Casino Royale

There’s a new trailer for CASINO ROYALE and it lays to rest any doubts that Daniel Craig can play Bond or that the producers were serious about rebooting the franchise. The last vestiges of the Roger Moore years seem to be completely erased.  Bond is once again the young,  lethal assassin from DR. NO and FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE.  I liked the Pierce Brosnan Bonds, though they seemed like a compromise between the Connery and Moore versions of 007. CASINO ROYALE is definitely a throwback to the Connery interpretation. It looks like this movie could be the best Bond film since GOLDFINGER… (though the bad guy’s scarred eye is a little too reminiscent of Donald Pleasance in YOU ONLY LIVE TWICE). I can’t wait to see it.

Pink Panther Novels

I stumbled on an unusual tie-in at the bookstore today — THE PINK
PANTHER GETS LUCKY by Mark Cerasini & Alice Alfonsi, an original
novel based on the PINK PANTHER movies. In fact, it’s billed as an
"original pink panther mystery." Apparently, there is already another
one on the way. I wonder what the target audience is for Inspector
Clouseau books?

Food for Thought

I was having dinner with my daughter at HOME TOWN BUFFET (I lead such a glamorous life!) and a guy came in wearing a black t-shirt that said in big, white letters  PURE FUCKING METAL. The management wouldn’t let him in and he left without incident. It’s a family restaurant and it was filled with kids. I would have done the same thing if I was the manager. But it got me thinking, was this man’s rights violated? Would he have grounds for a successful lawsuit? What if his t-shirt had a picture of a penis or a vagina on it instead?

Another reason for me to love Hawaii

I got a very nice review today from Burl Burlingame in the Honolulu Star Bulletin for MR. MONK GOES TO HAWAII.  He writes, in part:

This is a real novel, not a fleshed-out screenplay, as it is told in
the first person of Natalie, which is fascinating because she’s still
relatively undeveloped on the show. The story, as it is, unfolds from
her point of view and gives the character an inner life and complexity.
I came away from the book with a greater appreciation of the back-story
of Natalie’s character.

[…]"Mr. Monk Goes to Hawaii" is an entertaining and ruefully funny
diversion that stars one of television’s best-loved characters, and
because it’s a mystery novel, it will stick long after you’ve forgotten
the plot of the latest "Monk" episode.

Thanks so much, Burl!

Hanging with the Sistahs

Today, I headed out to the South Pasadena Public Library for the monthly meeting of Sisters-in-Crime, where I read from MR. MONK GOES TO HAWAII and was "in conversation" with author Denise Hamilton. We talked a lot about our different approaches to writing, plotting and constructing scenes. We also discussed how to write dialogue that reveals character, the merits of "standalones" vs "series," and how we go about rewriting work. I enjoyed myself, met a lot of friendly people, and only saw three women in the audience fighting sleep, so I consider it a success.


Let’s see… the Bush administration finally admits that there are secret CIA prisons abroad, the Bush Administration wants  "evidence" extracted using torture to be admissable in court, and the Bush administration not only lied to us about Iraq having weapons of mass destruction, but it turns Iraq never supported Bin Laden, either. So what are the Democrats in an uproar about? Some cheesy TV movie that implies that 9/11 happened because President Clinton was too busy getting blowjobs from Monica Lewinsky. Unbelieveable. Where are their priorities?

Speaking of THE PATH TO 9/11, my friend Bryce Zabel sent me the photo on the left…note the similarities between the ad campaign for the TV movie and his cult-hit TV series (Click on the image for a larger view)

The Last Word

Dmlw3Here’s is the cover for DIAGNOSIS MURDER #8: THE LAST WORD, coming out next Spring. It’s likely, as the title suggests, to be the final book in the series…and I can promise you that it’s a worthy finale.  Dr. Mark Sloan and company face an old adversary and their biggest challenge yet.

Big Bucks from iUniverse

About a year ago, I shared with you my iUniverse royalty statements for some of my books, all of which were previous published titles that were reprinted, at no cost to me, through programs at the Authors Guild and Mystery Writers of America.

For those of you contemplating actually paying to get your unsold manuscripts printed in book form by iUNiverse, I thought I’d give you a reality-check by sharing with you my latest royalty statement for the period 4/1/06-6/30/06.

MY GUN HAS BULLETS   2/$24.26/25/$6.07
UNSOLD TV PILOTS          10/$89.30/30/$26.79
UNSOLD TV PILOTS v1    7/$120.75/5@25 and 2@30/$31.92
UNSOLD TV PILOTS v2    6/$95.82/25/$23.96
TOTAL:    $88.74

Canadian Logic, eh

I’ve been fascinated by TV pilots since I was a kid (and even wrote several books about them). One thing I’ve learned is that almost everybody in the business agrees that making pilots is a deeply flawed, inefficent, outrageously expensive way to create TV series and that the system needs to be changed. 

The Entertainment Industry Development
Corporation reports that 131 pilots were made last season at a cost of $365 million.  Of those pilots, maybe 40 got picked up. Of those 4o
series, maybe three or four will survive the season.

Insane, isn’t it?

So, naturally, the Canadians think it would be a great idea to imitate our system.

According to the latest issue of Canadian Screenwriter magazine (one of the perks of being a member of Writers Guild of Canada), the state-supported Canadian Broadcasting Company is "shifting its development process to pilots."  Here’s their thinking:

"(The U.S. networks) pilot a lot of things that never make it to air," says Kristine Layfield, the CBC’s executive director of network programming. "We’re going to have a lot better ratio of shows that actually make it because we’re hoping that if we’re putting more money, time and effort into the development process, by the time you get to pilot, that pilot has much more than a one-in-ten chance."

With all due respect, she is deluding herself. Does she really think we don’t put enough time, money and effort into the development process? We spent $365 million! What’s incredible is that  instead of learning from our mistakes, the Canadians want to repeat them.

No wonder  the Canadian TV business is virtually non-existent.

In the Driver’s Seat

Yet another writer in my family is blogging. Sam Barer, auto-writer extraordinaire,  launched FOUR WHEEL DRIFT with some new slogans for today’s automakers. Here’s a sampling from the top of the list:

Acura – Buy an Acura, your local car thief will thank you.

Aston Martin – See yourself like James Bond, even if women don’t

Audi –  Because all the people you hate drive BMWs

Bentley –  Phat cars for people with fat wallets

BMW – Even Chris Bangle and I-Drive can’t stop our cars from selling

Buick – Buy a Buick, so we don’t end up like Oldsmobile

Cadillac – Really, you don’t have to be black or Jewish to own one!

Chevrolet – The best vehicles that cost-cutting can create.

But my personal favorite comes towards the end:

Volvo – Safety: you can’t get killed in a car that’s always being serviced at the dealership