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Archive for May, 2011

Here’s the thing about collaboration. It often sucks.

The first and last time I ever collaborated on a screenplay, I was confronted with the utter absurdity of the project. Actually, I misspeak: not a screenplay but a mere treatment. Which means a longish synopsis in the arcane form of Hollywood-speak: introduce your problem, create rising action (read car chase, car chase, car chase) to a climax, and then the tumble on the downward slope of resolution. It looks so neat on a line graph in Screenplay Basics, but what the hell does it mean? How does it really fit into the Aristotelian dynamic  or even the “then what” of E.M Forster’s Aspects of the Novel?: “We are all like Scheherazade’s husband, in that we want to know what happens next.” (more…)

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Laura Joh Rowland is the author of fifteen novels in the historical mystery series featuring Sano Ichiro, the seventeenth-century Senior Police Commander and later chamberlain to the Shogun in the district of Edo, present-day Tokyo.  Ichiro is a samurai with an intellectual background that often puts him at odds with his colleagues. The series began with the 1994 title, Shinju, and the fifteenth installment, The Ronin’s Mistress, appears this fall. (more…)

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I did not grow up in the land of shopping malls. A trip to Portland once a year promised riches at the local Meier and Frank, Oregon’s simulacrum of Macy’s. Sears Roebuck and Montgomery Ward (truncated to Monkey Ward in Oregon speak) were our connections to the great outside world of consumerism.

Still we in our small coastal town had our Safeway, we could boast a Penny’s nearby. You knew where to buy things; maybe they were distant, but once you traveled to those stores, you knew where things were. The world was a well-organized place, each aisle to a different good. (more…)

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Today we have Portland (OR) writer Steve Anderson under the lens at Scene of the Crime. Anderson has published three e-books, including The Losing Role, an espionage thriller featuring failed German actor, Max Kaspar, who is forced to join a desperate secret mission in which he must impersonate an enemy American officer. The book has received solid reviews. Rose City Reader dubbed it “a terrific book that deserves a wide audience,” while Midwest Book Reviews termed it “a historical thriller … quite difficult to put down.” Historical Novel Review felt that The Losing Role  “does a marvelous job of showing the ‘fog of war’ wherein no one truly understands what is going on once the attack has begun.”

Steve set out to be a history professor, spending time in Munich on a Fulbright Fellowship. Then, as he notes on his homepage, “I discovered fiction and screenwriting — I could make stuff up, using history and research to serve the story. What could be better? Whatever the story, I always root for the underdog.” (more…)

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Douglas Preston is the author of a score of thrillers working solo on works featuring ex-CIA agent Wyman Ford, or collaborating with Lincoln Child on the books featuring FBI special agent Aloysius X. L. Pendergast. He has also penned several nonfiction works, including the 2008 title, The Monster of Florence, a true crime story about a series of sensational murders in Italy. He is a contributing writer in archaeology for magazines from the Smithsonian to the New Yorker. (more…)

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