Scenes from Book Expo

1. Apparently, THE accessory to have is your own motor-home…just ask Jackie Collins and the softcore writers at Ellora's Cave.

2. Strolling the aisles, picking up free books is tough work. What could be more relaxing than a laser-tooth brightening treatment?


Live from the floor of BookExpo

I am in heaven here. I have already made three trips back to my car to unload books and galleys…and this is on top of the bounty of books I brought home yesterday. On Friday, I mostly talked to authors, booksellers, sales reps and countless librairians….and gave away a bunch of MONK books at the MWA booth. Today the convention seems to be deluged with desperate, frantically clueless wannabes (how they got in, I do not know). Before the doors even opened, I was practically tackled by a woman who pitched me her book (something to do with elves, angels, past lives, the Clinton “murders” and iraq) even though I told her repeatedly that I wasn’ta publisher or a producer who options books. I was just an author. She wouldn’t let up…and then went from me to some other poor soul.
But this was far from an isolated incident … It has happened to me three times this morning already. A woman who wrote a christain spiritual dog training guide insisted there was a series in it and, when I told I wasn’t interested, she told me how a famous producer she went to high school with stole her idea for a TV series (she sent him a short story she wrote that had a dog in it and then he did a show with a dog in it). That same woman then held up an autograph line for 10 minutes telling her life story to the author of a non-fiction book about Blackwater…if he had a gun, he would have shot her. I saw this same thing happen in the line for a famous children’s author…a woman got up there and pitched the poor guy her idea for a book and inundated him with postcards, fliers and candy (allof which he threw away the moment she was gone). It’s cringe-inducing. Sent via BlackBerry by AT&T

Taking Care of Business

I am going to be at BookExpo at the Los Angeles Convention Center tomorrow and Saturday, signing and giving away copies of MR. MONK IN OUTER SPACE at the Mystery Writers of America booth alongside Max Allan Collins, who will be doing the same with his latest CRIMINAL MINDS novel.

I can't wait to go…the last time I was at BookExpo was twenty years ago in San Francisco, and I still remember how exciting it was get so many free galleys and books. Every major and minor publisher in America is there, promoting their new titles to booksellers. It's like Christmas for a book lover like me. I'm also looking forward to seeing my literary agent and other friends who are out from NY for the event. So there will be lots of schmoozing and trips back to the car to unload galleys…

Attending BookExpo will also be a welcome distraction from anxiously waiting to hear whether or not I've managed to snag a major studio screenwriting assignment that I have been vying for over the last few weeks…I am one of the final candidates now and I should know any minute if I got it. I am trying not to get my hopes up but, as experienced and cynical as I am, I can't seem to help doing it anyway. Maybe its because its a project that is *perfect* for me and that I would have a great time writing. If I get the gig, it's a big assignment that I will have to write very, very fast…so I might be absent from here for a few weeks.

In the mean time, I am hard at work on MR. MONK AND THE DIRTY COP (book #8) and a new spec, which is based on a book I optioned earlier this year.

And I've just learned that Oscar winner Gene Hackman and CSI creator/showrunner Anthony Zuiker will be among the speakers joining me, Bob Levinson, Jesse Kellerman, Heather Graham, Stuart Kaminsky, Rupert Holmes and Mary Higgins Clark at the International Mystery Writers Festival in Owensboro Kentucky, where my play MAPES FOR HIRE will be performed June 12-22.

It looks like, no matter what, June is going to be a very busy, exciting and fun month for me!

Can Dirty Harry be far behind?

Over the last year or so, Rambo, Rocky, John McClane, and Indiana Jones have all emerged from their bungalows at the Motion Picture Home after decades in retirement to do battle in the box-office once again, Geritol in one hand, a syringe full of botox in the other. Now comes the news that Eddie Murphy is returning as Beverly Hills Cop, who was last seen in 1994. Brett Ratner is directing, no writer is set yet.


Slice of SciFi has a lengthy and very entertaining Q&A interview with my friend Javier Grillo Marxuach about the development and production of his new ABC Family series THE MIDDLEMAN. Warning: his enthusiasm and glee for TV is infectious.

Actually, the best day was when they had the Harrier jet here. They had
like half a jet in the stage and we were climbing in it and doing all
that. Yes, it was good. I’m sure that there are other shows where
people have a ton of fun and all that, but I’m sure that they don’t
have this kind of fun on Law & Order, you know; I can tell you that
right now.


FAST TRACK: NO LIMITS, the movie that I wrote and produced in Berlin
this time last year, is opening in theatres in China this week. The first poster is the one they are using to advertise the movie. The second poster is from Japan. I'm hoping the studio can get their hands on a couple for me!L_1043635_08fa453c


Has New York Become too Safe for Mystery Writers?

The New York Times reports that as the city becomes a safer, cleaner place to live, it has become a lot less interesting for mystery novelists to write about.

As New York celebrates the sharp decline in crime — earlier this year
the city revealed that the 494 homicides in 2007 were the fewest since
reliable police statistics became available in 1963 — the crime writer
may be the only New Yorker for whom that drop is not an unequivocal
blessing. Just as the breakup of the Soviet Union caused problems for
writers whose plots hinged on the dark doings of the cold war, so New
York’s crime writers are wondering where to find grist in a far safer

IAMTW Grandmaster Donald Bain is wistful for the NY of yesteryear for other reasons.

In January, Mr. Bain was the main speaker at a meeting of the Mystery Writers of America, held at the National Arts Club, opposite Gramercy Park.

dinner in the club’s high-ceilinged dining room, Mr. Bain, a tall man
with a white beard, reminisced about the early ’90s, when his daughter
lived on Sullivan Street in Greenwich Village. Her apartment building
was next to a social club run by Vincent Gigante,
a k a the Chin, the mobster whose associates used to sit outside the
club, playing cards and drinking late into the night. If one of the men
saw his daughter emerging from the subway station a few blocks away,
Mr. Gigante dispatched one of them to walk her home safely.

other writers at the table laughed, but their laughs were tinged with
nostalgia for a vanished version of New York that could hand you a
scene, just like that.