Sunday, May 25, 2008

Has New York Become Too Safe To Write About

IAMTW Grandmaster Donald Bain was among the mystery writers interviewed by the New York Times on how crime writers are adapting to a safer city.
As New York celebrates the sharp decline in crime — earlier this year the city revealed that the 494 homicides in 2007 were the fewest since reliable police statistics became available in 1963 — the crime writer may be the only New Yorker for whom that drop is not an unequivocal blessing. Just as the breakup of the Soviet Union caused problems for writers whose plots hinged on the dark doings of the cold war, so New York’s crime writers are wondering where to find grist in a far safer city.

[...]Sometimes New York’s crime writers grow wistful about the bad old days for unexpected reasons, as was the case with Donald Bain, the highly successful author of more than 30 “Murder, She Wrote” books along with other crime novels.

In January, Mr. Bain was the main speaker at a meeting of the Mystery Writers of America, held at the National Arts Club, opposite Gramercy Park.

At dinner in the club’s high-ceilinged dining room, Mr. Bain, a tall man with a white beard, reminisced about the early ’90s, when his daughter lived on Sullivan Street in Greenwich Village. Her apartment building was next to a social club run by Vincent Gigante, a k a the Chin, the mobster whose associates used to sit outside the club, playing cards and drinking late into the night. If one of the men saw his daughter emerging from the subway station a few blocks away, Mr. Gigante dispatched one of them to walk her home safely.

The other writers at the table laughed, but their laughs were tinged with nostalgia for a vanished version of New York that could hand you a scene, just like that.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Monk Galley Giveaway

I have two extra, bound galleys for MR. MONK GOES TO GERMANY which I will be giving away at random.

Here's the a review of your favorite MONK novel on Amazon and send me a copy of it by June 1st at: lee AT Leegoldberg DOT com.

I will put the names into a hat and select two winners at random to receive a signed galley. Please be sure to include your snail mail address in the email. Winners will be announced here.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

The Scribe Awards and How You Can Enter

The Fourth Annual Scribe Awards are now open for submissions. The Scribes, presented by the International Association of Media Tie-In Writers (, honors excellence in licensed tie-in writing—novels based on TV shows, movies, and games. Here are the submissions guidelines:

The Scribe Awards and How You Can Enter

The IAMTW will present SIX AWARDS in THREE CATEGORIES for books (& comic books and graphic novels) published in 2008. We will also honor one "Grandmaster" for career achievement in the field.

SPECULATIVE FICTION (Science Fiction, Fantasy, Supernatural Horror)

BEST NOVEL (original) - A licensed, original novel using pre-existing characters or worlds from a movie, television series, computer game, play, or an existing series of novels (i.e., new novels extending a literary franchise, i.e., DUNE, James Bond, etc.)

BEST ADAPTATION - A licensed novelization based on an existing screenplay, whether a feature film, episodic teleplay, computer game, script, or play.

GENERAL FICTION (Mysteries, Thrillers, Westerns, Suspense, Historicals, Psychological Horror, Romances)

BEST NOVEL (original) - A licensed, original novel using pre-existing characters or worlds from a movie, television series, computer game, play, or an existing series of novels (i.e., new novels extending a literary franchise, i.e. DUNE, James Bond, etc.)

BEST NOVEL (adapted) A licensed novelization based on an existing screenplay, whether a feature film, episodic teleplay, computer game, script, or play.

YOUNG ADULT (All Genres)

BEST ADAPTATION (defined as above)

BEST NOVEL (original) (defined as above)

GRANDMASTER (For Career Achievement)

The Fine Print Regarding The Categories…

For a category to go forward, three submissions leading to at least two nominations must pertain. In the case of a category falling short of submissions and/or nominations, entries will be transferred to the nearest appropriate category -- for example, BEST GENERAL (Adapted) category would go into an overall BEST NOVEL (Adapted) category that would include both Speculative and General submissions.

In the case of BEST ADAPTED (YA) or BEST ORIGINAL (YA), should submissions fall short of the minimal two nominations requirement, entries would shift into either BEST SPECULATIVE (Adapted) or BEST GENERAL (Adapted), depending upon the genre.

In the event a combining of categories becomes necessary in a given year (i.e., BEST NOVEL Adapted) the judging committee is authorized (but not required) to give more than one Scribe, reflecting the combined categories, if the committee members feel such recognition is warranted.

Horror entries have been divided into "Supernatural Horror" under SPECULATIVE and "Psychological Horror" under GENERAL. This is a judgment call the authors and then committee chairs must make, depending upon whether a submitted horror novel is more grounded in reality than the fantastic. Should a committee chair reject a title on this basis, the chair will forward all copies of the submitted book to the appropriate committee chair, and inform the author of the decision.

Should the author already have submitted another title to the other committee, the author will be given the opportunity to choose which of the two titles he or she wishes to have considered (since we have a one-book-per-category submission limitation).

The future of the Special Game-Related Scribes will be decided after this year's Gen-Con. If we decide to continue this award, game-related submissions in the Speculative Original and Adapted Categories will be simultaneously considered by those category judges for the "Best Game-Related" Scribes. A gaming-related book submitted in those categories is simultaneously eligible for both the "regular" and "game-related" Scribe Award.

How The Scribes Are Judged

The judging committees are made up of three of your peers from within the organization, writers who know the unique obstacles and restrictions that tie-in writers face, because they are tie-in writers themselves. The judges will read all the submissions in their category and select both the nominees and the winners (a system patterned after the Mystery Writers of America, International Thriller Writers, and the Private Eye Writers of America, among others).

Rules for Submission

* Authors can submit multiple titles, but only ONE BOOK PER CATEGORY/ONE CATEGORY PER BOOK (i.e. you can't submit the same book in two different categories or multiple titles in one category. Authors who've done several books in any one category need to pick the one title that seems strongest and submit only that).
* Only authors can submit their books for consideration but we encourage you to have your editors/publishers send the actual books on your behalf so you don't have to raid your author's copies or pay the postage.
* Judges can submit their work, but obviously not in the categories they are judging.
* The book must be a licensed work published for the first time between Jan 1, 2008 and Dec. 31, 2008. Only books with a copyright date of 2008 will be eligible for consideration. Though novels published through December 31, 2008, are eligible, entrants are required to get copies of eligible work into the hands of the category judges no later than December 1st, to allow adequate time to review the titles. Galleys are acceptable.
* All entrants MUST include a cover letter with each book. The cover letter must include the following information: the Category you are entering, Title of the Book, Name of the Author, Publication Date, Editor & Publisher, and email & "snailmail" addresses and phone numbers for the author and editor.
* A copy of all submissions—the book and cover letter—should be sent to each judge in the category you are entering and to the IAMTW. Please send an email to for the list of judges and their mailing addresses. IAMTW members can find the list in the MEMBERS ONLY section of the IAMTW site.
* Submission is free for any IAMTW member. Non-members must pay a $10 fee for each submission to cover our costs (payable via Paypal or by check to IAMTW, PO Box 8212, Calabasas, CA 91372).
* A list of all the books submitted will be posted on the IAMTW site and updated regularly. The nominees will be announced, to entrants and the media, in March 2009. The Scribes will be awarded in July 2009 at a location and date TBD.