September 4th, 2010

stupid history

Stupid History 3 September 2010

In the 1880s, after South Dakota's borders were drawn up, the surveyor working his way south missed the surveyor working his way north by about a mile. In order to finish their job, the men decided to join the boundaries with a slight east-west jig--a mistake visible on any map wherer South Dakota intersects the borders of Montana and Wyoming.
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Got about 1800 words done on Chapter 2 last night, which may not seem like much, but there was a lot of thought going into those words, as I'm still figuring out world-building and character stuff.

And of course I figured out what was wrong with a bit I was struggling with as I was fading off to sleep, so I'll be fixing that this morning..............
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Labor Day Tie-In Writer Guest Blog #2: Aaron Rosenberg

Our next guest is Aaron Rosenberg, another veteran of the tie-in game. Aaron started out in the gaming industry, and even has run his own game company, Clockworks Games. I first worked with him on some Star Trek: Starfleet Corps of Engineers stories, including several solo pieces, and his collaboration with Glenn Hauman "Creative Couplings," which had the first-ever Klingon-Jewish wedding. He's also done World of Warcraft, StarCraft, Transformers, Warhammer, iGo, Ben 10, not to mention his Scribe Award-winning Bandslam: The Novel. Here he talks about his latest project....

There Is Method to My Madness
by Aaron Rosenberg

Hi, Aaron Rosenberg here; Keith has graciously offered the use of his soapbox, so I'm here to tell you all about my new novel. It's called Substitution Method, and it's the first-ever novel for the hit SyFy Channel TV series Eureka.

If you're reading Keith's blog, I'm guessing you already know all about Eureka. For those of you who don't, it's about a town where everyone is a genius—except Jack Carter, the sheriff tasked with keeping the peace and saving the day whenever one of their many mad experiments go horribly wrong. It's a great show, clever and funny and sweet, and well worth watching.

So what's the novel about? In Substitution Method (which takes place between Season Three and Season Four), Carter is faced with a brand-new problem. Buildings are disappearing all over town. And to make matters worse, they're turning up again—in other towns all over the Pacific Northwest. And the houses they've displaced are winding up in Eureka! Which also means that anyone inside those homes is being transported as well. This is a major problem because normally you need security clearance just to enter Eureka's city limits. And now there are civilians wandering through it, homes and all! At the same time, Eureka's residents—who are all incredibly smart but also have no idea how things work outside their sheltered little town—are facing the real world for the first time. How can one man hope to corral them all, find the problem, and stop it, all by himself?

Fortunately, Carter isn't alone. He has help from people like his best friend (and Eureka's mayor), Henry Deacon, and his good friend (and GD's director) Allison Blake, not to mention his deputy Jo Lupo and her bad-boy whiz-kid boyfriend Zane Donovan. Even Allison's know-it-all assistant Fargo and Carter's college-age daughter Zoe get roped in to help. Together they race to figure out what is causing these swaps and sort the problem out before all of Eureka winds up scattered across the countryside...

I had a great time writing this book—Eureka's a fun place to get to play, and I had a blast with the characters. One of my goals, of course, was to tell a story that couldn't be done in a regular episode. Transplanting houses? Multiple settings all along the Pacific Northwest? That's tough for a TV show, but easy in a novel. But at its heart I wanted to explore the question of what happened when you took these brilliant but sheltered people out of their home, and what Eureka would look like to a normal person who was dropped there unawares.

One thing you'll notice is that the book doesn't bear my name. Instead it's credited to a "Cris Ramsay." Ramsay is a pen name the publishers selected so that all Eureka novels could be found together with a single author search, or shelved together under the author name in a bookstore. But it's an open pen name, which means I'm allowed to talk about which books I wrote.

What am I working on next—and did I just say "books"? I just finished the first draft of my second Eureka novel, which is called Road Less Traveled. I don't want to give too much away, but it's about the question of "what would it have been like if . . .?" only applied in that quirky way that only Eureka has. Road Less Traveled will be the third Eureka novel, and it's slated for release on March 29, 2011. I've also got a slew of other tie-in novels, and I write young adult and children's books as well. You can find a list of them on my website.

I hope you'll check out Substitution Method. If you like the show, I think you'll enjoy the book—I had a blast writing the characters, and Jaime Paglia (the show's co-creator and executive producer) worked closely with me to make sure everything matched the series perfectly. Thanks for taking the time to listen to me blather, and thanks again to Keith for playing host. It's all yours, Keith!

Eureka: Substitution Method by Cris Ramsay (a.k.a. Aaron Rosenberg) is on sale now from Ace.
Read Aaron's blog.
Follow Aaron on Twitter.
Follow Aaron on Facebook.

Next up: Joan Marie Verba.
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reminder: I'm doing the Komen Race for the Cure next weekend!

For the third year in a row, me and my fellow karateka will be participating in the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure to raise money (and awareness) for breast cancer research.

I pulled a calf muscle on Monday, so it looks like I'll just be walking it. *sigh* But please do click on the above paragraph and support me (and breast cancer research)!

Go team Kenshikai!
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Labor Day Tie-In Writer Guest Blog #3: Joan Marie Verba

Where I've known Bob Greenberger and Aaron Rosenberg for years, I only know Joan Marie Verba through the "novelscribes" mailing list, which is only open to tie-in writers, and the list where the International Association of Media Tie-in Writers was born. This doesn't make her any less awesome, however. *grin* Joan has a bibliography that ranges in subject matter from Star Trek fanzines to weight loss, but today she's gonna tell us all about Thunderbirds novels...

Thunderbirds are Go!
by Joan Marie Verba

Hi, I’m Joan Marie Verba, and I’m a media tie-in author. I write licensed novels based on the Gerry and Sylvia Anderson television series of the 1960s, Thunderbirds.

To date, the novels in the series include Countdown to Action, Action Alert, and Deadly Danger. The next novel in the series, Situation: Critical!, will be published soon (late September/early October).

For those not familiar with the series, Thunderbirds is set in the 2060s. After the death of his wife, ex-astronaut Jeff Tracy puts together a secret organization called International Rescue, which saves people otherwise beyond the reach of the usual responders. The organization consists of Jeff, his five adult sons (Scott, Virgil, John, Gordon, and Alan, named after the Mercury astronauts), a genius who designs ultra-high-tech aircraft and equipment far ahead of its time, and other agents and associates.

I love reading and writing action-adventure science fiction novels, and I have a lot of fun with Thunderbirds. The novels are written to appeal to readers ages 12 and over. The books have been recognized by the Mom’s Choice Awards (Silver recipient), the National Best Books Awards (finalist), the Foreword Magazine Book of the Year Awards (finalist), and the Scribe Awards (finalist).

If you’re interested in finding out more, I have sample chapters posted at

Thunderbirds: Situation: Critical! by Joan Marie Verba goes on sale soon from FTL Publications
Check out Joan's web site.
Follow Joan on Facebook.
Follow Joan on Twitter.

Next up: Steven Paul Leiva.
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chronic rift

The Chronic Rift Spotlight: Fall 2010 TV Preview

John and I sat down and worked our way through the network's autumnal offerings, focusing on the shows in our recent poll asking our listeners what fall show they were most looking forward to. We discussed The Defenders, Detroit 1-8-7, Lone Star, Outlaw, The Whole Truth, The Event, Law & Order: Los Angeles, Nikita, Outsourced, Undercovers, Chase, No Ordinary Family (the one I'm most looking forward to), My Generation, Shit My Dad Says, and Hawaii 5-0.

You can download the episode from iTunes, the Rift web site, or Mevio's Rift page. Please comment on the forums, or leave a toll-free message at 888-866-9010.
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    "The Ties that Bind" by Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band

Labor Day Tie-In Writer Guest Blog #4: Steven Paul Levia

Steven has worn many hats in his career: he's a screenwriter, an animation director, a playwright, a novelist, a filmmaker, and a whole bunch more. He wrote The 12 Dogs of Christmas, a novelization of the film, and also wrote an original novel called Blood is Pretty, which is what he's talking about right now...

My Hero—The Fixxer
by Steven Paul Leiva

Character is everything.

When I started writing Blood is Pretty my goal was not so much to tell a story as to create a character. The story, I assumed, would flow from the character once I got him into an interesting enough situation. I wanted, from the beginning, to create a larger than life character. I am melodramatic by nature, the outsize appeals to me. The mundane does not.

I knew I did not want to create another hard-boiled, street wise private eye living from commission to commission, too moral for his own good. Nor an overworked cop too cynical for his own good. Nor a CIA civil servant hindered by Federal bureaucracy. Nor a twice divorced forensic pathologist trying to decide if he/she is gay or not. I didn't want to create a character who had day to day nagging problems; a character with bills to pay and a car to get fixed and a family to love, hate or be misunderstood by. All this may be real, gritty, contemporary, but all this was not for me. I did not want to create a character the reader could relate to. I wanted to create a character the reader could look up to. I wanted to create a Hero.

So who's to say the mundane can't be heroes? Okay, I wanted to create a Romantic Hero. Not Romance Hero, mind you, of long blond tress and bare chest, a creature of creepy women's paperback dreams, but Romantic in the sense of the Byronic, I suppose, mixed with the American Cowboy mixed with an Anglo-Saxon aristocratic sense of superiority, even if that sense is self-anointed as opposed to being anointed by birth or society. My hero, the Fixxer, though, is not quite as serious as this sounds. I see too much the comic in life for that. My Romantic Hero definitely comes from a Popular Cultural lineage rather than a—what the hell's the opposite? Unpopular culture?—rather than "serious" culture, let's say. (Not that pollen from such "serious" culture hasn't drifted my way.) The Romantic here may be something as contemplative as the Fixxer's feeling that he is a man out of time, and the mystery of his past, and his attitude towards killing (especially killing by his hand—again, his past comes into play), an attitude sometimes expressed with humor, sometimes with horror. All of this, like a good Byronic Hero, allows him to brood—even if ever so lightly—now and then. It is also the romance of the enviable. The Fixxer is, after all, his own, self-financed boss. The Fixxer answers to no one. The Fixxer does exactly as he pleases. The Fixxer never hesitates to express his own opinion, unvarnished. The Fixxer has ultimate freedom, and freedom is the most Romantic idea in the world. Especially considering that the Fixxer does not take that freedom lightly. To be a free man is his main purpose in action. I am not talking about political freedom, although that's a part of it, but the more essential freedom to be yourself and to express that self and to do as yourself, from which the idea of political freedom most likely sprang. Remember, wage slaves can live in a democracy. People trapped in a corporate culture can live in a democracy. People delineated along racial, sexual, economic, and ethnic lines by society rather than by themselves (who know the inner truth) can live in a democracy.

There is also the romance that the Fixxer is usually in knowledgeable control of the situation. Even when he becomes violent and intimidating, you get the feeling that it is but a well calculated act, and yet may wonder just how much of that act may be based on something so basic to his nature that one would not be surprised to see the Fixxer lose control of the act and give in to raw violent passion.

Despite all this, the Fixxer is still a fun guy. Well, that's not quite right. Fun to be around? Yes, but that's not fully it. Fun to be? Yes, and that's the key. As I've said, I don't want the reader to relate to the Fixxer, I don't want the reader to say, "He could be me." I want the reader to declare, "Damn! I wish I was him!"

Blood is Pretty by Steven Paul Leiva is on sale now from Crossroad Press.
Check out Steve's web site.
Follow Steve on Facebook.
Follow Steve on Twitter.

Next up: Steven Savile.
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