“Lori Prokop, Do You Ever Stop Coming Up With Get-Rich-Quick Schemes?”

Remember Lori Prokop, the shameless get-rich-quick huckster behind the BOOK MILLIONAIRE  debacle? Well, she’s baaaack  with an all-new schtick (gee, Lori, whatever happened to "Book Millionaire?") Now she’s pitching a series of seminars and books called "How to Launch from Good To Great." 

I was being interviewed as an expert for a book on success. The author asked, "Lori Prokop, how do great leaders handle success?"

I replied, "Great leaders are not as devastated by failure or as elated by successes. They take both in stride knowing they will continue to experience both as they move forward. They are more excited by the insights and knowledge they master as a result of both success and failure."

Apparently, either all of Lori Prokop’s friends talk to her like the alien from STARMAN…or she’s written so much junk-mail, she can’t stop writing in the <insert-recipient-name here> format.

I recommend the words of a great mentor of mine, Ted Nicholas, when he advised me, "Lori Prokop, say these incredibly powerful words, ‘I forgive myself and others for mistakes of the past.’"

I also suggest to you what another great teacher said, "Lori Prokop, you cannot look rationally at the equation or steps which lead to any outcome until you have healed the negative or hurtful emotions attached."

The point of her newsletter is to steer you to her latest laundry-list of get-rich-quick schemes and seminars
("Podcasting for Fun and Profit!," "How I Developed My Child’s Genius
–And How You Can Do It Too!," "Develop Self-Confidence and Lose Your
Fears!" etc) A friend of mine said to me, "Lee Goldberg, how could anyone slog through Lori Prokop’s endless list of self-improvement and get-rich-quick seminars and not see right through her?" and  I replied, "I have no idea."


Ed Gorman  is kicking off a new feature on his blog called "PROfiles" — posing seven questions to  different novelists. Today, he talks to Bill Crider , PJ Parrish, and IAMTW co-founder Max Allan Collins, the multi-talented author of ROAD TO PERDITION. Here’s a quote from Max:

3. What is the greatest pleasure of a writing career?

Hands down, the great pleasure is being able to pursue a passion and get paid for it. I consider myself a storyteller and, accordingly, work in many mediums. I love readiing novels and get to write them for money; I love movies and occasionally get to make them; I love comics and get to script them. My hobbies have turned into my job, and what could be a greater pleasure than hat?


Ken is in da house

Ken Levine has a very funny post today about HOUSE.

If you’re writing a spec episode of HOUSE, here’s the format: Vibrant
attractive Fox-friendly hottie in her 30’s suddenly collapses for no
reason. Opening credits. House says it’s nothing, send her home. She
goes into convulsions. For the next forty minutes the earnest young
doctors misdiagnosis her, send her into cardiac arrest, remove
something that doesn’t need removing, break into her house for an
illegal search, send House in to brow beat and traumatize her, and
finally he figures it out. It’s something obscure like she licks stamps
with cyanide or swims in a toxic waste dump. Five minutes later she’s
cured and goes home. Last scene – ironic music plays over as House sits
alone in his…well…house, pensive and tortured.

Honolulu Part 6

The library talk tonight was sparsely attended but just as lively and interesting (for me, anyway) as all the other talks I’ve done during my visit to Oahu (I stayed a good 45 minutes after closing to keep answering questions). I got to meet several regular readers of this blog face-to-face, including a former Writers University student of ours, and some of the library officials who were kind enough to approve the grant that brought me to Hawaii.  I had a terrific time and I want to thank Cindy Chow once again for inviting me and being such a wonderful hostess, tour guide, dinner companion, and event manager during my stay. Tomorrow it’s back to L.A. and work, work and more work…and, oh hell, and jury duty on Tuesday. I forgot all about that.

Would You Like Your Book “Personalized” or Just Signed And Dated?

Don’t think of this as a blog. Think of this as a virtual booksigning, the hot new thing in publishing, at least according to the Wall Street Journal :

Hundreds of readers watched recently as historian Doris Kearns Goodwin signed copies of her new book at a Chicago stop on her book tour. Many of them were sitting at home.

Via the Web site VirtualBookSigning.net, they saw a live Webcast of the author reading, ordered the book, emailed the messages they wanted her to
inscribe and watched her sign the books.

The latest twist for book tours: no human contact. Instead of meeting their fans at Borders, some authors are beaming themselves to book buyers over the Internet. Methods vary, but publishers and authors are keen to find high-tech alternatives to the expensive, time-consuming author tour.

With 10-city tours costing about $20,000, publishers say they are scheduling fewer of the junkets. As virtual book events becomes more widespread, they’re changing the way books are marketed. Several publishing houses have invested in a remote-signing machine with a robotic arm, conceived by Canadian author Margaret Atwood.

When I shattered my right arm, I shouldn’t have had it reconstructed with titanium plates and screws…I should have replaced it with a robotic-signing arm. I could have leased myself out to publishing companies and signed for authors like Stephen King and Janet Evanovich…

Honolulu Part 5

For some reason, I woke up today with a terrible allergy, so I drugged myself on Alavert and Advil, which left me feeling dehydrated and a little fuzzy-headed. But I figured that was better than going up in front of people with a waterfall of mucus spilling out of my nose, a skull-cracking headache, and watery eyes.

I had two library talks — one in the morning at McCully Library in downtown Honolulu and one at night at the brand new, very impressive library in Kapolei, an hour-and-a-half outside of the city in rush-hour traffic (as I sadly discovered).

Both talks were very well attended by incredibly attractive, amusing, and talented people who asked astonishingly smart questions  (as you may have guessed, I discovered that a surprising number of the attendees and librarians I met today are regular readers of this blog).  I even got asked about fanfic and self-publishing today and managed not to start foaming at the mouth when I replied. I stayed for two hours at McCully and at Kapolei until the building closed and the security guard began eyeing me menacingly.

Between the two events, I managed not to write a thing besides my name on a credit card receipt for a dim sum lunch in Chinatown. I’m giving up any hope that I am going to get work done here. I’ll just have to crack down on myself when I get back on Friday night…I can see a lot of LONG days ahead of me if I am going to make my deadlines on the MONK script and the MONK book.

UPDATE: For a detailed play-by-play on last night’s library talk,and a picture of me looking like a tourist in my aloha shirt, check out Lynn Raye Harris’ blog.

Honolulu Part 4

Yesterday we spent our time on the North Shore — we spent a few hours watching the Monster Pipeline Pro surfing event on Sunset Beach (getting mightily sunburned in the process) then we went snorkeling up in Turtle Bay. 

My evening library talk was, as my host explained, "out in the country" in the tiny town of Wahiawa. The library was next door to The House of Hair and a strip joint. Only eight people showed up, but they were
bright, enthusiastic, and asked great questions about the craft of screenwriting and the business of television. Most of all, they
really really, really appreciated me being there, which made the
librarians very happy…and me, too.

I got lost on the way back to Waikiki. Even once you realize you are going on the wrong freeway in the wrong direction, good luck turning around.  The freeway system here is terrible and just because there’s an off-ramp on one side
doesn’t mean there’s an onramp on the other.

Today I have two library talks — one in town and the other in Kapolei.  I’m going to try to convince the family to let me go to the events alone so a) they don’t have to spend half the day in libraries and b) so maybe I can get a some writing done on this trip in the few hours of free time I have between talks. We’ll see. I’m feeling very anxious about how little writing I’m doing — but by the time I get home each night, I am totally exhausted and am in bed by about 9:30.

Cover Snark

The Smart Bitches Who Love Trashy Novels get together for another hilariously snarky overview of atrocious romance covers. Here’s one of my favorites:
"Darling, I don’t think it’s going to work between us. First, I have to
go fight those monks over there. But more importantly, you have
jaundice, you aren’t able to stand up, and one of your breasts appears
to be coming out of your shoulder. And, now you’re melting into a
puddle. Don’t you see? It’s not you. It’s me. I can’t handle your

Honolulu Part 3

Thank you, Tess Gerritsen. We got a $5.50 plate lunch at Kenneke’s (Shoku Chicken, two scoops rice, one scoop mac salad) and had a picnic at Waimanalo Beach, which was every bit as beautiful as she said it would be. We loved it. But I’m getting a little ahead of myself.

We started the day with fresh, hot malasadas at Leonard’s Bakery and headed for Hanauma Bay, where we spent hours snorkeling in the clear waters. We were struck by how incredibly fat the American tourists were and how thin everybody else was. Maybe it’s those malasada breakfasts. We left when all you could see in the water were other tourists.

We went for lunch at Kenneke’s in Waimanalo, home of the Fear God Power Lifting team and some darn good shave ice, too. The beach was spectacular but the park seems to draw equal numbers of tourists and homeless people, who camp in decaying cars or under make-shift tents erected amidst the pines that line the shore.

Afterwards, we schlepped back to Waikiki in terrible traffic…some caused by rush-hour congestion, the rest caused by morons (like the idiots tourists on mopeds, wearing shorts and t-shirt and no helmets, weaving in and out of traffic, steering with one hand while talking on a cell phone in the other). Once we got back to the hotel, I barely had five minutes to change before Cindy Chow picked me up and took me to the Pearl City Library, where once again I was greeted by a lively, friendly crowd and given yet another fragrant lei (I’ve been lei’d twice-a-day since I got here. Now that’s aloha).

Tomorrow we’re off to the North Shore and another library talk. I’ve also got to start writing something besides blog posts…or the next time I walk into an ABC Market it will be to pick up a job application.

It IS Brain Surgery

Last season, CBS  shot the pilot 3 LBS, which starred Dylan McDermott and Reiko Aylesworth as brain surgeons.  It was written by Peter Ocko, produced by Tom Fontana, and directed by Barry Levinson.  Despite the A-list talent involved, the pilot wasn’t picked up to series. But CBS and Ocko haven’t given up. They are re-developing the idea for this season with a new script and a new cast. Now it will be about a brain surgeon with a neurological disorder who recruits a new partner.