Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Disputation with Charles!

Richard M. Blechta at the wheel.

You probably knew this was coming, but Charles, much as I love you too, I have to say I'm going to stick by my guns on what I said, and if you want a shoot-out the next time we see each other, I'm suggesting martinis at 50 paces! Then martinis at 25 paces. After that it will probably need to be martinis at less than 10 and sitting down.

I would not want to get a gazillion dollars and have to sell out my writing. I'm not alone. I know of one Very Famous Author who's had Hollywood come calling hoping to purchase rights and she sent 'em packing, sent 'em packing, I tell ya! I think Sara Paretsky might also be in with me on this one, too, after what they did to V.I Warshawski on the silver screen.

A friend was asked to write a craft-based series for one of the big NY publishers. It would come complete with patterns for making jewelry. (I'm sorry, but I think this sort of thing is ridiculous, but it does sell. Go figure.) She produced a book according to what they asked for, but added a subplot about something, shall we say, a little more hard-hitting and socially aware. They told her this wasn't quite what they had in mind, and she bowed out of the deal. Bully for her, I say!

Now I'm not saying that I wouldn't mind getting paid a lot more than I am at the moment when I take pen in hand or switch on the old steam-driven computer (I hear they have ones that run on electricity now.), but to me, there is more to life than having more money than you can spend in a few weeks. I don't need houses on 3 continents. I don't want employees. Trust me, if you became a "brand", you wouldn't have time to write the stuff you'd like to.

I wonder how J.K. Rowling sleeps at night? She could be the patron to the lot of us and still have ample pocket change available!

Maybe we should ask her if she would consider the idea.


I can tell you all right now that I'm going to miss my turn next week. I'm sorry. Here I am late again this week, and that's because of the new book which only came out last Friday. My apologies, but I'll be on the road with the 2008, Eastern Ontario & Quebec version of the Rick and Vick Show. Except, I'll be Vick-less! Actually, that's not true. I will NOT be Vick-less since I'm taking my wife, also named Vicki. It won't be the same, but I will manage somehow.

A Case of You got its maiden review this past weekend: Hamilton Spectator. Needless to say, I'm pretty darn happy.

So order your copy today! AND If you call our hotline in the next hour, we'll also throw in, absolutely free, a set of Ginzu knives. But that's not all! You'll also receive a weekend stay at our luxury resort in beautiful downtown Buffalo. That's right, our operators are standing by and they'll...

But I'm not selling out.


Anonymous said...

I probably should insist I wouldn't bend my writing principles for any amount of money because nobody is likely to test my resolve. But I guess it depends on exactly what sort of book would be wanted.

I spend most of my time writing articles for legal encyclopedias. I just wrote some chapters about condominium law. I really don't care about condominiums, personally, nor do I particularly enjoy writing in the style required. (A footnote a sentence doesn't make for one of those books you can't put down) However, it's an inoffensive subject and of use to it's readers. So, provided I was capable of writing, say, a romance (which I don't care about either -- the literary genre that is!) how much different would it be to take money to write it? And it'd probably be more fun to write than an article on condominium law.

On the other hand, I know of a fellow who recently had a book out, which he was hired to write, about the last Harry Potter book. It came out in advance of Rowling's book. Now, to me, that is just parasitism. You couldn't pay me enough to be a blood sucking flea on a successful author. So I guess it all depends. But it is an interesting question.

Anonymous said...

Well, damn...I got my "it's" messed up. Guess that's why thy have a "Preview" button!

Rick Blechta said...


Thanks for weighing in. I can't say I'd absolutely, positively, NEVER, EVER and under no circumstances sell out and do what Patterson is doing, but I'd like to think I wouldn't.

Anyway, you're right: a footnote a sentence certainly does put a damper on one's enjoyment of a book. I would be so tempted to put something totally ridiculous in for one of them: "As his hand inched its way up her thigh and under her skirt...", Constitution of Finland (1995), Section 17, Clause 21.

It would almost be worth getting fired over!

Anonymous said...

Life is so amusing. I'm a craft book writer, and I find "mystery novels" to be quite ridiculous. But, apparently they also sell to some degree. Bully for both of us!

Rick Blechta said...

You miss my point, Anon. I'm saying that writing "craft mysteries" is pretty absurd. I think books about crafts are quite interesting for those interested in them -- useful, too.

The thing that raises my hackles about craft mysteries, pet mysteries, etc. is that they trivialize what is at its heart a very serious subject.

My two cents. You are certainly free to feel differently.

Thanks for commenting!

Donis Casey said...

What is a 'craft mystery'? I almost fear to ask, lest it turn out that I write them.

Rick Blechta said...


A craft mystery is one where the main character makes jewelry, styrofoam penguins, sews, paints children with big eyes on black velvet, in other words, they do craft-type things. It's a HUGE part of their lives.

They also are brilliant at figuring out who killed Agrapina Moriarity behind the local supermarket.

Think Jessica Fletcher with knitting needles. These books also usually include recipes, or sewing patterns, information on where to buy styrofoam, etc.

Now all this aside, this is just my little bugbear. Lots of readers love this stuff and that's wonderful. I just don't think the trivializing of violent death and people's interest in hobbies go together. I don't like the in-your-face violence of James Patterson's books, but I don't like the other end of spectrum either. Patterson borders on pornography in his description of violence. Craft Mysteries are just plain silly.

My two cents.

Sean Chercover said...

Rick - Huge congratulations on the new book and the excellent review in the Spectator!

The only thing better than a craft mystery is a craft mystery featuring a crime-solving cat.

Rick Blechta said...


Thanks for stopping by. Folks, Mr. Chercover is an excellent, excellent writer. You should buy his books, especially Big City, Bad Blood, a very impressive piece of writing. Two thumbs way up!

On to your comment: I've been threatening for years to write a mystery with a crime-solving budgie (parakeet for you folks down south -- unless you're a Monty Python fan). I think it would work very well. Maybe the budgie's owner could work in a store that sells craft supplies. One of the sales people gets rung up by a...

Oh God, I'm actually starting to work out the plot. I must go wash my mouth out with...bourbon. Don't all the hard-boiled detective types drink bourbon?

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