Mr. Monk and the New Author

MM_Gets_EVEN_mmGood news: My friend Hy Conrad, a writer/producer on MONK from day 1, is the new author of the MONK books! He will be picking up the story right where I left off with my last book, MR. MONK GETS EVEN, which comes out in December. Hy is a terrific writer, a great mystery-plotter, and has written many beloved episodes of show. Fans of the MONK books can rest easy — the series couldn't be in better hands!

Where Have I Been?

I haven't been blogging much lately because I've been devoting almost all of my time and energy to this (you can click on the image for a larger view):

Janet and lee-1
That's the Random House poster for the book that was on display at the Frankfurt Book Fair earlier this month.  Cool huh? Janet & I are having so much fun writing this book together and I hope that will come across on the page. It's been a total joy.

And it looks like I may have some exciting movie news to share on a different project in a few weeks.


Books on Bond

Literature_the_music_of_james_bond_previewWith the new Bond movie Skyfall coming out, there's a tsunami of 007-related books headed our way and I've been buying a bunch of them. The best so far is Jon Burlingame's The Music of James Bond. It's terrific, but I wouldn't expect anything less from the author of  TV's Biggest Hits and an acknowledged expert in soundtrack music.

This book charts the evolution of every Bond score in a lively, breezily-written narrative that is as entertaining as it is informative. Everything you ever wanted to know about the scores, themes, and business behind the Bond music is here. Even if you aren't a Bond fan, this book is a revealing look at the business, marketing, and creative influences on how movie scores assigned and produced. It's a must-have reference and historical book for all Bond fans and soundtrack collectors that will have you listening to all the Bond albums again and searching YouTube and iTunes to listen to the many rejected theme songs. I thoroughly enjoyed the book, learned a lot, and hope that Jon will be updating it every few years…though I am still waiting for the sequel/update to TV's Biggest Hits!

I was eagerly awaiting Roger Moore's Bond on Bond, figuring that he'd give us a unique,
Images insider's perspective on the series. I was very wrong. This book is a huge disappointment that offers nothing new…its simply a fluffy rehash of previously reported information, seemingly ghostwritten by someone else and interrupted with occasional, dull ancedotes from Moore that aren't nearly as interesting, or informative, as the Bond reflections he shared in his earlier, and far superior, autobiography My Word Is My Bond: A Memoir. There's no substance, no revelations, no telling details. It's reheated left-overs from earlier, tastier meals. Save your money and buy Moore's memoir instead.

It’s a Crime

0728 TOP SUSPENSE ecover WRITING ON CRIME_SMThe 12 critically acclaimed, award-winning thriller writers at Top Suspense, including yours truly, have shared everything they know about their craft in the new book Writing Crime Fiction, which is garnering some terrific reviews, like this one from Book Chase, where he says, in part:

Wannabe mystery writers will find in Writing Crime Fiction what they need to accomplish their goal.  Lee Goldberg’s “Double Take” chapter and Libby Hellmann’s chapter entitled “Jack Bauer and Me: Building Suspense” offer detailed insights into the construction of a crime novel.  Goldberg discusses in detail the bones that hold crime novels together, the frame upon which all good crime fiction is carefully built, while Hellmann takes a similar approach to the sub-genre of “suspense” novels. […]The real beauty of Writing Crime Fiction, I think, is that it offers something for all of us, writer and reader alike.  If you want to try your hand at writing a crime novel, this is the book for you.  If you want to better understand why you love crime fiction so much – and how it all comes together – here are the answers. 

The Dark Side of Love and Loyalty

Author Christa Faust shares her experience writing THE DEAD MAN #13 THE DEATH MATCH in a blog post on Amazon's Kindle Daily Post. She says, in part:

One of the things that appealed to me about the Dead Man series was that it wasn't just empty meaningless gore. Sure it's violent, but it also explores the psychological repercussions of that violence, delving into the darker side of love, loyalty, and friendship. With that in mind, I wanted to use my own uniquely female perspective to highlight the complex emotional depth in the character of Matt Cahill without sacrificing the kind of gripping action that the series is also known for. And combining emotion with action has always been at the heart of my own hardboiled crime fiction. It was a perfect fit.

King City Crowned

Many thanks to Dick Lochte and Mystery Scene Magazine for the great review of the King City audiobook.

Because of his recent television and literary work (15 best-selling novels based on the Monk TV series, as well as scripts for that show and Diagnosis Murder) Lee Goldberg has become something of a specialist at humorous crime. But he’s actually a multi-genre man, with sci-fi and, more recently horror (The Dead Man series) as part of his rapidly, one might say even exponentially, expanding oeuvre. This effective, hard-edged, one off thriller is a case in point. It’s hero, Tom Wade, is an honorable detective in the corrupt King City in Washington State who helps the Justice Department take down a bunch of bent fellow cops and pays a high price for it. Ostracized by his own family as well as former friends and associate, he’s reassigned to Darwin Gardens, a crime ridden slummy section of the city that resembles nothing more than a wide-open frontier town in the old wild west. Assisted by two other department castoffs, he begins a Wyatt Earp-like town taming, focusing on a series of murders involving young women. Goldberg begins his tale on a moment of high tension – with Wade facing down one of the crooked cops – and lets up on the action only to add dimensional detail to the characters and the town he has created. Patrick Lawlor, one of Brilliance Audio’s more active readers, understands the need for maintaining a fast, almost breathless pace, but he also knows when to slow things down enough for listeners to share Wade’s danger or savor his clever victories.

What’s Yours Is Mine

This full-page "apology" from a fanficcer appeared in the most recent issue of the SFWA magazine:

Zimmer fic
Let's see if I have this straight. Mary Battle writes a novel using Marion Zimmer Bradley's copyrighted material and sells it on Amazon, B&N etc. It wasn't until the Bradley estate discovered the infringement, and ordered the sites to remove her book, that it occurred to Mary that maybe she should have asked for permission to use material she didn't create or own. So she did. And the estate denied her request and ordered her to pull all of the books from sale or face a lawsuit.

Naturally, she ignored them… and did it again.

So they sued her. And judging by Mary Mary Quite Contrary's "apology," she still doesn't get what she did wrong.

What Mary apologizes for is any "harm" she might have done…not for repeatedly, and intentionally, and despite multiple warnings, infringing on copyrighted material for personal gain.

That's because Mary Battle is arrogant, stupid, and like so many fanficcers, has a ridiculous sense of entitlement. She thinks that just because she read Marion Zimmer Bradley's books, and liked them, they belong to her in every conceivable way. She seems stunned that anybody would question that…or that the author, or in this case the author's estate, might actually enforce their creative and legal rights. 

I'm sure Mary feels that she's been horribly wronged in all of this…and that the bad guys are Marion Zimmer Bradley's heirs. That's because Mary is a sad, pathetic woman who doesn't live in the real world.



The Mail I Get

Today it's not my mail, but some that my friend author Joel Goldman received from a self-published author of erotic novels. She offered to swap reviews with him. He decided to play dumb, though he had a pretty good idea where this was going. He asked her:

Are we talking about reading each other’s books before we review them or just posting reviews of them?

And she replied:

Whatever suits you.

I checked out your work and it looks fine and properly formatted. If you want me to read and review it i’ll do it with five stars.

Similarly if you want me to post or reword your review I’ll do that too. What I’m after is a five star review on Amazon with as little work and as quickly as possible. I’m not asking you to read [title of book], I guess you have better things to do.

My first chapter is up there (on line), so you can judge the writing, I can post you a review to submit or reword or a synopsis to save you time.

Joel politely declined. This exchange would be funny if this sort of "review swapping" wasn't so common, especially among newbie authors. Just check out forums like Kindleboards and you'll see for yourself. 

What's really sad isn't how they are devaluing reviews, or how low their literary standards are ("it looks fine and is properly formatted") but that they don't see what's wrong with what they are doing, or how badly leaving rave reviews for books they haven't read (and are probably shit) reflects on their reputations, both as authors and as reviewers.

They simply don't care.

All that matters to them is garnering praise, even if its entirely fake and undeserved. They are so desperate for acclaim, success and respect that they have forgotten all those things have to be earned…and how good it feels when it is. 

And that's a feeling you'll never get from reviews by people who've never actually read your book…or, in the case of John Locke, from people you pay to buy your book and rave about it.

You're not just fooling customers, you're fooling yourself, and that might be the most hurtful swindle of all.