Spenser For Hire…Again

Robert B. Parker reports on his blog that he's in talks to remake bring back Spenser to TV…again, only this time it will be a remake of the SPENSER FOR HIRE series. Somehow I missed this news, which isn't new. On April 23rd, he wrote:

we are in negotiation for a remake of the SPENSER: FOR HIRE series to be produced by SONY/DREAMWORKS, and shown on TNT. There is often a slip twixt cup and lip in Los Angeles, but so far things are promising.

And in an update on May 29th, he said the project was still alive:

Negotiations continue on the Spenser For Hire front. The mills of Hollywood grind exceeding fine. But I have no reason to think it won't happen in awhile.

Not only that, but Parker reports he's adding a new character to the Spenser mix.

I am currently writing a book with the working title SIXKILL in which a new character joins Spenser's world. Probably be out next year.

I am excited about the remake news. SPENSER FOR HIRE will always be special to me…my first produced TV episode was for that series.

Norton Hell, The Sequel

Norton_Logo A Senior Technical Expert from Norton's Senior Technical Experts Department in Mumbai called me tonight with a resolution to my problem…or so he promised. All he needed to do was take control of my computer. I asked him how long this would take. He said one-to-two-hours. Since I was hard at work on my book, and producing the worst crap imagineable, I said sure, let's do it.

As you may recall, I was having trouble with Norton 360, which locked up my computer when it tried to clean my registry. Over the weekend I downloaded CCleaner and used it to fix my registry without a hitch. But I didn't tell him that. I wanted to see what the Senior Technical Support Expert would do.

Here is what he did once he got control of my computer…he ran Norton 360 and it cleaned my registry without locking up. He called me back to inform me that he had solved the problem.

"You haven't solved anything," I said.

"Yes, now it is working because I solved it."

"All you did was run the program again," I said. "You didn't actually DO anything."

"It wasn't working before and now it is because I have resolved the issue."

"It's working because over the weekend I ran CCleaner on the registry," I said. "You didn't provide a solution.  CCleaner did. I had to use different software."

"The Norton product is now working due to our previous technical support action and the resolution I conducted today. I am glad I was able to resolve the issue. Is there anything more I can help you with today?"

I decided to see just how well Norton actually worked.  While he was still on the phone, and sharing control of my computer (meaning he could see my screen in real-time), I ran CCleaner on the registery…and it found 578 errors.*

So I asked the Norton Senior Technical Expert how come there were still 578 errors if Norton had just fixed my registry and corrected all the errors.

"It is a different program," he said.

"Yes, but if Norton fixed my registry, there shouldn't be any errors for another program to find."

"It is fixing different errors," he said.

"You mean Norton only fixes some Registry errors and not others."

"No, Norton fixes them all."

"That's not what you just said."

"We ran the Norton test and it fixed all the errors."

"Except the 578 that CCleaner found,"  I said.

"That is incorrect. May I close this case now that I have successfully resolved this issue for you?"


*Since I initially ran CCleaner over the weekend, I installed the update of Roxio Easy Media Creator 10, which locked up, and I  had to delete it and reinstall it with my original program disc, so that probably accounts for those new registry new errors. By the way, Roxio will fuck up your computer even more than Norton will. Stay the hell away from Roxio!

Sickficcer Cleared

You may remember Darryn Walker. He was the 35-year-old UK civil servant who posted a graphic Sickfic story on the Internet in which the singers in the group Girls Aloud were kidnapped, tortured, raped, and mutilated. He was arrested and charged with violating the Obscene Publications Act.  Yesterday he was acquitted on all charges.

Walker's lawyer Tim Owen told reporters that "the effect of this prosecution on Mr Walker has been devastating. He has lost his job and has not managed to get further employment. Hopefully he can now recommence his life. […] It was never his intention to frighten or intimidate the members of Girls Aloud."

Owen said Walker wrote the story as "an adult celebrity parody" and that it was only meant "for an audience of like-minded people."

Can you imagine what those "like-minded people" must be like?

(Thanks to PM Rommel for alerting me to the news)

You Can Become a Kindle Millionaire, Part 4

N151109 Here's  a quick update on my e-publishing experiments. Following in the e-footsteps of Joe Konrath and John August, I made  THE WALK, my out-of-print 2004 novel, and THREE WAYS TO DIE, a collection of previously published short stories, available as Kindle editions. I subsequently made them available as downloadable PDFs on Scribd as well.

So far, I haven't had nearly the volume of sales that Joe and John have experienced. From June 1 to today, I have sold 371 copies of  THE WALK at $1.40 each (the actual price is $1.89, but Amazon has discounted it), earning myself $236.91. My sales of THREE WAYS TO DIE are flat at 54 copies at 99 cents each, earning me a whopping $18.90. I have sold two copies of THE WALK and one of THREE WAYS TO DIE on Scribd, at the same prices as the Kindle editions, earning me a staggering $2.44 in royalties.

At the request of several of my blog readers, I have gone one step further and have made THE WALK and THREE WAYS TO DIE available on Smashwords, where you can download them in the format of your choice. The price in all formats for THE WALK is $1.89, the same price I set for the Kindle edition on Amazon. 

So, here's where you can buy THE WALK and THREE WAYS TO DIE  in the e-versions of your choice… 

THE WALK on the Kindle 

THE WALK as a PDF at Scribd Three_Ways_to_Die Cover

THE WALK in multiple formats, including Kindle, PDF, and Mobipocket, at Smashwords. (If you use this code KN24A at checkout, you will get 25% off, the same as the Amazon discount)


THREE WAYS TO DIE on the Kindle 

THREE WAYS TO DIE as a PDF at Scribd.

THREE WAYS TO DIE in multiple formats at Smashwords. (I am experimenting with this title by using their "set your own price" feature where you, the reader, decide how much to pay).

I shall report back at the end of the month on how the books are doing on the various sites and in all the various formats. 

Norton Hell, Minute by Agonizing Minute

If you would like to experience the living hell that is Norton Technical Support, scroll down to the last entry and read from the bottom up to the top. 

  1. I'm told that "The Senior Technical Experts Department specialized for Norton Product" (that's a direct quote) will call me.this is surreal.


  2. ok, 3 hrs plus is enough. I'm done. Time to find that link for the Norton Removal Tool…that's the more effective resolution.

  3. Mr. Norton Support is running the program again. And it still doesn't work. I bet he will seek an even more effective resolution.

  4. if I stay on w/Norton much longer, Madonna & David Hasselhoff are in jeopardy.

  5. I've been on w/Norton Support for so long that the 70s officially died. RIP Michael Jackson & Farrah Fawcett.

  6. watching the norton support person reboot me from afar. We have just entered the third hour of support. How long until I can call Guinness?

  7. He can't figure out what's wrong.He doesn't know how to fix it.He will seek an even more effective resolution.How could anyone achieve that?

  8. he looked but didn't touch. we are fast approaching my 3rd unproductive hr w/ Norton support. I just asked him what's up. Guess his reply…

  9. now he's going into control panel. going to programs & features. looking at what I have. I feel naked & exposed.

  10. Uh-oh. The program isn't working. I guess we're going to need "a more effective resolution" than just running it AGAIN.

  11. he's running the program AGAIN. Does he think repetition is the answer? Yeah, that's it. Just keep doing it until it works. MORON!

  12. this isn't online sex. It's married sex.

  13. oh, just heard from him. "I am looking for a more effective resolution." More effective than no resolution at all? Good idea!

  14. I think my Norton Support person is seeking some support himself.I've been on line w/him for over 30 minutes now & have accomplished nothing

  15. nothing is happening. The cursor isn't moving. Oh my. Has he lost hope? I know I have.

  16. He seems lost. He's just moving the cursor around my desktop in lonely desperation. I can relate, Rajneesh.

  17. I wonder if this was what Michael Jackson was doing when he had his heart attack.

  18. what do you know, it's not working. I wonder if Norton Support will recommend that I contact Norton support.

  19. he's running the program again. I guess he wants to see if I really have a problem or am just doing this for kicks.

  20. if so, it may be good for him but it's not good for me.

  21. our computers are now connected remotely. am I experiencing online sex?

  22. he's offering to take control of my computer remotely. maybe he can write my book for me too.

  23. he's offering me the pre-packaged/pre-written content so far. Let's see what happens when he actually has to type something himself.

  24. On with Norton Mumbai again. Either I am a gluton for punishment or I am procrastinating on my book. You decide.

  25. @symantecnews norton360. I just disconnected after ten minutes of radio silence from India…on top of 2 hrs wasted. Terrible "support."

  26. Sreejeeth @ symantec has disappeared. haven't heard from him in almost 10 minutes.I guess it's break time in New Delhi. I'm done. Bye Norton

  27. Somebody should make Bernie Madoff contact Symantec support.

  28. this isn't support. it's punishment.

  29. "I see you are having problems with scanning of registry with Norton program not working correct." AHHHHH!

  30. I'm on w/Sreejeeth @ Symantec now. Whenever he goes off script he's got a 3rd grader's grasp of English. God help me.

  31. now im on with mohammad. he is escalating the case. i am blessed

  32. @symantecnews No. I've just spent over an hour repeating steps I did BEFORE I called support. Now i'm told he can't resolve it. Duh.

  33. Now Shareef is informing me that "I am unable to resolve the issue and will transfer to a supervisor." Am I looking at another hour of HELL?

  34. now Shareef is trying to isolate the issue. Good idea, Shareef. Should have tried that an hour ago.

  35. ran program again. Problem still not fixed. Apparently all these symantec support guys know how to do is download updates. a waste of time

  36. of course I did all that BEFORE i called tech support.

  37. …then we ran live update three times. now we are rebooting.

  38. let's see…first we downloaded the same program 3 times, then we ran the program, got the same error I had an hour ago…

  39. Now he's running live update again…I guess he forgot we did that five minutes ago.

  40. why do i feel like I am giving this moron tech support instead of the other way around??

  41. my dog knows more about computers than shareef. i am moments away from just hanging up & walking away from Norton for good.

  42. entering my 2nd hr w/shareef in customer support. oh, the bliss

  43. "Your desktop is being remotely controlled by Shareef." This is like the Indian version of THE OUTER LIMITS…only much scarier.

  44. chatting w/Shareef & Mohammed @ symantec support. It's like dental surgery w/o anesthesia.

Scribe Award Ceremony Announced

Third annual presentation of the International Association of Media-Tie-in Writers (IAMTW) "Scribe" Awards, honoring excellence in tie-in writing in such notable franchises as CSI, Criminal Minds, The X-Files, Star Trek, Stargate, Star Wars and Dr. Who, will be held on FRIDAY JULY 24 3-4:30 pm at Comic-Con in San Diego in Room 4. The ceremony will be followed by a panel discussion with the nominees, including James Rollins (Indiana Jones), Matt Forbeck (Mutant Chronicles), Bob Greenberger (Hellboy), Keith R. A. DeCandido (Farscape), Stacia Deutsch (Dark Knight), Nathan Long (Warhammer), and Tod Goldberg (Burn Notice). With moderators Lee Goldberg (Monk) and Max Allan Collins (GI JOE).

Mr. Monk and the Dirty Review

MR. MONK AND THE DIRTY COP comes out on July 7 but the reviews are already starting to come in. Bill Crider enjoyed this one as much as the previous books, or so he says on his blog today. He says, in part:

Lee Goldberg's books about Monk never let me down. They're always good for a some smiles and laughs, but that's the least of it. I've talked before about the themes of loyalty and friendship in books by other writers, and Robert B. Parker couldn't fill up ten pages without writing about them. People take the themes seriously in other books because, well, the books are serious. Goldberg has a lighter touch, but if you don't think those themes are treated just as seriously in his work, then you should read Mr. Monk and the Dirty Cop.

Thank you so much, Bill. I'm flattered. I believe there's one thing that stops the MONK episodes and the books from becoming a slapstick cartoon, that prevents his character from becoming Maxwell Smart or Inspector Clouseau. It's this: amidst all the comedic situations that arise from his OCD, there's always something emotionally true about the stories…something that reveals Monk's essential sadness and grounds the character in reality. Maybe not our reality, but a reality just the same.

The hardest thing for me with the books isn't the mystery or the comedy…it's coming up with that emotional center, the heart-felt conflict that gives some shading to the broad humor. I always try to find something in the story that will put Monk and Natalie's relationship to the test, that will reveal something about who they are, and that will bring them closer together (or give them a deeper understanding of one another). I don't consciously think of a theme, but one seems to reveal itself to me along the way…and then I try not to belabor it or pay attention to it…I prefer to let it emerge on its own as a strand within scenes or in lines of dialogue.

I'm glad that it comes across.

Transformers 2 is Hell, So Says Ebert

I love Roger Ebert's review of TRANSFORMERS 2.

"Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen" is a horrible experience of unbearable length, briefly punctuated by three or four amusing moments. One of these involves a dog-like robot humping the leg of the heroine. Such are the meager joys. If you want to save yourself the ticket price, go into the kitchen, cue up a male choir singing the music of hell, and get a kid to start banging pots and pans together. Then close your eyes and use your imagination.

Not that I had any intention of seeing it anyway. I saw TRANSFORMERS 1…and that was enough.

Money Woes in UK TV Biz

The Guardian reports that series cancellations and budget cuts at ITV are renewing fears about the precarious state of the UK TV Biz.

Having sent the dinosaurs back to extinction earlier in the week, ITV decided to banish the vampires on Friday, cancelling the Saturday evening show Demons only days after Primeval got the axe. A budgetary ice-age seems to be sweeping through UK television – raising fears about British broadcasting’s delicate eco-stystem.

The cuts are not a problem confined to commercial channels. The morning before Demons’ fate was confirmed, the BBC instructed all six of its television networks to find record efficiency savings of 7.5% – over the next five years the channels will lose £1bn from their budgets. And matters are little better at Channel 4. In March, head of programming Julian Bellamy said the broadcaster would like to commission more drama, but there was no money in the budget with which to do so.

[…]Despite ITV performing well in drama this year – it has broadcast the five highest-rating new dramas, Whitechapel, Above Suspicion, Unforgiven, Law & Order: UK and, ironically, Demons – rating success is clearly no longer a measure of survival at the broadcaster. But if ITV is getting rid of relative successes, what will it have left?

There is some good news. ITV renewed LEWIS for a fourth season, which comes as a relief, since early reports were that the hit series was doomed for financial reasons.