I Have Been Nominated For a Pulitzer Prize…

Imagine my unbridled excitement and shock when I got this email today, informing me that I have been nominated for a Pulitzer Prize:


ATTN: I write to acknowledge the above attachment to us of your inclusion as a norminated finalist for the Pulitzer Prize,2009. I forward you same, to enable you contact us and get the requisite details germane to your participation without further delay.
Paul Tash.

It came attached with an impressive letter written on Pulitzer letterhead that read, in part:

As a distinguished example nominated in your specific
category and recognized as finalist by the Pulitzer Office sitting in the United Kingdom, please forward all
entry matters pertaining to this nomination to: Paul Tash [co-chair member of the Pulitzer Prize

Who cares that nowhere in the letter did it mention what piece of writing I was nominated for or what category I was nominated in? Who cares that an award granted by Columbia University in New York is being administered by Paul Tash in the UK? Who cares that the Paul Tash on the Pulitzer committee is the editor of the St. Petersburg Times and yet is writing to me from the UK?

It must be real. And I am honored to have been chosen for my great work.

I've emailed Mr. Tash for more details about my exciting nomination and will let you know what happens. This should be fun.

UPDATE 9-6-08 – I am so excited. I just heard back from "Paul Tash."

I am sending you these important details as above that are Important to your participation for The PulitzerPrize,2009.Please endeavour to expedite action on what we require of you without delay to avoid the rush and fierce lobbying for last minute registration by nominees. I humbly await your response and cooperation in this regard.

Just because the Pulitzer recognizes excellence in writing, and "Paul Tash" is the editor of the St. Petersburg Times, I don't see any reason to be worried by sentences that don't make sense, capitalization errors, spelling mistakes and the like, because he was probably in a hurry writing the email. It must be authentic because he used important words like "endeavour" and he is an important man. I realize now that I didn't win a Pulitzer, but I am being offered a fast track to nomination. I am so lucky!

I eagerly opened the attached letter, which was on Columbia University Letterhead, so I know it is absolutely authentic. It said, in part:

I thank you for your mail, and I direct you to look at the
top captioned heading of our initial mail to you, initiative That is the operative word. This is an introduction by the Pulitzer Foundation to give equal opportunity to all citizen of the world to fairly compete without citizenship
barrier requirements. Your nomination was made possible by far reaching search
by our in-house team. We are undertaking a quiet campaign in enlightening all stakeholders. It means we
want you and two others only among many, to enter for the 2009 Pulitzer Prize
as distinguished finalists using any of your past work.

[…]Your two page entry submission should state what difficulties if any, where appropriate, what was accomplished by its publication and what you had to overcome to get the work done. The final draft should be emailed to me as an attachment as soon as possible. Also do not fail to give a small biography, and the final draft to me in summary format, should reach me via email attachments as soon as possible because time is not our friend. 

I guess that's why some of the sentences in the letter don't make sense because he wrote it in a big hurry, because time is not our friend. I am so lucky to have him rooting for me. I have to hurry up and write that letter and before I know it, I'll be a Pulitzer Prize nominee!

So You Want to Write Tie-Ins…

Ever since my brother Tod's terrific LA Times article on writing the BURN NOTICE tie-in was published, me and other members of the International Association of Media Tie-in Writers have been bombarded with queries from people who want to write tie-ins. In response, author Jeff Mariotte has posted his advice on the IAMTW blog. He wrotes, in part:

The key fact to keep in mind about writing official tie-in fiction is
that it's licensed. That means that (for a price) a publisher has
licensed the rights to publish the novels from the (in the case of TV
shows–the process is essentially the same for books based on comics,
games, movies, etc.) TV production company or network that owns the
original show, or the "property."

Once a publisher gets the
license, then an editor working for that publishing company looks for
writers to write the novels. The writers are approached and offered a
contract before even beginning to write the novel–it's the reverse of
the usual novel-writing approach of writing a book and then looking for
a publisher. This means that for the most part, tie-in writing jobs go
to writers of whom the editor is aware.

I’m Fraking Quoted

Chris Talbott of the Associated Press picked up on my blog post a while back about the subversive power of "Frak"..and quoted me in an article on the topic that is showing up today all over the fraking place.

Lee Goldberg thinks Glen A. Larson is a genius, and not because the prolific
television writer and producer gave us "Knight Rider" and "B.J. and the Bear."

It was Larson who first used the faux curse word "frak" in
the original "Battlestar Galactica." The word was mostly overlooked back in the
'70s series but is working its way into popular vocabulary as SciFi's modern
update winds down production.

"All joking aside, say what you will about what you might
call the lowbrow nature of many of his shows, he did something truly amazing and
subversive, up there with what Steven Bochco gets credit for, with 'frak,' "
Goldberg said.

There's no question what the word stands for and it's used
gleefully, as many as 20 times in some episodes.

[…]Goldberg believes Larson should get more
credit for "frak" and has posted an appreciation on his Web site. He even sought
out Larson to let him know how he feels: "I told him, 'Frak is fraking
brilliant, Glen.' "

The reporter also talked to BATTLESTAR GALACTICA cast members, novelist Robert Crais, and he even  managed (with my help) to track down Glen for a quote or two.

"Our point was to whenever possible make it a departure like
you're visiting somewhere else," Larson said. "And we did coin certain phrases
for use in expletive situations, but we tried to carry that over into a lot of
other stuff, even push brooms and the coin of the realm."

The producers of the new BATTLESTAR GALACTICA fraking love to use the word, of course.

Co-executive producer and writer Michael Angeli, an Emmy
nominee for the episode "Six of One," said using the word in scripts is
satisfying for anyone who's been censored over the years.

"It's a great way to do something naughty and get away with
it," Angeli said.

That talented motherfraker is frakin' right.

Travis McGee’s Hollywood “Wounded Birds”

Ed Gorman linked  to a very interesting article about John D. MacDonald's frustration with Hollywood's attempts to bring Travis McGee to the screen.

Almost immediately after the series began, the scribe
started receiving offers to transport the McGee character from books to
television. In 1965 MacDonald had his first meeting with a quartet of
Hollywood types who wanted to buy the television rights. They were so
confident about the match between McGee and TV that they had forged on:
scripting episodes, signing contracts with sponsors, and casting Chuck
Connors in the lead role. The chaps found that "it was extraordinarily
difficult to find the right approach to a writer who doesn't believe in
television," MacDonald wrote to friend Dan Rowan. "[They were] wrong. I
believe in it. One percent of it is very very good….and 99 percent of
everything is and always has been schlock. I don't want Trav to [be
simplified as] the series tube requires, nor do I want the angle of
approach wrenched this way and that when the ratings don't move and
everybody…starts trying this and trying that."

The two filmed McGees — Rod Taylor in the movie DARKER THAN AMBER and Sam Elliot in unsold TV pilot TRAVIS McGEE (aka THE EMPTY COPPER SEA) — were underwhelming to say the least.   It's no wonder that Robert Crais and Sue Grafton have refused offers from Hollywood to put Elvis Cole and Kinsey Milhone on screen…