A Different Type of Research

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My guest today has taken his research and used it in a unique and compelling way, a way unlike anything I expected. Craig is a master at short storytelling; I always enjoy his super creative tales. If you’re not following Entertaining Stories, you may want to take a peek. Not only does he feature Lisa Burton Radio, where one character interviews another in radio station format but he also has The Idea Mill, where he shares real-life science as well as strange and unusual tidbits to use in fiction. Shawnee Daniels appeared on Lisa Burton Radio, and we had a blast. Welcome to Murder Blog, Craig!

Thanks for having me over again, Sue. Looks like we both have new books to promote, so don’t be shy about borrowing my space any time you like.

My newest release is a collection of short stories and anthems called The Enhanced League. It covers a year in the life of a professional baseball league where there’s a lot more flash, and nobody tests for performance enhancing drugs. It has a tiny science fiction background to it, but the stories are more human interest, and centered around baseball.

My requested topic was research, and it’s a good topic. I write speculative fiction, and many people think we get to simply make things up without doing the research. Nothing could be further from the truth.

In speculative genres, you’re always going to ask for a leap of faith and you expect readers to take it with you. Zombies come immediately to mind. We all know they aren’t real, but to enjoy the story you kind of have to go with it. One of the tricks is not to ask for too many of those leaps of faith.

A real world setting should reflect the real world. Even Google Maps can help with this. Simple physics should be respected. Water still flows downhill, gravity still applies, that kind of thing.

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You would think an author/fan of baseball wouldn’t have to do much research, but that isn’t true. There are little things, like the fact that umpires travel in crews, that need to apply. One of them is the Crew Chief, and all of them rotate positions from game to game. This means the Crew Chief isn’t always behind the plate. This kind of thing isn’t detailed in the book, but it happens in the background to keep it realistic.

Because of the flashy, no-limits atmosphere in The Enhanced League, they draw more fans. This means I could place the teams in towns that probably couldn’t support a Major League Team. I had to do research into what cities I might use. I had to invent two leagues that would battle for a world championship. I chose to make them North and South, just to be different. Back to the maps to determine my dividing line.

The Enhanced League is more international in scope than Major League Baseball. I had to research locations in Japan and Puerto Rico to place some of my teams.

I used a lot of charts here too, because I was aware of the Supreme Court ruling that allows Major League Baseball to be the only legal monopoly in America. I never discuss this in the book, but I purposely changed the game enough that perhaps it would fly past a challenge under that decision. The charts helped me keep up with an eight man rotation in one of the only actual games represented in the book. (My pitchers never hit, and there is no designated hitter.)

I also spent a lot of time listening to sports radio, and watching recap broadcasts. I have a team of sportscasters, and wanted to make their banter realistic.

Most of my research never shows in the book, but it influenced the entire thing. I think this helps readers to swallow the one leap of faith I ask them to take in the final product.

I hope you’ll take a chance on The Enhanced League, and at 99ยข I know you’ll find something to enjoy about it. There are a lot of human interest stories, a statement on the treatment of women in the workplace, some drug related concepts, and a few deplorable businessmen. My anthems are something unique and are designed to enhance the overall book.

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The Enhanced league is a collection of short stories and anthems centered around a year in a fictional baseball league. It has a slight science fiction background. This league has a lot more pomp than you might be used to, and nobody seems to care if the players use performance enhancing drugs.

Stories involve existing heroes, up and comers, and falling stars. While there are the obvious stories that take place on the field of play, there are also human interest stories that take place around the baseball gyrations. These stories involve scouting, trades, ruthless business decisions, and even relationships.

I enjoyed researching and bringing you The Enhanced League, and I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. — CB

Find The Enhanced League HERE. (Note from Sue: I’ve got my copy!)

I was born in a town called Elko, Nevada. I like to tell everyone I was born in a small town in the 1940s. I’m not quite that old, but Elko has always been a little behind the times. This gives me a unique perspective of earlier times, and other ways of getting by. Some of this bleeds through into my fiction.

I moved to Idaho right after the turn of the century, and never looked back. My writing career was born here, with access to other writers and critique groups I jumped in with both feet.

I like to write about things that have something unusual. My works are in the realm of science fiction, paranormal, and fantasy. The goal is to entertain you for a few hours. I hope you enjoy the ride.

Craig

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About Sue Coletta

Member of Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, and International Thriller Writers, Sue Coletta is the bestselling, award-winning author of psychological thrillers and mysteries. Sue's short stories and flash fiction have appeared in OOTG Flash Fiction Offensive magazine and numerous anthologies, and her forensic articles have appeared in InSinC Quarterly. In 2017, Feedspot awarded her Murder Blog as one of the Top 50 Crime Blogs on the net. Sue's the communications manager for Forensic Science and the Serial Killer Project, and co-hosts the radio show "Partners in Crime" on Writestream Radio Network. As a way to help fellow crime writers, Sue created a team of crime experts (detectives, coroners, police captains, etc.) and founded #ACrimeChat on Twitter. She's also a proud member of the Kill Zone (see details in full bio -- menu bar).

36 Comments

  1. I love hearing how other writers do their research. It gives me ideas for doing my own (but I’m not going to cram myself into a 55-gal barrel, I’ll let Sue do that ๐Ÿ˜‰ ). Thanks for sharing this, and good luck with the new release to both of you!
    JHolmes, author recently posted…Changing directionMy Profile

  2. I admire writers who put a lot of research into their work. I’m a slacker when it comes to that!

  3. Craig, it was clear how much attention to detail you put into
    The Enhanced League. Your research and love of the game really came through in the book. As an ARC reader, I found the whole concept thoroughly engaging and inventive. A most enjoyable read.

    It’s great to see you here today on Sue’s blog.
    Mae Clair recently posted…The Life and Times of Ichabod Brooks by Charles Yallowitz #NewRelease #Fantasy #MagicMy Profile

  4. Sounds kind of like the short story collection Stephen King did way back. I’ll be interested to see your approach to this.

  5. Very interesting & informative info. Thanks for sharing! ๐Ÿ™‚
    –Michael
    Michael Helms recently posted…Deadly Spirits has Launched!My Profile

  6. I enjoyed the book and it was apparent that Craig did a yeoman’s job on research. Great post, Sue.
    John W Howell recently posted…Views of the Neighborhood โ€“ Deep Sea TournamentMy Profile

  7. Interesting, Craig. I’m a huge baseball fan and I didn’t know about the MLB monopoly. I’ve got to add this one to my TBR list (which keeps growing). Vacation in a couple of weeks, so maybe I can do some catch up.

  8. I’ve read work by both of you (as well as both of your current releases) and I have to say that the level of realism and believability you both bring to your work is stellar. It’s clear you both do a lot of research.

    Craig, I’ve said it before but I’ll say it again here, I LOVED The Enhanced League, and your anthems blew me away. Great job on this one. Wishing you the best with your release.

    (Wishing you the same, Sue!)

  9. I’ve heard it estimated that most writers spend twice as much time researching as writing. Do you guys agree, Sue & Craig?
    Garry Rodgers recently posted…THE SOUND OF SILENCEMy Profile

  10. Another great post Craig – thanks for hosting him today, Sue ๐Ÿ˜€

  11. Thanks for lending me your space today. I hope The Enhanced League holds up for you as you read it. I also faked a reblog on my site to hopefully drive some traffic this direction. I’ll share the post everywhere I can too.

    • Anytime, Craig. My family decided to surprise us with a visit, so I may not have time to stop by your site today, but I will in the a.m. (I’m sneaking to moderate comments. Shhh…our little secret.)

  12. This is really interesting, so thanks, both! One doesn’t always think about the amount of research that it takes to create a speculative fiction story. But it does. How else are you to give readers enough to ‘hold on to’ so as to invite them to engage themselves? Thanks for your perspective on this.

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