Parker is Prolific

There are a couple of interesting things about Robert B. Parker’s latest Amazon blog post. For one, he’s openly soliciting people to buy the movie option on his Sunny Randall novels (and offers the name and address of his agents)…which I find extraordinary for an author of his experience and success in both the publishing and TV business.

But the really amazing thing about his post is what it reveals about how prolific he is. His last Spenser came out in November. He has a Jesse Stone novel coming out in February, a young adult novel in April, a Sunny Randall in June, and  Spenser in October. I figure he must be writing a book at least every eight to twelve weeks. That’s an amazing output…especially for a  bestselling author in his late 60s (or is he in his 70s?) who really doesn’t need to work that hard any more.

Diagnosis Murder Galleys

THE LAST WORD, the final book in the DIAGNOSIS MURDER series, will be published in May. If you are a book critic and would like a galley of the book for review,  please send me your name, the title of your publication (or the web address of your review site), and your mailing address.

The Airleaf Morons

Today, I picked up a letter sent to me in care of Mysteries To Die For, a bookstore in Thousand Oaks, California. The letter was from Airleaf Publishing, the vanity press company formerly known as Bookman Marketing, and they were offering to "sell MY GUN HAS BULLETS to a national audience!"  for the low, low price of $3000.

I wrote about these parasites back in November… when this same "opportunity" to flush your money down a toilet cost a whopping $7000. Since then, it appears that they’ve become a shade less greedy but monumentally more stupid.

The incompetence represented by this letter is so extreme, I almost don’t know where to begin. Let’s start with them sending this pitch to a successful, published author who has castigated them publicly for their business practices before.

And where do these idiots send their letter? They send it to me in care of a bookstore that’s already selling my books.

The folks at Airleaf Publishing are obviously trolling the catalogs at  iUniverse and other competing vanity presses,
figuring if the aspiring authors could be suckered once, they could be
suckered again.

But the dimwit who is doing the trolling apparently
doesn’t know when he’s picking books that are part of either Mystery Writers of America Presents or Authors
Guild’s Back-in-Print programs (both of which reprint
previously published books through iUniverse as a free service for their members).

The dimwit doesn’t realize that when he picks books from the MWA Presents or Back-In-Print authors,  he’s
dealing with experienced professionals who haven’t paid to be published and who know
better than to be suckered by an insanely pricey vanity press come-on.

The Airleaf Publishing corporate policy must be to hire people who are "mentally challenged" or born with only a brain stem…and to hope whoever gets their letters are just as stupid and have high credit lines on their Visa cards.

You’ve Heard It All Before

You can find a new Q&A interview with me, filled with information avid readers of this blog already know, online at Storylink, which is an off-shoot of the Writers’ Store and Writers University. Here’s a tantalizing excerpt:

1) What were you doing before you "made it"?

I was a freelance journalist, putting myself through school by writing for publications like American Film, Starlog, Newsweek, The Los Angeles Times Syndicate, The Washington Post and The San Francisco Chronicle, among many, many others. I also had a girlfriend who as an editor at Playgirl,
who got me a gig writing sexually explicit letters to the editor for
$25-a-letter, but let’s just keep that between you and me.

Barbara’s New Year’s Wish

My friend Barbara Seranella wrote about her current health problems in the Sunday edition of the Los Angeles Times…and did so with her usual humor, insight, and honesty:

I won’t bore you with all the complications, but the longest stretch
I’ve gone without being in the hospital since then is five weeks, and
I’ve had another surgery on my liver. I know the entire staff of USC
University Hospital’s sixth floor, and most of the fifth. They know me
well enough to get my jokes. We hug when we part.

These days I
exist in a state of grace. I don’t get angry; there is no one I argue
with. Nothing is a big deal. I’m not worried about my career or signs
of aging. I feed the birds and watch them eat. In my lack of hustle,
mysteries have been solved. I’ve figured out how to use the fabric
softener and bleach dispenser on my washing machine. There are these
written pieces called "directions." What a wonder they’ve turned out to

[…]So I am the lucky one. Odd as this might sound, I wouldn’t change a thing. I earned my suffering and the wisdom attached.

said, I am ready to carry those lessons forward into the future. Please
Mr. Wizard, I want to go home. I am ready to be healthy again. I am
having another transplant soon. It will restore my health. I will no
longer have yellow eyeballs, or hippopotamus legs. I will have the
stamina to stay awake all day and play with my friends and my dog. I
will travel and not need a wheelchair. I will be a sightseer in my own
town and take walking tours of Los Angeles. I have never seen the Watts
Tower or Disney Hall. I will go treasure hunting at the beach and maybe
try to learn salsa dancing.

Oh, the places I’ll go and the things I’ll do. I can’t wait. Bring on the new year.

Mr. Monk and the New Book

Today my third original MONK novel MR.
  will be appearing on shelves in bookstores
nationwide. Here’s what the book is about:

Monk is horrified when he learns there’s
going to be a blue flu in San Francisco—until Capt. Stottlemeyer explains that
it just means the police plan to call in "sick" until they get a better
contract. The good news is the labor dispute will give Monk a chance to get back
on the force. The bad news is it means he’ll be a "scab"—and he doesn’t like the
sound of that either.

But before he knows it, Monk has his badge back, and his own squad to
command. Unfortunately, some of the squad members make Monk look like a paragon
of mental health. But despite the challenges, they’ll have to pull together to
catch an astrologer’s killer, solve a series of mysterious fatal assaults, and
most importantly, clean up their desks…

Monk has been working for years to get his badge back, so I thought it would
be fun to see what would happen if he finally got his wish…if only for a
while….and to see him in an entirely different situation than he’s ever been
in before. I’ve been toying with the idea of a "Blue Flu" story ever since I was
first approached to write original Monk novels…but somehow it didn’t seem
right to me as the way to kick-off the series of books.

Part of the fun of doing these books for me is the chance to explore aspects
of Monk’s character that haven’t been dealt with yet on the TV series or, as is
the case with MR.
, go places and do things that the TV series can’t
for various logistical and production reasons. I’m thinking about sending Monk
to Europe for an upcoming book, but we’ll see what happens.

If you would like a signed, personalized copy of MR.
  they are available through Mysteries
To Die For
in Thousand Oaks, California. They will be glad to take your
order online and send books almost anywhere in the world.

By the way, this is the last original MONK novel to premiere in
paperback…with the next book, MR. MONK AND THE TWO ASSISTANTS, the
series is jumping to hardcover. That book comes out in July 2007 and, as
you can probably guess from the title, is about the surprising return of
Sharona, Monk’s first assistant. You can find a teaser chapter for TWO
in the back of MR.