2012 Scribe Nominees Announced

SCRIBE NOMINEEThe International Association of Media Tie-In Writers co-founders Lee Goldberg & Max Allan Collins are pleased to announce the 2012 nominees for the Scribe Award, honoring excellence in media tie-in writing, and the naming of author Kevin J. Anderson as this year's Grandmaster for his lifetime achievement in the field.

Anderson is the author of more than one hundred novels, adding up to over 20 million books in print in thirty languages. His work includes the STAR WARS "Jedi Academy" books, three internationally bestselling X-FILES hardcovers, the Superman novels THE LAST DAYS OF KRYPTON and ENEMIES & ALLIES, many novelizations (SKY CAPTAIN & THE WORLD OF TOMORROW, LEAGUE OF EXTRAORDINARY GENTLEMEN, etc.) and, of course, the ten globally bestselling DUNE novels he has co-authored with Brian Herbert. 

He has won or been nominated for numerous prestigious honors, including the Nebula Award, the Bram Stoker Award, and a New York Times Notable Book prize…and now he can add IAMTW Grandmaster to the list of his extraordinary achievements

The awards will be given at a ceremony in July at this year's Comic-Con convention in San Diego.




MIKE HAMMER: KISS HER GOODBYE by Max Allan Collins & Mickey Spillane



STAR WARS: KNIGHT ERRANT by John Jackson Miller






CONAN THE BARBARIAN by Michael Stackpole

CRYSIS LEGION by Peter Watts


COWBOYS & ALIENS by Joan D. Vinge 


ME & MY MONSTERS: MONSTER MANNERS by Rory Growler (Ian Pike)

THE SMURFS movie tie-in by Stacia Deutsch and Rhody Cohon



MIKE HAMMER: ENCORE FOR MURDER by Max Allan Collins & Mickey Spillane




(pictured, Kevin. J. Anderson)

Robert B. Parker is Alive and Well

144758592Ace Atkin has pulled off a miracle. With LULLABY, he has managed not only to pitch-perfectly capture Robert B. Parker's voice and narrative pace, but also his story-telling structure, without once slipping into pastiche or parody. LULLABY rings absolutely true to Parker, and you only have to look at the first few pages of Michael Brandman's excreble Jesse Stone novel to see just how hard that is to pull off.

Moreover, LULLABY is even better than the last few of Parker's own Spenser novels. While LULLABY isn't as good as the early Spensers, it certainly fits right in with the mid-stream stuff, the period roughly between STARDUST and POTSHOT, which still makes it a wonderfully entertaining and satisfying read. It's as if Parker, not far from the top of his game, is still with us. It makes me wish Atkins would take on Jesse Stone, too.


0383 Lee Goldberg ecover King City_14Today, Amazon's Thomas & Mercer imprint released my crime novel KING CITY in digital and print editions…and Brilliance Audio released the 7-hour audio version, read by Patrick Lawlor.

Here's an essay I posted on this blog in August about the writing process behind the book…

I've written over thirty novels, and my process with all of them was pretty much the same. I had an idea, I wrote a bullet-point outline, and I started writing the book, revising my outline along the way (I call them "living outlines," since I usually finish writing them a few days before I complete my manuscripts). But the process of writing KING CITY, my new standalone crime novel, was entirely different.

KING CITY began as a TV series pitch that I took all over Hollywood four or five years ago. It generated some interest but ultimately didn't lead to anything.  So I put it in a drawer and moved on.

But the idea nagged at me anyway and I began to think KING CITY might make a better book than a screenplay. So, between MONK novels three years ago, I wrote 200 pages and a broad-strokes outline for the rest of the book.  

I sent the proposal to my agent and began writing my next MONK book. The first place she sent KING CITY to was Penguin/Putnam, my MONK publisher, because she felt certain they'd snap it up. Between DIAGNOSIS MURDER and MONK, I'd written twenty-some novels for them. We knew that they liked me and my work, which had been successful for them, so we didn't think they'd see KING CITY as much of a gamble.

But they passed, surprising us both. My agent felt the rejection was less about me or the book than the way the business had changed. Mid-list authors were being dropped, editors were being fired, and the days of selling book proposals was over. If I wanted to sell KING CITY, I'd have to write the whole book and then shop it around.

I wasn't wild about that idea. If editors who knew me and my work well didn't find the first 200 pages compelling enough to merit an offer, I doubted that reading the whole novel would change their minds. And if these editors, folks I'd worked with for years, weren't willing to gamble on me, why would someone else?

Moreover,  after years of having contracts before I started writing novels, I was spoiled. The idea of writing a book entirely on spec made me uneasy, especially given my experience with THE WALK and WATCH ME DIE. Both of those books were written "on spec" and, after years bouncing all over New York, were finally published by Five Star, who paid a pittance for them. They got wide acclaim but not wide distribution. From a financial standpoint, they seemed to be a bust. I wasn't willing to go through that again.

So I tabled KING CITY and went back to writing one MONK novel after another. 

But then something amazing happened — the ebook market took off, and I started earning tens of thousands of dollars on my out-of-print backlist, like THE WALK. It changed my thinking entirely about the publishing business. About the same time, my TV agent started nagging me to write a spec pilot.

Which got me thinking about KING CITY again.

So, last November, when I was once again between MONK books, I re-read the 200 pages and realized I had the makings of a great spec pilot. I stripped the story down to the bare elements, reordered events, dropped some characters, and  rethought everything. Over the holidays, I adapted my unfinished novel into a screenplay.  Actually,  it ended up being two of them:  the one-hour pilot and the second episode.  I sent both scripts off to my TV agent and began work on my next MONK.

The scripts got me some exciting meetings at studios and networks…but didn't pan out into any options on KING CITY or a series staff job (at least not yet).  But I realized I had more than just two strong scripts — if I put them together, I had a remarkably detailed outline for the book.

So I decided to write it during my next MONK hiatus.

Along the way, I made lots of changes. I liked most of the choices I'd made for the screenplay, which tightened the plot and gave the story more of a narrative drive, but I missed some of the more "novelistic" elements that I'd dropped. So instead of novelizing my screenplay adaptation of a novel, I found myself writing KING CITY all over again…for the third time.

It's been a very unusual experience for me. I feel that KING CITY has improved with each draft, whether in novel or screenplay form. Adapting the original, 200 pages into a script forced me to take a hard look at everything, to sharpen the characters and tighten the plot, stripping away all of the fat in favor of narrative drive.  That relentless and mercilous focus on character and lean story-telling may be great for a script but not so much in a book, where taking the time to establish a sense of place, and to explore the internal thoughts of a character don't slow things down, they enrich the experience. Adapting KING CITY back into a novel again allowed me to see where I might have cut too deep, over-simplified the characters, or moved events along too rapidly.

I finished the first draft two days before I had to begin writing my next MONK novel (which I am in the middle of right now) and sent it off to some close friends for their comments. They gave me great notes, and by that, I don't mean enthusiastic praise. They told me what worked…and what didn't. I've been revising the book a little bit each day and will send it off this weekend to be copyedited. 

I like to think this is the best version yet of KING CITY. But you'll have to be the judge of that…

King City is Here

0549 Lee Goldberg POD KING CITY
My new crime novel King City is out today from Thomas & Mercer in digital and paperback…and in audio from Brilliance Audio. I am so excited and more than a little bit anxious about it…because this is my first, standalone crime novel in many years, and a real departure from the books that I have written before.  Here's what it's about…

Major Crimes Unit detective Tom Wade secretly worked with the Feds to nail seven of his fellow cops for corruption…turning him into a pariah in the police department. So he’s exiled to patrol a beat in King City’s deadliest neighborhood… with no back-up, no resources, and no hope of survival.

Now Wade fights to tame the lawless, poverty-stricken wasteland…while investigating a string of brutal murders of young women. It’s a case that takes him from the squalor of the inner-city to the manicured enclaves of the privileged, revealing the sordid and deadly ways the two worlds are intertwined…making his enemies even more determined to crush him.

But for Tom Wade, backing down is never an option…even if it will cost him his life.

Advance Praise for King City:

"Lee Goldberg's King City brings the sensibility of a western to the contemporary crime novel and the result is exhilarating, compelling, and a thrill to read. Tom Wade is an iconic hero with a strong, personal code trying bring order to a lawless frontier…which just happens to be smack in the middle of a dying, industrial American city. He's an unforgettable and deeply compelling character in the most original crime novel to come along in years," –Janet Evanovich, international bestselling author 

King City is a book that only Lee Goldberg could have written. He’s got the high-velocity prose of a best-seller, coupled with the highly visual elements that make his television writing so compelling. Factor in the terrific characters and some very cogent takes on human nature, and you’ve got a rollicking thriller. King City is a pleasure from start to finish." T. Jefferson Parker, New York Times bestselling author of The Jaguar and The Border Lords 

"King City is Walking TallDie Hard, and Dirty Harry all rolled into one. Hard-driving action and all the satisfaction of a well-told story about a righteous man of courage facing seemingly insurmountable odds. You'll love it."-Jan Burke, bestselling author of Disturbance and  Liar

"I could tell you that Lee Goldberg's King City is one of the best reads of the year or that Lee is one of my favorite writers for so many reasons–plotting, character, or his incredible sense of humor–but that might ruin the surprise of reading King City for yourself. Suffice to say that Goldberg is one infinitely readable master of crime fiction, and King City is Lee at his best." –Craig Johnson, New York Times bestselling author of The Cold Dish and Hell is Empty 

"King City like a 1969 Detroit muscle car. It's powerful, nasty, loud, and a heck of a lot of fun. Lee Goldberg is at his atmospheric best here, creating a world so authentic the sights, sounds and smells seem to explode from the pages. Detective Tom Wade is a fast, funny three-dimensional protagonist and following him through the cesspool of King City and its outrageous inhabitants is endlessly entertaining." Paul Guyot, writer/supervising producer of the TV series "Leverage" 

"King City effortlessly blends the archetypal gunslinger of the Old West, riding into the lawless town to clean up the bad guys, with a modern tale of police corruption, urban decay and neglect….It’s a fast-paced exploration of the decline of the blue-collar industrial heartland of America, and the cop who will not stand by and let that happen on his watch. Fans of the late Robert B Parker will delight in King City, which has the same great dialogue and nicely judged wry humour….A sit-down, straight-through read. Superb." -Zoe Sharp, author of Hard Knocks

"With Lee Goldberg's King City you get suspense, romance, humor and shoot-em-up outlaw justice. Picture a mordern day High Noon with an incorruptible cop, Tom Wade, putting it all on the line in a town without pity."  Joseph Wambaugh, bestselling author of The Blue Knight, The New Centurions, The Onion Field and Harbor Nocturne. 


Chained to my computer

Sorry for the blog silence… I've been chained to my computer lately and writing furiously. I'm hell-bent on finishing my fifteenth and final MONK novel, MR. MONK GETS EVEN, to meet my June 1st deadline, when I will be starting work on an exciting new project that I can't talk about yet.

But I can tell you that Amazon is sending me to New York in June to attend BEA…and tout the release of my new crime novel KING CITY…which comes out next week…and that I will be jetting from the Big Apple to Owensboro, KY, to shoot a DEAD MAN music video of our theme song with the talented folks at Firelight Entertainment Group and attend the International Mystery Writers Festival, which will be screening my shorts REMAINDERED and BUMSICLE on June 16th.

Whew. I'm tired just writing about it all. Okay, back to MONK, enough procrastinating on this blog…

Joel Goldsmith

Joel_goldsmith_01I'm deeply saddened to learn that composer Joel Goldsmith died earlier this week after a long battle with cancer. I was fortunate to work closely with Joel on two series — Diagnosis Murder and Martial Law.  

Bill Rabkin and I were big fans of his work, so when we took over Diagnosis Murder in the late 90s, we brought him in to reorchestrate the theme and revamp the score so the series no longer sounded like it was produced in 1964.  He did such a great job for us that when we were later hired to take over Martial Law, we brought him in to create a new opening title theme to replace the original Mike Post theme (which our star Sammo Hung loathed) and score the first episode to set the musical sound for our show.  He alternated scoring duties after that with John Keane and Corey Lerios & John DeAndrea. 

He was easy-going,  extremely creative, and one of the friendliest people I've met in the business. I always looked forward to our spotting sessions and knew he'd give us  cues that not only delivered what we needed, but would add levels to the action, comedy or character beats that weren't in the scenes before.

I'm a big TV theme nut, and we spent lots of time talking about our favorites. Naturally, many of mine — like Police Story and Barnaby Jones – were done by his father, Jerry Goldsmith. It couldn't have been easy for Joel to to follow in his father's considerable musical shadow….and I don't think he ever got the acclaim that he deserved. 

Joel and I lost touch with one another in the years since and I regret that. 

Here's Joel's reorchestration of the Diagnosis Murder theme….and his theme for Martial Law.