Where the Wild Tie-In Writers Are

More and more high profile authors are turning to tie-ins.  Dave Eggers, author of A HEARTBREAKING WORK OF STAGGERING GENIUS, is
writing the novelization of the movie adaptation of Maurice Sendak’s
classic children’s picture book WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE. The novelization
will be based on the script by Eggers’ and director Spike Jonze, which
expands on Sendak’s 300-word book. Publishers Weekly reports that the
novelization was Eggers’ idea but it was Sendak who lobbied Eggers to
be the one to write the tie-in. Harper Collins will publish the book, Eggers’ first since
2000 not to be published under his own McSweeney’s banner. It was not
an easy deal to craft:

The publisher acquired world rights to the novel about a year
ago, in a deal that involved not only Eggers but lawyers from Warner
Brothers, since a tie-in book was already part of the movie contract.
Intellectual property rights of both Sendak and HarperCollins (Where the Wild Things Are
was originally published by Harper & Row) also had a bearing on
terms. As [editor Dan] Halpern put it, negotiations involved “many different moving
parts.” But the goal was always to have any tie-in book published by a
Harper imprint, per the preexisting deal between Warner Brothers and
Harper, which owns publication rights to the Wild Things
franchise. Sendak, who has since been affiliated with other houses,
agreed “there was something correct” about Harper doing Eggers’s book.


My friend Javi’s pilot THE MIDDLEMAN has been picked up as a series by ABC Family. I couldn’t be happier for him. But the behind-the-scenes story of how this show was developed is almost as exciting and unbelievable as any MIDDLEMAN adventure. It began as a spec script, became a comic book, and then finally what it was always meant to be: a pilot film…all thanks to Javi’s perseverance and unbridled enthusiasm. I’m sure the Emmy for his great work on LOST didn’t hurt…

I want to see the MIDDLEMAN episode where the Chaodai return (they were in Javi’s "lost" episode of SEAQUEST 2032). Until then, I guess I will have to make due by humming the Chaodai song.

James Reasoner is back on-line

James Reasoner is back on-line after the terrible fire that destroyed his home:

"Awe-struck. Humbled. And very, very grateful. That pretty much
describes how I feel about the incredible outpouring of love, concern,
and support from all over the world following our fire last week. I
just can’t tell you how much we appreciate each and every one of you.

[…]To those of you who have sent money, thank you so, so much. Even though
the place was insured, there are going to be a lot of extra expenses
that insurance won’t cover. You never realize how much you have to
replace when you lose everything. To those who are sending books . . .
this is absolutely wonderful. To go from being surrounded by tens of
thousands of books to none in a matter of minutes is almost more than
the mind can comprehend. Any and all book donations will be hugely
appreciated. We can use copies of the books we wrote, research books,
fiction of all sorts."

I’ve already sent one box of books and more are on the way. Books can be sent to:

Kim Lionetti
BookEnds Inc.
136 Long Hill Road
Gillette, NJ 07933

Checks should be made out to the Western Writers of America with a notation in the memo portion that it’s for the James Reasoner Emergency fund. Here’s the address:


MSC06 3770
1 University of New Mexico
Albuquerque, NM 87131-0001

(The picture of James is from the Saddlebums Western Review)

A New Approach to Fandom

The Los Angeles Times reports today that DR. WHO executive producer Russell T. Davies is taking a new approach to fans. He’s completely ignoring them.

"I think we’re an unusual
science-fiction franchise in taking a very big step back from fandom
and having nothing to do with them. . . . Every program on the BBC has
a message board on the website. I forbid it to happen on ‘Doctor Who.’
I’m sorry to say this, all the science fiction producers making stuff
in America, they are way too engaged with their fandom. They all need
to step back."

His policy of ignoring the fans doesn’t seem to be hurting his show at all.  In fact, it may be helping by making his show more accessible to mainstream audiences worldwide.

It falls to
Davies "to keep balancing how much continuity there is, how many
stand-alone elements there are." Ever mindful of the shows’ "mainstream
audience" (meaning, not just sci-fi enthusiasts) and put off by
"exclusivity" in general, he said he is reticent of creating overly
inclusive stories dependent on viewers’ in-depth knowledge of ornate
histories.  This job is made easier by Davies’ policy of ignoring the voices of those most vigilant.

Is there a lesson to be learned here for showrunners?    

Another Reasoner Update

The Weatherford Democrat wrote about the Reasoners in their coverage of the wild fires that raged   "from Johnson to Tarrant County lines" in Texas:

James and Livia Reasoner lost their home on Colby Lane near Flat Rock Tuesday.

said he was sitting at his computer when he smelled smoke. He looked
outside and found a line of fire reaching across his property, racing
to his home.

“I grabbed a hose and got the dog,” he said.

Another dog escaped the blaze, but a family goat, three cats and a bird were lost.

“We lost everything,” Livia said. “All of our clothes — everything.”

The Reasoners are both writers and lost a book collection and ones they wrote along with family heirlooms and photos.

Wednesday, they were called back to what used to be their home, only to find it caught fire again.

An alleged illegal burn was to blame.

“I can’t believe after yesterday someone would be burning today,” Livia said.

couple repeatedly thanked Silver Creek firefighters for their help in
putting out the flames and saving a relative’s home next door.

Firefighters simply said it was their job.

“We’re all alive,” she said gratefully. “At least we had insurance.”

James let out a long sigh. “We’ll just start over.”

Mr. Monk and the Blog Review

I got a very nice review for MR. MONK GOES TO THE FIREHOUSE from blogger D.T. Holt, who wrote, in part:

"I don’t know whether Lee Goldberg wrote this book before he began writing for the series or vice versa but he has captured the tone of the show beautifully. It is written from the perspective of Natalie Teager, Monk’s long suffering assistant and de facto
baby sitter, and he writes in her voice perfectly. The story if full of
neurotic asides that give the reader an insight into Natalie’s thinking in an endearing way. Her character is likable from the first page of the book, which is crucial because Monk, in all of his mentally damaged glory, isn’t always the most likable character."

Thanks D.T.!

Behind the Cover of Beneaththecover.com

Book marketer/publicist Michael R. Drew has put together a site called beneaththecover.com under the guise of helping aspiring writers with expert advice…except all the "advice" is coming from publicists and self-publishers looking to sell their services to the unwary.

In an apparent bid to legitimize their effort, they have been reaching out to "hundreds" of authors, hoping to convince them to provide free content to the site. I’m one of the authors they contacted. Lehi Drew wrote, in part:

Just wanted to let you know about our trend-setting website. And I’m
hoping you’ll like it enough to accept our invitation to become a
contributor. You see, I’ve seen your blog site,A Writer’s Life, and I
think you’re a great writer..

Our website is dedicated to professionals of the book industry, and it’s called Beneath the Cover (www.beneaththecover.com).  It also has an associated blog site, Push the Key (www.pushthekey.com).

What’s in it for you? As a contributor, your name and blog site will be
constantly seen by hundreds and even thousands of book industry
visitors every day. At our site, we draw people from every level of the
book industry, including authors, writers, marketers, publishers,
editors, and agents.

Your Articles. As visitors see your articles on a regular basis and
enjoy your style and the substance of your expertise, they’ll become
familiar with your writing, your expert reputation, and your marketing

Wouldn’t it be great if you sent a manuscript to a publisher or an
agent and they responded with, “I’m familiar with your work on Beneath
the Cover, so I took the time to go over your manuscript. Let’s talk.”

Wouldn’t be great if a publisher got my manuscript and said "Lee is so damn witty and good looking, we’ll give him a $1 million contract without reading a word!"  That’s about as likely to happen as the ridiculous fantasy Beneath the Cover is trying to entice me with. I ignored Lehi’s email. So, a week later, she tried again.

First, let me reassure you that this is not part
of a mass mailing from a list of names/sites that I bought or got from
someone else. I AM mailing to hundreds of writers like yourself, but I’ve been to each site personally.

So, it’s not a mass mailing, but they ARE contacting hundreds of writers. Hmmm. She went on to say:

obviously, have had a lot of experience writing. I can see that, not
only by the fact that you’ve done screenwriting, but by the number of
books you have listed on your blog. I am confident that this shows that
you have great insight into how the book industry works. 

I would very much like for you to become a weekly contributor to Beneath the Cover. I
think that because you’re an experienced author, that you would have
advice for other authors trying to get published and writing.  I really
think that, plus your knowledge of the industry, would make you a good
fit with us and our other contributors.

I responded that if she really read my blog, she’d know that I wouldn’t be the least bit interested in lending my time, effort, or good name to help them sell promotional and self-publishing services to writers under the guise of offering "advice."  In fact, if anything, my advice would be to avoid their site. I also said:

Your site is an outgrowth of Michael Drew’s book promotion business and, not surprisingly, the majority of your contributors come from the self-publishing industry or are selling book promotion & marketing services…
which creates a real conflict-of-interest when it comes to the "advice"
they are giving.

Your contributors have something to sell, and so does
Drew. The only thing that I or any other published author would be
doing by contributing to your site would be lending our credibility to your underlying effort to advance the promotional and
self-publishing services your experts are selling.

I don’t see any published authors among their experts, so it  looks like their "not a mass mailing" to hundreds of authors hasn’t worked. I guess real authors are a lot smarter than the hucksters think we are.

UPDATE:  They also contacted my brother Tod, asking him to contribute to their site. He asked them what they pay…and they said not a dime because "Beneath the Cover is a cooperative venture for building marketing platforms of everyone involved." At least they were honest with him about their real motives (though it’s pretty obvious to anyone who visits their site). I’m surprised they haven’t brought in Lori Prokop  or the experts over at Airleaf  as contributors yet…

James Reasoner Update

From Bill Crider’s blog:
Longtime Western writer and WWA
member James Reasoner and wife Livia lost their house and studio, and
all their belongings, in a fire earlier this week. They’re OK, as are
their dogs and children, but got out with only their clothes they were
wearing. Books, pulps, comics, everything else, gone. "This is totally
overwhelming," James says.

To help the family, Western Writers
of America and Kensington Books have agreed to make sizable
contributions and ask anyone who would also like to contribute to send
cash donations to the WWA Executive Director’s office in Albuquerque,
N.M. Make the check out to Western Writers of America and put in the
memo that the money is for the James Reasoner Emergency Fund.

Checks should be mailed to:
MSC06 3770
1 University of New Mexico
Albuquerque, NM 87131-0001

Since James and Livia also lost their sizable library, donations are
also being sought to help restock their bookcases whenever they have a
new home. Kim Lionetti, Livia’s agent at BookEnds, has generously
agreed to accept any BOOK donations and keep them until the Reasoners
have a place to put them. Books should be sent to:

Kim Lionetti
BookEnds Inc.
136 Long Hill Road
Gillette, NJ 07933