My Gun Has Bullets

Bulletscover900 My acclaimed, long out-of-print debut novel MY GUN HAS BULLETS is now available on the Kindle with a terrific new cover by my sister Linda Woods (I wish the book had this cover when it first came out). And this new edition wouldn't be possible if it wasn't for Dan Williams, who volunteered to scan the book…and he even cleaned up the formatting problems. Thank you, Dan!

Here's the book-jacket copy (which hasn't shown up yet on the Amazon listing):

The Mob is bringing its style of doing business to television. They don't cancel TV series. They kill them.

When Beverly Hills Police Officer Charlie Willis pulls over a speeding Rolls Royce hell-bent for Neiman Marcus, he’s surprised to see Esther Radcliffe, the geriatric star of the TV series "Miss Agatha," behind the wheel. He’s even more surprised when she guns him down and keeps on driving. A few hours later, he wakes up in the intensive care unit…to find a William Morris agent, a network president, and the head of Pinnacle Studios standing at the foot of his bed. They have a proposal for him: in exchange for conveniently forgetting who shot him, they’ll make him the star of his own series, "My Gun Has Bullets." So Charlie trades in his real badge for a fake one…and so begins an uproarious but deadly romp through the wonderful world of TV make-believe…with real bullets. To make it to sweeps week, Charlie will have to survive two homicidal stuntmen, a rabid celebrity dog, a hit man-turned-producer, a psychotic old lady, a sex-crazed blackmailer, and vicious ratings…with only a stunning, leather-clad "Baywatch" beauty to help him. 

“It will make you cackle like a sitcom laugh track. Goldberg keeps the gags coming right up to the end.”—Entertainment Weekly 

"It's Bullets Over Baywatch!" USA Today
“A very funny novel…a pinch of Carl Hiaasen, a dash of Donald Westlake, and a heaping portion of avarice and inanity Hollywood Style. It’s boffo!”—Thomas Gaughan, Booklist

 "'My Gun Has Bullets' takes aim and hits the bull's eye of all good satire — the truth," Howard Gordon, Executive Producer, "24"

"Lee Goldberg has written a winner!"
Stephen J. Cannell, executive producer/creator "The A-Team," "21 Jump Street," and "The Rockford Files."

"'My Gun Has Bullets' has an outrageous, laugh-til-you're-sick scene seemingly on every other page."
—Dan Petrie Jr. Oscar-nominated screenwriter of "Beverly Hills Cop" 

“A rousing send-up of everything and everyone in the world of show-biz.”—Judith Kreiner, The Washington Times 

"Hilarious, suspenseful, action-packed…its band of merry, and not so merry, homicidal maniacs may be the greatest cast ever assembled," Warren Murphy, Edgar Award winning author/creator of the "Remo Williams: Destroyer" series

"The giddiest debut of the year!" Kirkus Reviews

More TV on the Big Screen

It seems like every week someone is dusting off an old TV show and developing it for the big screen. Last week it was TJ HOOKER, this week it's THE BIG VALLEY. Variety reports:

The 1960s television Western that starred Barbara Stanwyck is being adapted into an independent feature by Kate Edelman Johnson and Daniel Adams through their Panther Entertainment banner.

Adams will direct the pic from his own script, whose storyline was developed with series creators Louis F. Edelman and A.I. Bezzerides. Plot borrows elements from the show’s pilot and several episodes.

I don't see the point of reviving the show…it's not as if it has a huge following. It would make far more sense to give the big screen treatment to more well known TV westerns like GUNSMOKE, HAVE GUN WILL TRAVEL, or BONANZA (which BIG VALLEY essentially ripped off).

Bowen on Bowen

Royal_flush My good friend Rhys Bowen has a new book out, ROYAL FLUSH, so I've invited her to talk about it here (and give me a day off):

Thank you so much for inviting me, Lee. We share a lot of background in common.

My first professional experience was with the spoken, rather
than with the written word. Right out of college I was lucky enough to be one
of 30 graduating students chosen from 3000 applicants to join the BBC in
London. And after stints doing everything from playing requests for a
housewives’ morning show to the night shift as announcer on the World Service I
managed to get the assignment I wanted in radio drama. What a medium that was!
No scenery, no glamorous stars to distract the audience, only the spoken word
to convey tension, emotion and sense of place. It is a media of cooperation—a
joint assignment between listener and writer to create a world. As one small
listener once said, “I like radio because the scenery is so nice.”

I agree with her. There is no stage set as wonderful as the
one you create in your imagination, no actor as handsome as the one your mind
assigns to the sexy voice. And as for tension—what could be more scary than the
sound of a door creaking open and then slow footsteps getting closer and

I started off at the bottom—making the spot sound effects.
Yes, this was the good old days when a lot of the sound effects were made live
on mike. We were a little past the coconuts for horses’ hooves days, but still
we were called upon to invent the strangest sound effects. I once had to come
up with a sound for a guillotine cutting off a head. So what did I do? I ran a
knife down an iron bar and into a cabbage, then dropped the cabbage into a
basket. It sounded so real you could actually hear the bones breaking.

After I’d been in drama for a while I rose to studio manager
and I found that I was coming up with ideas of my own. I wrote a radio play,
and with the bravado of a 22 year old, I walked into the head of drama’s office
and gave it to him. He called me in two days later. He liked it and he was
going to produce it. As easy as that! More radio plays followed, then I tried my
hand at TV drama. New challenges there—how to reveal character in a few words
and actions, how to get characters in and out of a scene, how to mix dialog and

Everything I learned has served me in good stead as a writer
of mystery novels. I am highly aware of the power of words.  I still think of my novels in terms of scenes
rather than chapters. I am still very aware of pacing, when to cut away from a
scene, and I rely on dialog to reveal character, create setting and carry
forward plot. I am a huge proponent of show not tell and I have learned to
involve all five senses to make an era come alive.  I’d love to produce my new Royal Spyness book
as a radio play—it’s called Royal Flush and in it my heroine Lady Georgiana (34th
in line to the throne and penniless) is sent home in disgrace to the Scottish
Castle. I’d have gone to town with the sound effects—the wind whistling down
the corridors and flapping the tapestries and moaning in the chimney—the
footsteps echoing across the great hall, the sounds of a grouse hunt on the
moor… but the rising of a monster from the loch and the sound of someone
falling from a mountain when a rope breaks—they’d be more of a challenge! 

This is Why Ken Levine Wins Emmys

Ken Levine's blog post today isn't just a brilliant satire of Aaron Sorkin's distinct style…it's also great writing. I loved it. Here's a taste:




You can’t get a good lobster in this town.


Last I checked we were in Kansas City.


4.6 billion pork ribs sold every year and 18.9 tons of beef consumed annually since 1997 –


They like their beef, what can I tell ya?


But you’d think just for variety’s sake.


I can still throw my curve.


For strikes?


I’m not throwing enough?


I’ve seen more lobsters.



It’s just that…

What? Kathy?


No. Cabs. There’s no cohesiveness on this team. After road games, 25 cabs for 25 players. There used to be a thing called “the greater good”, forgoing your needs for the betterment of the team and community who looks to us for their identity and self worth. When I’m trying to save a game I’m really trying to save a factory. If baseball is a metaphor for life, then responsibility is its first cousin simile. And Kathy.


That’s a “1” on your back and not a “2”.


I can’t help it. She knocks my sanitary socks off.

“Before I was a TV writer, I was a street poet…”

Screenwriter, novelist, and teacher William Rabkin reveals the method to his madness, and gives some good career advice to aspiring screenwriters, in an interview at Write On today. Here's an excerpt:

How important is diversification for a writer?

I’m a big advocate of diversification. Right now, all our markets are shrinking—not a great problem if you’re, say, the showrunner of Desperate Housewives. But for the rest of us, we’re watching TV staffs shrinking, original screenplay sales diving, publishing in serious trouble. We can’t know where the next opportunity is going to come from—so it’s best to make yourself available for as many opportunities as possible.

How can a writer best get his or her work noticed?

Write really well. Oh, and if you can show up in a sex tape with a celebrity, that would help, too.

The Big Step

My buddy Bryce Zabel is sharing his personal moonwalk memories…no, not more Michael Jackson hype, but how Neil Armstrong’s first steps on the moon changed his life and his relationship with his father. 

Back on July 20, 1969, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin kicked up their own moon dust when they became the first human beings ever to walk (or bounce) on the Earth’s Moon. The world is probably evenly divided now between those who were alive when the Eagle landed in the Sea of Tranquility and those who weren’t. I was. It was unforgettable, but not necessarily for the reasons you might think.

Road Dogs is a Dog

I love Elmore Leonard's books. I did not love ROAD DOGS. It's a vastly inferior sequel to OUT OF SIGHT, LA BRAVA and RIDING THE RAP (it features characters from all three books). Nothing happens in this book. It's as if Elmore Leonard kept writing, waiting for a plot to occur to him, and when one didn't, he simply had a character pull out a gun, shoot some people, and he gave up. Leonard should have kept this manuscript in his drawer and waited until he actually had a story to tell. The central character in this book is Jack Foley, the bank robber from the great novel OUT OF SIGHT, which was made into the great movie starring George Clooney. Elmore Leonard must have really liked the movie, too, because he's turned Foley into a caricature of Clooney. Leonard has done a good job capturing Clooney on the page, I only wish he had a plot to go along with it. There's some nice dialogue and a few funny one-liners, but it's not enough.  This is may be the weakest, and most disappointing, book Leonard has written in his entire career. But hey, one stinker out of 42 books (many of them classics) isn't so bad.

Mr. Monk and the Plugs

My friend Dave McDonnell at plugged my new MONK book, as well as the new tie-ins by my brother Tod and my buddy William Rabkin, noting our long and twisted associations with the late, great STARLOG magazine. 

And the fine folks at The Monk Fun Page have given DIRTY COP a rave review. They say, in part:

Though the well-paced unraveling of the plot and the steady tone make the entire layout pleasing to read, it is the way the main characters and, maybe more importantly, the secondary characters jump off the page that make this Monk book most enjoyable.
Stottlemeyer is particularly complex, the entire story is anchored around him, and never does his believability suffer because of it.

[…]In Dirty Cop, Monk is the best he has ever been. His obsessions are ridiculous yet maintain great continuity, a formula that nearly convinces the reader that the obsessions are not so illogical after all. Monk is also outright hilarious—more so than ever. His often painfully humorous and equally serious relationship with Stottlemeyer is golden; Monk admires him greatly but still manages to be completely clueless to Stottlemeyer’s feelings, yet Stottlemeyer never loses faith in Monk. It is a pleasure to read.

Thank you for the great review, KC!

Mr. Monk and the Kindle

The Amazon Kindle blog is featuring a post from Natalie Teeger today promoting MR. MONK AND THE DIRTY COP. Here's an excerpt:

The other day, Monk didn't have a case to work on and I didn't relish the idea of spending the day sitting around his house sorting out imperfect Wheat Chex from his boxes of breakfast cereal ("It will be fun," he said. "You'll feel like a kid again."). Instead, I talked him into going to this revival theatre in Haight-Asbury that was showing classic Hitchcock movies.
Monk insisted on bringing a plastic seat cover because there was no way he was sitting on something a thousand other people had sat on before him. He also brought disinfectant and delousing spray. And gloves. And baggies to put his gloves in. And gloves to handle the baggies with the gloves in them.
It wasn't easy getting all that stuff past the ticket-taker, but I flashed a smile and a little cleavage (very little…I don't have much to spare) and we got in.
Once we were in the theatre, Monk had to sit dead center in an even-numbered seat. Luckily, the center seat wasn't an odd number or he might have asked me to move the entire row.
Just when I thought we were home free, the movie turned out to be "The 39 Steps." The title alone was enough to drive Monk out of the theatre. But we stayed. It was everyone else who fled, irritated by his incessant whining about the title of the movie and the fact he gave away the whodunit it in the first five minutes.

The blog was sent to every Kindle owner this morning. It should be interesting to see if my Kindle numbers pop on DIRTY COP and, hopefully, THE WALK as well.