I found an Internet cafe in  Fontainebleau, so I can finally connect to the outside world. My novel MR. MONK AND THE TWO ASSISTANTS comes out on Monday, but I have already started receiving emails from people who bought the book as early as last Thursday. I look forward to hearing your comments about it!

This is the first book I’ve written that I  haven’t been around to see published…so  if you want to send me pictures of the book on display at a store near you, I would appreciate it. That way,  I can vicariously enjoy the feeling of publication. I will post some of the photos here.


Greetings from the tiny village of bois-le-roi france, where i am visiting my mother in law. She has no internet acess or even a computer, so I am attempting this post with my blackberry (thank god there is cellular coverage here or I’d be cut off from the outside world). FAST TRACK wrapped on Sunday (the day was spent  on second unit and insert work). The wrap party went into the wee hours of Monday morning and then I hit the road to France with my family. We stopped in Heidelburg, Nuremburg, and Strasbourg among other places along the way. It was nice, but I was exhausted. I have been sleeping a lot the last few days (about 10 hours a night!) and going on long walks, thinking about the next monk book. I am trying to relax a bit but it is taking some effort. I am eager to get in the editing room..but I have to wait for the director’s cut first. I haven’t read a book in ages, so once the monk outline is done, that’s next on my to-do list.

Mr. Monk and the Rave Review

The Monk superfans at the Monk Fun Page have given MR. MONK AND THE TWO ASSISTANTS  a rave review. They say, in part:

Since  we’re now on the fourth novel you  might expect the plots and characters              to begin to blur a little, but the opposite is true. Each book is delightfully unique. Maybe it’s just me, but I see more depth and substance in
this novel than in the first three, which were all solidly entertaining  in their own right. The exploration of the two relationships between Monk and his assistants is fascinating.  The novel touches on the similarities, the differences, the humor and the  evolution of both relationships. Great stuff.

Book Burning

I’ve been so caught up doing  my movie, that I have fallen way behind on everything…and missed  my brother Tod’s Jewcy column in late May on the Kansas City bookstore that burned it’s entire stock of books as, the store owner  says, a "a funeral pyre for thought in America today" and as "a wakeup call to all who value books and ideas." My brother wrote:

If [the bookstore owners] don’t see the hypocrisy in their actions, perhaps they need only to look down the road a few miles at the Blue Valley School District, where debates raged over appropriate titles being offered to students, prompting the formation of the PABBIS-like (Citizen for Literary Standards in Schools), a group with their own stringent ideas about literacy. If burning 20,000 books for the cause of literacy is an act of art, how does that art change if the belief system of the group changes? I have no doubt that [the bookstore owners] love books, just as I have no doubt that many of the parents who comprise love books (or at least the Book), and thus I wonder: If the action is the same, does it matter what the cause is?  If hosted a book burning in the name of literacy awareness in the schools of Blue Valley, too, the same books would burn.

The bigger question is… what the hell is going on in Kansas City?

Potter’s Literary Eco-system

The Wall Street Journal recently published an article about the "the whole literary eco-system spawned by the series" and briefly touched on the fan fiction.

At least a dozen new or updated Harry Potter-related titles will likely
be published this year, according to Cambridge Information Group Inc.’s
R.R. Bowker. These aren’t the kind of faux Potter fantasy tales that
are posted on the Web, though there are plenty of those. (One site,, says it holds more than 34,000 stories and
receives in excess of 40 million hits a month.)

[…] There are limits. Copyright law will prevent other authors from
offering new titles using Ms. Rowling’s characters and settings unless
they’re obvious parodies. “Boundaries exist,” says David S. Korzenik, a
publishing attorney with the firm Miller Korzenik Sommers LLP.
“Characters can be copyrighted, and settings can be protected,” he
says. “But if you are doing a parody you can go forward with the
understanding that the parody won’t be book eight or nine of the series
but rather is trying to deliver something very different or

Most authors don’t challenge amateur authors who write tales about
favorite characters as long as it’s not commercially distributed, he
says. While it’s technically a copyright infringement, “fan fiction” is
usually perceived as a way for fans to enjoy themselves while creating
further interest in the original work. “Nobody views it as a
substitute,” says Mr. Korzenik. Guidebooks and predictions of future
events are protected as well, as long as authors don’t borrow too
heavily from Ms. Rowling’s work.

A Star For James

James Reasoner may be the most prolific writer I know…but until now, most of his books have been written under pseudonyms.  DUST DEVILS, one of the rare books under his own name, has won a starred review  from Publisher’s Weekly.

With a simple but effective plot and understated prose, this outstanding “redneck noir” successfully gives the windswept Texas plains the feel of mean city streets. Young, callow Toby McCoy appears at an isolated farmhouse, apparently just seeking work. Soon he’s plowing the fields, feeding the hogs and making eyes at Grace Halligan, the lovely older woman who owns the place. Just as the two move beyond a professional relationship, strange gunmen appear at the farm, forcing the lovers to reveal the extent of their mutual deceptions as they hit the road—with two dogs in the back of their pickup truck—in search of a double-crossing bank robber and the money he owes Grace. In the spirit of the genre, Reasoner (Texas Wind) saves the final chilling revelations for the very end, captivating the reader with other twists and turns along the way.

Crossing the Finish Line

Today is the last day of principal photography on FAST TRACK: NO LIMITS… we have a 7:30 pm call, so we’re going to be filming until well past sunrise. It has been an exhausting shoot, but the enthusiasm of the cast and crew hasn’t dimmed. We were shooting yesterday until 5:30 in the morning today and yet, as tired as everyone was, nobody was surly or short-tempered. It’s amazing. My internal clock is all messed up. I only know what day it is by looking at the call sheet.

Sunday we have our wrap party…where we have lots of gifts and surprises for our great crew. And Monday it’s vacation for everyone but the editors.  I haven’t seen anything cut together yet, but from the dailies alone I can already tell that this movie/pilot is going to be everything I hoped it would be. Now it’s up to me to make sure that the post-production — the music, sound design and color correction — is up to the same level.

I’m also at the "finish line" for MR. MONK IN OUTER SPACE. I received the copy-edited manuscript at my hotel today and I’ll go over the edits between shots tonight/tomorrow on the set and during the day on Sunday. I hope to FedEx the manuscript back to my editor on Monday or Tuesday…we are in a rush to make the November pub date.

Towards the Finish Line

_sth8463c There are only two more days left of principal photography on FAST TRACK: NO LIMITS and one "pick-up" days to grab some stray shots that we missed or re-shoots that we need to do. But it’s far from over for me.

I am already looking ahead to post-production, lining up composers and discussing the main title sequence. I have a couple of weeks off to travel around Europe with my family, then I head to Action Concept studios in Cologne on July 14 to do my cut of the pilot and choose a composer…then it’s off to teach another Writer’s Room course in Lohr for a week…and then back to Munich on July 25 to present the rough cut to the network. After getting the network notes, it’s back to the editing room to work on the final cut in time to present it to the network around August 6th, then I return to Cologne for a spotting session and to begin work on the sound design. Fast_track_logo_with_gray_limits I go back to Los Angeles  on August 9 for a few weeks to await word on a pick-up, organize my life, and to do ADR with the American actors. If we get picked up to series, then I return to Berlin to oversee the writing and pre-production on eight episodes. Whether we get picked up or not, I have return anyway to do ADR with the British, French and German actors and to lock the pilot movie.

It’s been an incredible experience and I hope it’s only the beginning for FAST TRACK and not the end.

Variety on Fast Track

There was a short bit on FAST TRACK in Tuesday’s issue of Variety:

An English-language urban street racing drama being shot in Germany has just been sold to France’s M6, Japan’s Comstock Group and China’s Beijing Time Entertainment by veteran U.S. distributor Gavin Reardon.

"Fast Track: No Limits" is co-produced by Teuton outfit Action Image and will air in Germany on station group ProSieben.

Reardon last year set up his own international distribution operation in L.A. called And Action! Distribution.

Reardon said Monday that the popularity of automotive-oriented action programming in Asia bodes well for deals in that region. No financial details of the licensing arrangements were made available.

Series is written and exec produced by Lee Goldberg, who, with this project, is importing the American showrunner system into Germany.