Why a DuckBob?

Yes, I wrote a novel about a duck—sort of. Why? Because I wanted to do something funny. And ducks? Let’s face it, ducks are funny.

Think about it. How many times have you seen a duck waddling around on its tiny little legs with those oversized feet, quacking left and right, looking all self-important like “check this out, I can get out of the water, ain’t I cool?” Can anyone possibly keep a straight face when watching that?

Of course not.

Now take the duck, make him man-sized and man-shaped, and put him in jeans and a Hawaiian shirt. But keep the feet. See? Even funnier!

Then toss in a few weird aliens, a stoic Man in Black, the coolest roadside diner in the galaxy, the deadliest prawn in existence, the flower that altered history, and a bunch of other strange stuff, and send him on a ridiculous and often-derailed quest to save the universe. Freakin’ hysterical!

That’s why I wrote about a duck.

“But, Aaron,” I hear you say, “why write something funny at all? You’ve done Star Trek, Stargate: Atlantis, WarCraft, Warhammer—you’re not exactly known for funny. Okay, sure, you did two Eureka novels, those were kind of amusing, but that’s as much the show as you. And your first two original novels, The Birth of the Dread Remora and Indefinite Renewal—well, one’s space-opera, lots of cheesy action but not really har-har funny, and the other’s an occult thriller, all dark and creepy. What’s with the humor all of a sudden?”

Honestly? I just wanted to do something funny. I wanted to do something silly. I wanted to do something that made people laugh—no, actually, I wanted to do something that made people gasp for breath and spew Barq’s all over their neighbors and fall out of their chairs.


Because I like stuff like that.

I do. I love Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. I love Terry Pratchett’s Discworld novels. I love the old Ron Goulart books, and Harry Harrison’s Stainless Steel Rat series.

I wanted to write something like that.

And I figured the best way to write something funny is to start out with something funny.

Something like a duck.

Full disclosure—I actually came up with DuckBob years ago. Not his story, though. Just his face. Bill. Whatever. I don’t remember why I created it, exactly. I’m sure it was in response to something my co-worker and I were talking about—it was just the two of us in the cramped back room, going over manuscripts, and we would talk and joke and tell stories while working—but I can’t remember the details any more. All I know is that I concocted this image and it tickled my funny bone enough—and irked/amused my co-worker enough—that I had to build it. And apply it as his desktop image when he wasn’t looking.

But the picture wasn’t enough. Or, rather, it was just the start. It got me to thinking. It insisted that an image that strange, that silly, had to have a story behind it. And that story could be encapsulated in a single, succinct phrase: DuckBob Surfs the Ion Storm!

I know this is accurate because I wrote it down immediately, lest I forget. I even expanded the thought into a second line: A fun-filled story of a man-duck’s quest for the perfect galactic wave.

The image itself—that of, obviously, a duck-headed man riding a surfboard—has long since vanished into whatever etheric graveyard swallows such pixilated creations. But the sentences, the concept, lived on. It buzzed around my head like a lost little bee, searching for a home—or for the right moment to sting. And, finally, it found it.

Which is why you get to read a novel about a duck-headed man out to save the universe.

Make sure you have a towel handy, to mop up. Root beer can be murder to get out of the carpet.

The book will be available in a few weeks and soon you can download a preview chapter to see the silliness for yourself.

The Camelot Papers Draws Praise From Peter David Fans

Here’s what loyal readers of Peter David’s work are saying about his new book, The Camelot Papers, on Amazon

The Camelot Papers is an intriguing look at the potential reality behind the legends of Camelot.”

“It’s a lot of fun reading the book and getting those “Ahhhh, that’s where X came from” moments. PAD has some very clever ideas behind the truth of The Sword in the Stone, Excalibur’s origin, Merlin’s “wizardry” and the like.”

“The book has PAD’s trademark humor, solid characterization, fun nods to the traditional Arthur stories, a good mystery, and I stayed up two hours after I should have been in bed to finish the last two chapters.”

“I liked seeing how David handled all of the pieces of the King Arthur legend to create his own story. If this becomes a series, I would certainly pick up more books.”

Over at Good Reads, one reviewer wrote, “I liked seeing how David handled all of the pieces of the King Arthur legend to create his own story. You could see how some of it was factual, according to Viviana, and how some of it would be warped into legend. He created some interesting characters (with the exception of Viviana) and if this becomes a series, I would certainly pick up more books. Personally, I really want to see more from the trouser-wearing Guinevere and the not-really-a-wizard Merlin.”

What did you think of The Camelot Papers? Don’t be shy–let us know!

And while you’re at it, remember to check out Demon Circle, our Crazy 8 Press tag-team fantasy novella, all the proceeds of which go to The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund!

Crazy 8 Goes Crazy at San Diego

In its first appearance at the defining convention of what’s cool in American pop culture, Crazy 8 Press was well-represented. Any of the Hollywood hotshots who attended the party hosted by Wayne Brady party Saturday night saw the C8 logo displayed prominently on the invite, and was able to pick up one of the specially designed collectible C8 cards. And, courtesy of party overlord Michael Davis, Peter David was spotted talking up C8 to Wayne Brady himself.

Speaking of the ubiquitous David, an overview of his career was the main topic of the International Media Tie in Writers Association panel on Friday where he was given that organization’s lifetime achievement award, the “Faust.” There he discussed, among other things, the current state of the industry that gave rise to the writer’s cooperative called Crazy 8, and was garnering MUCH interest in the endeavor from other writers in the audience. He was also seen talking up C8 to an interviewer for Ain’t It Cool News, getting the word out as far as it will reach.

Meanwhile visitors to the busy Comic Book Legal Defense Fund table were able to pick up limited edition cards promoting “Demon’s Circle,” the collaborative, round robin short story that was written by the C8 team at Shore Leave as a CBLDF fund raiser. If you haven’t checked out the story here then you should do so immediately, because the CBLDF is a worthy organization fighting on behalf of your First Amendment rights.

Crazy 8: Taking over San Diego one fan at a time.

Writing in Confined Spaces

Just the other day, we were talking about writing “Demon Circle” in a tight, confined space. To demonstrate we were not kidding, we wanted to share with you some shots that prove our truthfulness. These were taken by Shore Leave’s official photographer, Jen Rohrbach Snyder, who doubles as a professional photographer in her Maryland business Lux Amoris.

The story remains available for purchase as a eBook with all the proceeds going to the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, a group dedicated to providing funds to support comic book creators and retailers in defending their right to free speech. They have several cases on their docket and every nickel will help. One reason we chose this fund is because our own Peter David serves on their Board of Directors in addition to the fact that as authors, we vigorously believe in defending our rights against those who seek to impose their will on others.

The first image is of our founder, Michael Jan Friedman, then there’s Bob Greenberger, trying to get used to the keyboard. Author Scott Pearson begs Mike for advice on how to be famous. Bill Leisner stands behind him, eavsdropping. Finally, Aaron Rosenberg, in his quiet, unassuming way, ignores the distracting crowds and focuses on making his contribution sing.

The Story Behind the Story of “Demon Circle”

“There’s no way we’re going to get all of this mopped up in time!”

A good first line can get you intrigued, or excited. It is designed to draw you in and set the tone for what you are about to read.

It can spark as many imaginations as there are people in the room to hear the words.

At Shore Leave, we wanted to celebrate our debut and do some good at the same time so we decided to write a round-robin short story based on a first line submitted by a fan. All those interested ponied up $2 a line and submitted a form. During our Crazy 8 Press panel at Noon Saturday, people continued to fill out forms as we discussed our plans.

Peter David then read out each line submitted, without attribution, and gauged the audience’s response. We narrowed down the lines until finally; the line atop this column won the support of the fans and the writers.

Once the final line was selected, Peter revealed the name of the winner, who turned out to be fellow author Kevin Dilmore.

As the panel ended, we set up a spare Mac Book in our reserved space and attached an external monitor so fans passing by could watch our progress. While Glenn Hauman and Bob Greenberger fussed with the technical issues, Michael Jan Friedman, batting leadoff, was furiously scribbling notes. Once a document was set up, Mike got to work.

Here’s the thing about our work space. It was narrow. Tiny, even. Set between two brick columns, it was apparently the last public table space near an outlet that was available for use. It felt confining and more than a few passersby cracked about watching us in a cage.

Still, we wrote. Every hour, someone new came to take over; beginning by reading what had been written to date, hearing some thoughts from the writer departing and then trying to write creatively. Bob was second and used scrap paper to jot down names and characteristics as a guide, which others added to as the story unfolded. Aaron Rosenberg was third, and quickly expanded upon what Bob had done, leaving his section with a nice cliffhanger for Peter to take in any of several directions.

Each author had to not only build off of what came before, but add and move the story forward. By Sunday, Aaron and Peter had brought the story in the general vicinity of a conclusion so after his stint Glenn filled Bob in on where things were headed. Bob then divided the final actions into two so he could focus on wrapping up one thread and finally handed things to Mike, who not only led off, but was now batting cleanup.

In the week that followed, we all read the story, Mike, Bob, and Aaron tweaked a few things for consistency, and Glenn created the cover you see. And in a day or so, the story will be for sale in all eReader formats with proceeds going to the CBLDF. We had tremendous fun and hope you enjoy the finished tale. We encourage you to support both us and the Fund by buying a copy.

Crazy 8 Press Talks to the Fans

At Shore Leave, the six founders of Crazy 8 Press spent an hour outlining the reasons behind the founding of the company and our plans for the future.

We talked about the just-released The Camelot Papers and our second offering, Aaron Rosenberg’s No Small Bills. Mike Friedman said the third original title to be released will be an untitled modern day fantasy with its basis in classic Greek mythology.

Glenn Hauman said his first original work will be a short story to be live on July 20, with a strong theme related to the moon landing on that date in 1969.

After that, Howard Weinstein talked about three different works which he has in mind, one of which will be his first offering, likely in early 2012.

Robert Greenberger said his first work will actually be a collaboration with Aaron Rosenberg, Bloodline, a fantasy in a world with a strong Caribbean flavor.

Backlist works from Greenberger and David will be made available over the next few weeks, in-between original releases.

Crazy Good Stories