Well, today is the publication date for Annotated Sandman, volume 4, out from Vertigo/DC Entertainment, and I have to say that #32 (yes, this is my 32nd book, not counting self-published) is just as exciting as #1, published way back in 1994. The Sandman project was a great thrill for me for many reasons. First, it allowed me to work closely with my friend Neil Gaiman, one of the finest humans on this earth. Second, it was pioneering–no one had ever done anything like this before, combining the original comic with footnotes, and it was a learning process for all involved. Third, I love comics. Comics were probably the first books I ever read, and the chance to be a professional member of the universe of comics was a very special thrill. So: Many thanks to senior editors Karen Berger and Shelly Bond of DC, who believed in the project, and many many thanks to Neil, who pitched the idea to DC and whose participation made it happen. Special thanks also to Scott Nybakken, who edited volumes 2, 3 and 4, Steve Korte, who edited volume 1, and Sherlockian pal Lucy Keifer, who worked hard on our “Table of Characters,” indexing every single person depicted or named in the 78 issues of The Sandman comics.
I’m wrapping up my week in Istanbul, where I was invited to be a special guest at “Black Week,” a new crime-writing book festival sponsored by the Pera Palace Jumeira Hotel. It was a great honor to attend, inasmuch as there was only one other English-language author attending, the Scot writer Alexander McCall Smith, whom I’d met before at “Men of Mystery” in San Diego, and his lovely and warm wife Elizabeth. We had dinner together four nights running! I also got to spend time with the gracious Mathew Prichard, grandson of Agatha Christie, in whose honor the event was held (it was her 125th birthday)! The Pera Palace Hotel was her residence of choice in Istanbul, and in addition to a small museum in her honor, the Hotel’s restaurant is named “Agatha”!
I thought that I’d share this essay that I wrote for the February 2015 issue of the newsletter of the Horror Writers Association. I hope that it illuminates or stimulates!
On Writing Nonfiction
by Leslie S. Klinger, HWA Treasurer
We’ve added two more events in 2014 to the calendar:
Wednesday, December 3–A Conversation about Lovecraft, Holmes, etc., with Sherry DeWane (sponsored by Wells Fargo Bank), Barnes & Noble at The Grove at Farmer’s Market, 189 The Grove Drive Suite K 30, West Hollywood, CA, 7 pm
It’s going to be a very busy balance of the year for me, and although the calendar isn’t completely set yet, here’s what’s happening (please double-check all times):
I guess it’s official now, because Laura Caldwell and I talked about it during her interview for the podcast “Speaking of Mysteries” conducted by Nancie Clare and me (www.speakingofmysteries.com): We’re engaged…in a project together! I’m deeply honored that Laura (Distinguished Scholar in Residence at Loyola University Chicago School of Law, founder and Director of Life After Innocence, and author of 14 novels—including her just released The Dog Park) asked me to co-edit this wonderful anthology that she conceived. I’ll let Laura explain it:
In a scathing opinion issued today, the 7th Circuit granted in full our petition for reimbursement of legal fees in the case of Klinger v. Conan Doyle Estate, Ltd. More importantly, the Court ripped the Estate’s position, saying: “The Doyle estate’s business strategy is plain: charge a modest license fee for which there is no legal basis, in the hope that the ‘rational’ writer or publisher asked for the fee will pay it rather than incur a greater cost, in legal expenses, in challenging the legality of the demand. The strategy had worked with Random House; Pegasus was ready to knuckle under; only Klinger (so far as we know) resisted. In effect he was a private attorney general, combating a disreputable business practice – a form of extortion – and he is seeking by the present motion not to obtain a reward but merely to avoid a loss. He has performed a public service – and with substantial risk to himself…. As a result of losing the suit, the estate has lost its claim to own copyrights in characters in the Sherlock Holmes stories published by Arthur Conan Doyle before 1923. For exposing the estate’s unlawful business strategy, Klinger deserves a reward but asks only to break even.” The Court went on to admonish the Estate: “It’s time the estate, in its own self-interest, changed its business model.”
Justice Kagan today denied the “emergency” petition filed by the Conan Doyle Estate Ltd. The Estate sought to have the Supreme Court of the United States stay the effectiveness of the order of the 7th Circuit in Klinger v. Conan Doyle Estate Ltd.. For the details of the case and a copy of the Estate’s petition, see www.free-sherlock.com. The next arena is the District Court, where we have filed a petition asking the Court to award legal fees and costs in the matter; a similar petition is pending in the 7th Circuit.
On July 3, the Conan Doyle Estate announced that it intended to ask the Supreme Court of the United States to overturn the decision of the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in Klinger v. Conan Doyle Estate, Ltd. (called a “petition for certiorari”). The Estate also asked the 7th Circuit to “stay” (put on hold) its opinion, so that the Estate would not lose money while the Supreme Court considered its case. The effect of the stay would also likely have been to defer the hearings, scheduled to occur very quickly, on whether the Estate should have to pay the significant legal fees we occurred in combating their abusive business tactics.
I had a sobering thought this morning, confirmed by a quick check of the c.v. that I egotistically keep up to date (and have never published): My first piece of non-legal writing, an article on Sherlock Holmes and wine, appeared in the Baker Street Journal in June 1994, 20 years ago. There are 24 completed books on the list (some not yet published), plus another 19 that I self-published. There are seven more published collaborations, and I’ve contributed essays or introductions to another 18 books. 46 essays have appeared in various periodicals, including Playboy, but most have been published in the BSJ. I’m especially proud of a “streak” of 16 years of appearances in the BSJ (I missed 1996 and 1997, for some reason, though I had five essays appear elsewhere in those years). I’ve uploaded the list for the curious. Klinger Writing