Thursday, December 30, 2010

William Goldman meets Richard Widmark


Ed here: This is one of my all-time favorite pieces from my blog. 2008.

William Goldman Meets Richard Widmark
From Variety

Widmark left indelible impressions
William Goldman remembers the acting icon

I only met Richard Widmark once, and briefly, a third of a century ago, but I'm not going to forget him.
I was in London, working with the director John Schhlesinger on a novel and screenplay of mine, "Marathon Man." Schlesinger, unquestionably brilliant, had won the best directing Oscar a few years earlier for his work on "Midnight Cowboy." He had also been nominated for "Darling" and "Sunday Bloody Sunday."

And he was, at this time, terrified he was dead in Hollywood. He had finished a movie, "The Day of the Locust," that he was convinced would destroy him. So he accepted "Marathon Man" -- a thriller -- for salvation.

We had a marvelous cast -- Dustin Hoffman, Roy Scheider, William Devane -- and the very great Laurence Olivier.

Who was sick, and maybe dying.

I asked our producer, Robert Evans, if Olivier was set and he replied: "Is he set? Is Oliver set? He's so set you wouldn't believe it." Then he paused, finished up with this: "Of course he isn't set-set."

OK, I am staying at a hotel, working in Schlesinger's house, and I ring his doorbell on this special day, and he answers, looking very surprised indeed.

"Richard Widmark is coming over -- he wants to read for Szell," the Olivier part.

for the rest go here:

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Happy Stan Lee Day!


I've mentioned Mark Evanier's blog News From Me before. Mark is one of the finest writers on the internet in addition to being a popular media authority of astounding proportions. He has been a successful writer and producer of tv shows, stage shows, cartoon shows--and he's written extensively for comic books and virtually every other kind of venue over many decades. But what I like most about Mark is his common sense, his reverence for all forms of popular media dating back to the vaudeville of the 1800s--and his unmatched generosity and kindness. He is one of the most decent and compassionate observers of this vale of tears I've ever read. And he's a hell of a lot of fun! Here's Mark noting Stan Lee Day.

Happy Stan Lee Day!

by Mark Evanier

Today's Stan Lee's birthday. You can find out how old he is with about two seconds of Googling but if you've seen him the last few years, you won't believe the number. I saw him about two weeks ago and he still radiates as much energy as any character who ever appeared in a Stan Lee comic.

I enjoy watching him in action these days. He's very, very good at being Stan Lee...very good at being a celebrity, shaking hands, signing autographs. I'm not sure who's getting more of a thrill out of it — Stan or the people he meets. A few months ago at San Diego, I was invited to be on a panel with him and I didn't say a lot. I just sat there on the dais watching the audience staring at him and smiling and thinking how they were going to go home and tell friends — for the rest of their lives, probably — "I got to see Stan Lee in person." Of all the characters he created or co-created, the most colorful is still Stan Lee, himself. He's also the most incredible and I hope he goes on being Stan Lee for a long, long time.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Little Fockers - Little Success


Ed here: This long paragraph from Deadline Hollywood tells you just how movies (and sausages) sometimes get made.

1. Little Fockers (Universal) NEW [3,536 Theaters]
Wednesday $7.2M, Thursday $7.1M, Friday $5M, Saturday $14.5M
3-Day Weekend $34M, Cume $48.3M

This was supposed to be the big get-out-the-audience Christmas weekend family comedy, and exit polling showed the audience was 57%/43% female vs. male, and 53%/47% under vs over age 30. Granted, the Christmas Day total was almost 3 times Christmas Eve. But these are Universal's own less-than-encouraging numbers as well as 3-day weekend and 5-day holiday cumes for this third in the Meet The Parents/Meet The Fockers franchise starring Robert de Niro and Ben Stiller, with the Friday and Saturday estimates for Little Fockers only about 75% of the take for the same exact play period of Meet The Fockers which also opened during the Christmas holiday. Watching the sausage being made when it came to this major studio laugher wasn't pretty. At one point, Universal contemplated replacing director Paul Weitz with producer-writer John Hamburg on The Little Fockers. But that would have resulted in a Directors Guild dust-up. Plus, Adam Fogelson had just taken over as Uni Pictures chairman and didn't want to throw the already traumatized studio into a worse funk. So the decision was made to fix the movie in post. Weitz, Hamburg, Stiller, and Jay Roach spent two months going through the footage and finalized a week of pickups with all the principal cast. So Universal scheduled more than half a dozen full-blown scenes, including 4 with Dustin Hoffman who originally had been written out of the threequel when the studio couldn't reach a deal with him. But Hamburg and Roach helped convince Dustin to reprise his role opposite Barbra Streisand and he didn't come cheap. This is now at least a $100M budget film. Universal continued to spin that Little Fockers could have gone out "as is" but the studio "wanted to make it better as an investment in the future of the franchise." I always thought this threequel would kill the studio's golden goose -- and with only 9% positive reviews on Rotten Tomatoes and a "B-" CinemaScore, it likely did.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Richard S. Wheeler; Noirboiled Notes


Ed here: I was going to quote parts of Richard Wheeler's piece from his Curmugdeon's Diary ( but it's done so well I'm reprinting the entire post. Thanks, Richard.


Into the Sunset by Richard S. Wheeler

Ron Charles, the Washington Post's gifted fiction reviewer, began a review of a literary story set in the West published by Little, Brown, with this:

By Ron Charles
Wednesday, December 22, 2010
When people talk about genre fiction, their list peters out somewhere after romance and sci-fi - long before they get down to westerns, those once-mighty bestsellers that now seem as quaint as leather fringe. (Quick: Who won this year's Spur Award?) You don't have to be all that old to remember an era when the sun rose every day on novels about cowboys and horses, but two decades after Louis L'Amour took his boots off, Bantam is publishing his books in "Legacy Editions," a sclerotic label if there ever was one. Cormac McCarthy has left horses for the apocalypse. And reviewing a Larry McMurtry novel last year, our reviewer said, "The prose seems summary in nature, imparting a 'let's get this over with' quality."

Them would be fightin' words if anybody still cared.

Richard: The novel he reviews is contemporary, ranch-oriented, and bears no resemblance to traditional western fiction. It should not be called a western at all. It is simply a rural story set in modern Arizona, with a woman author and heroine, which is what attracted Charles's interest.

He is certainly expressing a reality that can't be rationalized away. Only Pinnacle and Berkley have significant western lines, and these depend heavily on erotic fiction (Berkley) or gunman stories with high body counts (Pinnacle). The ranch western is pretty hard to find these days, as is the trail drive novel, as well as the mining camp story and the Indian Wars story. The subgenre fur trade story is about gone too. Mustangers, wagon train masters, gold-seekers, homesteaders, Pony Express, nesters, vigilantes, rustlers, scouts, buffalo hunters, pretty much gone.

The genre western isn't dead, and won't die soon, but don't expect any literary Viagra to change things.

---------------------------Noirboiled Notes

Here's a site that all stripe of noir fans should enjoy. David Rachels reviews the noirish world with brief punchy overviews that reveal an eclectic and highly opinionated mind. So far I only agree with about half of his judgements but he writes so well I have to credit his observations. A literate, lively site that will introduce new noir fans to the full spectrum of the the genre--and serve as a refresher course for long time fans like myself.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010



Ed here: Last night I talked about Lee Server's excellent biography of Robert Mitchum. Here's Lee's masterful take on the pulps.
Used copies are readily available. (From 2009)


Before he became known for his excellent biographies of Robert Mitchum, Ava Gardner and Samuel Fuller, Server wrote and co-edited several books about noir. I collaborated with him on two of them. His knowledge of noir films made me feel like the tourist I am.

He also wrote one of the finest books on pulp fiction I've ever read, Danger is My Business. It's filled with full colors of cover from every genre of pulps and stories about the writers and artists and editors who made them so successful for two decades. Just one example--do you know how Myrna Loy got her last name? I didn't. It turns out the mysterious Peter Ruric, author of Fast One and several classic hardboiled Black Mask stories, gave it to her when she was still a dancer in a nightclub. Very little is known about Ruric who's real name was George Sims and who was born not far from Cedar Rapids.

Each genre gets it own chapter-horror, adventure-western, private eye, romance and sex, hero pulps and science fiction as well as a chapter on the so-called Fiction Factories that ruled pulp land.

The romance and sex chapter surprised me. These pulps took real risks given the prevailing morality of the era. Robert Leslie Bellems set the tone for the naughty hardboiled male writers while women turned in the real erotica.

Same with the horror pulps. Looking at the covers I'm struck by how many of them depicted female bondage. The scantily clad (and usually great looking) heroines were always tied up by some fiend.

We all know how a lot of blurbs work. One writer wants to help another writer so he praises the book. You can usually tell when the blurb writer is log rolling. "I don't think I've ever read a novel as stupendously suspenseful or as monumentally wonderful or as Nobel-worthy as Sure I Killed, I Killed Him Good. And there's print on every page! Honest!"

But here are two blurbs that ring true for sure.

"Danger is My Business Takes me back forty years to my beginnings. Thank God for the pulps!" Elmore Leonard

"Danger is My Business is pure gold. It is so much fun to read. Lee Server's enthusiasm is well-matched to a writing style so witty and a knowledge of the subject so wide-ranging that Danger I My Business is a total page-tuner, as involving as any of the magazines he's opened for us." Donald E. Westlake

This is a book that belongs in your library.

Robert Mitchum - Lee Server


I first got to know Lee Server by reading his books. He's written some of the finest work ever done on the worlds of hardboiled and noir. I was lucky enough to work with him on a few of them. One of his finest books is his biography of Robert Mitchum. I've started rereading it again and I'm learning a lot more the third time through. If you're interested in Mitchum, Hollywood or a career arc that defied categorizing, this fact-packed well-written biography is for you. This is an interview Lee did at the time of the book's publication. The entire thing is well worth reading.

LEE: Mitchum was never BIG box office like a John Wayne or . . . arggh . . . Harrison Ford or Stallone. He was never at the right studio, never got the "good" parts or the obvious prestige jobs. To people who know old movies only from catching one of those network "AFI Presents Tom Hanks Presents the Fifty Greatest Crying Scenes" specials he's a minor figure perhaps. But he has always had a strong and rather rabid following--and a diverse following, I mean from intellectuals to tough blue collar guys (and gals)--and there are folks who have found things in Mitchum as an artist and to an extent as a person, found someone who speaks to them, or for them--his persona, his style, his outlook on life. Of course all the great iconic stars offer some sort of instructional appeal but Mitchum I think is more complex, more poetic. You asked if I think his appeal will continue to last and grow. I think so very much. And my publisher and creditors hope so too.

ALAN: The Mitchum book presents an extremely paradoxical man. It appears that he was talented, charming, intellectual and well liked while conversely being a serial philanderer, alcoholic, crude, and occasionally cruel. Did your research and writing lead you to form any conclusions about Bob Mitchum, the man or do the facts simply speak for themselves?

LEE: Mitchum's life was an ongoing tussle--sometimes a bloody brawl--between these conflicting sides of his nature, the sensitivity, the poetry, the gracious, laxy [sic], live-and-let-live side of him and the darkness, the violence, the compulsion to piss, figuratively and--as readers of the book will know--literally, on everything. He was self-destructive and often just plain destructive. Often his behavior, his decisions and comments were inexplicable. People who knew him for decades, people who knew him well for his entire life, confessed they could not understand all that made him tick. I lay out all the various and possible motives for his behavior but I let the reader ponder the riddle of Mitchum without pretending I hold the solution. I wanted, in fact, this unresolvedness, this mystery, to hang over the reader at the end. Don't know if it worked, but I tried.

for the rest go here:

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Quarry - Max Allan Collins & Terry Beatty


I've said many, many times here that Max Collins' Quarry books are among my all-time favorite hardboiled crime novels. For me there are two reasons for my enthusiasm-One, Max makes Quarry a real human being, something fictional hired killers almost never are; Two, the storytelling in these books is flawless. The pacing, the twists, the black comedy, the actually sexy sex and the always staggering payoffs. These are books that can be enjoyed again and again. I've probably read each of them at least five or six times. They get richer with age.

Now, thanks to Perfect Crime books, the Quarrys have the packaging they deserve. Terry Beatty, artist extraordinary, has designed the look and done the illustrations. Terry has won many awards for his work and has done everything from Batman to advertising.

The photo at the top was Max at the time he began writing the Quarrys. He explains this in his excellent afterwards found in each novel.

Holiday gifts? You bet. Anybody who appreciates superior storytelling, vivid characterization and plotting that just doesn't quit will be happy to get these books. I promise.

Sunday, December 12, 2010



1. Tell us about your current novel (or project).

I’m going to cheat and talk about 3 of my novels.

I just put out an original e-book for the Kindle and Nook, something that’s a very high octane, ultra noir crime and horror hybrid called Vampire Crimes. Think Pulp Fiction with vampires and it gives you some idea what this one’s about. I wrote Vampire Crimes back in 2006, but my agent at the time had her hands full trying to sell Pariah, The Caretaker of Lorne Field and Outsourced, so she never did anything with it. I eventually switched agents, moving to Matt Bialer over at Sandford J. Greenburger, and Matt was excited by this book, thought it would be an easy sale, and we came close—we had a number of young editors who loved this book and tried to acquire it but ran into problems for any of these reasons (a) editors higher on the food chain were trying to bring in their own vampire books and didn’t want the competition (b) people were afraid the book was too noir for a thriller (c) the fear also that the book was too much of a horror novel, especially with the vampire genre being co-opted as more of a teen romance. We also had the problem that Matt was sending this out in March of 2009, which was when the publishing industry had started to go South in a big way. So it didn’t sell, and I got sick of seeing of one of my better noir books gathering dust, so I put it out there myself for about the price of a cup of coffee.

My latest print book release was The Caretaker of Lorne Field, which Overlook Press published in late August. This isn’t a crime or mystery novel, but instead a mix of horror and allegorical fable, and the reader reaction to it has been great, with the book already being nominated for a Black Quill Award for best dark genre novel of the year among some very stiff competition, including Stephen King’s Under the Done, Peter Straub’s A Dark Matter and Justin Cronin’s The Passage.

The basic premise of the book is a simple one—a family has been responsible for weeding a field for the last three hundred years, with the belief being that if the field isn’t weeded according to the strict guidelines set out by the contract, that the weeds will grow into monsters and the world will quickly end. Now in present time, the current Caretaker believes these legends and believes he’s saving the world each day, but few others in this town still believe this. As simple as this concept is, the book is almost like a Rorschach test where each reader seems to take something different from it—some readers looking at the book as pure horror, others as a religious parable, others as a political parable, others as an allegory of sacrifice vs. selfishness, or of belief faith vs. reality, and the list goes on.

In February, Serpent’s Tail will be releasing my bank heist crime novel, Outsourced, which Booklist already calls a small gem of crime fiction, and which has gotten some very nice reviews in the UK from The London Times, The Financial Times and Morning Star, and a rave review from The Australian. I have a film deal with this with Impact Pictures, who are the guys who make the Resident Evil movies, and the script and financing are already set, so hopefully this will go into production soon. This is a fun, fast-paced twisty crime book that people are going to enjoy.

2. Can you give a sense of what you're working on now?

I just finished a Julius Katz & Archie novel. My novella, Julius Katz, got a great reaction from mystery readers, winning several awards including the Shamus, and since all the other books I ever submitted to NY were always rejected for being too dark, too gritty, too unlikable characters, etc., I decided this time to write a charming and lighthearted book with endearing characters that already have 1000s of fans from the stories with these same characters that have already appeared in Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine. The feedback I’ve gotten from my early readers and Julius Katz fans that I showed the manuscript to has been extremely enthusiastic, and the novel really works much better than the stories. It should be a no-brainer for NY, but we’ll see.

3. What is the greatest pleasure of a writing career?

The creative part. It’s such a great high when you get lost in the writing and the rest of the world disappears. I love the writing part of the business

4. What is the greatest DISpleasure?

The business side of writing.

5. If you have one piece of advice for the publishing world, what is it?

Learn a lesson from the independent publishing houses and start buying the books you love and trust your readers. And, uh, publish my Julius Katz novel—1000s of mystery readers have already enthusiastically embraced the characters from the Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine short stories, so no reason to talk yourself out of it with reasons that don’t make any sense!

6. What is the best piece of writing advice you ever got?

Enjoy the journey.

7. What is the worst piece of writing advice you ever got?

This is specific advice I got regarding Small Crimes when an editor gave me a three page analysis of everything that he thought was wrong with the book. If I didn’t trust my own instincts, I would have ruined the book by blindly taking his suggestions. It is important to listen to other people, but ultimately you have to trust your own judgment and gut level feelings.

8. What is the best piece of writing business advice you ever got?

Don’t stop writing while you’re waiting on submissions. Just keep writing. It helps keep you productive and keeps your head in a good place.

9. What is the worst piece of writing business advice you ever got?

That’s a tough one, Ed. Just as I ignored most of the good advice I’ve gotten over the years I think I’ve probably tuned out most of the bad advice as well.

10. Are there two or three forgotten mystery writers you'd like to see in print again?

Gil Brewer and Cornell Woolrich have some of their books in print, but it would be nice to see more of them.

11. Tell us about selling your first novel. Most writers never forget that moment.

My first sale was Fast Lane to the Italian publisher, Meridiano Zero, which happened due to an odd sequence of events. My first English rights sale was Small Crimes to Serpent’s Tail, which was also due an unusual sequence of events, and I’ll talk about that one. Everyone in New York had rejected Small Crimes, some publishers several times, and I was getting ready to throw in the towel and quitting writing. I had several people, including Ken Bruen and Vicki Hendricks saying really good things about this book, and because of that I was able to get John Williams at Serpent’s Tail to take a look at it, but John told me the chances of them buying it were slim—that they only buy books that they absolutely love and feel they can’t live without, so while I thought it likely that John would like Small Crimes, I didn’t expect to sell them the novel. After a year of not hearing anything, I decided to accept an offer I had from Five Star, and call it quits. Five Star has good people, and is a good library publisher (selling almost entirely to libraries), but it wasn’t what I was looking for to keep going at this. Two days after I signed and mailed back the contract to Five Star, I got a call from John that Serpent’s Tail wanted to buy it, and at that point I was scrambling to try to arrange something with Five Star. Fortunately the people there are great and we worked out trading my novel Bad Thoughts for Small Crimes, but it was such a stressful month while trying to work this out, that I couldn’t really enjoy the moment of selling Small Crimes. I enjoyed it more a couple of years later when Small Crimes was published and NPR picked it as one of the 5 best mystery and crime novels of 2008.

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Pro-File: Lee Goldberg

Pro-File: Lee Goldberg
Member of The Top Suspense Group

From Lee Goldberg's website:

Lee Goldberg writes books and television shows.

"His mother wanted him to be a doctor, and his grandfather wanted him to go into the family furniture business. Instead, he put himself through UCLA as a freelance journalist, writing for such publications as American Film, Starlog, Newsweek, The Los Angeles Times Syndicate, The Washington Post and The San Francisco Chronicle (He also wrote erotic letters to the editor for Playgirl at $25-a-letter, but he doesn't tell people about that, he just likes to boast about those "tiffany" credits).

"He published his first book .357 Vigilante (as "Ian Ludlow," so he'd be on the shelf next to Robert Ludlum) while he was still a UCLA student. The West Coast Review of Books called his debut "as stunning as the report of a .357 Magnum, a dynamic premiere effort," singling the book out as "The Best New Paperback Series" of the year. Naturally, the publisher promptly went bankrupt and he never saw a dime in royalties.

"Welcome to publishing, Lee.

"His subsequent books include the non-fiction books Successful Television Writing and Unsold Television Pilots ("The Best Bathroom Reading Ever!" San Francisco Chronicle) as well as the novels My Gun Has Bullets ("It will make you cackle like a sitcom laugh track," Entertainment Weekly), Beyond the Beyond ("Outrageously entertaining," Kirkus Reviews), and The Man with the Iron-On Badge ("as dark and twisted as anything Hammet or Chandler ever dreamed up," Kirkus Reviews).

"Goldberg broke into television with a freelance script sale to Spenser: For Hire. Since then, his TV writing & producing credits have covered a wide variety of genres, including sci-fi (SeaQuest), cop shows (Hunter), martial arts (Martial Law), whodunits (Diagnosis Murder, Nero Wolfe), the occult (She-Wolf of London), kid's shows (R.L. Stine's The Nightmare Room), T&A (Baywatch), comedy (Monk) and utter crap (The Highwayman). His TV work has earned him two Edgar Award nominations from the Mystery Writers of America.

"His two careers, novelist and TV writer, merged when he began writing the Diagnosis Murder series of original novels, based on the hit CBS TV mystery that he also wrote and produced. And he also writes novels based on Monk, another show he's worked on.

"Goldberg lives in Los Angeles with his wife and his daughter and still sleeps in "Man From UNCLE" pajamas."


1 The Monk novels are big hits. One just appeared in paperback, correct?

Yes, “Mr. Monk is Cleaned Out” is now in bookstores, drugstores, airports, e-retailers and finer supermarket nationwide. The hardcover really seemed to hit a nerve…in a good way…with readers and reviewers, since it dealt with the current economic crisis. Monk essentially loses his savings and his job…and is facing eviction. I think it gave readers a chance to find some laughter in their own predicaments. The story also touches on the whole Bernie Madoff thing. Monk is convinced a Madoff-like guy is guilty of murder…even though he’s under house arrest, is wearing an GPS ankle bracelet, and is under constant police and media surveillance.

2. What’s the next Monk book about and when does it come out?

It’s called “Mr. Monk on the Road” and comes out in hardcover in January. It’s the first book set after the final episode of the TV series. The book is also something of a departure…literally. Monk and Natalie take Ambrose on a road trip in a motorhome. Naturally, they come across a murder along the way.

3. What is the greatest pleasure of a writing career?

It's exactly that -- having a writing career. I get paid to sit at my computer and make-believe. People pay me to share my fantasies. It doesn't get any better than that.

4. The greatest DIS-pleasure?

The opportunities for writers in book publishing and episodic TV are shrinking every day. It's a scary time to be a professional writer if you aren't already a bestselling author or an A-list screenwriter/TV showrunner.

5. If you have one piece of advice for the publishing world, what is it?

Hire me to write more books and pay me more!

6. Are there two or three forgotten mystery writers you'd like to see in print again?

Richard S. Prather, Harry Whittington, Dan J. Marlowe...and, from more recent times, Richard Barre, Jeremiah Healy, and Doug Swanson.

7. Tell us about selling your first novel. Most writers never forget that moment.

My first novel under my own name was "My Gun Has Bullets" (I'd written four others under the pseudonym "Ian Ludlow"). I wrote it out of frustration. I was stuck in Canada working on a terrible syndicated action show starring a compete imbecile. Instead of getting into arguments with the so-called star, I went back to my hotel room and took my anger out at the keyboard. The book was a broad satire on the TV business. The tagline was: "The Mob is bringing their style of doing business to TV. They don't cancel series. They kill them." It was great fun to write.

8. What do you consider the highlight of your career thus far?

In publishing, it would have to be writing "The Man with the Iron-on Badge," which didn't sell well but it was very well reviewed, was nominated for the Shamus, and is probably my best book. I am very proud of it and wish it had been successful enough for me to still be writing about that character.

In television, it was the three years I wrote and produced "Diagnosis Murder" with William Rabkin (who writes the "Psych" novels). We knew even as we were doing it that things would probably never be as good again, which somehow made the experience even sweeter.

9. How about the low point?

In publishing, it was the commercial failure of my book "The Walk," which also didn't get any critical notice one way or the other (but the story has a happy ending – it has become a Kindle bestseller. I’ve sold nearly 19,000 ebook editions of “The Walk” in almost a year-and-a-half). In TV, it was writing for "The New Adventures of Flipper," starring a teenage Jessica Alba and a dolphin.

10. Which book or short story would you recommend to readers unfamiliar with your work?

My best book is "The Man with the Iron-On Badge," but it's pretty hard to find. Otherwise, I'd recommend the DIAGNOSIS MURDER novel "The Past Tense" (the darkest entry in that series) or any of my MONK books, all of which are light-hearted mysteries that I'm proud of.

Thanks very much, Ed

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Really Interesting J.A. Konrath: The Bestseller Shift

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

The Bestseller Shift

In just a week, Amanda Hocking has sold over 10,000 ebooks.

Who is Amanda Hocking?

She's a self-published paranormal romance author. Check out her blog.

Not counting sales of Shaken, Afraid, or my Jack Daniels ebooks, I've sold about 2200 ebooks this week. And I've got about three times as many titles for sale as Amanda does.

Now, this isn't a competition, and writers should never compare their numbers, but I'm bringing Amanda's numbers up because I think it's indicative of a paradigm shift within the industry.

In the traditional publishing model, the most important factor in how many books sell is distribution.f

or the rest go here:

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Killing Reveals Truths of Life at Limelight’s Edge

Ed here: The difference between tabloid reporting (and I include everything I've seen on TV about Ronni Chasen up to now) and real reporting is the difference between urine and apple cider. They look similar when you hold them up to the light but if you know what you're looking at, you won't be fooled. Like many people I've been following the Ronni Chasen murder case but not until I read this article did I realize just how downright inept all the other stories about her really were. She was, according to the press reports since day one,, super-rich, super-popwerful and the belle of any ball she attended. I guess not.

December 4, 2010
Killing Reveals Truths of Life at Limelight’s Edge
LOS ANGELES — Ronni Chasen could be loud. And she pushed.

At an event like the Governors Awards of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, one of the last show business soirĂ©es she attended before her murder on Nov. 16, Ms. Chasen sent reporters skittering for shelter as she scanned the room for targets of opportunity — people to introduce to clients like the film composer Hans Zimmer and the soundtrack expert Diane Warren.

At 64, Ms. Chasen was fighting to keep her place in a Hollywood public relations game that had mostly gone to firms bigger than her boutique Chasen and Company, or to players who were younger.

Assumptions of a pampered Hollywood life have shifted since she was killed last month, shot repeatedly while driving home from a movie premiere. The unsolved killing is pulling back the veil on a person who, like many in the show business capital, focused on holding onto a steadily eroding modicum of glamour.

Dismissing impressions of privilege, her longtime friend Martha Smilgis said: “Ronni was not a Jewish princess. She was a Jewish businesswoman.”

The distinction was Ms. Smilgis’s way of sorting through a bewildering thicket of facts that have begun to surface as both friends and investigators come to terms with the shooting of a woman who was hardly the most important in Hollywood but had become one of its best-known stock characters.

Ms. Chasen operated a modest public relations firm with the sort of clients who might be expected to pay fees of only a few thousand dollars a month — not much when measured against the need to pay salaries for her staff of four and the demands of a Hollywood life.

for the rest go here:

Saturday, December 04, 2010

Six Rules for Success; Women in Baseball

Ed Here: Writer Susan Oleksiw has an an interesting piece on her blog tonight:

Six Rules for Success by Susan Oleksiw

Mystery writing conferences are a great opportunity for those of use who work at our craft in isolation most of the time to get together and renew our enthusiasm. This year’s Crime Bake was one of the best, and I came away with lots of things to think about and new books to read. The panels brought a lot of new names and topics, but through it all, writers came back to a few main points about writing and the life of a writer. These are worth keeping in mind no matter who the writer is—the author of a bestseller, of a first book, or of half a dozen mysteries that sell modestly. So here they are, the qualities of a successful writer as reiterated by a number of writers who have achieved a range of success.

First, be persistent. Writing the novel takes time, selling it to a publisher takes time, producing it takes time, and selling it to the book-buying public takes time. It can take twenty years to become an overnight sensation, so keep working year after year after year, and you will continue to learn and grow and eventually get there.

for the rest go here:


-------------------------------Barbara Gregorich

Hi Ed,

You may have seen this on my posts, but in case not I'm writing to tell you that I've just published Research Notes for Women at Play: The Story of Women in Baseball, Vol. I: Maud Nelson, Margaret Nabel. This is an 8x10 book (notebook sized) of 114 pages, consisting of original newspaper articles written between 1875 and 1935. Most of the articles are quoted in their entirety, some are summarized. These are a portion of the research notes from which I wrote Women at Play back in 1992.

This book will be of interest to baseball researchers, to women in baseball who want to know their history, perhaps to baseball fans who aren't interested in research but would enjoy reading old-timey articles, maybe to novelists looking for the flavor of the times, and, I hope, to high school English teachers who assign research papers to students.

Since publishing this book last month, I’ve already heard from baseball researchers who said that information in my book led them to some aspect of their own research they didn’t know about or hadn’t considered.

The book is available only through Amazon, $12 for the softbound format, $5 for the Kindle format.

Here's the link:;

Best wishes,