Big Week for BUMSICLE

2013 SELECTION LAUREL AWARD NOMINEE copyWe've had a flurry of festival acceptances this week for Bumsicle...and we learned that we've been nominated for Best Dramatic Short by the Bare Bones International Film Festival. The attention we're getting from all of these festivals is a real thrill for me and the entire cast & crew.

Here's the tally of festival picks so far… 

White Sands International Film Festival, Las Cruces, New Mexico – August 2012

Louisville's International Festival of Film, Louisville, Kentucky – October 2012

River City Festival of Film, Owensboro, Kentucky – November 2012

Trail Dance Film Festival, Duncan, Oklahoma – January 25-26, 2013

Bare Bones International Film & Music Festival, Muskogee, Oklahoma – April 4-14, 2013
Selected as Nominee for Best Dramatic Short Film

Myrtle Beach International Film Festival, Myrtle Beach, South Carolina – April 24-27, 2013

Cape Fear Independent Film Festival, Wilmington, North Carolina – May 9-12, 2013

Big Island Film Festival, Hawaii – May 23-27, 2013

…and, we hope, more to come!

The Mail I Get

I got an email from the maker of nutritional supplements urging me to take a stand against “sock puppet” fake reviews. How? By reviewing his product. Not only will I be striking a blow against fake reviews but, as an added incentive, he says it will also boost my own “helpful” review stats.

Help me stop these fake “sock puppet” Amazon reviews.

I found your Amazon Review profile and wanted to see if you would like to review a nutritional supplement with “excessive” buzz?

XYZ was recently featured on the Dr Oz show and instantly became the world’s #1 selling nutritional supplement. I’m not kidding, this product beat the top selling Multivitamin in Sales Rank!

Right now we are competing with some other companies to be the product with the most reviews on Amazon for “XYZ”.

I’m pretty sure the two biggest reviewed competitors above us are using fake reviews to get to the top sales ranks. After looking through their reviews, it’s pretty obvious that some of the “customers” are not real people.

Just shill accounts with hilarious reviews:

“This product is puppy dogs and rainbows. I lost 100 pounds, it cured my cancer, and it made me a millionaire in 5 seconds! Buy it!”

We’ve decided under no circumstances to use fake reviews, but we still want to beat these guys!

Right now we have 49 reviews and 4.5 stars, all from real customers.

The top seller has 302 reviews, a bunch of which are fake.

We can beat them the old fashioned way. With real reviews!

I’d like to send you a free bottle of our product XYZ in exchange for an honest review. I’m not asking for a 5 star review. You can give it 1 star and I’ll be happy.

Since this is one of the hottest selling products on Amazon, you have the opportunity to rack up a ton of helpful votes and views for your review.

I don’t see how helping him rack up reviews for his product will strike a blow against sock-puppetry or help him battle the unfair tactics of his competitors (especially since he claims his pills are already “one of the hottest selling” products on Amazon). He may not to be asking for fake praise, but his solicitation is still uniquely idiotic and sleazy.

The Mail I Get

Here’s a book I will never read:

Dear Lee,

I would like to introduce you to Fembodyverse: An Inner-Stellar Adventure into Womanhood. Seventeen-year-old Estelle has one wish—to feel like a woman. She believes by losing her virginity she will receive this magical feeling. Not only does this modern induction fool her, but an inner voice beckons her to a more ingenuous initiation. With a trusted guide, Estelle begins her inner-stellar adventure into womanhood, traveling through her body’s vast and starry dimensions. There, she cavorts with creatures, unravels mysteries, and meets unforgettable friends as she unlocks her embodied wisdom. Back and forth from the internal world and the external world she travels, her family and friends think she’s lost her mind as Estelle courageously claims her majestic value from the inside out.
Fembodyverse chronicles the adventures of a new archetype and superheroine of our time; Estelle is here to infuse our world with inside-out value for women and girls everywhere.

I don’t know about you, but I’m afraid to ask what it means to “infuse our world with inside-out value for women” by “cavorting with creatures” and exploring your “body’s vast and starring dimensions.” But I do like that last phrase. I am no longer on a diet to lose weight. I am dieting to control my body’s “vast and starry dimensions.”

“Bumsicle” Gets Some Love

405191_264384426980041_853296782_nThis has been a great week for my short film Bumsicle, which I wrote and directed in Owensboro, Kentucky last year. We were picked up by both the Big Island Film Festival in Hawaii and the Cape Fear Film Festival in North Carolina. 

So far, "Bumsicle" has been selected by half-a-dozen festivals… from Hawaii to North Carolina, from Oklahoma to Kentucky. There are still thirty festivals that we've submitted to and haven't heard from yet…but at least we're on par now with Remaindered, the short mystery that also featured Todd Reynolds as Detective Bud Flanek. Clearly I am going to have to do a third short one of these days about Flanek.

These festival picks are the result of the wonderful work done by actors Todd Reynolds, Rick Montgomery, Sadia Brimm, and Josh Loren, singer/song writer Matt Branham, producers Rachael Nunn, J. Laine Nunn, and Roxi Witt, and everyone else in our talented cast and crew. I'm so glad they they are getting some notice outside of Owensboro for their work.

UPDATE 3-21 Bumsicle has been nominated for Best Dramatic Short at the Bare Bones International Film Festivals in Oklahoma. Winners will be announced April 14.

I’m Smokin’

Smkmdl1-2TI made two slabs of hickory-smoked, Santa Maria spare ribs on Sunday that were absolutely incredible. Marinated them in Santa Maria rub overnight, let them sit out for an hour or so at room temp, then smoked them for three hours in a Smokin-It Model One  with two hickory pieces in the smoke box. After they were done, we let them sit for 20 minutse under tin foil then dug in. They were perfect! I may never go out to a BBQ joint in LA again. I know this sounds like an advertisement/plug, but it’s not. It’s a genuine rave. My wife got me the smoker for my birthday and I’ve fallen in love with it. I’ve been smoking everythng but my Atkins bars!

I’ve been munching on the left-over ribs today as I toil on book #2 in th new series I’m writing with Janet Evanovich. Just finished proofing the galleys for THE HEIST, book #1 in the series, so now it feels real to me.

I’m Flattered

MM_Gets_EVEN_mmI've been fortunate that every one of my 15 MONK novels has earned a great review from author Bill Crider and, I am pleased to report that MR. MONK GETS EVEN, my final book in the series, has kept that record intact. He says, in part:

Goldberg managed to do a great job of giving the books clever mysteries and good characters, but he did something even more difficult.  He gave them humor and heart.  Not only that, but he took the characters beyond the television series and gave them lives of their own.  They changed and developed over the course of the series in ways that were believable and intriguing.

[…] It's a fine conclusion to Goldberg's work with Monk and his friends and family.  The title of the book, given Monk's proclivities and given the way that the story concludes, is perfect.

I've mentioned before that I'm not a big fan of books that mingle first- and third-person narration.  Goldberg does it so skilfully here that I have no complaints.  I've never seen it done better.  Heck, I've never seen it done as well.  Congratulations to Goldberg on leaving the game as a big winner.

Thank you so much, Bill. I'm flattered! 

Plotting Death and Destruction

0609 Lee Goldberg ebook V4 TDMS_5I spent the day Saturday in the company of  a bunch of talented writers to plot a DEAD MAN novel…not just any book, but our biggest tale yet, both in page count and ambition. The story will be published next fall as a Kindle Serial (six to eight, 10,000 word "episodes" that will add up to one, cohesive novel). The project is being written by Phoef Sutton, Lisa Klink and Kate Danley from a shared outline. So series co-creator William Rabkin and I, along with DEAD MAN author David Tully (THE KILLING FLOOR), got together with them and we all spent the day cracking the story in a "writer's room" setting.

Bill, Phoef, Lisa and I are all experienced TV writer/producers, we are very comfortable with the "writer's room" process of hashing out the story as a group, analyzing every character motivation and story beat until we come up with all the moves of the story, which we layout on a white, dry erase board. It was a new experience for Kate and, to a lesser extent, for David, who has been part of a writer's room on some television projects in Germany (where his wife was a network executive).

The writer's room process is wonderful because not only do you benefit from the creativity of everybody in the room, but it also forces you to really explore, analyze and figure out all the angles of your plot and the motivations of your characters.

The group experience also forces you not to give in to the easy, lazy or cliche way of resolving plot and character issues…to go further and dig deeper. It means there are some inevitable frustration or disagreements, but it's all positive…because you end up with a much stronger, more-thought-out story.

It's my favorite part of the TV writing experience…spending hours, days and weeks in a room full of smart, clever, outrageously creative writers…all working to together to tell the best possible story.

Our writers room session for THE DEAD MAN went great. We first discussed character and our over-arching, creative goals for the book. Then we started talking broad plot points. Then we drilled down to the novel equivalent of the eternal TV question: "what do we want our act breaks to be?" (Or, in this case, the "cliff hanger" moment at the end of our six "episodes") And once we had that, we got into the nitty-gritty of the specific beats of each "act."

That's where the real work was. We hashed it out in spirited debates while eating lots of food (and, occasionally, diverging into discussions of lame plot points in SKYFALL and the last BATMAN movie. Do you realize Bond failed at *everything* he did in SKYFALL? He didn't do anything right. Still a great movie, though).

We got started at 10:30 am and by the time we finished around 5:30 pm, we'd plotted out the novel and felt great about what we'd come up with.  Or, as one person in the room put it, we accomplished in one day what it would take an author by himself a month or two to figure out. It's going to be a kick-ass, standalone DEAD MAN novel that requires no previous knowledge of the series to enjoy…but that will also satisfy our loyal fans with a game-changing story that acknowledges past events, answers some long-standing questions, sends Matt Cahill in an exciting, new direction.

Now everybody is writing up their portion of the outline, which Bill and I will cobble together into one document and submit to our editors at Amazon Publishing's 47North imprint for their notes. Once we have their input, the authors will start writing.

I wish I had a writers room for my novels…

Booze Bullets and Broads

Gunshots-600-X-900-457x685BOOZE BULLETS & BROADS by Bruce Scivally is an ebook examination of Dean Martin's Matt Helm movies and the subsequent TV series. I was thrilled when I heard about the ebook but it turned out to be a major disappointment. It's very short, more like an expanded article than a book. It's very light on details, and the author appears to rely almost entirely on facts and quotes culled from newspaper and magazine articles. I don't get the sense that he did many, if any, actual interviews of his own. Also, his declaration that the Bond producers were creatively influenced by the Helm films isn't based on any facts, but rather a wild assumption the author jumps to based on some plot and scene similarities between the two series. On that basis, you could just as easily argue the Bond films were influenced by THE WILD WILD WEST, THE AVENGERS, and MAN FROM UNCLE, too. But that's a minor quibble. Overall, the book is an interesting read, and you do learn some things about the development of the scripts and production of the films, but it's not nearly as well-researched and informative as I'd hoped it would be. The chapter on the MATT HELM TV series is particularly thin and, given how little information there is about it, was hardly worth including. In fact, if you take the plot synopses out, which are pure fat, there isn't much real meat left. That said, it's well worth the $2.99 investment for Matt Helm fans or fans of 60s spy films. (As an aside, the Kindle formatting of the book is terrible at the outset, but it gets better. Don't let that put you off).

Much more satisfying is Charles Kelly's fantastic GUNSHOTS IN ANOTHER ROOM, his long-awaited biography of Dan J. Marlowe, one of my favorite authors. This biography is almost as wild, compelling, dark and surprising as one of Marlowe's books, which includes the classic The Name of the Game is Death. Kelly has done an enormous amount of research and thoroughly knows his subject. What really sets this book apart from most literary biographies is the tight, novelistic approach he's taken to telling not only Marlowe's strange story, but also the tale of bank robber Al Nussbaum, who became Marlowe's collaborator. Marlowe fans will appreciate the fascinating, detailed look at the author as a person, as well as his complex relationships with his literary agent and two collaborators (William C. O'Dell and Nussbaum), but also the telling details behind the plotting and writing of his books, even those that never saw print. Highly recommended!

A Peek at The Heist

From the Janet Evanovich newsletter:

The Heist
On Sale June 18, 2013

The con is on!
From Janet and her new co-author, Lee Goldberg (Monk), comes an electrifying new series featuring an FBI agent who always gets her man, and a fearless con artist who lives for the chase.
     FBI Special Agent Kate O’Hare is known for her fierce dedication and discipline on the job, chasing down the world’s most wanted criminals and putting them behind bars. Her boss thinks she is tenacious and ambitious; her friends think she is tough, stubborn, and maybe even a bit obsessed. And while Kate has made quite a name for herself, for the past five years, the only name she’s cared about is Nicolas Fox—an international crook she wants in more ways than one. 
     Audacious, handsome, and dangerously charming, Nicolas Fox is a natural con man, notorious for running elaborate scams on very high-profile people.  At first he did it for the money.  Now, he does it for the thrill.  He knows the FBI has been hot on his trail—particularly Kate O’Hare, who has been watching his every move.  For Nick, there’s no greater rush than being pursued by a beautiful woman… even one who aims to lock him up. But just when it seems like Nicolas Fox has been captured for good, he pulls off his greatest con of all: he convinces the FBI to offer him a job, working side by side, with special agent Kate O'Hare. 
     Problem is, teaming up to stop a corrupt investment banker who’s hiding on a private island in Indonesia, is going to test O’Hare’s patience and Fox’s skill.  Not to mention the skills of their rag-tag team of flamboyant actors, wanted wheelmen and Kate’s dad.  High speed chases, pirates and Toblerone bars are all in a day’s work… if O’Hare and Fox don’t kill each other first.
Read part one of chapter one on later this month!