The Mail I Get

Here’s an example of how NOT to promote your book. I got this email today (I’ve removed the name of the book to spare the author justified embarrassment):

Dear Lee,


First I want to thank
you for the opportunity of my book, The XYZ, being reviewed by you.
I would be happy to send a copy of my book via UPS. Please forward a
physical address where I may send it.


My website for the “The XYZ” is


I look forward to both your thoughts and review.


If you have any questions or further information that you require, please contact me.

Does he really think that anyone would ask for a copy of his book after reading this email? The way he has awkwardly worded this email, it appears as if I have agreed to read his book when, in fact, I have never heard of him.  With writing and promoting skills like his ("thank you for the opportunity of my book"), it’s no wonder that he’s "published" by Authorhouse, the notorious vanity press… 

For pointers, he should read this    and this.

Sub-Prime Suspect

I finally caught up with the final episode of PRIME SUSPECT. Helen Mirren’s performance was exceptional, as always…even more so when you consider what little she had to work with.  The mystery was ineptly constructed, the solution glaringly obvious within the first five minutes of the three-hour, outrageously padded, cliche-ridden bore. PRIME SUSPECT 7: THE FINAL ACT was far from a triumphant end to the once-great series.

Next up for me — the return of CRACKER in what was also touted as his final case.

My Weekend Reading

I took a little literary vacation last week, taking a breather from my own writing to read the work of others. I read John Hart’s DOWN RIVER (which won the Edgar for Best Novel) and Michael Chabon’s YIDDISH POLICEMAN’S UNION (which was nominated for the Edgar).

DOWN RIVER was a fine book, and I enjoyed it, but I didn’t find the twists all that surprising and cringed every time the hero, Adam Chase, asked someone to "cut to the chase," which was way too often. Even so, it was an interesting and entertaining read…it felt like a literary take on a typical Gold Medal paperback story.

THE YIDDISH POLICEMAN’S UNION was wonderful, wildly inventive, and a pure pleasure to read. It’s a police procedural set in an alternate reality in which the atomic bomb was dropped on Berlin, Marilyn Monroe married JFK, and tens of thousands of Jews settled in Alaska while pining for a homeland of their own in Israel.  The story is about a troubled homicide detective (naturally) whose investigation into the murder of a junkie peels back the complex layers of society among the refugee Jews of Sitka. Chabon does an amazing job making his alternative history believable and creating a fully realized world without showing the strain. It’s the most refreshingly original, funny, and compelling mystery I have read in years. I loved every page of it and was sorry when it ended.

Old is New Again

Variety reports that ABC has picked up David E. Kelley’s American version of the hit BBC series LIFE ON MARS…only without David E. Kelley.

As for "Life on Mars," late Sunday a deal for the show hadn’t yet
been confirmed — but now that "Boston Legal" has been given a
primetime reprieve, it’s believed a "Mars" pickup is close behind. That’s
because "Legal" creator David E. Kelley also owned the rights to the
U.S. adaptation of "Mars." Kelley was looking to depart the project,
while ABC was looking to continue it sans Kelley.

Hence, a
weekend-long dance that finally appeared resolved by Sunday. "Legal"
was back for a fifth season, while "Mars" is expected to continue as a
20th Century Fox TV/ABC Studios co-production. "October Road" exec
producers Josh Appelbaum, Andre Nemec and Scott Rosenberg are in line
to take over as showrunners.

Nikki Finke pretty much says the same thing on her blog, adding that BOSTON LEGAL is probably going to recast its supporting players yet again. Meanwhile, she reports that the CW has picked up the BEVERLY HILLS 90210 revival…and that Tori Spelling may be joining the cast.

Indiana Attorney General Prosecutes Airleaf

The Airleaf Victims blog reports the terrific news that Indiana Attorney General Steve Carter has filed a lawsuit against Carl Lau, founder of Airleaf and Bookman Marketing, for violating the state’s Deceptive
Consumer Sales Act by "taking money without providing
the promised services in return."

"More than 120 people
are named in the lawsuit, including many from Indiana who lost
thousands of dollars,” said Carter. “In fact, hundreds more may have
lost money. They paid for services. Airleaf did not deliver, and now,
those consumers deserve refunds.”

[…]In addition to consumer restitution, the attorney general’s office is
seeking civil penalties of up to $5,500 per violation, as well as
investigative costs.

The action doesn’t go nearly as far as the Airleaf victims would like — or Lau deserves — but hopefully it will send a strong message to the vanity press industry, especially those ex-Airleaf execs who have started their own POD-presses.  Writers Beware notes:

Airleaf has spawned several publishing enterprises run by ex-staff–including Fideli Publishing, a fee-based publisher whose marketing packages bear an eerie similarity to Airleaf’s, and Brien Jones’s Jones Harvest Publishing,
which also charges fees for publishing and offers many Airleaf-style
services (Writer Beware has gotten some advisories about Jones
Harvest’s email solicitations,
and Mr. Jones has recently chosen to reimburse several Jones Harvest
authors who alleged performance problems). If you trace the family tree
backward instead of forward, you arrive at the Big Daddy of POD vanity
publishing, AuthorHouse, where Brien Jones was employed before he
co-founded Airleaf’s predecessor, Bookman Marketing. It’s a tangled web
indeed–which, sadly, is not unusual in the murky world of vanity POD.

Unfortunately, many Airleaf victims haven’t learned from their mistake…and have simply moved on to other POD vanity presses, including those run by former Airleaf execs.

The Mail I Get, The Sequel

I got an email the other day from a writer who had come up with a MONK scene he wanted me to read to see if either I, or the producers, would use it in a book or episode. The scene was attached to the email. I deleted the message without reading the scene (for obvious legal reasons). I sent him a note telling him that was what I had done. I also told him that there really isn’t a market for individual scenes. He replied:

If it helps at all, I didn’t
write it with the thought of fiscal renumeration. Would it make any difference
to consider it as a friendly collaboration among writers? You can have it. Tweak
it, rip it up and start over, whatever. Frankly, with my career just getting off
the ground (Some short fiction published, and I have a novel being reviewed by
an imprint of Simon & Schuster), even giving this away is beneficial to
building my ‘name.’

It makes me cringe when aspiring writers think someone is going to be impressed that they sent their manuscript in to a publisher and are waiting to hear from them(ie "under review at Simon & Schuster"). But I let that go and didn’t mention it when I replied:

No offense intended, but I have no interest in seeing the scene or any
other MONK material you may come up with. And if I may give you some
advice, sending unsolicited scenes to authors and producers you don’t
know is unprofessional and is actually harmful to your reputation.  The
best way to build your name is by writing good stories and getting them
published or produced…not sending "scenes" to other writers and hoping they will incorporate them into their own work.


The Mail I Get

I got this email the other day:

Have you ever heard of "Writers Book Publishing Agency"? That’s the name. Seemed a bit generic to me, so I am suspicious. Their web page indicates that they are a reletively new lit agency, and are seeking authors. Having tried to obtain an agent for a year now, they sound too good to bet true. Their client list went like this: Joe, who is an electronic engineer wrote his first book…..etc….etc.  Mary, a housewife, is working on her second novel in which she…..etc…..etc. I know the authors need their privacy – but…….does this not sound suspicious to you?

Of course it does. And it should sound suspicious to anyone with an iota of common sense.

They are a well-known scam that has also gone by the the names "Children’s Literary Agency," "The Literary Agency Group, Inc" and "ST Literary Agency,"
among others. Your first tip-off that they aren’t legit should be their name:  "Writers Book Publishing Agency." What reputable agency would call
themselves that? Agents aren’t book publishers.

If the name of the company wasn’t tip-off enough, you’ll notice they don’t list a single author among their clients, only plumbers, housewives and, well, other suckers.

Writer’s Beware lists the "agency" among their top twenty worst agents. You can find out more about them here:


The Power of Frak

Glen A. Larson is a genius. I’m not saying that because he created KNIGHTRIDER, FALL GUY, BJ AND THE BEAR, AUTOMAN, ALIAS SMITH & JONES and BATTLESTAR GALACTICA. I’m saying it because he created  the wonderfully subversive word "frak"…and got away with it.

BATTLESTAR GALACTICA should go down in TV history just for that.

While ground-breaking shows like HILL STREET BLUES were using words like "scuzbucket" and "hairball" to get around the network prohibitions on profanity, Glen gave us "frak" and "feldergarb." No one noticed, or seemed to care, that he gave us words that were clearly stand-ins for fuck and bullshit because it was buried in a goofy, sci-fi show. But now frak has fulfilled all it’s awesome, subversive power in the new BATTLESTAR GALACTICA.

There is no doubt whatsoever that "frak" is "fuck." And the writers on the show use it exactly as they would use fuck. Frak this. Frak us. What the frak is going on? Unfrakingbelievable. Frak me…frak me now. Motherfracker.

Used like this, is frak any less powerful that fuck? No. Which is the beauty of it. Every time it’s used,Bsg_s3_cast
it shines a big fucking light on the absurdity of censorship. Because frak IS fuck, and everybody knows it. So what’s difference does it really make whether you use either frak or fuck? None. It’s a big fuck you to network censors, the FCC, and the idiots who are afraid of language.

And Glen A. Larson, the man behind THE MISADVENTURES OF SHERIFF LOBO, gave us this. Pretty fraking amazing. He should get an Emmy just for that.

Monk Galley Giveaway

I have two extra, bound galleys for MR. MONK GOES TO GERMANY which I will be giving away at random.

Here’s the deal…post a review of your favorite MONK novel on Amazon and send me a copy of it by June 1st at:  lee AT Leegoldberg DOT com.

I will put the names into a hat and select two winners at random to receive a signed galley. Please be sure to include your snail mail address in the email. Winners will be announced here.

Scribe Awards and How You Can Enter

Fourth Annual Scribe Awards are now open for submissions. The Scribes,
presented by the International Association of Media Tie-In Writers
(, honors excellence in licensed tie-in writing—novels based on TV shows, movies, and games. Here are the submissions guidelines:

Scribe Awards and How You Can Enter

The IAMTW will present SIX AWARDS in THREE CATEGORIES for books (& comic
books and graphic novels) published in 2008. We will also honor one
"Grandmaster" for career achievement in the field.


(Science Fiction, Fantasy, Supernatural Horror)

BEST NOVEL (original) – A licensed, original novel using pre-existing
characters or worlds from a movie, television series, computer game, play, or
an existing series of novels (i.e., new novels extending a literary franchise,
i.e., DUNE, James Bond, etc.)

BEST ADAPTATION A licensed novelization based on an existing
screenplay, whether a feature film, episodic teleplay, computer game, script,
or play.

GENERAL FICTION (Mysteries, Thrillers, Westerns, Suspense, Historicals, Psychological Horror, Romances)

BEST NOVEL (original) – A licensed, original novel using pre-existing
characters or worlds from a movie, television series, computer game, play, or
an existing series of novels (i.e., new novels extending a literary franchise,
i.e. DUNE, James Bond, etc.)

BEST NOVEL (adapted) A licensed novelization based on an existing screenplay,
whether a feature film, episodic teleplay, computer game, script, or play.

YOUNG ADULT (All Genres)

BEST ADAPTATION (defined as above)

BEST NOVEL (original) (defined as above)

GRANDMASTER (For Career Achievement)

The Fine Print Regarding The Categories…
For a
category to go forward, three submissions leading to at least two nominations
must pertain. In the case of a category falling short of submissions and/or
nominations, entries will be transferred to the nearest appropriate category —
for example, BEST GENERAL (Adapted) category would go into an overall BEST
NOVEL (Adapted) category that would include both Speculative and General

In the case of BEST ADAPTED (YA) or BEST ORIGINAL (YA), should submissions
fall short of the minimal two nominations requirement, entries would shift into
either BEST SPECULATIVE (Adapted) or BEST GENERAL (Adapted), depending
upon the genre.

In the event a combining of categories becomes necessary in a given
year (i.e., BEST NOVEL Adapted) the judging committee is authorized (but not
required) to give more than one Scribe, reflecting the combined
categories, if the committee members feel such recognition is warranted.

Horror entries have been divided into "Supernatural Horror" under
SPECULATIVE and "Psychological Horror" under GENERAL. This is a
judgment call the authors and then committee chairs must make, depending upon
whether a submitted horror novel is more grounded in reality than the
fantastic. Should a committee chair reject a title on this basis, the chair
will forward all copies of the submitted book to the appropriate committee
chair, and inform the author of the decision.

Should the author already have submitted another title to the other committee,
the author will be given the opportunity to choose which of the two titles he
or she wishes to have considered (since we have a one-book-per-category
submission limitation).

The future of the Special Game-Related Scribes will be decided after this
year’s Gen-Con. If we decide to continue this award,
game-related submissions in the Speculative Original and Adapted
Categories will be simultaneously considered by those category judges for the
"Best Game-Related" Scribes. A gaming-related book submitted in those
categories is simultaneously eligible for both the "regular" and
"game-related" Scribe Award.

How The Scribes Are Judged

The judging committees are made up of three of your peers from within the organization,
writers who know the unique obstacles and restrictions that tie-in writers
face, because they are tie-in writers themselves. The judges will read all the
submissions in their category and select both the nominees and the winners (a
system patterned after the Mystery Writers of America, International Thriller
Writers, and the Private Eye Writers of America, among others).

Rules for Submission
  • Authors can submit multiple titles, but only ONE BOOK PER CATEGORY/ONE CATEGORY PER
         BOOK (i.e. you can’t submit the same book in two different categories or multiple titles in one category. Authors who’ve done several books in any one category need to pick the one title that seems strongest and submit only that).
  • Only authors can  submit their books for consideration but we encourage you to have your
         editors/publishers send the actual books on your behalf so you don’t have to raid your author’s copies or pay the postage.
  • Judges can submit their work, but obviously not in the categories they are judging.
  • The book must be a licensed work published for the first time between Jan 1, 2008 and Dec. 31, 2008. Only books with a copyright date of 2008 will be eligible for consideration. Though novels published through December 31, 2008, are eligible, entrants are required to get copies of eligible work into the hands of the category judges no later than December 1st, to allow adequate time to review the titles. Galleys are acceptable.
  • All entrants MUST include a cover letter with each book. The cover letter must include
         the following information: the Category you are entering, Title of the
         Book, Name of the Author, Publication Date, Editor & Publisher, and
         email & "snailmail" addresses and phone numbers for the  author and editor.
  • A copy of all submissions—the book and cover letter—should be sent to each judge in the category you are  entering and to the IAMTW. Please send an email to for the list of  judges and their mailing addresses. IAMTW members can find the list in the MEMBERS  ONLY section of the IAMTW site.
  • Submission is free for any IAMTW member. Non-members must pay a $10 fee for each submission to cover our costs (payable via Paypal or by check to IAMTW, PO  Box 8212, Calabasas, CA 91372).
  • A list of all  the books submitted will be posted on the IAMTW site and updated regularly. The
         nominees will be announced, to entrants and the media, in March 2009. The Scribes  will be awarded in July 2009 at a location and date TBD.