Hot Sex, Gory Violence

0348 Goldberg POD The Jury Series Final CreateSpace
published this My Turn essay of mine back in mid-1980s, while I was still a college student and writing my JURY books, then called .357 Vigilante, under the pen-name "Ian Ludlow." Now that I have re-released the books, I thought you might enjoy it:


How One Student Earns Course Credit and Pays Tuition

My name is Ian Ludlow. Well, not really. But that's the name on my four ".357 Vigilante" adventures that Pinnacle Books will publish this spring. Most of the time I'm Lee Goldberg, a mild mannered UCLA senior majoring in mass communications and trying to spark a writing career at the same time. It's hard work. I haven't quite achieved a balance between my dual identities of college student and hack novelist.

The adventures of Mr. Jury, a vigilante into doing the LAPD's dirty work,  are often created in the wee hours of the night, when I should be studying, meeting my freelance-article deadlines or, better yet, sleeping. More often than not, my nocturnal writing spills over into my classes the next morning. Brutal fistfights, hot sexual encounters and gory violence are frequently scrawled across my anthropology notes or written amid my professor's insights on Whorf's hypothesis. Students sitting next to me who glance at my lecture notes are shocked to see notations like "Don't move, scumbag, or I'll wallpaper the room with your brains.

I once wrote a pivotal rape scene during one of my legal-communications classes, and I'm sure the girl who sat next to me thought I was a psychopath. During the first half of the lecture, she kept looking with wide eyes from my notes to my face as if my nose were melting onto my binder or something. At the break she disappeared, and I didn't see her again the rest of the quarter. My professors,  though, seem pleased to see me sitting in the back of the classroom writing furiously. I guess they think I'm hanging on their every word. They're wrong.

I've tried to lessen the strain between my conflicting identities by marrying the two. Through the English department, I'm getting academic credit for the books. That amazes my Grandpa Cy, who can't believe there's a university crazy enough to reward me for writing "lots of filth." The truth is, it's writing and it's learning, and it's getting me somewhere. Just where, I'm not sure. My Grandpa Cy thinks it's going to get me the realization I should join him in the furniture business.

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I Wanna Get You Hooked…

0316 Goldberg ecover JUDGEMENT …so, for a very limited time, JUDGMENT, the first book in the four-book JURY SERIES, is now just 99 cents

This is an ALL-NEW edition, completely reformatted and repackaged for 2011.

JUDGMENT is the classic action/adventure novel that was a runaway paperback sensation under the title ".357 Vigilante" back in the 1980s…and was immediately snatched up by New World Pictures for a feature film (that, sadly, never happened).

But that screenplay adaptation launched my partnership with William Rabkin and our careers as screenwriters, so this book will always hold a very, very special place in my heart.

This is the ultimate JUDGMENT, as it was originally meant to be, taken from the original, first-draft manuscript. 

Brett Macklin was a freewheeling son of sunny California, a collector of vintage cars and a connoisseur of beautiful women. But when his father is murdered by a street gang, Macklin becomes something else–a deadly weapon against crime, a relentless vigilante who won't stop until he's wiped out the killers who have turned Los Angeles into a war zone. 

And here are the other reformatted and repackaged books in the JURY series…


0317 Goldberg ecover ADJOURNED

0318 Goldberg ecover PAYBACK


0319 Goldberg ecover GUILTY

And all four books in one:

0298 Goldberg ecover The Jury Series

The Jury Is In

0298 Goldberg ecover The Jury Series (1) New for 2011! The Jury Series

From Lee Goldberg, the bestselling author of  THE WALK, comes all four of his acclaimed JURY novels..collected into one totally reformatted, repackaged, mega-sized, pulse-pounding, thrill-ride that will leave you breathless:


The JURY SERIES is the complete saga of Brett Macklin, a one-man judge, jury, and executioner, fighting a war on terror on the streets of Los Angeles in the mid-1980s. Over 160,000 words/550 pages of non-stop action, wildly erotic sex, and wicked humor.

"As stunning as the report of a .357 Magnum, a dynamic premiere effort […] The Best New Paperback Series of the year!" West Coast Review of Books

The series, published in 1985, under the title ".357 Vigilante," was written by Ian Ludlow… a pseudonym for Lee Goldberg, who wrote the books while he was a UCLA student, under the supervision of his professor, novelist Lewis Perdue ("The DaVinci Legacy," "The Queensgate Reckoning," "Daughter of God," etc). Goldberg would later go on to write and/or produce such TV shows as "Monk," "Diagnosis Murder," "SeaQuest," and "The Glades" and write many more novels, including THE WALK and the best-selling "Monk" series of original mysteries. 


"A high-octane mystery that moves like a bullet-train!" New York Times Bestselling author Janet Evanovich

"Can books be better than television? You bet they can — when Lee Goldberg's writing them," New York Times bestselling author Lee Child

"Leaves you guessing right up until the heart-stopping ending," New York Times bestselling author Lisa Gardner

"Lee Goldberg can plot and write with the best of them," Mystery Scene Magazine

"Entertaining and ruefully funny," Honolulu Star Bulletin

"THE WALK is a magnificent novel — by turns hilarious, scary, sad, witty and ultimately wise on its judgments about the way so many of us live these days. And it's one hell of a page-turner, too," Author Ed Gorman, founder of Mystery Scene Magazine

"Harrowing and funny…" -Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine 

"With books this good, who needs TV?" Chicago Sun Times

"You'd be hard-pressed to find another recent work that provides so many hip and humorous moments," Bookgasm

Barnes & Noble 2.0

The Nook might just save Barnes & Noble if they commit to becoming a Nookstore instead of a Bookstore…making ebooks the primary focus of their brick-and-mortar stores as well as their website.  That's the thesis of an interesting article from CNN Money

"Barnes & Noble didn't get into this market very early, but when they got into this, they got into this very smart," says Forrester research analyst James McQuivey about the company's ereader. "They went in with with both feet, quickly got a device on the market as opposed to picking someone to partner up with like Borders did, and when the firestorm in 2010 hit, they already had their device ready to go. Borders did not." (Pop quiz: Do you even know the name of the Borders ereader? It's called the Kobo. And it's nowon clearance for $60 at Borders stores that are liquidating.)

In fact, McQuivey thinks Barnes & Noble has a better than 50% chance of making the switch to digital if it becomes even more aggressive about its Nook hardware, software, ebook and accessory business. And there is room for growth. Based on a Goldman Sachs analyst report, the Nook business is on a hockey-stick growth curve, with sales going from $62 million in 2009 (the year the device launched) to an estimated $1.163 billion for 2012. Meanwhile, the book business — sales at brick and mortar locations — will decrease, according to the same estimates, from $4.37 billion this year to $3.95 billion for the company's fiscal year 2012.

In other words, the day is fast approaching when ebooks will drive B&Ns sales and paper books will be little more than colorful decor in their Nookstores. Or, as the article concludes:

Regardless of the path executives take, the Barnes & Noble of the future (if there is one, of course) will probably look nothing like it does today. The company could even choose to drop the name altogether and let Nook become the consumer-facing brand.

Relentless Forward Motion

It's shaping up to be 'Interview Lee Week." The first of my three-part interview with Booklife is up today. Here's an excerpt:

And, along those same lines, what has writing for television taught you about writing novels?

Lee Goldberg: I think that being a screenwriter, particularly for TV, has made me a much better novelist. You have to write outlines for TV, so it has forced me to focus on plot before I start writing my books. I’m not figuring things out as I go along as some authors do. I know exactly where I am going…though I may change how I get there along the way.
Being a TV writer has also trained me to focus on a strong, narrative drive, to make sure that every line of dialogue either reveals character or advances the plot (or both), and to cut anything that’s extraneous or bogs the story down.  I also suspect that being a TV writer has given my books a faster pace and more of a cinematic structure.

Have you picked up any habits–good or bad–writing for television that you had to unlearn or put aside when writing novels?

Lee Goldberg: Not really, but if I have a bad habit, it may be the need to have a relentless, forward motion to the story. In TV, you cut anything that’s the least bit extraneous to keep the story moving and to keep your episode within your allotted running time. With books, I have to remind myself that it’s okay to take time out to contemplate a moment, an experience, or a place…but only if it’s a moment.


Off the Cuff

The Dabbling Mum blog did a long, Q&A interview with me about all kinds of stuff. Here's an excerpt:

What is your biggest obstacle when it comes to pitching yourself as a writer and what steps have you taken to overcome that obstacle?

I haven’t been a freelance journalist in almost thirty years. Nowadays, in the television and movie business, the biggest obstacles are my age and my history. There’s a lot of ageism in Hollywood and now that I’m in my 40s and have lots of credits to my name, I have to spend a lot of time and effort proving to execs that I am more than the sum of my credits…and that am capable of doing other things than the kinds of shows I have done in the past. 

I don’t necessarily want my credits to define me…after all, there are some jobs I took because I needed the money or because they were the only folks hiring at the time. 

With books, I don’t have to pitch myself anymore. The business has changed so dramatically in the last year or so that there’s more money in self-publishing than in publishing right now. So the only person I have to query is myself.

What is your best advice for getting past writer's block?

Write. No matter how bad it is. Just write. Give yourself permission to suck. Sometimes, all it takes is just hitting that one good line or paragraph to break the creative log jam. I also recommend taking a break and reading a good book. Reading forces you to work with words and your imagination. That said, I’ve found that writer’s block usually comes from a poorly conceived story. The problem isn’t that you can’t write, but that the project you’ve sat down to work on has a crippling creative flaw.

My Loss is Your Gain

The_Walk_FINAL Now, thanks to a temporary technical screw-up, you can get my runaway Kindle bestsellers THE WALK for just $1.99 and THREE WAYS TO DIE for only 99 cents.

It's infuriating for me…but a steal for you. But you'd better act now, because if I have my way, these savings will end as soon as possible.

And no, this is not a lame publicity stunt. I had nothing to do with the dramatic cut in prices and I am doing everything I can to get it fixed. But in the mean time, I need to sell a lot of books to make up for my losses… 

So go for it…get the books cheap while you can!

UPDATE 4/15/2011. I am pleased to say that you're too late. Amazon has restored the original pricing. 

Important Warning for Smashwords Authors

If you are using Smashwords to distribute your ebooks to online retailers, go there right now and OPT OUT of having your books distributed to Kobo.

Today Kobo, without my prior knowledge or consent, has slashed the prices on a bunch of my ebooks from $2.99 to as low 99 cents….and Amazon has followed suit. This is going to cost me thousands of dollars in lost royalties this month if I don't resolve this situation fast.

I don't know how long it takes for Kobo to remove books after an author has opted-out of distributing to them through Smashwords, so I have contacted Mark Coker, owner of Smashwords, to see what he can do before I lose a lot of money.

In the mean time, get your books off of Kobo now before they do the same thing to you…if they haven't already.

I am furious about this. It's as if they've hacked into my checking account and started making unauthorized withdrawals. I am assuming there is some language buried somewhere in the Smashwords agreement that allows Kobo to charge whatever the hell they want for my books. The problem is, Amazon matches the lowest price out there…and adjusts your royalty accordingly.

So now on Amazon, instead of making $2.06 each sale of  THE WALK, I am making 70 cents. And instead of making $2.06 a sale on THREE WAYS TO DIE, I am making 35 cents. This is a major blow for me, since those two books are my bestsellers…

I really hope I can get my books off of Kobo quickly…and then convince Amazon to restore my original prices immediately thereafter.

UPDATE: 4/12/11, 8:37 pm: I got an email from Mark Coker, who tells me this is a big technical glitch at Kobo and that they are working on fixing the problem.  He hopes to have it resolved by Thursday. Even if they do, I don't know how long it will take Amazon to restore the original pricing…and I still will have lost money in the interim. I doubt I'll be posting my books on Kobo again…my pitiful sales on their platform are not worth the risk of future accidental or intentional price cuts.  

UPDATE 4/14/2011 – My books are off of Kobo and, from what I am hearing from other authors, the prices have been restored. I appreciate Kobo and Smashwords resolving this problem quickly…but I won't be back on Kobo any time soon. Now I've got to get Amazon to jack my prices back up to where they were before….

Tag-Team Thrills

Top Suspense has launched "Lauren's Run," a new tag-team short story that's full of surprising violence, dark humor, and amazing twists. You can catch up on the first seven parts here. Parts 8-12 will run next week. If you can guess who wrote which parts, you can win lots of free books from the Top Suspense authors.