By Bryan Cohen
Before I wrote my first word of fiction, I had taken part as an actor in hundreds of scenes in improvised comedy classes and shows. My journey began in Chapel Hill, N.C., with performances at a retro ice cream shop called The Inside Scoop. The comedians of Dirty South Improv placed two wooden platforms down in the children’s play area and set up two dozen chairs for the laughing patronage on many late Friday and Saturday nights. There was hardly anything that made me feel quite as good as hearing a crowd burst into laughter while I was on stage. I took this feeling as a sign that I should continue my improv travails in Chicago, Ill.
After college, I studied at the iO Theater, which has instructed the likes of such funny folks as Mike Meyers, Tina Fey and Amy Poehler. I performed and hosted shows throughout the city including a particularly wild one involving me in a Speedo sliding across a stage covered in whipped cream and getting body slammed through a Styrofoam table. I loved performing but found that I wasn’t reaching as large an audience as I wanted to.
I started a blog about writing that became less about comedy and more about inspiration. I’ve made some great connections with readers but I’ve missed the simple joy of making people laugh. In my first fiction book, Ted Saves the World, I have finally gotten back to my comedy roots, combining crazy super hero action with the chance to flex my comedy muscles.
My favorite character in the book comedy-wise is the scheming, fast-talking Dhiraj, Ted’s best-friend turned enterprising sidekick. Dhiraj is a shameless promoter of his get-rich-quick schemes and he will become the financial manager of products related to Ted’s public superhero image. As I’m currently working on book #2 in the series, I’m really enjoying delving into this often untouched aspect of being a hero. When there’s a secret identity involved, spin-off books and merchandise are practically public domain. But in Ted’s case, where everyone in the world knows who he is, someone has to manage his merchandising rights. Since Ted doesn’t care in the slightest, the duty naturally falls to the wheeling and dealing Dhiraj.
Between a nerdy, accidental super hero, a possessed, super hot cheerleader, a car salesman of a best friend, and a glib British villain, I thoroughly enjoyed playing with both comedy and action while writing Ted Saves the World.
Ted Saves the World (Available for just $0.99):
A possessed cheerleader. A cursed gang of criminals. Mysterious telekinetic powers. An angry ex-girlfriend in gym class? One second, sophomore in high school Ted endures his first breakup in his favorite place in town. The next, a mysterious blue light turns him into a worldwide superhero sensation for taking down a posse of grisly murderers. As his views on YouTube increase and his friend Dhiraj tries to capitalize on the marketing potential, his dangers increase as well when a presumed-dead cheerleader begins taking a personal interest. Can Ted survive his first week as a superhero in the public eye? This novella is the first taste in a series of full-length novels about the adventures of Ted Finley and Erica LaPlante. The book is also available on Barnes & Noble and Smashwords for $0.99.
Bryan Cohen is giving away four $25 Amazon gift cards, one for each week of his month long blog tour. To enter, simply comment with your e-mail address (feel free to substitute @ with (at) or other tricks to stop spammers from getting it). Bryan will draw the four names at the end of the tour, picking one entrant at random from each week’s set of blog posts. Entries will be counted through Monday, August 15th, 2011. Enter on as many sites as you want, follow the tour at Build Creative Writing Ideas. If Ted reaches the Top 100 on Amazon at any point during the tour, a fifth $25 card will be added to the giveaway.
Bryan Cohen is a writer, actor and comedian from Dresher, Pennsylvania. He graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2005 with degrees in English and Dramatic Art and a minor in Creative Writing. He has written seven books including 1,000 Creative Writing Prompts: Ideas for Blogs, Scripts, Stories and More. Contact Bryan through his Ted Saves the World blog, his Build Creative Writing Ideas site or Twitter.