lee with former Barnes & Noble events exec Lita Weissman and authors Gar Anthony Haywood, Laura Lippman and Megan Abbott


Lee with authors Eric Jerome Dickey, Chris Farnsworth, Gregg Hurwitz, and Daniel Suarez

That’s all the news for now…more soon!