When a Window is an Eye and a Slot Machine

I have a theory that when authors become successful and honored, editors just don’t bother editing their books anymore. I’m reading a book by one of my favorite, bestselling authors and tripped over this clunky line:

Then all he could see was the names scrolling through the window of his mind’s eye like symbols on a slot machine.

A window that’s an eye that’s a slot machine?  Yeah, I can picture that.

Reheating Leftovers

Author Frank Kane liked his writing so much, he reused the same lines over and over, as Marvin Lachman reveals over at Mystery File:

Poisons Unknown, page 63: “Gabby Benton was on her
second cup of coffee, third cigarette, and fourth fingernail when
Johnny Liddell stepped out of a cab. . . ”

Red Hot Ice, page 18: “Muggsy Kiely was on her third cup of coffee and her fourth fingernail when Johnny Liddlell walked into….”

Red Hot Ice, page 27: “Her legs were long,
sensuously shaped. Full rounded thighs swelled into high-set hips,
converged into a narrow waist. Her breasts were firm and full, their
pink tips straining upward.”

Poisons Unknown, page 182: “The whiteness of her
body gleamed in the reflected light from the windows. Her legs were
long, sensuously shaped. Full rounded thighs swelled into high-set
hips, converged into the narrow waist he had admired earlier in the
evening. Her breasts were full and high, their pink tips straining

This is just a small sampling of Kane’s laziness. There’s much, much more…

The Mail I Get

Based on the emails I have been getting lately, TV show fans who are aspiring writers seem to have a fundamental mis-understanding about how tie-in novels get written and published. They think that you just send in your fanfiction and the editor picks the best of them to be the official tie-in (I guess we can blame STAR TREK for that…the publishing franchise has occasionally snapped up unsolicited manuscripts). Here’s an excerpt from an email that I got yesterday:

I’m writing because you have authored a number of books for
various series, and I’m in the infant stages of attempting to do the
same thing.  A longtime friend and I have both been writing for many
years- and also happen to have a very similar style.  We are planning to collaborate on a novel for the USA series Psych. What I’m hoping you’d be willing to share with me are the
requirements for gaining permissions to actually step forward with this
process. […] I am simply looking for the entrance ramp to get me on the
publishing freeway (sorry, that was a horrid analogy).

I replied:

Don’t waste your time and
effort, Tanya, I’m afraid that you’re too late…there already are PSYCH novels being
written by William Rabkin. He has a contract for three books with
Penguin/Putnam. The first PSYCH novel comes out in January, the second
in July. Even if there weren’t already PSYCH books in the works, I
would have given you the same advice.  Studios routinely “shop” their
successful TV series to publishers (if the publishers haven’t already
come to them first). Once a publisher pays for the license, they hire
writers to pen the books. Usually those writers are people the editors either
already know or who are established in the business and who can be
trusted to deliver a book on deadline.

The “entrance ramp” into publishing isn’t complicated: write a good ORIGINAL novel, not a tie-in based on other
people’s characters. That’s how I got in, that’s how every author I know got in.

Falling on your Lightsword

The wonderful Writers Beware blog reports that Lightsword Publishing is a scam run by imbeciles (no news to anyone who is a regular reader of this blog) and that the owners have been successfully sued for fraud by one of their swindled authors:

Linda Daly, Bonny Kirby, and Light Sword Publishing were sued by one of
their authors for breach of contract, fraud in the inducement, and
intentional infliction of emotional distress. (Writer Beware has seen
the complaint, as well as numerous other documents involved in the

Although the defendants filed a counterclaim,
alleging that it was really the plaintiff who provided
misrepresentations and breached contract, the plaintiff was ultimately
successful. On April 15, 2008, a default judgment in the amount of
$15,342.64 was entered against Bonny Kirby, and on July 8, 2008, a
default judgment in the amount of $16,558.63 was entered against Linda
Daly and Light Sword Publishing.

Linda Daly bills herself on her website as an “author, screenwriter, and now publisher.” Uh-huh. Let’s look at that, shall we? As an author, all of her titles have been self-published. As far as being a screenwriter goes, she must be unproduced, because she’s not a member of the WGA nor can I find any screenwriting credits for her on IMDB (or anywhere else). As for calling herself a publisher, well, I think the lawsuit and the cover of her latest book say it all. Her stunning editorial skills are on full display in the description of her book on her site (all the errors in spelling, punctuation, capitalization, and grammar are her own):

From Detroit to the Isles of Scotland;  a deadly sea of lies is exposed as a super-spy solves another treat to world security, or is it deadly greed by a man shamed into giving up his heritage. This riveting tales has been adapted into a ‘Feature’ film and is currently being considered for production.

Mr. Monk and the New Contract

I’ve had a lot of emails from people asking me if there are going to be more MONK novels beyond the one I am writing now — MR. MONK AND THE DIRTY COP, the eighth in the series, slated for publication next summer.

Well, now I can answer that question. I’ve just agreed to write three more original MONK novels for Penguin/Putnam, which means there will be new books in the series through the end of 2010, regardless of whether or not this ends up being the last season of the TV show.

I realized after I agreed to the deal that this means that I will have written at least 20 novels between 2003, when I started the DIAGNOSIS MURDER books, and 2010 when my current contract runs out (which is about as many novels as James Reasoner or Robert Randisi write in one year).

I’m exhausted just thinking about it.

Describing Sex Isn’t Easy

Here’s how one of my favorite authors described passionate love-making in a recent novel:

“He carried her to the bed. It was like two tornadoes competing for the same trailer park. When they were done, he lay on his back with his head over the edge of the bed breathing hard and looking out the curtained window to the upside-down Pacific.”

I laughed when I read it. I think it was meant to be funny…wasn’t it?

Mr. Monk and the Decent Job

Publishers Weekly gave MR. MONK GOES TO GERMANY a nice review today. They say, in part:

The sixth novel (after 2007’s Mr. Monk in Outer Space) based on the popular MONK  TV series created by Andy Breckman effectively meets the challenges of
translating the screen concept to the page. […] Despite the lack of the TV series’ visual humor and the
performance of actor Tony Shalhoub, Goldberg does a decent job of
conveying both the sleuth’s quirks and his genius.

You can read an excerpt of the book here and decide for yourself if PW is right or not.

You Can’t Beat The Original

LA FEMME NIKITA was a fantastic French thriller that was remade, scene for scene, in the American POINT OF NO RETURN and the Chinese BLACK CAT…as well as a USA Network pilot/series. But none of the remakes could match Luc Besson’s original.

Here’s the amazing “restaurant” scene from the original LA FEMME NIKITA (broken down into two clips) and the same scene in the U.S. remake.