You might remember my previous encounter with The Brothers Washburn, Berk and Andy, back when their phenomenal novel Pitch Green first arrived. Then, I tried to get some free legal advice. Today, they're going to need it.
- Prosecutor: Johnny
- Judge: Johnny
- Jury: Johnny
- Executioner: Johnny
- Berk and Andy Washburn a/k/a The Brothers Washburn
Prosecutor: Your honor, the accused stand before you today, as guilty as sin for the sins of guilt and other stuff. I demand the harshest penalty.
Jury: Their guilt is obvious, just by looking at them. The harshest penalty.
Judge: I agree.
Brothers Washburn: Wait, don't we get to say anything?
Judge: This is highly irregular. We don't normally allow lawyers to speak in this courtroom. This is after all a Blog Mansion trial. But, stranger things have happened. Proceed.
BW: What are the charges against us?
Judge: You are charged with high crimes of the most grievous kind.
BW: Can you be more specific?
Prosecutor: Judge, if I may? I can explain this in terms that even a lawyer can understand.
Pitch Green, and notwithstanding the expectations of every reasonable man, have had success with that first book, and now, contrary to the standards of a civilized society, have launched a sequel, Mojave Green, with the same publisher as Johnny's Award Winning, Eleanor, the Unseen. All the while not sharing the secret of the green-what's with all that green anyway?-- or your marketing strategy and experience. The sentence can only be death!
Judge: Actually, I get to say that part.
Judge: Does the jury have to be here?
BW: It looks better if they are.
Judge: Yes, the jury must remain until after the execution. They've been assigned a side dish for the potluck afterwards.
Executioner: Judge, I don't want you thinking I have an axe to grind, or anything, but I'd like to change to drinks. I'll be busy right up until the end and don't think salad is a good choice. I'd want to make it fresh and I just won't have the time.
Judge: Okay. It is the order of this court that The Brothers Washburn must provide the salads for the after-execution potluck. The executioner shall provide the drinks.
Executioner: Thanks judge. I'll get my axe. I always keep it handy.
BW: Whoa there, your Honor. Don't we get to respond? Can't we make a defense of some kind?
Judge: Are you some kind of lawyers?
BW: Objection, your Honor, leading the witness!
Judge: Balls-I hate lawyers. Okay. This trial is now in session. Mr. Prosecutor, you may call your first witness. I'll put him under oath.
BW: You do know it's all just you, right, Johnny?
Judge: Silence! Or I'll hold you in contempt of court!
Prosecutor: I call the Brothers Washburn to the stand.
BW: Can you unchain us? It's cutting off the circulation.
Judge: No. The risk to the general public is too great.
Prosecutor: Is it true that you wrote Pitch Green?
BW: Yes. It's a thriller that we have been telling since childhood to scare our friends. After dark, it was especially effective, as they say, for sorting out the sheep from the goats. On special occasions, Andy even told it to some of his dates--usually it was the last date. We expanded the original story concept into a full-length novel late one night in November 2010 while riding the New York City subway from one end-of-the-line to the opposite end, and then back again, which is a scary story all by itself.
Prosecutor: Tell the jury what Pitch Green is about.
BW: Pitch Green is the first book in a young adult horror series about an abandoned, old mansion in Trona, California-a mining town not far from Death Valley. The mansion was built almost a hundred years ago by an eccentric genius, who got his funding and structural specifications from a clandestine source of ancient knowledge and wealth, located somewhere in eastern Europe. One night the eccentric genius and his family were mysteriously slaughtered, and ever since, children and other defenseless animals in the general area have been disappearing without a trace on a regular basis. In the first book, we meet two teenagers, Camm and Cal, who are destined by wit, pluck and luck (not always good) to become the balancing force against the unearthly predator, who came to call the mansion home. Running for their lives, our heroes are hurled from one scene of horror to the next. Though their intentions are good, they don't understand the nature of what they are facing, and by the end of the first book, they have left a door wide open and unguarded to continuing predations on an even grander scale.
Mojave Green. Is this correct?
Prosecutor: Tell us what Mojave Green is about in relation to Pitch Green.
BW: A call from her best friend, Cal, brings news Camm had hoped never to hear. Children are again disappearing from Trona. Has the unnatural creature they killed last year returned to life or has the ancient Searles Mansion spawned a new menace? Ignoring dire warnings from federal agents, the pair take a road trip home with unsuspecting school friends in tow and discover the situation has gotten worse. With monstrous predators seemingly coming out of nowhere, enigmatic forces tear the friends apart, pulling Cal into another world, where his chances of survival are slim. Finally coming to terms with her feelings for Cal, Camm desperately seeks help where she can, even from the dead, but can a rogue agent and other wary misfits help her uncover the long-lost secrets that she needs to rescue Cal and stop the inter-dimensional attacks? The destiny of her own world now lies in Camm's young hands.
Prosecutor: And you plan more in the series?
BW: Yes. Not just sequels, but we have prequels in the planning as well.
Prosecutor: But only if you're alive!
BW: We know we should be immune by now, but it's creepy when you do that.
Prosecutor: Jolly Fish Press has named you, YOU, The Brothers Washburn, as a good model for emulation. They mentioned you to me, ME, by name. They said you had successfully conquered the signing event.
Jury: <gasps and murmurs>
BW: You're just standing there. . .
Judge: Order! Order in the court! The defendants will answer the question or be slain on the spot.
Executioner (breathing hard): I'm ready judge.
BW: The prosecutor didn't ask a question. We didn't hear a question!
Judge: That's no excuse! The witness will answer the question! The topic was clear. Explain your signing strategies and other marketing successes so Johnny and other writers can learn from them, and you might, just might, find some mercy from this court.
BW: Is this an offer for a plea bargain? Before we go any further, we want to know what kind of reduced sentence is being offered.
Judge: Executioner . . . ?
Executioner: I'm on it, judge. I have a chopping block right out the door in the hallway.
BW: Wait. Okay. We'll answer.
BW: The secret is that the author cannot sit down, unless he has one or two helpers. When working alone, the author must be out in the aisle, introducing himself to customers and offering to sign books. With helpers, the author can stand at the table while his helpers work the aisles, pointing out the author and explaining that, with any luck, his signature might be worth something someday when he's dead. It also doesn't hurt if you have book marks and author cards to pass out. Sometimes we will even sign the back of a book mark for a kid who is interested, but claims to not have enough money to buy a book.
Prosecutor: Uhrm. okay. Maybe a different line of questioning. Aren't you ashamed to be writing horror for young audiences?
BW: We're in good company. Can't Eleanor, The Unseen be considered horror too?
Judge: Just answer the question.
BW: We don't write the blood and gore type horror-no sex or profanity. We portray wholesome, red-blooded youth facing with integrity the challenges of inter-dimensional predations. It's the kind of life lessons that all teenagers need, served up in a special combo they will eat and enjoy.
Jury: <awwww. . . >
Prosecutor: What would Cam, Cal and Agent Allen say if they saw you here now, chained up with the threat of death hanging over you?
BW: Well, you know those kids are smart, very smart, and fearless. They would be working out a plan to break us out of jail, and you know they would probably succeed.
Judge: The jury will now be excused to deliberate. The soon-to-be-condemned will make a list of where on the internet the jury and mourners can find out more about them.
WEB PAGE & BLOG
BARNES AND NOBLE:
Executioner: If I line it up just right, I think I can get both heads with one swing. Save a little money.
BW: Line us up with which eye? Each eye is looking off in a different direction.
Judge: The jury will ignore that last statement. Strike that from the record. Has the jury reached a verdict?
Jury: We have your honor. No need to deliberate.
Judge: Proceed with the execution.
BW: Wait, we want to hear the verdict from the jury.
Judge: Lawyers! Okay, but let's be quick about it. Foreman of the jury, state your guilty verdict.
Judge: I hate to say it, but I told you so.
Executioner: I'll get my Ginsus.
Jury: ... but stay the execution pending review of their next book in the series whereupon we will reconvene and consider our findings again.
Judge: What? Really?
BW: You know you're talking to yourself, right? Johnny?
Judge: Silence! Remove the condemned accused to a place of quiet so they can work on their next book and contact us with more tips and hints as to marketing them. In the meantime, we'll all look forward to the release of Mojave Green on October 7, 2014. Just in time for Halloween.
This court is now adjourned for the potluck by the shark pool. It's feeding time for both us and them.