Tagged: Peter David

Mindy Newell: To Tell The Truth


Is it a dirty word, especially when it comes to writing? Well, it depends. Simply put, there must be no embellishment when writing for a professional journal. The truth must be told.

There is a big difference between writing for a professional journal and writing fiction, or even this column. Writing for a professional journal must follow a proscribed style set by peer-reviewed organizations whose rules on grammatical usage, word choice, elimination of bias in language, the proper citation of quotes and references and the inclusion of charts and tables have become the authoritative source for all intellectual writing. This means that for me, as an RN, BSN, CNOR, I must adhere to the styles and standards set by the Publication Manual Of The American Psychologoical Assocociation (APA), which is “consulted not only by psychologists but also by students and researchers in education, social work, nursing, business, and many other behavioral and social sciences” (VanderBros, 2010) if I submit a paper or article to the Journal of the Association of Operating Room Nurses (AORN) for publication.

Does this mean that when I write fiction, or this column, I am allowed to freely embellish my stories? Does it mean that I am allowed to not to tell the truth?

Fiction writers do not really have one easily referenced professional publication in which the governance of grammar and punctuation are laid out in indisputable terms, in which the standards of style are set – though this does not mean I can sit down in front of my computer screen and write just one continuous sentence that goes on and on for pages and pages – well, perhaps I could if I was James Joyce. But all writers do need to start somewhere, and for anyone who has ever taken a creative writing course, or even tried to stay awake in their English high school class, the classic Elements Of Style, first written in 1918 by Professor William Strunk, Jr., is a good place to start. Strunk said something in that first edition that, 95 years later, has withstood the test of time and which, I believe, every writer, aspiring or published must integrate into his or her understanding of the art of writing:

Vigorous writing is concise. A sentence should contain no unnecessary words, a paragraph no unnecessary sentences, for the same reason that a drawing should have no unnecessary lines and a machine no unnecessary parts. This requires not that the writer make all his sentences short, or that he avoid all detail and treat his subjects only in outline, but that every word tell.”

Elements was first revised in 1957 by New Yorker writer E. B. White (the author of the children’s classic Charlotte’s Web), and by 1979s third edition, listed 11 rules for grammar, 11 principles of writing, 11 standards for form, and 21 recommendations for style. (A search on Amazon revealed that Chris Hong updated The Elements Of Style for Kindle readers in 2011.) But there’s a lot more advice out there. A little while ago I entered “standards for fiction writing” on Google, and got 15,400,000 hits in 0.23 seconds.

On my bookshelf I have not only Elements of Style, but also Zen in the Art of Writing – Essays on Creativity by Ray Bradbury, Write for Yourself – The Book About The Seminar and Telling Lies for Fun and Profit, both by Lawrence Block, Write in Style – Using Your Word Processor and Other Techniques to Improve Your Writing by Bobbie Christmas, How I Write – Secrets of a Bestselling Author by Janet Evanovich with Ina Yalof, Inventing the Truth – the Art and Craft of Memoir edited by William Zinsser and which includes essays by such notables as Russell Baker, Annie Dillard, Toni Morrison, and Frank McCourt, Is Life Like This? – A Guide to Writing Your First Novel in Six Months by John Dufresne, The Weekend Novelist Rewrites the Novel by Robert J. Ray, Writing Fiction from the Gotham Writers’ Workshop, and Writers on Comics Scriptwriting which includes interviews with such illustrious authors as Peter David, Kurt Busiek, Garth Ennis, Neil Gaiman, Frank Miller, Jeph Loeb and Grant Morrison.

I also have Eisner/Miller – Interview Conducted by Charles Brownstein, which is wonderful not only for its historical perspective, but for a peep into two great creative minds, and “Casablanca – Script and Legend” by Howard Koch,” which is incredibly instructive in detailing how magic sometimes happens despite ornery studio heads, battling co-writers, and an inability to decide how the story ends. I also have Stephen King’s “On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft” on my to-buy list.

And to tell the truth, I sometimes think that all this advice is still not enough.

Reference: Vandehaus, Gary R. (2010). Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association. (6th ed., pp. xiii – xiv). Washington, D.C.: American Psychological Association.

To Be Continued…




Peter David’s Tigerheart eBook on Sale for $2.99

tigerheartAs you know, Peter is facing some horrific medical bills in the coming months and everyone is doing their part to help out. This now includes his publisher, Random House, which has temporarily reduced the eBook price of his fabulous fantasy, Tigerheart, to a mere $2.99.

The pastiche of J.M. Barrie’s Peter Pan was originally released in 2008 and remains one of his proudest achievements.

For those unfamiliar with it, here’s the official description:

For all readers who have ever lent an enthusiastic ear to a wonderfully well told tale, or tumbled gladly into pages that could transport them anywhere, now comes novelist Peter David’s enchanting new work of fantasy.

Action-packed and suspenseful, heart-tugging and wise, it weaves a spell both hauntingly familiar and utterly irresistible for those who have ever surrendered themselves to flights of fancy, and have whispered in their hearts, “I believe.”

Paul Dear is a good and clever boy, doted on by a father who fills his son’s head with tall tales, thrilling legends, and talk of fairy-folk, and by a mother who indulges these fantastic stories and tempers them with common sense. But Paul is special in ways that even his adoring parents could never have imagined. For by day, in London’s Kensington Gardens, he walks and talks with the pixies and sprites and other magical creatures that dwell among the living-but are unseen by most. And at night in his room, a boy much like himself, yet not, beckons to Paul from the mirror to come adventuring. It’s a happy life for Paul, made all the more so by the birth of his baby sister.

You can find it for this low, low price at Amazon’s Kindle or Barnes & Noble’s Nook and it comes highly recommended by those who have read it.

A big thank you to Nook’s Ali T. Kokmen for helping make this a reality.

John Ostrander: My CBG

Ostrander Art 130113 “There are places I remember

All my life, though some have changed

Some forever not for better

Some have gone and some remain.”

– The Beatles, In My Life

As I grow older, I find some underlying conservative strains in me coming out –much as that will surprise many who know me as a flaming leftie. While not totally adverse, I find I’m resistant to change the older I get. I like things as they were. When I periodically go back to my hometown of Chicago, I find some things have changed and some things are just gone. My first reaction generally is “Who told them they could do that?” Even if I haven’t been back to a place in some time, I mildly resent it not being there. I see what is now there overlaid with my memory of what was there. A cognitive double vision, if you will.

I think part of the reason that young people may not have that same reaction is they don’t have the same amount of experience with that spot. They’re living in it now and maybe know it only from now. Current chronology doesn’t get mixed with past chronology as it does for those of us who are older.

All of which brings us to the news this week of the Comics Buyer’s Guide ending its long run in about two months. For those of you who don’t know, CBG was long one of the top comics related newspapers/magazines with news and reviews and opinion columns relating to the comics medium.

There are other places that have covered the history of the Comic Buyers Guide, including an excellent summation by Bob Greenberger here on ComicMix. What I want to talk about instead is my own personal connections and history with it.

Before I was a writer of comics, I was a fan and with the dawning of the direct sale shops came the discovery of periodicals such as The Comics Reader and CBG. For the first time, I got a peek into the backstage of the comics industry. I got an idea of what was coming out and when, who were the artists or writers on what books, I read reviews, letters from fans and pros, opinions and columns (notably Peter David) and, as a fan and someone who had aspirations for the field, I wanted not only to read CBG, I wanted to be in it, to be one of those who were talked about.

Eventually, I was. I had arrived. I was part of it. I got reviewed by Don Thompson (he and his wife, the ever charming Maggie, ran the paper). While he didn’t like everything I did, I felt he was fair and reasonable and he gave one of my favorite reviews of my character GrimJack. In one issue, Gordon the bartender tells a customer the “secret origin of John Gaunt.” It came down to “Mama Gaunt, Papa Gaunt, a bottle of hootch, wucka wucka, wucka – nine months later, Baby Gaunt.” Don said it was his second favorite origin in all of comics, eclipsed only by Superman. I loved that and still do. Thanks, Don.

The most important memory of CBG for me is that, for a time, they gave my late wife Kimberly Yale a literary home. Kim wrote a column for them and, as she learned she had cancer, she recounted her battle with it until close to her death. Kim was a finer writer than me; I’m a storyteller, not a Fine Writer. Oh, I know my way around structure and theme and character and syntax and so on but my primary focus was and is storytelling. For Kim, it was the shape of the sentence, the right word chosen, the proper use of grammar and syntax. I’ll split infinitives without a care but Kim didn’t like that. She was the better essayist than myself. CBG gave her the chance to make her mark that way.

I’ll freely admit I haven’t read CBG for a while. I’m more online these days. I liked, however, knowing it was there and now it won’t be. Life changes, I know, and some things die but life itself always goes on even if I don’t always approve.


MONDAY: Mindy Newell


The Comics Buyer’s Guide: 1971-2013

TBG_finalcoverIn the early days of comic book fandom, it took its cues from science fiction fandom since there was quite a bit of overlap. The early SF zines included names and addresses so as others began publishing, they knew where to find eager subscribers. The first pure comics zine, Richard Lupoff’s Xero, didn’t arrive until 1960 but it merely ignited a new wave of comics-only zines. By the time I discovered fanzines or 1960 or 1970, you sent some money and/or some stamps and they sent you a zine.

My best friend Jeff and I wisely took our meager allowances and one of us subscribed to Don & Maggie Thompson’s Newfangles and the other ordered Paul Levitz’s The Comics Reader. This way, we could share the only two authoritative sources of comics news. By then, we were aware that a growing back issue market was fueled by RBCC, formerly known as the Rocket’s Blast Comics Collector, but as its editor GB Love’s health meant that venerable title had to end, the market for a publication for buyers and sellers remained strong.

Enter Alan Light, now a respected music writer. Back in 1971, he gave us The Buyer’s Guide for Comic Fandom , a weekly tabloid that was chock full of ads. Over time, though, Light added columnists, giving us something read between ads. Columnists begat news and news begat reviews and suddenly, The Buyer’s Guide became the source for information about comics post and present along with a handy way to order things of interest. Within a year it went from monthly to biweekly and the Thompsons brought Newfangles back, renamed Beautiful Balloons making the free paper a must read. Of course, with success came a demand for more content and in 1972 the paper went to a subscription model but no one complained. It had become too vital a source for information and collectors. As a result, it went weekly in 1975.

CBG 2TBG offered us exclusive news and interviews with gorgeous original cover artwork. It broke news and ran pictures from conventions around the country. Flipping through the back issues would be like sifting through a time capsule of the industry. Companies retrenched and crumbled, others rose and fell in a blink of an eye. While credited with inventing the direct sales market in t1975 or so, Phil Seuling didn’t start advertising for his own Sea Gate Distribution until 1977, a significant step in the evolution of the importance the comics shops would become.

Murray Bishoff joined Light as an assistant editor but to readers, his news columns were vital. When Cat Yronwode took over in 1980, her Fit to Print became the Bleeding Cool of its day and turned her into a force to be reckoned with (and led to her successful work at Eclipse Comics just a few years later).

Light, just 29, sold the publication to Krause in 1983 and turned management of the newspaper over to the Thompsons who lovingly put their own imprint on the publication starting with Comics in Your Future, the first TV Guide-style listings of comics since the passing of TCR just a few years earlier. But as comic publishers grew in number at this point, the listings were essential.

CBG 4Yronwode left but other columnists came including Tony Isabella and Bo Ingersoll while Peter David’s But I Digress joined the roster in 1990. Tony and Peter have been contributing ever since, without fail, their pieces always entertaining.

Don’s passing in 1994 was a shock to all but Maggie persevered and kept the publication a place for people who loved all manner of comics. On the other hand, it was being pounded by new competition, notably Wizard magazine, which was slick, glossy, snarky and available on newsstands. It wasn’t long before that became the Must Read title and TBG, renamed the Comics Buyer’s Guide, or CBG, suddenly seemed quaint and old-fashioned.

And just as the 24/7 immediacy of the Internet made Wizard irrelevant, it spelled the slow agonizing death for CBG. It dropped pages, it went monthly and became a magazine in 2004, too little too late.

MAGGIE_200x300Today, it was announced that issue #1699, out in March, will be the final issue. You would think they would go out in grand style with #1700 but Krause management never seemed to appreciate the quirky world it inherited when it bought Light’s dreamchild.

Maggie had been working reduced hours for some time and when we chatted in San Diego, she was looking ahead, enjoying the free time afforded her and looking forward to moving ahead with new skills or new projects. She’s boldly striding towards tomorrow but let’s all pause for a moment and look back.

We’ll never see something like this again. There will never again be that sense of thrill and wonder when the new issue arrived in your mailbox and it cast a spotlight on a the behind-the-scenes world of comics. It carried generations of readers and its passing should be noted. Raise a glass on high and let’s give a toast to The Buyer’s Guide, last of the great fan publications about comics from the first age of comics fans.

John Jackson Miller gives a long history of CBG here. Maggie Thompson’s blog post appears here.

John Ostrander: Freelancers Live Without A Net

Ostrander Art 130106As the comics world knows, writer Peter David recently had a stroke. I’ve known Peter for a long time and I both respect and often envy his talent, skill and the breadth of his work. Peter has health insurance but there are plenty of bills that just won’t get covered and, as pointed out here on ComicMix, fans who want to show financial support can do so by purchasing his work at Crazy 8 Press. That’s incredibly easy; not only do your help Peter and his family but will probably get a damn fine read out of it at the same time. Like I said, Peter is a very talented writer.

Peter’s better prepared (as far as anyone can be prepared for something like this) than many in the field; he has health insurance and most other freelancers – including myself – don’t. It’s hard to get, and harder to afford, health insurance when you’re a freelancer. By it’s very nature, a freelancer’s life is precarious.

Take for example, job security. There isn’t any. Beyond your current contract (if you have one), there’s no guarantee you’ll have a job when it ends. You may be on a title for a long time, but that always ends. I had a “continuity contract” at one time with DC which guaranteed me so much work (and health insurance) within a given time frame, but that is long since gone. I don’t know if it’s offered any more. It was difficult for me to get a mortgage back when I bought my house (which I no longer own) and I dare say it’s tougher now if you’re a freelancer.

When you’re a freelancer, you only get paid for the work you actually do. There’s no sick pay, there’s no paid holidays, there’s no paid vacation. You sometimes get royalties ( or “participation” or whatever term a given company chooses to call it) and that’s nice. Amanda Waller’s “participation” in the Green Lantern movie sent me some nice bucks that were sorely needed at the time but that’s like finding an extra twenty in your jeans that you forgot you had. You never know when it’s coming and you can’t rely on it.

In some cases, you can’t even be sure you’ll get the check. The major companies are reliable but the smaller ones can be iffy. One company went into bankruptcy owing me thousands of dollars that I never saw. As I grow older, I continuously worry about getting work. For the past ten years I’ve done Star Wars comics over at Dark Horse but, with the sale of LucasFilm to Disney, that could change. (And, no, I don’t know any more about that than you do.) Will I be able to get other work? I’m going to be 64 this year and haven’t worked in an office for maybe 35 years. What office would hire me now?

When I was just out of college and aiming for a life in theater (another financially iffy occupation), my mother really wanted me to get a master’s degree in English. That way, I might be able to teach, have something to fall back on. My problem was – and is – that I know that if I had something to fall back on, I’d fall back on it. I had to work without a net, I felt, if I was going to make it at all.

Right now, it feels like I’m on the high trapeze and all the lights are out. At some point I’m going to have to let go of the bar and soar into the darkness and hope there’s another trapeze for me to grab. I have no pension, I have no life insurance or health insurance, I have no net.

This is not a pity plea. This is my life and I’ve chosen it. I’ve made my decisions and I live with them as best I can. I wish I had followed Peter’s example and branched out more into other media. I’m happy with some decisions I’ve made and regretful of others. That’s life.

What I’m doing is issuing a warning. There are many, many young writers and artists out there who want a career in comics. Very, very few can make a living off of it and, in many cases, that living only lasts a while. Some, like my fellow ComicMix columnist Marc Alan Fishman and his cohorts at Unshaven Comics, work day jobs while doing their comics work in their increasingly disappearing spare time. Once they’ve created the work, the Unshaven Comics crew also takes to the road, selling their comics at conventions. Ask them how tough that gets.

If you want to make comics a career, go for it. But you should understand what you’re getting into. I love my job and feel fortunate to have been able to do it for as long as I have. However, a freelancer’s life – whatever field – is precarious at best. It can be very scary.

If you want to try to make a living as a freelancer, just make sure you can deal with the idea of living without a net.

MONDAY: Mindy Newell


Help Peter David by buying his e-books now!

Help Peter David by buying his e-books now!

Pulling Up Stakes Part 2As you probably already know, Peter David suffered a stroke last week. Even though the Davids have health insurance, they also have co-pays and things that the insurance company just won’t cover. And many people have been asking how they can help.

Right now, the most direct way is to buy his e-books. Crazy 8 Press, a writing cooperative that Peter belongs to (disclosure: so do I) has agreed to make their books available for sale through ComicMix. You can get The Camelot Papers , Pulling Up Stakes parts 1 & 2, and his Hidden Earth Chronicles novels Darkness of the Light and Heights of the Depths right now. All proceeds go directly to Peter.

Peter’s e-books are also available for sale via Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Royalties from those sales will take longer to get to Peter, and be slightly smaller. But one thing that you can do there that you can’t do here is give his books as gifts. Just go on the webpage for the book and click the “Buy As Gift” button and go through the process using the gift-ees e-mail address.

We’ll be keeping you posted on additional efforts to help Peter as hear of them.

Michael Davis: The Wrong Stuff

Davis Art 130101A few days ago I received an email from my friend John Jennings. John is a fantastic artist and teacher and I’ve known him for a lot of years.

I was not happy with what John had to say and let him know it. What John wrote me was a pretty detailed accounting of why some in the black comic arts community were not happy with the following line from the gallery show I’m curating for the Geppi Entertainment Museum called Milestones: African Americans in Comics. Pop Culture and Beyond.

“Up until now there has been no serious attempt to showcase African-Americans in the world of comic books, and the impact of their creative excellence, which has been a mainstay of the industry for as long as comics have been an American art form.”

Man, I went (as we say in the hood) Negro when I read that that line in the press release offended some people.

My response to John was in affect, how dare these mofo’s (white people, ask someone what that means, oh wait it’s New Years Day and you are all hung over so I’ll just tell you, motherfuckers. It means “motherfuckers”) be offended??

The reason why they were offended is because that line from the press release gives the impression that Milestones is the first exhibit of its kind. I must say, I’ve written some great kiss my ass letters in the past, but the one I wrote about those people who were “offended” was so good I thought about using it for a ComicMix article.

Before I could do that, John wrote a response that pretty much put be on blast (white people, ask someone what that means…oh I forgot New Years Day, hung over, OK “blast” in this instance means you call someone on their shit. Damn! I keep forgetting, New Year, hung over…’calling someone on their shit means you dismantle their argument), John called me on my shit.

John was right.

Milestones is the latest in a line of exhibits that feature black comic book art and artists.

I’m going to give John a forum to break down what has gone before in the Black Comic Space in a guest column here (something he’s just learning right now) as no one is better equipped than John to do so.

Those who know me are well aware that when I’m wrong, I say it.

I was wrong.

I also intend to acknowledge what has come before in any future press releases, interviews, etc. I think letting the millions of people that read me on ComicMix is a good start but I can do more and I will.

I’m excited about the show, I’m excited that Tatiana El-Khouri is co-curator, John is lending his considerable expertise and talent to the exhibition and Obama beat the living shit out of Romney.

That I was right about, was I not?

On a somber note, Peter David had a stroke the other day and all I can think of is how much I love that guy. Peter is not just a friend, he’s not just a great writer, he’s a really great guy.

Get well Peter and do it fast. We all love you dude.

Happy New Year, everyone.



Peter David’s wife updates on events leading up to his stroke

Peter David(Peter David‘s wife, Kathleen, updates us on what happened. Taken from Peter’s site. –CM)

As stated yesterday on his web log, Peter had a stroke. So we are at the beginning of what is going to be a long road. We have a diagnosis, which is a small stroke in the Pons section of his brain. Now we have to figure out where we go from here and how we get Peter back to what he was before the stroke. We know that a total recovery is slim because damage to the brain doesn’t go away but the brain can be trained to work around the damage and give Peter back what he has lost.

I am dealing with a lot of woulda, coulda, and shoulda issues right now. But we are where we are and we are working out a plan of recovery.

What happened was that we were in Disney Hollywood Studios having just had lunch at the Prime Time Café. We were walking to the front gate because we were off to Animal Kingdom to see a friend of ours perform in the Finding Nemo Show. Peter had been tired and also not sleeping well the past week or so. He had been taking naps in the afternoon to catch up on the sleep that was eluding him at night. He told me that he had blurry vision in his right eye. The way he described it to me sounded like an ocular migraine so we took him back to the Hotel and went onto Animal Kingdom. We got back and he was working on his next novel. We decided to go to dinner but he was still having a slight vision problem so I drove.

While at dinner I thought his speech was a bit slurred. He put it down to fatigue and his face always looked like that. That morning he couldn’t get his right leg to move correctly. He told us later that he had gotten up because he couldn’t sleep and tried to type and couldn’t get his hand to work correctly but he didn’t want to wake me up and alarm me. I called my mom with the laundry list of things. My mother said get him to a hospital NOW. We loaded him into the car and took him to Celebration Hospital at the recommendation of some friends.

Celebration Hospital did a great job of getting him in and starting treatment. His blood pressure was scary scary high so their first job was to get it back to closer to normal. They did some tests and a CAT scan to check for a stroke. The CAT scan didn’t show anything but they were going with their observations and the evidence that his blood work was not good and getting worse. The decision was made to transfer him down to Florida Hospital in downtown Orlando where they could do an MRI and some other tests Also Florida hospital has the best cardiac unit and they were worried that he had a heart attack or a cardiac episode (having told Peter that he might be having a cardiac episode, he put on his best comic guy voice and said, ”Worst Episode Ever.” So Ariel got to take “ride in an ambulance” off her bucket list as she went down to the hospital with Peter while I dealt with getting us out of our hotel room.

So I am betting that in this point of the narrative you, if you know our family, are asking where is Caroline while this is all going on. She was and is in Jacksonville with her sister and Peter’s eldest daughter, Shana. Currently we haven’t told her what is going on but that is going to change in the next couple of days. So she is having fun with big sister and her playmates in Jacksonville. Shana has been a rock in all this and a champ about taking care of her little sister while all this has been going on. I have been able to concentrate on Peter right now.

He went into the Florida Hospital in the Cardiac Care Unit as they try to ascertain what exactly happened. They did an MRI about midnight along with some other tests. They came to the conclusion that it was not a heart attack but a stroke and moved him to the neurology unit where he is now.

As he stated, he has lost most of the use of his right arm, his right leg is incredibly weak, the vision in his right eye is blurry, and the right side of his face is drooping slightly. But the brain is there with all its quips and quick retorts. He has had the nurses laughing a lot.

Today we figure out what the next step is and where it is going to happen. Tonight the New Year Begins and for us it is a very different beginning than we thought we were going to be having.

Thank you everyone for your good wishes, prayers and kind words. They do help. And BIG thank you to our Orlando buddies who have taken us into their houses and helped us deal with what is going on.

Continue to think good thoughts for Peter. This is not going to be easy for him or us but we will get through this together.

I am grateful that my husband is still alive.

Peter David has stroke

Peter David

UPDATE: Peter’s site is back. Feel free to add well-wishes there.

Peter David, writer of over one thousand comics for everyone over the past four decades, has suffered a stroke. He writes on his site:

I have had a stroke. We were on vacation in Florida when I lost control of the right side of my body. I cannot see properly and I cannot move my right arm or leg. We are currently getting the extent of the damage sorted out and will report as further details become clarified.

His main website, PeterDavid.net, is getting hammered, but we’ll be updating as we have more information. He’s still planning on hitting all his deadlines, though.

Peter, of course, is well known for his comics work, holding the current record for most months consistently published. comic book resume includes an award-winning twelve-year run on The Incredible Hulk, and he has also worked on such varied and popular titles as X-Factor, Supergirl, Young Justice, Soulsearchers and Company, Aquaman, Spider-Man, Spider-Man 2099, Star Trek, Wolverine, The Phantom, Sachs & Violens, The Dark Tower, and many others. He has also written comic book related novels, such as The Incredible Hulk: What Savage Beast, and co-edited The Ultimate Hulk short story collection. Furthermore, his opinion column, “But I Digress…,” has been running in the industry trade newspaper The Comic Buyers’s Guide for nearly a decade, and in that time has been the paper’s consistently most popular feature and was also collected into a trade paperback edition.

His latest prose fiction, Pulling Up Stakes, is available from Crazy 8 Press. Part one is available as an e-book on Amazon and Barnes & Noble now, with part two arriving shortly. His latest comic, Richard Castle’s A Calm Before Storm, is a spinoff from the TV series Castle, starring Nathan Fillion.