Thursday, August 27, 2020

26 Is Not Enough

 Because it's an election season (and that's because it's ALWAYS an election season), my thoughts have turned to that particularly perfect (I know "perfect" is an absolute but Jefferson said "more perfect" so take it up with him) document, the Constitution of the United States. This is a document so close to perfect, grammar fans, that it has been amended a mere 26 times in the past 232 years, a decent record if you consider that this year alone Major League Baseball has instituted the 16-team playoff schedule, the seven-inning doubleheader and the runner-on-second extra-inning system, all of which are stupid.

Nonetheless, I've been giving the Constitution some thought. It's been 49 years since the ratification of the 26th Amendment, which gave 18, 19 and 20-year olds the right to vote in federal elections. If you average out 26 amendments over 232 years, that comes to an amendment every 8.9 years, so we are falling way behind in our amending.

Therefore, I respectfully propose the following amendments to the U.S. Constitution:

27. An amendment outlawing the 16-team playoff schedule, the seven-inning doubleheader and the runner-on-second extra-inning system. If necessary, this would be expanded to robo-umpires and a pitch clock. 

28. An amendment stipulating Tom Hanks to be the best person we have. When other countries need to talk to someone, Tom should get the call.

29. An amendment outlawing any product whose name includes the words "pumpkin spice."

30 An amendment limiting the amount of snow in New Jersey to three inches a year. The rest of you are on your own.

31. An amendment declaring dogs better than cats.

32. An amendment mandating that every citizen over the age of 18 MUST vote in every election available to them. Those who don't will be subject to an IRS audit and public shaming. 

33. An amendment setting the minimum annual income for freelance writers to be $100,000. The minimum salary for a Major League baseball player is currently $563,500.

34. An amendment mandating the death penalty for anyone caught making or creating a robot that will make "an apology call from your utility company." Let's see if it's REALLY a deterrent.

35. An amendment making it illegal to insist that everyone stand for an Irving Berlin song (or a Neil Diamond song) at the seventh-inning stretch. The amendment would further require the playing and singing of "Take Me Out to the Ballgame," but you can sit or stand at your own discretion.

36. An amendment outlawing the display of Christmas items in stores before November 1. It's August. Calm down.

37. An amendment stipulating that only one superhero movie can be made each year. It's the same story anyway. Just space them out better. 

That should do it for now. If you have amendment suggestions, feel free to post them below. But if they are actual politically motivated ones, I urge you NOT to post them and will delete them when they appear. That's not what this space is for. 

Thursday, July 16, 2020

Get a (sort of) FREE MASK from E.J. Copperman!

So this whole pandemic thing has you down? (Of course it does; you're sane!) You're wearing the mask outside - as you should - but you're not happy with the styles available to you? Want something with a little more pizzaz? A little more levity?

Well, I'm here to help.

Get yourself a reusable mask featuring the cover of INHERIT THE SHOES: The first Jersey Girl Legal Mystery by E.J. Copperman!

It's a comfortable (for anyone without an unusually large head), washable, breathable mask and you can have one for FREE - with a catch.

We only have a handful of these masks, so if you'd like one, first preorder INHERIT THE SHOES (links below). Then email ejcopperman [at] gmail [dot] com with a photo or scan of your receipt and your USPS mail address, and the mask will be on its way ASAP!

Get in early because like I said, there are only a few masks available. Maybe we can get some more made if demand outnumbers supply, but no promises are being made. If you want a mask, preorder that book NOW!

INHERIT THE SHOES focuses on Sandy Moss, a New Jersey assistant prosecutor who moves to Los Angeles to escape criminal law. But the gods are not willing to let Sandy quit, and her first family law case - a divorce between a famous TV actor and a fading singer - turns into a murder trial when her client Patrick McNabb is accused of killing his estranged wife. With a bow and arrow.

Here are links to preorder INHERIT THE SHOES:

Books A Million
Barnes & Noble
and at your local bookshop!

Wednesday, May 6, 2020


If you're bummed out because you couldn't go to Malice Domestic this year (as I am, largely because there was no Malice Domestic this year, damn virus), hang on! This Saturday, May 9 at 4 p.m. EDT (do the math for where you live) a group of authors will take the best part of a conference - the stories told in the bar after a panel - online!

ABSENCE OF MALICE will bring 17 of your favorite crime fiction writers (including, modestly, yours truly) into your living room, your bedroom, whatever room you like and have a device attached to wifi and you'll get the GOOD stories.

And what an All-Star lineup!:

Cathy Ace 
Frankie Y. Bailey
Ellen Byron
Jeff Cohen / E.j. Copperman
Kellye Garrett
Lee Goldberg
Alexia Gordon
Dru Ann Love
Jeffrey Marks
Edith M. Maxwell / Maddie Day
Catriona McPherson
Lori Rader-Day 
Hank Phillippi Ryan
Julia Spencer-Fleming
Art Taylor
Elaine Viets 
Kristopher Zgorski

It'll be happening on Crowdcast, Facebook, or YouTube. It's free, of course, and if you can't make it at 4 p.m. on Saturday, it'll be available to view shortly thereafter.

 ABSENCE OF MALICE is going to be a ton of fun! You don't want to miss it!

Monday, April 13, 2020

Letters from Deepest New Jersey

So, what's new?

Okay, we're all hunkered down in our homes right now and for those unaccustomed to such things this might be a considerable shock to the system. The same (fill in number) walls, the same people (or lack thereof), the same activity no matter what day of the week it might be. Some of you might be working at home for the first time. Others might not be working at all.

You can only stress bake so much and Doordash is nice to keep local restaurants viable, but you can't do it every day. Grocery delivery services are booking up weeks in advance. And the worst part, except for those who are infected or know someone who is and might be in some danger, is that we have no idea how long this is all going to last.

Well, settle in, kids. I've been doing this work-at-home thing since 1985 and I can tell you a few things about it.

First: You're going to gain weight. I was pretty slim when I started freelancing from my apartment in Wallington, New Jersey 35 years ago. Of course, I was also 28 years old and had a metabolism, but that's not the point. The lack of moving around definitely contributed to making me the person I am today, who is roughly 40 pounds heavier and not happy about it.

So find yourself an online workout (or 1300) that fits your needs and set aside some time every day to do it. Really. I have been working out with Coach Kozak and Claudia at HasFit since December and have now started to sprinkle in some sessions with the good British people at the Body Project. Those work for me. My spouse has been doing yoga and fitness walking found online. In the interest of full disclosure, I haven't noticed a significant weight loss but I haven't gained anything despite eating like a moose since the stay-at-home order was issued here a little under a month ago.

Second: Don't turn on the TV during the day. It's a vortex from which you might never emerge, and let's face it, nothing good ever happened on daytime TV. If you're working, try to keep your schedule from back when the world was pretending to be normal. If you're not, read books (I can suggest some titles if you like). Cook meals for later in the week. Troll grocery delivery sites until a slot opens up. Listen to music.

Third: The one thing that this crisis has produced is a tsunami of streaming entertainment. Some services are offering free performances and screenings of recorded shows. Artists are performing from their homes because going on the road (in many cases the main source of revenue for musicians) is not possible. You can "tip" if you like but you often don't have to. I have been checking in for a Sunday double feature every week: Circe Link and Christian Nesmith on Facebook (at Christian's page) at 6 p.m. EDT and then quickly switching to Susan Werner at 7 p.m. EDT, also on Facebook. There are many, many others. If you have a favorite I'd like to hear about it.

Fourth: If you're working, work every day. Okay, take weekends off like always, but don't just slough off a day because you're not into it. Keep doing as much of your daily routine as you can from your house. I've been writing a book that I probably didn't have to start for another two months because I want to keep the 1000-word-a-day habit alive. It's too easy to let one slip turn into an indefinite slide. Don't do that.

Fifth: Hobbies. Aside from my newest obsession, which is washing my hands, I've taken up the most cliched time consumer of them all, jigsaw puzzles. Given that I already have a pretty serious crossword puzzle habit, that's a lot of puzzles. It occupies the mind and distracts from the grimmer aspects of reality for a time. Which is what baseball used to do for me. Here's hoping that'll return at some point (my guess is July).

Sixth: It's good that social media had been up and thriving before this pandemic hit. Staying in touch with friends and family would have been torture without it and we'd be feeling even more isolated. So keep up with your loved ones and check in with ol' E.J. once in a while because I like to hear from people, too. (And how did Zoom become the go-to networking tool? What happened to Skype?)

More than anything, do all you can to stay safe. Wash those hands, and then wash them again. Wash anything that is brought to your house. Use wipes (if you have them) or some sort of cleaning product on common areas (doorknobs, light switches, a computer mouse, keyboard and cell phone) every day. Stay six feet away from all people who don't live in the same house as you.

And hang in there. I can't afford to lose any readers.


Monday, January 13, 2020

Coming Later This Year: A New Series!

From today's (January 13) Publishers MarketplaceJeff Cohen writing as EJ Copperman's INHERIT THE SHOES, the first in a new series about a young female lawyer in Los Angeles who teams with an actor who plays a lawyer on television to solve murders he might have committed, to Kate Lyall-Grant at Severn House, with Rachel Slatter editing, in a two-book deal, for publication in fall 2020, by Josh Getzler at HG Literary (world English).

The book will publish first in the U.K. in the fall, and three months (or so) later in North America. Don't worry; I'll make SURE to update you as things progress, but I'm really anxious for you to meet Sandy Moss this year!