Saturday, April 12, 2014

Thank you for Taste Testing my eBooks

Long time no see blog friends,

Over the last week,  my ebook novel "Clockwork Genie" has had at least one sample download each day. What's great about that is that I haven't been doing any promotion for it this week.

Now that you've sampled the book, I hope you'll return to discover the rest of the story.

In the meantime, try out my other novel "Revenge of the Masked Ghost"

Thanks everyone for the support.

Hope to be posting more frequently now, but also expect a lot of change coming to the blog and my own website in the near future.

Blog you all soon.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Terror from the Boob Tube - What scared me.

I know I'm a couple of weeks late to be writing a Halloween blog about what scare me, but go with me here.

First off I don't like horror movies, definitely not the modern ones, and certainly not the slasher films. All my teen friends would go see those, and I had no interest at all. Splatter blood across the screen and you've lost me.

As a kid I enjoyed monster movies. The original monster movies, if you will, the Universal Monsters at the top of the list. Frankenstein, his Bride, the Wolfman, the Mummy, and Dracula (he got plenty of women and didn't ever sparkle.) I also enjoyed the b-movie monsters that would follow.

None of those scared me as a kid. I was the Mummy one year for Halloween, and Dracula at least twice.

So what terrified my little mind? Would you believe it was a sitcom?

And it was in all black and white.

This past Wednesday afternoon I tuned into the internet radio show STU'S SHOW. A great program that interviews people from the golden age of television. This episode's guest was Carl Reiner, actor, writer, director, and producer. The multi-award winning Carl Reiner.

As they were talking about "The Dick Van Dyke Show", the show Reiner created, a flood of memories struck me.

There are two television programs that terrified the little me of many years ago. Even then both series were in rerun syndication for many years.

One of which was "The Dummy" episode of The Twilight Zone. I always love ventriloquist shows, but the concept of the Dummy coming to life freaked me out; far more so than Talk Tina. She was trying to kill Kojac after all.  The Dummy was just plain freaky and scary, and would haunt some of my nightmares.

The other show; really scary to a child who had loving parents, was an episode of The Dick Van Dyke Show. It was called "It May Look Like A Walnut."  Even thought it was a comedy, it was actually a story about fear, and how television and movies can scare the audience. It begins with Rob and Laura (Dick Van Dyke and Mary Tyler Moore if you didn't know) watching a late night movie in bed (let's not get started on why they were in separate beds), the movie is terrifying Laura but Rob is complete engrossed in it and can't stop talking about it. The movie is homage to the original "Invasion of the Body Snatchers" (I wouldn't see that movie till years later). Instead of Pod People, these aliens take over the humans through walnuts.  (This has nothing to do with why walnuts are my favorite nuts, right?)

Rob's obsession eventually goes too far until he dreams that the movie is real and his friends and family have been taken over by the aliens, and the world is filling with walnuts. In one scene Laura parts her hair to reveal to Rob she has eyes in the back of her head. No such eyes are shown on camera, but Rob's reaction was enough. Even after all these years the terror I had as a child came rushing back seeing it again. Every parents and teacher tells kids they have eyes in the back of the heads, don't they?

I was frightened because Rob was so scared. Even when he wakes up from this crazy dream, he was acting and feeling the same way I did waking from a nightmare and called out for my mommy.

It was all played for comedy; even with guest star Danny Thomas adding to the laughs, yet it is one of the most frightening shows I had seen in my young life.

Watching that show last night I saw what great quality writing and acting went into to make it dramatically scary while remaining funny all the way through.

Today's TV shows could learn a lot.

There is also another level of fear that Reiner included in the story, one that he and his fellow writers probably experienced regularly, as do I: the fear of losing his imagination and being unable to write.  That would truly be a nightmare.

Kevin Paul Shaw Broden
Four Names of Professional Creativity
(Off to look for walnuts, I'm hungry)

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

DC Comics on the move - or - Lemonade and Revolving Doors

It has just been announced that DC Comics will be moving and joining the rest of the DC Entertainment and Warner Bros. Burbank, CA. (Read the CBR news story here.)

My #Mission818 passion is exited about this news.
It also reminds me of when I got to visit the DC Comics offices in New York City when I was a kid.

The family was visiting New York before heading on with the rest of our travels.

Not only was I looking forward to visiting the offices of DC Comics, the publisher of my favorite super heroes, (actually, at that time I was only reading DC,) I also had a fan letter to drop off. It was for Mike W. Barr and the crew of BATMAN AND THE OUTSIDERS Annual #1. My one and only letter I've ever written to a comic.

Long before that time, I knew I wanted to work in comics, so the chance to visit their offices was a dream come true.

We had purchased lemonades from one of the stands at Rockefeller Plaza, and my drink wasn't finished when we arrived at 666 5th Avenue. I was hesitant about entering the building with the drink. That hesitation caused my arm to get caught in revolving door. Not only did I spill the lemonade (which is what I was worried about happening,) the door yanked my watch completely off my wrist.

My wrist, though not broken, did hurt for days in to the rest of our trip; it didn't matter a few minutes later when I was sitting next to Clark Kent in the lobby of the DC Comics offices.

Yes, I did deliver my letter (thought it wasn't published), but that was nothing compared to being inside the company I dreamed of working for someday.

That dream is still alive.

Now, all these years later, DC Comics is moving to be near me. (That has to be the reason, right?) I trust their drawing, writing, and editing hands don't caught in any doors when they arrive.

As stated many times before in this blog, I have had a passion for DC Comics all my life, and an ever-increasing desire to work for them.

Now that the company is coming to me, I hope my chances are improving.

 I won't bring a drink to the office this time. Promise.

Kevin Paul Shaw Broden
Four Names of Professional Creativity

Monday, September 30, 2013

BLACK FEDORA - "The Man Who Stole Manhattan"

You have read the hero's story, about how he saved the day and defeated the evil villain.  Now it's time to read the villain's tale.  Who is the man that is performing these most vile deeds?

You'll get that answer and more in the pages of the Black Fedora.

Black Fedora is an anthology produced by New Pulp publisher Pro Se Productions with tales of the adversaries, or the evil ones, of the super villains.

It is my honor to stand alongside fellow authors B.C. Bell and Philip Drayer Duncan in these pages of crime, under the guiding hand of Tommy Handcock.

"The Man Who Stole Manhattan" is my submission to this collection about a villain who threatens the entire city for reasons known only to his dark heart.

If you pay close attention, you may discover connections to the hidden origins of Flying Glory.

Black Fedora is available in both paperback and ebook formats, at Amazon and Smashwords.

Give it a read and support your local bad guy.

More importantly, support your local author.

Kevin Paul Shaw Broden
Four Names of Professional Creativity

Monday, September 9, 2013

I can't write comedy, and some how, that's funny.

I have never considered myself a comedy writer, but that isn't to say that I don't write comedy. Rather, I never set out to write comedy, and in so doing the comedy tends to write itself.
If any of that makes sense, I hope what follows will as well.
I am a writer of characters.
Usually, I have a rough outline of a plot, hardly a skeleton to build upon. I start with a simple idea, usually a question.  I see something, or read about something, and ask "What if?" Lots of times it has to do with looking at something from a different angle.
A lot, or a few, notes go down next. But that all just sits in a pile and does nothing if there aren't any characters to march through it and kick up the dirt. Otherwise, it's just a garbage heap of useless words.
Just writing that paragraph gave me a simple idea. A Garbage Heap. What follows is finding the story, and the first question I ask is "What is it like working on a garbage heap?" You know, those people who take our trash to the dump, and those that sort through it. Some for recycling, and those who scrounge around the dump looking for things they can sell in order to survive. (I know old door nobs can bring a penny or two.) But the job isn't interesting enough. So what if I changed the question: "What is life like for those who live on the garbage heap?"  I think there is some drama in that, and maybe some comedy too.
(Almost forgot my blog's topic there didn't I?)
We'll have to wait and see if I actually discover a story in garbage heap and expand upon it.  I see a lot of drama, even depression, about the people living in lean-to huts atop or even inside the garbage mounds.
But is there comedy among that garbage and depression?  If you find the right characters there are.
What if our story is about a teenage girl working along side her parents looking for scrap and selling what they can. She has a boyfriend, but when he shows up to take her on a date (what kind of date can there be on a scrap heap), she complains that he was cuter before he took a shower.
Okay, that might not be the funniest thing in the world. Like I said, I don't write comedy.  However, if I wrote this story completely out, I think our little Dust Bunny (yes, I just named the girl Dust Bunny. The boy's name is Smudge,  no, Kruntch ) would have a whole lot of funny things to say as she is clearly the only person on the garbage island that enjoys being there.

The point, if there is one, is that comedy like everything else in a story comes out of character. Creating a funny situation and dropping your characters into it doesn't necessarily make it comedy.
Learn about your characters; find out what makes them tick, and what ticks them off. Don't tickle them; annoy their pants off. They'll tell you what's funny when they start throwing mud back at you.
Maybe I will write this story sometime. Maybe set it on a garbage planet (this story is getting gout of hand).  (Kruntch is out; the boy's name is Smudge again. The letter K didn't test well.)
Then we'll discover if I can write comedy or not, and see if I am really worthy of being:
Kevin Paul Shaw Broden
Four Names of Professional Creativity  (certainly not of comedy).

Monday, September 2, 2013

Darkness Approaches from under the Black Fedora...

As the sun sets upon this hot-as-hell day, and the shadows creep across the alleyways of our cities, criminals raise their heads to steal your Aunt Harriet's silver candle sticks, or mad scientists wind up their giant robots to take over the world.
She never figured it out. Who's aunt was she?
The villains who make the heroes…. heroic… are out and about, and soon they are about to get their day in the sun.

No, I'm not talking about DC Comic's Forever Evil comic book event.

What I'm asking you to do is be careful and look inside the Black Fedora.

In this evening's twilight I received word of the release of a New Pulp anthology by Pro Se Production entitled the Black Fedora will be released later this month (September, 2013).

I'll have more to write about it as we get closer to the release. In the meantime, be sure to check under the cover for ancient monsters and alien invaders, the bad guys are about to get their day. Will the heroes survive?

Pleasant dreams.

Kevin Paul Shaw Broden

Monday, August 12, 2013

"Training It" - Final Blog about SDCC 2013

            We use to call it the San Diegan, then in the year 2000 Amtrak decided to remain the train and it's been the Pacific Surfliner ever since.
            And so it was the Pacific Surfliner that Shannon and I traveled on down to the San Diego Comic Con International and then back home again.
            It is a great way to travel. Sitting back and relaxing, take a nap, read a book or write one. Sure beat being trapped in traffic on the 5 Freeway.
             It was also a whole lot less expensive then trying to get a hotel room.
            The only bad part of it was that we had to get back to the station about an hour before the train was scheduled to depart. We had reserved tickets, but for SDCC there were so many people getting on board that it filled up fast and we wanted to make certain we sat together (twice on the way down, we had to sit separately for about half the trip). On top of everyone trying to get down to the Comic Con, that was also the opening weekend for the Del Mar racetrack. Along with the over two hundred people that got on at the start, there would be nearly another two hundred there.
            So we couldn't attend any of the movie screenings or events that were held at night, because if we missed the last train we'd be probably be sleeping the train station or in Hall H. (Shudder the thought.)
            Having to wait in a line to catch the train sometimes proved to me entertaining then waiting to get into a panel at the convention.
            On Friday evening we got in line and as we waited three limo drivers showed up. One was a woman, and she must have found her client because wasn't there for long. The other two drivers were waiting for the arrival of the train from Los Angeles, which we would be catching to go home.
            One of the drivers held up a sign that read the name of a television production company. Of course I took notice of this since it is a company I would really like to work for. The other driver talked with him for a bit so it was clear they would be picking up clients that were part of the same party. So Shannon and I began to have fun anticipating who might be arriving from Hollywood for the convention.
            A few minutes before the train arrived, a woman walked up to the two limo-drivers and introduced herself. She was obviously there to make certain the VIPs arrived safely.
            She was really devoted to the job assigned to her, because making certain the limo drivers were there, and checking with the ticket booth for when the train would be arrived, wasn't enough for her.
            Her job, as studio representative, must have depended on making certain these actors arrived safely, because when the train did arrive. She marched forward through the arriving passengers until she found someone.  Then the studio rep brought the VIP over to the limo drivers, and turned right around swam up stream through the crowd, located another actor and brought him back.  She did this a third time. It was like lifeguard jumping into the water and bringing drowning people to shore from a sinking boat. (The metaphor doesn't quite work with a train.)
            Her bosses must have been upset that their stars were willing to travel with the great unwashed.
            I wonder how she survived getting each of her VIPS through the Convention up to whatever room they were going to have a panel in.
            That was Friday evening.
            On Saturday, the show was not who was passing by, or getting off the train, but rather who was waiting in the line with us.
            I'm not a name dropper so won't go into that because I respect the privacy of my fellow professionals, but it was really great to be among these people.
            Along with fellow animation writers who had been at the gathering earlier in the evening. There were also guests of the Con. One I actually got to speak with briefly about board games and being a nerd (oops I said too much.)

            The lesson in all that is, the best entertainment and networking doesn't always happen on the Con floor, and take the train you'll meet a whole lot more people then when you're stuck in traffic on the 5.       

            And so I end my set of blogs about Sand Diego Comic Con 2013.  Hope you enjoyed.