Jul 162014
BOLO Books: Did you and/or your publisher have any trepidation about centering your latest novel around a school shooting—with it being such a grim and hot-button topic of discussion these days?
Marcia Clark: People want to talk about this subject. They need to talk about it. We can’t push this under the rug and pretend that’ll make it all go away. We have to get out ahead of the problem and we can’t do that unless we to learn as much as we can, talk about it and find ways to spot these killers before they can act. That is, ultimately, our best protection. But it’s a difficult subject, to say the least. So putting it into a fictional setting creates somewhat of a remove, a safer forum to learn about it and think about it. I’ve been very glad and relieved to see all the positive reviews and reactions, and all the discussions the book has sparked.
Jul 072014

Stolen, without shame or apology, from a Yahoo newsgroup—

Senior trying to set a password:

WINDOWS: Please enter your new password.
USER: cabbage

WINDOWS: Sorry, the password must be more than 8 characters
USER: boiled cabbage

WINDOWS: Sorry, the password must contain 1 numerical character
USER: 1 boiled cabbage

WINDOWS: Sorry, the password cannot have blank spaces.
USER: 50bloodyboiledcabbages

WINDOWS: Sorry, the password must contain at least one upper case
USER: 50BLOODYboiledcabbages

WINDOWS: Sorry, the password cannot use more than one upper case
character consecutively.
USER: 50BloodyBoiledCabbagesShovedUpYourAssIfYouDon’tGiveMeAccessNow!

WINDOWS: Sorry, the password cannot contain punctuation.

WINDOWS: Sorry, that password is already in use.

 Posted by at 1:10 pm
Jul 062014

Many of my books have been translated into various languages and published around the globe. But many have not, and there’s a new web-based business that brings writers and translators together on a shared-royalty basis. Will it work? I’ve no idea, but it seems worth a try, and I’ve posted two of my titles, The Specialists and Such Men Are Dangerous. The site is babelcube.com, and if any of y’all are eager to translate one of ‘em into Spanish or Turkish or Finnish or Hungarian or…well, pretty much anything this side of Basque, visit their site and see what you think of the operation.

 Posted by at 2:03 am
May 092014
“We spend billions of dollars fighting Islamic terrorism in places like Iraq and Afghanistan, when there’s a much bigger, more dangerous threat right across the border. And we’re funding it.”

- Ralph Pezzullo recounts a conversation with a police chief about Mexican drug cartels. Hunt the Jackal, Book 4 in his SEAL Team Six series with former Navy SEAL Don Mann, addresses the pernicious reach of these cartels head-on. It goes on sale next Tuesday.
Mar 172014


So, here’s Seth Meyers’ show from Tuesday night, March 11. He’s doing the funny, and then around minute 20, first guest Rachel Maddow comes out. And around minute 23 and 30 seconds, they start talking comics.

I’m still in geek-fugue about this. It’s always flattering to get a shout out, but to get a shout out from not one, but two people I hold in such high esteem…

…yeah, I’ll be over here in the corner, grinning and giggling.

Rachel Maddow admits to Seth Meyers that she gives copies of Greg Rucka’s Queen & Country to members of Congress, saying “It’ll give them helpful insight for their jobs.”

I wonder how Greg Rucka’s forthcoming novel, Bravo, would go over!

Feb 142014

jpattersonPublishing circles were reeling today after this morning’s surprise announcement of the merger of pop fiction titans James Patterson and Clive Cussler, who between them are likely to account for twenty bestsellers in calendar year 2014 alone. While neither author could be reached for comment, a source close to both men confirmed that the deal will include all rights—film, electronic, and audio—to the two authors’ innumerable backlist titles as well as all current and future work.

“This is very unsettling,” declared Georgette Rasmussen, proprietor of Books Are Our Friends. “Independent booksellers are facing desperate challenges these days, and I don’t see how this can possibly help us.”

ccusslerInterviews with two officers of Authors Guild, both of whom insisted on anonymity, brought curiously contradictory responses. “I think it’s very exciting,” said one. “This  shows the great resourcefulness of our membership, and the inherent ability of writers to adjust to changing conditions in today’s publishing environment.”

Her colleague was less sanguine, characterizing the merger as “appalling, and very much of a piece with the consolidation in publishing. You could see the handwriting on the wall back in 1962, when Harper & Brothers gobbled up Row, Peterson & Co. If Patterson and Cussler combine, how can other authors possibly remain competitive? They’ll almost have to follow suit, and you can look forward to the day when half a dozen mega-writers dominate the market.”

The two Guild representatives did find one point of agreement. “If you want to know who gets the blame,” said one, “you don’t have to look any further than Amazon.”

Literary agent Morgan Wheelwright cautioned against a rush to judgment. “First of all,” she pointed out, “there’s no certainty that the Department of Justice is going to sign off on something this unprecedented.” Her chief concern, she added, was for those clients of hers who were “co-writers” for one or the other of the principals. “We’ve been assured that our writers’ jobs are safe, and that if anything there’ll be a need for additional writers to keep the increasing stream of books flowing. If that’s so, I think this is a great opportunity for our writers, and writers in general.”

Marketing maven Jason Bordelaise echoed this sentiment. “I can see a time,” he said, “when every writer will start out by ghosting for or co-writing with a mega-writer, and that’s a win-win for everybody. The huge challenge in publishing has always been selling an author’s first book, an unknown quantity with no market awaiting it. And after that there’s the hurdle of the second novel, scorned by all those readers who were understandably disappointed with the first. But now there won’t be any first or second novels. Every book published will be a known quantity. Who could possibly object to that?”

One executive of a Big Five firm, insisting on anonymity, questioned the term merger. “Patterson has 15 books slated for 2014 publication,” he said. “Cussler has what, five? You call it a merger. I call it a lark pie.”

A little Googling helped us with that one. When Syria and Egypt linked up in 1958 to form the United Arab Republic, cynics likened the disproportionate amalgam to a pie consisting of equal parts of lark and camel—one lark to one camel. (In 1961, the Syrian lark took its leave and the experiment was over.)

The blogosphere, as you can imagine, has been buzzing, as internet observers and ardent self-publishers have been airing and sharing their thoughts on the new development. While every possible view has been given voice, all seem to agree that the times are indeed changing.

As further evidence of this, please note the rumor—still unsubstantiated!—that talks have been initiated between representatives of Stephen King and Mary Higgins Clark.





 Posted by at 1:23 am
Jan 172014

Lawrence Block is sitting in the back of a cozy Greenwich Village bar sharing a plate of crunchy french fries and talking about how, at age 75, he is helping to expand the publishing industry and reinvigorate his own career with the latest entry in the ever-popular Bernie Rhodenbarr mystery series.

Click here to read the article

Jan 062014

WriteForYourLifeIn the 1980s, Lawrence Block developed an interactional seminar that adapted elements of the human potential movement specifically for writers. For several years he and his wife, Lynne, traveled the country conducting seminars that focused on the inner game of writing, and designed to enable participants to get out of their own way and put their best work on paper.

This book was written to make the seminar available to a larger audience, and at a lower price. Block self-published it in 1986, in an edition of 5000 copies, which sold out in short order. A few years later he stopped offering the seminar, having tired of the guru trip and preferring to concentrate on his own writing, and ever since the book’s been impossible to obtain.

When eBooks came around, Block arranged for HarperCollins to publish Write For Your Life in that format. But it’s the sort of text one wants to be able to page through, and a printed book is just more user-friendly. In the fall of 2013, an assistant found the last box of 25 copies of the 1986 edition in a storage cupboard; Block offered them in a newsletter, and they sold out within three hours.

This is the original book, with a foreword bringing it up to date. With the book, as with the seminar, it doesn’t matter at all where you are in your writing career, or what kind of writing you do. That’s all beside the point. Write For Your Life is about making the best out of what you are and who you are.

Click here for the new print edition of WRITE FOR YOUR LIFE