Today I went out to Summit, NJ to visit MONK creator/showrunner Andy Breckman and his staff. They aren’t exactly keeping a low-profile in town, as proven by the picture on the left of their building (click on the picture for a larger image). On the train ride out there, I came up with the plot for MONK #8 which, much to my relief, Andy liked. We talked for an hour or two about the murders for the book and then I sat in to hear the beats for the 100th episode — it’s g0ing to be a great one.

I returned to Manhattan in time to attend the MWA’s Agents & Editors party, where I ran into Mel Berger, who was my first agent ever, and chatted for a bit with a woman who loves me, which is always a thrill.

At the party, author Twist Phelan told me that she’d met a woman today who introduced herself as a "pre-pre-published author" and said she was attending the Crime Writing conference to meet an agent.

"What does ‘pre-pre-published’ mean?" Twist asked.

"I have an idea for a book but I haven’t started writing it yet," she said.

"And that’s how you plan to introduce yourself to agents?"

"Yes," the woman said.

Twist said don’t, and went on to tell her just how stupid calling herself  "pre-pre-published" was. That was definitely a new one on me.

If I Were a Rich Man

I flew to New York on Monday on Virgin America which, once again, was like flying in a synagogue. The plane was full of  orthodox Jews, though at least this time they didn’t give  me a Bar Mitzvah (or whatever the ceremony was they performed for me on my last NY flight...and no, it wasn’t a circumcision. Been there, done that). I had a wonderful dinner at Elaine’s last night with writer, producer and bon vivant David Black and today the two of us did a panel together for the MWA’s "Crime Writing University." Tonight I went to the booksigning for BLUE RELIGION, the MWA anthology, and   
schmoozed with Megan Abbott, Harry Hunsicker, Jason Pinter, Paul Guyot (who is in the picture with me), Michael Connelly, Lee Child, SJ Rozan, and many other authors. Tomorrow I’m getting together with the folks at MONK to talk about my next book…and then will attend the MWA’s Editors & Agent’s dinner.

We Are Family

The Goldberg siblings were out in force signing our latest books at the LosKaren_and_linda_at_lafob_2008
Angeles Times Festival of Books. Tod and I were signing at the Mystery Bookstore while my sisters Linda Woods and Karen Dinino were over at the Borders booth. As usual, women threw their underwear at Tod and me while my sisters were deluged with cakes made by their fans. The cool Goldberg kids are wearing shades. Afterwards, Tod  hid out from Dr. Laura, who has been emailing him since he besmirched her on his blog, while my sisters were busy stalking Julie Andrews, who was taking the necessary precautions. I took the high road and had a cheeseburger with my daughter.

Writer Beware

Victoria Strauss has an excellent post up today on her Writer Beware blog with great advice for aspiring writers about what to look for before signing with a small press. It’s a must-read for those considering signing with a POD press.

J.T Ellison also offers up some good advice today on How To Avoid Scams over on the Murderati blog:

The biggest problem new writers are faced with is desire. You’ve
worked so damn hard, have slaved away writing your book, and you WANT
to get it out to the reading public. We understand. We were there once
too. But DO YOUR HOMEWORK! There are several easy steps you can take to
ascertain whether the offer you’ve been approached with is legitimate.
Because that’s the problem with scams. The veneer of legitimacy can be
shiny and obscuring.

Book Festing

I just got back from day 1 of the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books. I look forward to this event all year and, despite my vows to cut back on my book buying at the Fest, I always end up making several trips back to the car to unload my goodies…which included signed books by Richard Russo, Peter Carey, Richard Price, and Tana French and lots of architectures books. I ran into many old friends at the Festival today, and last night at the Mystery Bookstore party… authors like Lee Lankford, Paul Levine, Michael Connelly, Dick Lochte, Cara Black, Mark Haskell Smith, Naomi Hirahara, Bill Fitzhugh (who was on the way to an opening of a musical based on his novel PEST CONTROL) Bob Levinson (who I will be hanging out with in Owensboro Kentucky later this month), Loraine Despres, Thomas Perry, Denise  Hamilton, and Susan Straight. I also chatted for a while with Lisa Lutz, Susan Kandel, and Rita Lakin.

Tomorrow, my brother Tod and I will be signing at 11am at the Mystery Bookstore which, as fate would have it, is the same time our sisters Karen and Linda will be signing at Borders…and then Monday I head off to New York for Edgar Week.

But  I won’t have my MONK book hanging over my head during the trip. I sent MR. MONK IS MISERABLE to my editors yesterday. On Wednesday, I’m having breakfast with MONK creator Andy Breckman to discuss my next MONK novel…I’m hoping to come up with a vague idea for it on the flight to New York.

More Praise for HOLLYWOOD & CRIME

Jon Breen at ELLERY QUEEN MYSTERY MAGAZINE has given the short story collection HOLLYWOOD & CRIME a rave review, singling out my story "Jack Webb’s Star:"

Show business has long been a favorite criminous setting, and in
recent years more mysteries than ever have explored the worlds of film,
stage, television, music, magic, stand-up comedy, and other categories
of performance. Prolific anthologist Robert J. Randisi’s Hollywood and Crime
(Pegasus, $25) gathers original stories by such formidable writers as
Michael Connelly, Bill Pronzini, Terence Faherty, Stuart M. Kaminsky,
and Dick Lochte. Among those with the strongest entertainment industry
backgrounds are “Murderlized” by Max Allan Collins and Matthew V.
Clemens, a fact-based 1930s tale in which Moe Howard of the Three
Stooges investigates the mysterious death of former stage partner Ted
Healy; Robert S. Levinson’s “And the Winner Is,” about the 1960 Academy
Awards, gangster Mickey Cohen, and the bitter rivalry of columnists
Hedda Hopper and Louella O. Parsons; and best of all, "Jack Webb’s
Star," Lee Goldberg’s hilarious contemporary tale of a struggling TV
writer, his commercial actress wife, a traffic school led by an unfunny
stand-up comic, and Joe Friday’s star on the Hollywood Boulevard Walk
of Fame.

Thank you, Jon!

No Romance for Plagiarist And Her Publisher

The Charlotte Observer reports that Penguin/Putnam has dropped romance author Cassie Edwards due to, and this is a phrase I have never heard before, "irreconcilable editorial differences." The differences have to do with Edwards’ lifting text from other people’s books and claiming it as her own, a practice brought to light in meticulous detail by the blog Smart Bitches Who Love Trashy Novels.

In a phone interview in January, the author told The Associated Press
that she indeed "takes" material from other works, but said she didn’t
know she was supposed to credit her sources. She then asked her husband
to get on the phone. Charles Edwards said the author got only "ideas"
from other books and did not "lift passages."