Monday, December 26, 2011

Saint Nicholas on the Roof - BestBuys down the chimney.

A short post holiday blog.

There was an annoying commercial that ran for about two weeks before Christmas, and then it vanished when the company ended up making a terrible mistake.

Here's are my thoughts on it.

First off, one of the earliest legends of Saint Nicholas comes from three young women needing dowry moneys before they could be wed. In one version of the tale hearing of their need Nicholas left a bag of gold just inside the door of two of the girls, and the third girl the door was locked and so he climbed to the roof and dropped the bag down through the chimney.

Another version of the story has him tossing the money in through a window and it lands mysteriously in a stocking hanging to dry over the mantel.

Whether the story is true or exactly how it happened, Nicholas did it out of caring for people who had nothing. He heard of a need and provided for it.

So Santa Clause visits and comes down the chimney with gifts… (side thought: Nicholas didn't have a naught or nice list… just a list of those in need.)

Anyway, the point at hand…

BestBuys produced a series of commercials this holiday season. At least two that I saw, but only one matters:

 After ordering online, a mother has come into the store to pick up her purchases, and is amazed by this…

"Looks like Santa's got some competition this year?" The sales clerk says, and the mother agrees.

Cut to Christmas Eve and the mother is standing on the roof (or in the other commercial standing by the tree) when Santa Claus arrives. She's holding her own gifts and laughs at the jolly ol'elf, as if saying 'I beat you'. She even frightens Santa when she kicks a light up likeness off him off the roof.

What is the point of this commercial? What did she win?

Does she think she's in a competition with Santa for her children's love?  That's extremely sad.

Nicholas helped children or gave them what they needed, because it was the right thing to do. Parents give gifts because they love their children, not because of some sick competition.

I had already thought up this blog before other news broke just before Christmas…

Bestbuys was having to cancel orders that had been made online going all the way back to Thanksgiving because they didn't have enough of the merchandise.

The above ad suddenly vanished when this news was announced.
May we all remember Nicholas' caring service to others, and live it through this New Year.

Blessed Christmas to you all.

Kevin Paul Shaw Broden
Four Names of Professional Creativity.

Friday, December 16, 2011

A Bad Review and be Good.

The other evening I received a review of my novel.

It was my second review, and it was the worst so far. It gave the novel a two star rating. As you would expect, I was hurt and disappointed by such a review. Yet, over the next hour I was able to read through and digest everything the reviewer said, and quickly came to the conclusion that it really wasn't a bad thing.
Yes, I know it's hard to take when someone tells you they don't like your work and then goes on tell you everything that you did wrong. It hurts. Yet, it's a pain like growing pains.
It's like getting a big red F (okay, D) on a test in school after staying up all night studying for it. It hurts, but its not that they want to give you a bad grade. What the teacher and the reviewer want is to get you to do a good job. They want you to succeed.
The reviewer is looking for a really good read and hopes your book is the one.
Remember that the reviewer took his or her precious time to read the book. The reviewer took more time to write a review and explain what they think is wrong with it, what you can do better. They did it because they really want to like the book.
The next day I wrote the reviewer a thank you letter. Yes, you heard me right, I wrote to thank them for giving me a 2 star review. I told them that it was greatly appreciated, and that I would take what they wrote to heart. I would learn from it and use their review to improve the writing of my next novel.
They wrote back, wishing me success on my next novel.
If that wasn't enough, only hours after receiving the review, I was informed that another website liked my novel enough to post it on their page to help in the promotion. Then a day later another review was posted, and this one gave me 4 stars.
That is another lesson; everyone has their own likes and dislikes, their own opinions of your work. Don't take the poor ones too harshly, and don't get too thrilled about the good ones.
Do your absolute best. Those that like what you do will find you and those that don't it will help you get better.

Kevin Paul Shaw Broden
Four Names of Professional Creativity

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Book Review - "Vickie Van Helsing" By Solomon J. Inkwell

By Solomon J. Inkwell

It's hard not to compare a teenage girl slaying vampires with Buffy the Vampire Slayer because there are certainly plenty of those out there, but here the character of Vickie Van Helsing recognizes the comparison.

That's what makes this book a joy to read.

As much as Vickie is the star of the book, and only she can kill the Count, she isn't the only teen who gets the chance to slay a vamp. Every teenager has seen at least one vampire movie at one point in their lives, so when the real the ones show up they already know what to do to defend themselves.

When Vickie discovers she is the descendant of the original vampire slaying Van Helsing it was very hard to believe, but the truth quickly became real in the form of sharp fangs. For she would be the only one who could defeat the returning Dracula.

When I began reading this story, I was in the midst of working out a story of my own and one of the things that I was struggling with was what point of view and what whether it should be past or present tense.

Inkwell deals with the same problems in an interesting way. It isn't just a first person narrative, but one that takes place after the story is over and reads as if Vickie has gathered together everyone's series events so that she could talk about what she hadn't witnessed. In an interesting way, it pays respect to the way Bram Stoker collected together a series of peoples diaries and news clippings to tell the original Dracula story.

Vickie Van Helsing is a light fun adventure.

Monday, November 14, 2011

A Cover Fitting a Genie

Well, my novel CLOCKWORK GENIE has been available online as an ebook for purchase for nearly a week now (you can click on the link to the right to purchase it at Amazon.)

So far I’ve had two sales. I’m still smiling.

This week I’ve decided to blog about the cover art of the book, which I can talk about since I drew and painted it, myself.

If you’ve been reading my blogs, or following me on twitter and facebook, you know that I am a comic book artist and draw the online comic book FLYING GLORY AND THE HOUNDS OF GLORY. I wanted to be in comics from an early age and started off as an artist, but soon realized I was a storyteller first. The art has kept up with the writing, and here’s an example.

The hardest part of art that I’ve found, even back in my illustration course in college, was the thumbnail stage. I usually draw something once and like that I have trouble trying to draw it in other designs.  It was no different for this cover.

My original idea was to show an image of a golden pocket watch in the center of the art. Perhaps even superimposing a woman’s face with in it. But that didn’t quite work. The two panels of my thumbnails here represent that. Have the watch laying on a cobblestone path, or hanging from the title. Discussion this with Shannon, who has been a great help as my editor on this book, she suggested that the watch should hang from the text to one side as the woman walks off into the distance, yet looking back over her shoulder. I liked that idea; especially having the woman proximately placed helped it fit in with the Paranormal Romance of the book’s genre and market.

I liked that but thought that there might be a better way of tying the woman to the watch all the more. Read the book, the watch is very important to her.

So I brought her closer into the foreground holding the watch on her shoulder.

Either of these were still good ideas, so I decided to take them both to the next stage.

Using the 3D program POSER I set up a female figure into the poses I though best fit the images I had in mind.
I don’t usually use Poser in my artwork, but do use it to set up poses to find the right angle and position of the body for the shot. By the time this was done, I knew I’d be using the close up image.

Using the Poser images as a starting point I sketched up and then penciled the pose. I would then add the hair and the pocket watch into the image on separate layers.
Using these detailed pencils, the painting began. Both the pencils and painting were done in Corel Painter.

They way I paint is not what I would suggest for others, do what works best for you. Coming out of my comic book coloring experience, I laid in flat colors first, her flesh tones on one layer, her hair on another, then the watch, and her dress.
Putting the flats against a grey background, I began to paint in the shadows and shades on each of the layers. I like to use a Gouach, Broad Cover Brush for putting in the colors. Then I blend it all in using a Blender tool, different ones create different effects in the paint, and currently I’m using the Grainy Water Blender. Change the size of the point for different areas and purposes.

The same is done with light side of the figure, blending in a lighter color and finish with highlights. Sometimes the brush doesn’t create a thin enough line so I use my Variable Tip Pen, or even the pencil; again adjust the size for what’s needed.

As you’ll see I did the watch on a different layer, but dropped in the shadows on her flesh tones here.

The next part of the job, done in a separate file, was to create a background. Coming up with the right colors for the background had to be just right for the foreground figure to stand right out and not just be flat. I adjusted this several times as my original colors blended too much into her dress.
I then had to design the house for the background. This house is extremely important to the story, so it had to stand out yet not distract from the figure. I did researching and looked at a dozen or more big houses in Bel Air owned by Hollywood stars back in the 1920s and 1930s. Not wanting to copy any one of them, I found something I like and in several and blended into something new. I drew it and painted it at a large size but on a separate layer that I would be able to shrink down and adjust the shade and tone as need be.

Once pleased with the background, I dropped in my figure in front of it. Here you can see how the watch finally was incorporated.

The background would be adjusted a few more times until I was really happy.

The next assignment was to figure out what font would work best for the title on the cover. I liked several fonts, both in what came with the computer, and some that I purchased. Here is a selection of them that I was considering.

I decided to go with Baskerville SemiBold, but without the Italics.
In Photoshop I started off with the title in the same color as her hair, but it didn’t stand out well enough, so changed it to a brighter yellow.  Which I then used the Layer Styles to create an appropriate bevel effect on the letters.

The only problem I had now was my ‘four names of profession creativity’… my name was almost too small to visible. I had to adjust the size slightly, and then dropped a black bar underneath the text so it didn’t vanish into the flesh tones of her arm.

So the Clockwork Genie finally had a face and a cover. I hope you like my art, and I hope you really like the novel.


Kevin Paul Shaw Broden
Four Names of Professional Creativity

Monday, November 7, 2011

Today's the Day! - My book is out!

Last time I celebrated all the great authors who are fighting with blood, sweat, and tears to produce a complete novel in a month as part of National Novel Writing Month. I also told you about what came out of my experience NaNoWriMo.

With hard work since that November of two years ago, I am now able to announce the release of my contemporary fantasy novel:


Cecilia Orchard lives alone.

She writes fantasy and mystery stories to escape a humdrum data entry job that barely pays for her apartment, food, and bus fare. Then a handsome police detective arrives with news that she is the prime suspect in the murder of her grandfather whom she never knew existed. If inheriting a fortune from a man she doesn't know isn't madness enough, Cecilia finds herself the owner of a powerful genie that could make all her dreams come true, but what are her dreams and is she willing to make the wish?

There’s a real great thrill to know that an idea I had years ago, and all the hard work it took to turn the idea into a story and then into a novel, now exists for others to read.

In the weeks to follow I’m sure to write more about this book, including on how I designed and painted the cover art.

The book currently can be found on Smashwords, and soon will be through distributors including Kindle. I'll let you know.

Thank you all for the support.

Kevin Paul Shaw Broden
Four Names of Professional Creativity.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

NanoWriMo - A Novel this November

Am very proud of my fiancée Shannon Muir as she begins working on her latest novel as part of NanoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). As she types away at her keyboard, I know several of my online friends are doing the same thing.

I was contemplating starting one as well, but have too much to do this month.

You see, just days ago, I types the two most glorious words to an author, and I typed them twice.

"The End"

I typed it first on a short story, which I submitted to a publisher for consideration as part of an anthology.

Then I typed them again on my first novel.

Two years ago I did participated in NanoWriMo, and completed the novel I worked on that November, but it was far from perfect and had so much in it that there is no way I could truly consider it finished. Even now I know it needs a page one rewrite.

However, about two weeks into that NanoWriMo, I had an idea for a new story. The concept came to me whole, and while not wanting to interrupt the book I was working on; I jotted down a full page of notes of this new tale and put it aside.

But the more I worked on the story for Nano, the more my thoughts lingered to the new one. So when December rolled around, I jumped head first into the new novel.

The first draft of the story flew from my finger over the next few weeks, though I had to admit that the climax stunk. So in the rewrite I discovered other characters that lived with in my novel's world and had their own parts of the story to tell.

As I asked more questions about the characters and the world they lived in the story expanded and became much better.

With Shannon acting as my editor, I went through several rewrites and the story kept getting better. Much more so than what I had originally jotted down in a flash.

Now the novel is finished and I am currently painting the cover art and formatting it properly to be release as an ebook, by the end of November.

All this resulted from NanoWriMo. My original book sits in a virtual sock drawer, and one day will come back to life.

This has been a great experience for me, and I wish an equally great experience to all my friends that are writing their novels this November.

Keep Writing.

Monday, October 10, 2011

The Lyrics of Glory

As you know, Shannon Muir and I are celebrating the tenth anniversary of our online comic book FLYING GLORY AND THE HOUNDS OF GLORY.

The story involves a team of teenagers who have chosen to put on costumes and be super heroes to support their leader Debra Clay who discovered she has inherited super powers from her grandma who was the World War II heroine Flying Glory.

On top of that, the team is also a rock band, first starting out performing for their high school and in local concerts. Now they are FLYING GLORY AND THE HOUNDS OF GLORY; and their heroic actions have brought more attention to the band and their music.

And their music is our music. Or rather, their lyrics are Shannon's lyrics.

One of the ways that we try to make our comic book unique from other super hero comics, or web comics, is that at least once per issue we include lyrics to a song that the band performs. All the songs that have appeared in the comic book over the last ten years have all been written Shannon Muir.

Music as part of an action adventure is how Shannon and I got to know one another.

When we were younger, and she lived thousands of miles away, we both enjoyed watching an animated television series called JEM AND THE HOLOGRAMS.

Originally created to sell dolls, JEM was a well-crafted television series that had and still has an audience and fandom of boys and girls, men and women. Developed by writer Christy Marx the series dealt with a wide range of topics both fun and serious beyond the simple adventure.

As a young teen watching such a show, Shannon did something I never would have had the nerve to do. She wrote to the production company and was soon in contact with Christy Marx herself to learn about the show and writing for animation. Marx soon became Shannon's mentor and friend.

I would later meet Marx online, and then at a science fiction convention. Whatever I said must have impressed her enough because when Shannon was ready to move down here to Los Angeles she asked Christy about me. She must have said something nice, because we've been together for over fifteen years.

The reason I bring this up is that Shannon and I have not intended to make FLYING GLORY AND THE HOUNDS OF GLORY a copy of JEM AND THE HOLOGRAMS, it's quite different, but Marx's influence is there.

One such influence is the inclusion of a song per story. There were usually two songs, I believe, per episode of JEM.

In our current issue, as part of our 10th anniversary celebration, Shannon is including three songs as part of the story. The next song page will appear next week.

Shannon has now assembled all her songs written for FLYING GLORY AND THE HOUNDS OF GLORY, as well as songs written for another series she developed called ENCHANTRESSHAWKE. Along with the lyrics to over fifty songs, she has also written an extensive history as to where each song came from.

It can be punched in both paperback book or as an ebook.

To all the fans of FLYING GLORY AND THE HOUNDS OF GLORY as well as those who like music and to discover where lyrics come from, I encourage you to support Shannon and purchase her book.

Thank you all for putting up with this little promotion.

Kevin Paul Shaw Broden
Four Names of Professional Creativity

Monday, October 3, 2011

Book Review - The Chloe Files "Ashes to Ashes" by Howard Hopkins

BLOG / Book Review

I've been meaning to write another book review for some time now. As we enter the haunting month of October, I thought It only write to post to post my review of Howard Hopkin's "Ashes to Ashes", book one of the Chloe Files.

I have not read the his previous novel GRIMM which introduced our heroine, but turned out not to be necessary as enough references are layout through this story to bring you up to speed to know the world of New Salem and the haunting adventures Chloe has already had.

It was quite fun to start the story off with Chloe reading a novelization of her previous adventure written by one said Howard Hopkins. I didn't know until the end of reading the book that this had begun as an online series to promote the earlier GRIMM, but the important thing was that I didn't need to know.

ASHES TO ASHES is a scary yet fun tale of a girl desperately searching for the man she love while also uncovering clues to her missing sister, and discovering dark secrets that haunt the city that she calls home.

Here is proof that a horror story doesn't need to be full of blood and guts. Enjoy the haunting mystery while Chloe tries to get on with her life.

I may now go back and read the original GRIMM, as well as the follow up tale of The Chloe Files.

Monday, September 26, 2011

What do you do without Joe Chill?

What do you do without Joe Chill?

Anyone who has followed Batman knows his parents were killed when he was only a child. Eventually the writers at DC Comics gave the killer a name... Joe Chill.

Joe Chill is the unseen presence that was the goal for Batman. A name for that haunting desire for revenge that kept the Dark Knight forever vigilant on protecting Gotham City. Yes, there would be far worse villains than the weasel face little man; the Joker has killed hundreds of people, but Chill holds more power over the hero than super villain.

Over the years there have been stories where Batman came close to capturing Joe Chill, and in some Chill has been captured, or killed. But all the same he remains the cancer created the Batman. The death of his parents always there when he's hunting down killers

I bring this up because of a television show I've been enjoying for the last few years called THE MENTALIST.

In the show, a serial killer murdered the wife and daughter of our lead character Patrick Jane years earlier. He has been working with the police (The CBI, California Bureau of Investigation. They didn't want to use the FBI,) helping them solve crimes, but his real desire is to hunt down the killer Red John.

Red John is Joe Chill for The Mentalist.

Last season every episode was building to Patrick confronting or possibly killing Red John. And so that is what happened.

After watching the season ender I certain the next season would take the series in a new direction. Patrick will have finally solved the case that has been his life for so many years. To me the new season would be: What does The Mentalist do now?

If Batman captures or kills Joe Chill the purpose of his very existence comes to an end. Can Bruce Wayne move on with his life? Can he put the cowl away and lock up the batcave? Or does he keep going because he knows that the mission continues... (forget the fact that many of the super villain exist because Batman exists.)

The Mentalist's new season began this past week (I'll try to keep the SPOILERS to a minimum) with him going to jail for the murder at the end of last season. Through out the episode his sanity is questioned, but his team sticks with him to the end.

So once he's released from jail he should be able to move on with his life, which is what I wanted to see. To see how he can continue help the police (CBI) when he no longer has the obsession. It would be interesting to see the change and development of his character.

But (and here's the SPOILER), the episode ends on Patrick telling his partner that the man he killed wasn't his nemesis, and that Red John is still out there.

It was a rather disappointing way to start the new season.

There are two ways that I believe the series will go from here: 1) Red John is alive and manipulated the whole thing, and will show up every so often through the season (usually one of his followers will get involved and not himself.) Been there, done that. 2) The other way is that Patrick Jane’s psychosis won't allow himself to admit the villain is gone; otherwise he has nothing left to live for.

This second direction is the way I am hoping the show goes will. Because I really want to see Patrick get on with his life, find out that there are more important things in his life than an archenemy. Maybe he might discover things already close by.

There is one more direction his character might take, but I’m pretty certain that a light detective show like The Mentalist would never go, and that would be to reveal that Patrick Jane is Red John. That would be a real depressing way to end the series.

What I really want to see is what happens to Batman when Joe Chill is no longer out there.

In THE MENTALIST what I really want to see is what happens to Batman when he’s finally solved his parent’s murder and Joe Chill is no more.

Kevin Paul Shaw Broden
Four Names of Professional Creativity.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

DCnU - Not quite here yet.

Less then 24 hours from now the universe will be starting over. Rather, the DC Comics Universe of super heroes will be starting over, with the release of JUSTICE LEAGUE #1.

I’ve been thinking about what to put into this blog for several days since I picked up my last batch of comics.

Last week’s comics represented the end of the old DC universe in a way, and I’m not talking about the end of Flashpoint. But that end bothered me in a way.

Two books had wonderful sunset endings, and one did not. Let me explain.

ACTION COMICS ended with Clark Kent and Lois Lane walking off into the evening twilight, all his problems resolved and finding happiness with her and Metropolis. The End. In WONDER WOMAN; her grand journey, and alternate reality, came to its end happy to find Paradise Island and the rest of the world the way it should be and she sores in the warmth of the sun. The End.

But in another JUSTICE SOCIETY, the ending wasn’t so glorious, no proper curtain down. The final issue felt like the story was rushed so that it would be over before the new universe took over. The Per Degaton story never quite went anywhere, Jessie Quick’s part of his story felt rewritten. And Alan Scott, Green Lantern (the true Green Lantern in my eyes, as I’ve written before), in a really bad looking costume, dies battling a monster/god that hardly had time to know a few buildings down.

The story ends in the cemetery with the question, what now? The answer by Jay Garrick is; we go one as we always have. And The End comes with everyone feeling at a loss.

The Justice Society and all the ‘Golden Age’ characters have always been my favorites, and they haven’t always been given their do.

Jay Garrick stands there and I realize he’s the last remaining member of the original Justice Society. Spectre is someone else, Dr. Fate has been replaced, Hourman’s son takes his place, Sandman gone, Johnny Thunder long gone. Even Hawkman man their great leader died and died again. Only The Flash, Jay Garrick stands alone out of that team; the first super hero team.

It really hurts to see all those characters go out that way. It’s almost as bad as when twenty odd years ago they ‘died’ and were trapped for ‘eternity’ in the Norse Ragnarok.

I grew up reading about these characters, whether it was in the ALL STAR SQUADRON, following their children in INFINITY INC, or collecting any back issues or reprints I could find (and afford). I read them more than any other characters.

A couple of years ago the JUSTICE SOCIETY ANNUAL gave us a glimpse of the ‘new Earth 2’ with a team that was almost the team I remember before the CRISIS took it away. Not quite, but close, especially since it focused on Helena Wayne, the true HUNTRESS.

It was a great thrill to see the original team worked into the continuity of SMALLVILLE.

Now the universe is starting over, and what of my beloved team?

I had no answer for that question three hours ago, and now I have at least a glimmer of hope.

Coming across my Twitter feed @ComicBooked had this message: Justice Society, Earth 2 to return!

There would be a new Earth 2 on which the Justice Society of America still exists.

James Robinsons will be writing. He’s handled the team quite well in the past, and did fantastic job on Starman. So I am really looking forward to this book, and hope that it will have that same joy of adventure I remember.

So in a few hours (and apparently some people already have the new Justice League in their hands), a new universe is born. (I have to stop thinking of Marvel’s New Universe).

I am glad to know that some old friends will be there, even if they are slightly different.

As mentioned in a previous blog, I will hold judgment of these books until I read them. However I will say this:

I’ll know how well all the books did once DC announces next years summer Event story line.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

“When They Met, It Was Murder!”

This blog is really going to show my age.

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote a guest blog for the website Para Your Normal about realizing that whatever genre I write in I’m actually writing romance.

For mystery and detective stories, this goes back to when I was the smallest of kids and the television I watched with my parents.

The first came in the form of McMilliand & Wife and follow by Hart to Hart, and I think they played a greater role in my creative mind than many other programs.

There would be many more over the years.

Focusing exclusively on television detective programs, (not including police procedure or lawyer shows), I believe there are three types of Romantic Detectives:

1. Partners in Crime and the Heart.

2. Keep it at Arm’s Reach.

3. The Love ‘em and Leave ‘em.

I could be wrong, but let me go through them in reverse order.

Love ‘em and Leave ‘em - are the shows about the handsome detective who somewhere in the middle of the case he meets the beautiful guest star who needs to help save her father’s business, has been charged with murder, or actually is the murder. Through out the hour we see the two grow closer together and finally kiss (or more), and the heroic detective saves her life. But then next week there’s a new case and a completely new damsel that needs to be saved and swept off her feet. Even as a kid I thought something was wrong in this, “hey, what happened to your girl friend from last week. Are you cheating on her with this new girl or did you just dump her?” Old examples of this loner hero are MAGNUM PI or KNIGHTRIDER and their ilk.

Keep it at Arm’s Reach – These are the stories where the man and woman have to begrudgingly work together and romantic feelings slowly grow between them, but neither willing to admit it to the other. Their sexual tension comes in arguments and jokes while solving the crime. They both will continue to see other people; which breaks the heart of the other each week. The audience keeps rooting for them to get together. This ‘keep them apart’ story thread can work for the first couple of weeks, but if they don’t eventually at least acknowledge their feelings for one another then it’s lost its power. Examples of this are REMINGTON STEELE, MOONLIGHT, and CASTLE.

Partners in Crime and The Heart – Are when our detectives are already in a solid romantic relationship. Usually married. They work together perfectly both at the crime scene and the bedroom. Examples of this are HART TO HART where couple were amateur sleuths who usually just stumbled upon the crimes, or McMILLIAN AND WIFE where he was a Police Lieutenant and he brought his work home and the wife got involved. Most recently there was the short-lived UNDERCOVERS where former spies, now married, are forced back into the game.

Many fans of these romantic detective shows would like to see the “Arms Reach” become the “Partners of the Heart”, but producer and network executives are leery of changing the formula that has been working so far, even if the ratings start to slip after a few seasons. It’s called the “Moonlighting Curse” by some people.

In the fifth season of Moonlighting, our leads had finally acknowledged their feelings for one another, but then ratings began to fall as the season progressed. Later executives supposedly see a correlation between the one and the other and so don’t want it to happen to their shows. In truth, both Bruce Willis and Cybill Shepherd were in the midst of their growing film careers, DIE HARD had just come out, so their schedules never matched up to be able play the scenes together as were required and the stories suffered for it. (Or so that’s how I understand it).

Truth or no truth, the curse haunts some executives. And has been a concern of audiences of the television series CASTLE where our leads obviously fell in love the moment they met, but never said anything about it. Everyone around them, including Castle’s mother and daughter know he loves Detective Beckett and vice versa. Only when she’s near death and in his arms does he finally admit his feelings.

So this new season starting in September (no, this was not intended as a promotion for Castle), the audience waits to see if they will remain at “Arm’s Reach” or finally become “Partners in Crime and the Heart”.

“Partners” is actually my favorite version of the television detective. The solid relationship with the main couple as they solve the murder together. I grew up on Hart to Hart. I would also discover the classic movie, and then read the novel (twice), “The Thin Man” by Dashiell Hammett. The story of a retired detective and his beautiful and rich new wife. Though the title is a description of the murder victim it would stick as the movie spun off sequel after sequel and eventually and television series. They were the perfect couple for crime, comedy and love. All else follow in their wake.

All of this influenced the writing of my pulp series “Revenge of the Masked Ghost.”

Bit of trivia. When I was young watching the first season of HART TO HART, the opening narration by their butler/chauffer Max said the following line “Their hobby is… murder.” Even as a kid I thought that was a dumb, it made it sounds like our heroes were actually the killers. By the start of the second season it had been changed to “When they met, it was murder.” My boy ears were very pleased.

Kevin Paul Shaw Broden

Four Names of Professional Creativity

Friday, August 12, 2011

“The Devil maybe in the Details, but the Angels are in the Spaces In Between.”

That might not mean anything to you, but it came to me finishing the latest draft of my contemporary fantasy novel.

When I first conceived this story I was in the midst of writing another so quickly dashed off a few pages and set it aside. Those pages became the outline from which I worked.

What I had at the start was the magical McGuffin, which our heroes and villain quested for, and the name of my main characters. So I put myself upon that same quest to see where they lead me.

Well for one reason or another, several of those names changed between the first and second draft of the novel. Some were too close in sound (try not to have characters names that start with the same letter). Soon other characters showed up they made themselves important and needed names as well.

However, the name of my main character never changed, and would become a very important key part of the story. No matter how unintentional when I started.

As I wrote further into the novel I discovered that her father had changed his family name (for reasons you’ll find out when you buy the book when its released). Near the end of the book my lead character has the opportunity to ask why. I knew nothing about this before I wrote it. Yet the very name I chose answered the question itself. Not only did it give me the explanation of why he had changed the name, but it also told me about a childhood trauma which I hadn’t planned and yet was now the story’s singularity which set in motion all the events which took us through the novel.

It was a little thing, and unplanned, but was an amazing thing to suddenly find I had laid the groundwork for key elements of my story without even knowing it.

The devil as they say is in the details, and if you focus too hard on them you lose sight of the whole. The vastness of world you create for your story doesn’t hold together on the details, but on the unplanned spaces in between them. Don’t listen to hard, but as you type away you just might hear angels wings providing you the creative answers you didn’t know you needed along your quest to compete the story.

Kevin Paul Shaw Broden

Four Names of Professional Creativity

Thursday, July 28, 2011

POST-CON-BLOG – My Feet Still Hurt.

Has it already been a whole week since I took the three-hour train ride south to San Diego for Comic Con International?

Ya, I guess it has, and my feet have finally stopped hurting.

It was crowded as expected, but truthfully it didn’t feel as bad as last year. I can’t explain it, just felt that way. Other than being detoured around massive signing lines, or avoiding the video game corner, I was able to get around most of the floor with ease.

Of course walking that floor or standing in long lines (I avoided anything in 20 or Hall H) did end up killing my feet and legs to hurt and each night ached through the night. A hot bath took care of some of it, but not all.

So like many others, when you’ve walked the floor for hours you are desperate to find his and your feet are killing you like mine, you need to find a place to sit. But all the seats around the tables under the sales are filled and the sun is too bright out on the back patio as you avoid being struck by the sword of a knight in armor, and the Fire Marshal prevents you from slumping down a wall to the floor of the hall our lobby. What are you going to do?

May I make a suggestion? Go sit in on a panel. No, not a panel you’ve been planning to go to, or one that is so popular that you have to grab a chair and sit through to panels to guarantee you’re in for the one you want. What I mean is, go and sit in on a panel you have no previous interest in. One that would never have appeared on your planned out schedule.

Here are two examples. My fiancée just received her certificate to be a library technician, and wanted to attend a panel on Friday titled: COMICS IN THE LIBRARY – self -explanatory. But we got to the room half an hour earlier expecting there to be some type of line and wait out in the hall. The volunteers out front the door let us right into to sit in on the panel right before. This panel we hadn’t planned for was titled: GRAPHIC NOVELS FOR THE NON-TEENAGERS – this title is a bit more open in it’s meaning. Were they talking about kid comics that teenagers wouldn’t read, or were they meaning Adult Comix? So we sat in on it not knowing what to expect. What it turned out to be was another panel on libraries and how they were targeting graphic novels beyond their Young Adult readers. Sitting through half this panel gave us information on libraries and comic books as much as all the panel we had intended to be in.

The second example came Saturday when as creators of webcomics and planning for the future with digital comics, we headed for: “Digital Disruption: Comics, Webcomics, and the Business Model of the Future” with guests Mark Waid and Scott Kurtz. Well again, our feet were hurting and were able to get into seats for the last fifteen minutes or so of the previous panel. This was a Spotlight and not a panel, it focused on Comic Book Creator Peter Kuper. I’ll be hones with you, I had no idea who he was, was never a reader of MAD magazine, and his art style doesn’t appeal to me. How ever his own story was extremely interesting. We sat in as he was describing his development of a comic based on Kafka’s story Metamorphosis. Strange art and story for sure, but I really got a lot out of how we was designing the pages to tell the story and keep the viewer feeling like they were in the horrific dream of the story. He also showed art from the magazine World War 3 Illustrated, much of which was political in nature. Then he talked about how his family moved to Mexico from New York and he showed art work that he did there, and then in turn wound up doing further political work because of it. Sometimes the creator’s life can be as interesting if not more so than that of his creation.

As I said, these were not panels we planned to be in, but we got a lot out of. So at the next convention, whether it’s San Diego and its 120,000+ friends or a smaller local one, you’re feet are going to get tired. So go take some weight off, sit in the back of a panel, relax, and listen. I promise that you’ll learn something new, and enjoy yourself in ways you didn’t expect.

Kevin Paul Shaw Broden

Four Names of Professional Creativity