More Name Dropping From Bouchercon

These name-dropping blog entries from Toronto are beginning to read like my Mom’s old gossip column in the Contra Costa Times…

On Saturday, I woke up ridiculously early to speak at the Sisters in Crime breakfast benefitting Metro Toronto Literacy Project. About forty people turned up to see the Jewish Zombie tell anecdotes about writing book and TV shows. The highlight for me was being introduced by the chairwoman as “The Stimulator.” I’m not quite sure what she meant by that, but I wish my wife thought of me that way.

Sara Paretsky overslept, so I rambled on until she got there. She referred to me twice as “Lee Goldstein” (and once more, for posterity, in the book she signed for me)… but I was still very honored to share the stage with her. My agent Gina Maccoby, Diagnosis Murder superfan Krys, Bouchercon fan guest of honor Gary Warren Niebuhr, and blogger/author/recovering fanfic writer Jim Winter all showed up… which was above-and-beyond the call of duty.

Afterwards, I sat and chatted with Krys for a while, then spent the day yakking with authors and readers. I caught just one panel… “When Hollywood Calls,” which I didn’t enjoy much since there was only one guy who truly knew what he was talking about (writer/producer Michael Braverman) and another, who shall go nameless, who didn’t know anything… and gave advice that was just plain wrong (okay, and damn stupid, too). To avoid suffering a stroke, I finally had to raise my hand and, as politely as I could, correct some of that guy’s misinformation.

I had a very nice lunch with Ingrid Willis, an aspiring writer who won the charity auction to have a character named after her in my next Diagnosis Murder book. She’s just finished writing her first mystery novel and is busily shopping for an agent.

I went back to the hotel and took a nap, then returned for the Anthony Awards, which honored, among others, my good buddy Jeremiah Healy. Among the folks I chatted with before, during, and late into the night after the ceremony were… David Morrell (who I befriended years ago at the Men of Mystery), Leslie Silbert (who I signed with at last year’s Los Angeles Book Festival), Lisa Gardner, Dennis & Gayle Lynds, Bill Crider, Jim Fusilli, James O. Born, Ken Bruen, Robin Burcell (who walked away with another Anthony this year!), Sean Doolittle, Eddie Muller, Michael Collins, Edward Wright, Victor Gischler, Rhys Bowen (who won TWO Anthony’s this weekend!), Denise Hamilton & her husband, Meg Chittenden, Donna Anders, Gregg Hurwitz, Eileen Dreyer, and Danielle Girard.

On the way back to my hotel, two young women crossing the street in front of my car lifted their shirts and flashed their bare breasts at me, proving once again just how friendly Canadians are.

The Mail I Get…

The networks are run by space aliens….and this man is ready to expose it:

My TV Program Flattened the WTC, Oh, the power of the media or did I piss of the aliens?

I am a celebrity publisher and former NASA scientist that has been censored and exiled. I would like to produce and star in an investigative tv series that is a combination of “Geraldo” meets “The X-Files”.

If you want to get involved in this series and you are not afraid of the alien race then contact me.

Sincerely Yours,

Wayne E. Manzo,
Publisher, Human Rights Leader, Scientist

So, if Space Aliens are running network television, why didn’t Gary Coleman ever get another TV series?

Bouchercon Day 2

Another hectic, wonderful day…

The only panel I managed to attend was my own… where I discussed writing for books & TV with Paul Guyot, Rick Copp, and Jeffrey Cohen. We got some great questions from authors in the audience, who included Christopher Rice, Hal Glatzer and Kathy Brandt.

I had breakfast with the dashing and witty Bill Fitzhugh, then I spent the morning chatting with authors Lewis Perdue, Victor Gischler, Giles Blunt, Harley Jane Kozak, Lono Waiwaiole, Denise Hamilton, Katy Munger, Jason Starr, Jacqueline Winspear, Walter Sorrells, Barry Eisler, and one-half of the writing team of PJ Tracy, among many others. I talked to a lot of readers/fans… and discussed our favorite mystery novels. Margery Flax from the MWA head office stopped by at my signing to tell me how much she’s been enjoying my Mom’s blog… and what a difference it has made for a relative of hers who is also going through chemotherapy treatment. I also met the young woman who won the auction for lunch with me… and to have her name used as a character in my next book.

I snuck away at noon for lunch with my agent, then returned in time to do my panel. I spent a lovely hour or so afterwards chatting with Krys S., the founder of the Diagnosis Murder Appreciation Society (her last name is long and impossible to spell… and since I don’t have it written down here, you’ll just have to settle for “Krys”). We talked about the show, the books, and what’s up with all the fans here and abroad. I popped into the MWA reception, where I schmoozed some more (and shared “broken arm” stories with Michael Connelly, who broke both wrists when he was a teenger) before going out to a dinner organized by my publisher for their authors (where I foolishly shared all the anecdotes I planned to tell at my Sisters in Crime speech tomorrow).

I just straggled back in at 12:30… again… and have to get up at 6 a.m. for my breakfast presentation with Sara Paretsky for Sisters in Crime…ugh. I’ve set the alarm and have asked the front desk to call me twice to make sure I don’t sleep through my own speech!

My Day at Bouchercon

Getting here wasn’t fun… I must ooze menace. The customs folks searched my bags when I arrived. I brought ten copies of the latest Diagnosis Murder book to give away… and the customs officer wanted me to pay a duty on them. I argued about how ridiculous that was… will ten books really bring the Canadian book industry to its knees? The officer finally relented and let me through.

I visited the MISSING set, said hello to everybody there, then treated myself to dinner at Harbor 60, a fantastic steak place on the Toronto waterfront. I went back to the hotel, tweaked the writing I did on the plane flight, and went to bed early.

The convention started today (Thursday) and I had a great time. I haven’t attended a single panel, I’ve been too busy saying hello to old friends and making new ones. I caught up with authors Lee Child(who I thanked profusely for his great blurb on my next DM novel),Stephen Booth, Larry Beinhart (who graciously signed my copy of “American Hero”), Lewis Perdue (my old journalism professor and current thorn in the side of Dan Brown), Rhys Bowen, David Corbett, SJ Rozan, Elaine Veits, Lono Waiwaiole, Paul Guyot, Kate Stine (editor of the award-winning Mystery Scene magazine), Jeremiah Healy, Robin Burcell, Denise Hamilton, Barbara Seranella (who was celebrating a new contract with St. Martin’s Press), Rick Copp, Nathan Walpow, and Christoper Rice, among others. I met Zoe Sharp, David Montgomery, Jim Winter, Sarah Weinman, Ken Bruen, Jason Starr, Jeffrey Cohen, and scores of readers, booksellers, and DorothyL members (some of whom are still sore about my fanfic comments!).

I was pleased to discover that NAL gave away copies of my first Diagnosis Murder novel, The Silent Partner, to many of the attendees… and that the book has gone into a second printing! So those of you who have signed first editions now have a collector’s item.

I snuck out around 1 pm, my voice scratchy and hoarse from so much talking, and went back to the hotel, where I spent three hours working on the next Diagnosis Murder novel. I returned to the convention center for drinks with some friends and the opening night reception. Afterwards, a big group of us — Twist Phelan, Joel Goldman, Jan Burke, Jerrilyn Farmer, Harley Jane Kozak, and Dan Hale — went out to dinner at the trendy Bistro 990, where we stayed late into the night trading anecdotes, talking shop, and having a hell of a good time.

It’s 12:30am now… and I’m bushed. Tomorrow it starts again… I’ve got a panel, a reception, lunch with my agent, and a dinner with my publisher… I also hope to squeeze in a little writing.

It’s Not ‘CSI’ or ‘Law & Order’…

Variety reports that Fox has greenlit a one-hour pilot called PRISON BREAK…

“Prison Break” revolves around a man who robs a bank and waits around for the police to arrive, in order to be arrested and sent to prison. Once there, he relies on one of his tattoos — which doubles as a map of the facility — to escape with his brother, a death-row inmate, in tow.

Eventually, the prisoners break free — and it becomes a story about fugitives on the lam.

“It was one of those things where we heard the pitch and said, ‘God, that’s a great idea,’ ” said Fox execexec VP Craig Erwich. “It just feels like a signature Fox show.”

I don’t know if it will be any good, or if it can sustain itself as a series (without becoming another rehash of “The Fugitive”), but at least it’s not another version of CSI or LAW AND ORDER…or a thinly-veiled ripoff of those shows… or yet another series about cops investigating homicides. You have to applaud Fox for being willing to try unconventional formats for series…even though they often stumble after an intriguing pilot (remember JOHN DOE?)

By the way, I worked with Craig Erwich many years ago when he was a devleopment exec at Cannell Productions and I was toiling on a bad syndicated series for the studio called COBRA.

This has to be a prank…

…otherwise it’s just too pathetic.

Jan alerted me to this. Someone is selling his novel on ebay to any author, that’s right author, who wants a story to tell…starting bid, $100,000. (Click on the photographs at the left to see a sample of his writing and the cover of his manuscript).

My name is Daniel Rice. I live in Dudley Massachusetts. I am a first time writer and have two more chapters to go, to complete my story. It’s fiction, a coming of age story that would be most enjoyed by adults. It’s a fascinating read that I had a couple of english teachers read themselves, telling me that they could not put my book down after the first chapter. It’s filled with suspense, along with fear and anxiety. The story focuses on three 10 year old children, two girls and one boy. The story also focuses in on one of the father’s dealing with nightmares, which are somehow linked to his childhood, past. Everything comes to an end with a absolution and a twist, making sense in a reality way.


Let me also assure you that this is a story that is fully typed and formatted for print and will probably add up to 450 pages, or so. I also had my family and a couple of english professors read my manuscript, all of them giving me thumbs up on the fascinating thought processing fiction, I put into this

I am throwing out there anyway, to any well known writer that can profit from this! For J.K. Rawlings or Stephen King to buy my manuscript and put there name on it, they can’t lose and neither can I. 150,000 dollars can sure help my family get me out of this apartment we have been living in for 9 years and finally get a house for my three children. A well known author can put my book in print and make over 2 million dollars with ease! We both win this way!


This is a serious book, one to be reconcile with. It’s emotional and heartfelt story that entertains from beginning, to end. If interested in buying my manuscript and of course if you are, you probably want to read it first, I will give you my address so you can come over and read it for yourself, or I can come to you with the manuscript, so you can read it.

Ebay Auction for Hardcover Rights

My friend Bill Crider alerted me to this interesting new wrinkle in the world of publishing…

Author Douglas Clegg is auctioning off on ebay limited edition, hardcover rights to his next novel THE ABANDONED, which will be published in paperback by Liesure Books.

This is the first auction for the rights to a limited and/or lettered edition hardcover ever done on eBay with an award-winning novelist who has had novels at such houses as Penguin USA, Berkley/Ace, NAL/Signet, Tor Books, Leisure Books, Pocket Books, Dell Publishing, as well as in the independent presses, such as Cemetery Dance Publications, Subterranean Press, Delirium Press, and Bloodletting Press. It is suggested but not required that bidders be Publishers of a legitimate small or independent press that has published at least one or more signed, limited and/or lettered edition hardcover books.

The listing also includes the contract, which is negotiable. The current bid is $1000. I’m not sure what the point of this exercise is beyond getting a little publicity for his book as yet another ebay oddity.

Balancing Writing & Family

Author Laurell K. Hamilton ruminates on her blog about the difficulties of balancing writing and family obligations…

I read how Eugene O’Neill, the playwright had his third wife, Carlotta, make sure that no one bothered him in the morning while he worked. No phone, no callers, nothing. Not even if the house were on fire. Everyone went around on tip-toes, speaking in hushed voices. At lunch she was afraid to even move to make her chair squeak for fear of disturbing the man’s concentration. She also sorted his mail, which frankly is a fine idea, but the rest . . . Yeah, it’s occasionally appealing to be that protected from the world. But how would it possibly work? What, I have a nanny to tend my daughter and never see her? You just give up your entire life to other people, and care only about the writing?

There are other writers that did similar things. Asimov worked an average of twenty hours a day, and supposedly never left his office during a work session. His wife brought him food. There are numerous other stories about writers that did that. Most, if not all of them, male, but I don’t see how it would work. I mean was O’Neill not told if his mother was ill, if he was in the middle of a play? Did he only learn of it afterwards? Was he that protected? Or did emergencies disturb the great man’s schedule? But what, I’m not going to greet my daughter home from the first day of third grade? I’m going to miss that? I don’t think so.

My husband and I were both there huddled under an umbrella in the unusually cold down pour, when she got off the bus for the first day of third grade.

I don’t know how to balance real life with the writing. I really don’t. But I just don’t think I could isolate myself to the degree that some have done and be happy with the decision. It would be as if the writing were more real than your life. How weird would that be? Also, truthfully, the thought of making everyone tip-toe around and whisper because I was working is a little too primadonna for me. I would feel silly asking my family and friends to do stuff like that. But hey, that’s just me. Eugene O’Neill was the first American writer to win the Nobel Prize for literature. He won four Pulitzer prizes for drama. Some scholars claim that he’s the third most widely translated and produced dramatist after William Shakespeare and George Bernard Shaw. Not bad, not bad at all.

It’s a problem we all face. I know I do. I work all day on MISSING… and then I chme home at night and work on my DIAGNOSIS MURDER novels. I also squeeze in booksignings here and elsewhere (like Bouchercon or Left Coast Crime). But at the same time, I want to help my daughter with her homework, see her soccer games, take her to karate practice… and just hang out. Managing time is a daily problem for me…and, I suspect, all writers.

Reformed Fanfic Writer Speaks Out

James Winter, a reformed fanfic writer, speaks his mind about his former pursuit on his blog

Why does anyone who does write fanfic bother writing the creator or writer of their favorite series to whine incessantly about rendering their creations irrelavant?

When you read crap like that or get letters like Lee gets, is it any wonder why people think science fiction fans are losers living in their parents’ basements and having trouble holding real jobs? When people send letters to writers and producers demanding they adhere to insipid story categories (ie – formulas) like hurt/comfort or slash (wtf!?!?!?!), how can you not understand why they get monumentally pissed off?

To the writers and producers, I say look, it’s just grafitti. Treat it as such. The problem is that the people who write fanfic seem to believe they’re writing the next Great Gatsby.

The thing about grafitti, Jim, is when someone puts it on the wall of your house or around your community, you paint over it… because it’s a violation of private property, it’s ugly and it ruins the neighborhood.

The Mail I Get — Fanfic, again

I got this email from someone this morning on the DorothyL list…

Lee Goldberg wrote: How is appropriating an author’s characters “praising” his ideas? In fact, you’re doing the exact opposite… you’re showing your lack of respect for their ownership of their own creations by stealing them. Unless the author says you may use his characters, fanfic is indefensible.

Lee, have you quite finished? I gather you are quite something in TV over there. As a poor limey I’m afraid I’m not familiar with your work altough I had a look at your impressive CV on IMdB. You’re very lucky, you’ve got to places others can only dream of. Instead, they strive towards their dream by emulating their idols. Notice that they don’t emulate what they don’t like. There’s a convention amongst pioneering climbers that they leave their pitons in place to help those who follow. You are like a mountaineer who, having conquered the mountain, surrounds it with barbed wire to stop anybody else from following. I wonder if you were bitten by a fanfic when you were a child – your reaction is so out of proportion.


I don’t see how allowing other people to write about your characters is “leaving pitons in place to help those who follow.” I’m not against “fanfic” because I don’t want other writers to succeed. Quite the opposite. I want to encourage them to write original work that showcases their unique talent and creativity. That’s how they will succeed. Encouraging young writers to steal someone else’s intellectual property isn’t helping them learn their craft… it’s hurting them.