Where Am I?

Sorry I’ve been scarce around here lately… and it’s only going to get worse.

I’ve been busy rushing to finish my 8th (and probably last) DIAGNOSIS MURDER novel which is entitled THE LAST WORD and is due August 1. I’ve also been teaching a TV writing class two nights a week at UCLA (and having a blast doing it) and an on-line class at Writers University (with Bill Rabkin). 

And on Monday, I’m heading off to Germany, where I will be teaming up for a week with Bill Finkelstein (LAW & ORDER, L.A. LAW) to teach established TV writer/producers how to develop and run "American style" episodic dramas. I don’t know how much Internet access I will have… or time to post… while I am in Germany, but I will try to check in here.

I’ve also been writing my Natalie Blogs, giving some thought to my fourth MONK novel and working on a bunch of TV series ideas that Bill Rabkin and I are going to be pitching around town when I get back.

But at least I update my blog more often than my friend Gregg Hurwitz does.

Mr. Monk and the Paperback Critic

Chicago Tribune critic Dick Adler has started a blog to cover all the
paperback mysteries that he isn’t able to squeeze into his regular
column. Here’s his review of MR. MONK GOES TO HAWAII…

A surprising number of my friends and relatives love the Monk
TV series so much that they ask me to get them signed copies of Lee
Goldberg’s books based on it. Judging by this latest outing, where the
weird cop follows his assistant, Natalie, on holiday, they’re on to a
good thing. Goldberg makes Adrian Monk much more interesting than the
TV version: the twitches are less obvious, the outcomes much less
predictable. Even (or especially) the secondary characters are more
interesting and have sharper dialogue.

Thanks, Dick!

Celebrity Blogs

Today the always hilarious Ken Levine takes a look at Celebrity websites and blogs. Among his observations:

Melanie Griffiths’s website is just plain creepy. It chronicles her
romance and rehab, accompanied by music that Norma Desmond would find
too over-the-top. She also writes letters to her inner self. Many not
delivered because no one’s home.

Latest entry in Gwen Stefani’s journal: “We’re back. Sorry it has been
so long. We’ll start updating the site more often.” It’s dated May 2.

Bittersweet Sacrifice

You can always count on the Smart Bitches Who Love Trashy Novels for a good laugh, especially when they are skewering bad romance novel covers. This is my favorite from today’s collection:

Sarah: Yeah, you know what that bittersweet sacrifice is? Marrying him knowing that he’s GAY.

Or, now that I take a closer look, it could be that the one on the left
has to sacrifice her schmeckie because she’s a MAN, baby, YEAH.

Candy: Once again: Willem Dafoe in drag is NOT an acceptable substitute for a female model.

Mr. Monk Goes to Dunnyman’s Castle

Greg Hopper at the Dunnyman’s Castle Blog gives MR.  MONK GOES TO HAWAII a great review. He says, in part:

OK, I thought the first book in the series was just a great ride
through the world of Adrian Monk, and it was. The second one, wow, it’s
even better.
It seems Natalie Teeger is on her way to Hawaii, for a
friend’s wedding. She’s not sure how to tell Monk she’ll be gone for a
week and leaves it up until the last minute, only telling Monk the day
before she leaves.
Needless to say, Monk tags along (the how of him getting to Hawaii is hilarious), and leaves a trail of mayhem wherever he goes.

Thanks, Greg!

Maverick DVD

MAVERICK was an incredible TV series that was way, way ahead of its
time. This DVD sampler is nice… but it’s no substitute for a
feature-packed DVD boxed set produced by someone like Paul Brownstein
(who did the amazing GUNSMOKE, WILD WILD WEST and DICK VAN DYKE boxed sets).
But if Warner Brothers ever wants to do another MAVERICK sampler, let’s see one that
includes the "Shady Deal at Sunny Acres" episode from the original
MAVERICK, the unsold ABC pilot THE NEW MAVERICK, the pilot from the CBS
series YOUNG MAVERICK, and the first and last episodes of the NBC
series BRET MAVERICK. Seeing "Shady Deal" and the last episode of BRET
MAVERICK (in which Jack Kelly makes a surprise appearance as Bart)
would make nice bookends to the entire MAVERICK saga.

High Praise

THE 12 O’CLOCK HIGH LOGBOOK by Allan Duffin and Paul Matheis is an amazingly detailed analysis of every version of 12 O’CLOCK HIGH (what a great idea for a book).
Whether or not you are a fan of the original 12 O’CLOCK HIGH novel,  movie or the TV series,
this is a fascinating and informative look at how a single "property"
was exploited across three very different mediums. Just the section on the
TV series alone is worth the purchase price for the informative, inside glimpse at how the
show was developed and produced, from pilot to cancellation. This book is a must-read for TV geeks like me… as well as any student of television.