TV Writers Abroad

I just got back from Germany, and part of my trip there was devoted to teaching the principles of American TV writing & producing to German writer/producers and network executives with my friend Bryce Zabel. Today on his blog, Bryce sums up the experience perfectly:

The work was very fun, working for a company that facilitates
interaction between U.S. writers and international clients. The idea
here was to share some of the tricks of the trade the U.S.
television industry has learned in order to crank out orders of 22
episodes a season at a factory-like pace. More on that in future posts,
I’d imagine. Let me just say that if anything is holding back German
television it’s not the energy, creativity or ideas of their writers
but the structure of their system which doesn’t allow them to work
together often enough to achieve the greatness they’re capable of. That
seems to be changing. Everybody I met was extremely bright, talented
and motivated to make a better product so the chances are they will,


Bloodsucking Lesbians

Author Bill Crider clued me in to AfterEllen’s list of the ten best lesbian vampire movies…essential knowledge for every American.

there is a problematic relationship between sexuality and violence in
these movies, and many lesbian vampire flicks are nothing more than
vehicles for the male desire to see hot women biting each other […]the lesbian
vampire is campy good fun for dykes, complete with plenty of heaving
bosoms framed by low-cut gowns held up by, apparently, the sheer force
of evil.


No Complaints

You don’t see me whine and complain much here, and author John Connolly knows why:

There are good things and bad things about being a writer. In truth,
the good things far outweigh the bad, and the bad are generally things
about which it is churlish to complain.

He’s right. This was the lead-up to him telling the tale of having to fly from South Africa to L.A. to interview Stephen King in New York in front of hundreds of fans and publishing execs.

True, perhaps I tried too hard with some of my questions, and I am
still kicking myself 24 hours later over the fact that I confused the
words "ambiguous" and "ambivalent" in one of my interrogations (I plead
nerves), an error that King corrected without comment. Yet all through
the interview, and for some time afterwards, a small voice in my head
reminded me that this was probably as good as it was going to get. I
was interviewing a writer whom I had long admired, and whom I had long
wanted to interview, in front of a sympathetic audience. This was a
writer whose work I had begun reading before I even entered my teens,
and my boyhood self could never have imagined that, one day, he would
be sharing a stage with this man.

I know exactly how he feels. I feel that way every day, especially when I am in the company of people like David Morrell, Steve Cannell, Stuart Kaminsky, Ken Levine, Janet Evanovich, Michael Gleason, Robert Parker, Donald Westlake, Sue Grafton, Michael Connelly, William Link…the list goes on and on and on. Half the time I am with these writers I’ve admired for so long, many of whom I now count as friends, I am struck by how unbelievably fortunate and privileged I am.

Scrap Tales

For some time now, Alan Barer has been sharing memories on his blog about our family and his life selling scrap metal with my grandfather Dave in Walla Walla, Washington. Although he’s talking about my family and not yours, I think you’ll enjoy the rememberances as much as I do…and agree that he’s a natural-born storyteller.

One thing Frank did do for me was to advise me never to eat
food at the home of one of our clients who lived at and operated the
city dump in a small eastern Oregon town.

I arrived there late
in the afternoon. The table was set with stew, milk, etc. My host
invited me to join for dinner. Hungry as I was I declined. The next
morning when I arrived to load, the same food was sitting on the table
at room temperature. I also declined the invitation to breakfast.

The A Team

Sarah Weinman reports that my friends Stephen J. Cannell and Janet Evanovich have signed a "major deal" to co-write a new, hardcover adventure series for Warner Books.  I’m having lunch with Steve tomorrow and will try to coerce him into giving me all the details.